Guild Wars 2 server selection: the worst of both worlds

[Update: See the comments. An Anonymous commentor says that in beta you could roll characters on multiple servers and that ArenaNet’s blog post is just poorly worded. If that’s the case, it invalidates this whole rant. I guess we’ll see on Friday.]

So the social networks are abuzz with the upcoming beta weekend for Guild Wars 2. I’m as excited as anyone…I’ve pre-ordered the game based on the level of excitement being projected by people who’ve had the chance to play at conventions or other non-NDA avenues. [Waves at Jazz]

But before we can have fun, we have to endure the rigors of server selection. Guild Wars 1 had no server selection and I have to confess that even though GW2 is a much different game, I was expecting it to follow the same route. I mean, if EVE, Star Trek Online and Champions Online can all run serverless, why not GW2?

Well, World vs World PVP for one reason. In order to have that, you kind of have to have worlds. So OK, at least there’s a reason for it.

BUT… Guild Wars 2 winds up being one of the worst MMOs I’ve played in terms of picking a world. Why? Because you can be on only 1 world. Once you pick a world, ALL your characters will be on that world. So if half your friends are on World A and half are on World B, it’s time to choose which of these groups are your BFFs and which are the wannabes. You’re going to have to ditch someone.

Now to be fair, you can change worlds once a week and at a cost of 1800 coins (not a clue what the real-world equivalent of that is… if it’s $1.80 then no biggie, if it’s $18.00 then we just found out where their revenue is coming from) but when you change worlds, ALL your characters move to this new world.

I’m really not a fan of this system..I have a bunch of different circles of gaming friends and most of them have little to no contact with each other. It breaks my heart that, unless I suddenly become a master diplomat and coerce them all to be on the same world, I’m going to have to pick which friends I play with, and shun the others.

[Edit: I guess I should mention the Guesting system where you can join a friend on their server as a guest. You can’t do WvW PVP that way, but at least you can play with friends. But why not just let me roll a character over there?]

55 thoughts on “Guild Wars 2 server selection: the worst of both worlds

  1. $18 is still cheaper than what Blizzard charged for server transfers (no idea if they still charge $25 as I haven’t played it in a long while).

    I guess Rift spoils us all with their free server transfers.

  2. Also note that you can play with friends on other servers using the guesting option. Some limitations include the inability to participate in WvWvW which makes sense.

  3. Someone needs to read up more before publishing articles.

    You can transfer realm ANYTIME for FREE as a guest. This lets you quest and play with any of your friends on any realm. While doing this you are blocked from entering WvWvW PVP (to stop people joining the winning servers all the time) and you have to go back to your “home realm” afterwards to continue playing WvWvW.

    You can move your Characters PERMANENTLY for a fee of 1,800 gems which moves ALL your characters at once. (Compared to WoW’s cost of £15 per character move)

    “BUT… Guild Wars 2 winds up being one of the worst MMOs I’ve played in terms of picking a world. Why? Because you can be on only 1 world.”

    I’m sorry, what ?! Nearly every MMO has realms that lock you into them. The fact you’ve played maybe 3 that haven’t is irrelevant.

    You may think this comment is harsh but you’re publishing it online when there’s millions of links and videos showing exactly the opposite of what you just published.

  4. You guys (except this coward “justlol” who was afraid to use his real email address) are kind of missing my point.

    In WoW (or almost every other game) if half my friends are playing on Server A and the other half on Server B, I can roll a character on each server and split my time between groups of friends.

    I’m not asking that characters can jump between servers.. just that I not be limited to only rolling characters on 1 server.

    I need to see the Guesting thing in practice I suppose. Can I Guest over and join my friend’s guild, for instance?

  5. I’m not afraid to use my own email address. I just refuse to give it out across multiple websites unless it’s required for an account creation or purchasing goods. Same as I don’t give out my home address to random people unless they’re going to be delivering something I ordered.

    But anyway, back on topic. You can create characters on multiple servers. The server you chose to play on at that time is the default for making more alts. This is how nearly all MMO’s work.

    Yes you can guest and join multiple guilds.

    Again, I suggest you read up on the game you’re interested in. It’s published all over the net. Try the GW2 wiki, youtube videos, hell – do a search for “can I be in multiple guilds in GW2” on Google.

    Typing your “worries” about the game into google would have taken 10 seconds. Publishing an article like that full if misinformation took a couple of minutes. Which would have been more productive ?

  6. As an added comment, I’m not even talking about your “worries” being unjustified. I’m talking about the way you wrote the article as if everything about the realms and not being able to play with friends was FACT. Which it blatantly isn’t.

    I suggest next time you write them as questions for people to answer in the comments, rather than written in stone facts about how the game (which you’ve obviously never played) works.

  7. Yep, because that’s the chosen realm at the start. Want to have another realm of chars ? Then click on another realm at the start πŸ˜‰

    It’s a badly worded post by them.

  8. Actually, I think Pete has the right interpretation of ANet’s blog post. It’s possible that they want to lock down the ability to hop servers because they don’t want it to affect WvWvW where losers transfer to winning realms.

    If the only limitation of guesting is not being able to participate in WvWvW, then it is essentially the same as rolling alts on other servers (minus that one liability) given that GW2 lets you join multiple guilds as well as levels you down to appropriate content.

  9. While I actually like the system, I respect Pete’s opinion on it. And of course, I guess we’ll find out how it really works this weekend, but I too, read it to mean exactly what it says – you select a world, and all the toons you create from that point forward are on that world.

    The “Guesting” thing won’t be available this weekend, but for me, that’s what saves the system. It’s too early to tell exactly how it will work, so this is only speculation. But if they create it in such a way that I can take an already made character and play on another server as a guest, that would be absolute genius. Most of the time when I learn that a friend is playing the same game as me, but on a different server, I really don’t want to go roll up another character on that server and start over. What I’d much rather do is take my current, geared, character over their and play with their current, geared character. We like our characters, we want to play them! If I have to return home for the World PvP, no biggie! And I don’t really (typically) want to permanently transfer my geared character to that server, because who knows how long they’l actually be playing. And all my other friends are probably on my current server.

    I really hope it’s implemented in a way that allows me to play (even temporarily) my existing characters on other servers. If it’s just “you can roll up a guest toon on another server, that you can’t play in World PvP, then yeah, that’s no better than just creating other toons on other servers.

    Make no mistake – shard selection (to use the old vernacular) always sucks. But if they do this right, I honestly think it would be a great thing!

  10. From playing the past closed Beta’s you’ve been able to select multiple realms and make multiple characters. This is why I’m saying it’s just a badly worded post.

    If indeed they have limited it to just one realm (while not affecting myself) I can see why it would be a pain, even if guesting is there to aid it.

    I doubt they will have changed something so dramatic from the start though. It’s not going to aid in WvWvW over the long run as people can still move realm. The guesting having WvWvW limitations is to stop someone being in a WvWvW battle in which they’re losing and then they hope to the winning realm and gain the karma etc from winning the fight they were just losing in.

  11. @justlol — If you’re correct and it’s a badly worded post, then yeah, this post loses all accuracy and relevance (and I’ll definitely post an update if that’s the case). I was just basing what I wrote on what ArenaNet stated and how I (and others) interpreted it.

    Maybe if you’d pointed that out instead of immediately launching into an attack, you and I could have had a pleasant conversation about it.

    Cross-posted: That server transfer link just re-affirms what the prior page I linked to said: that you have 1 home server.

    But bottom line: if I can jump on a different server and start a new character there, then I’ll happily retract this entire post.

  12. Oh, and @Dusty — I think the Guest system is pretty interesting, too. But I think they could offer that and still let you have characters on different servers.

    I do wonder (maybe our Anonymous dude can tell us) if you can join a guild on another server? In other words can I Guest over to a friend’s server and by a part of their guild and have access to guild chat and stuff.

  13. The link I posted was more to back-up the guesting I was referring to πŸ˜‰ Yes it does sound that way but from my experience that’s not the case.

    The guesting however sounds exactly what you and Dusty would need from the game – the ability to just hop to another server of friends and play and chat a while. Then hop back to your main realm for all the WvWvW goodness.

    Sorry if it seemed like I was too defensive but I am using Google+ and the amount of misinformation about pay to win cash shops and other stuff floating about is insane. Your post here happened to appear in the Guild Wars 2 from the web timeline on Google+

  14. Yes, from the last betas guesting is just that. You move your existing character from your home realm to where your friends are. You can interact and trade and do everything normally (not sure if you’re aware that the auction house is game wide not server wide too) and you can join guilds etc. The guild you currently have active (you can swap them out) is the one you contribute things to.

    ALL your characters on your account join those guilds though. That may be a downside to some but I quite like it. It means that you can’t hide on alts to get away from guild raids etc πŸ˜‰

    Also, see why I don’t give out my email ? It would take 2 seconds for someone to search you on Facebook or Google+ or anything else πŸ˜‰

  15. Fair enough., @justlol. We all get pretty passionate about our games. But if you ever wind up here again, please know that I’m open to modifying my position or updating my posts based on new info. In fact I added an update to the top of this one referring people to the comments section so they get both sides of the story.

    /offers a virtual handshake

    Edit: Cross-posted again! Anyway, didn’t know about the Auction House being cross-server. That’s interesting too. Thanks for sharing.

    I didn’t really need to know your email or anything, but most people who comment on my blog are people I can identify from talking on G+ or Twitter, or they identify themselves via a link to their blog. So I was just wondering who you were.

  16. No to mention that beta is different than live servers. They might let press and beta testers server hop to test other systems like balance, but live servers they want revenue. I can see this:

    You want 2 home servers or more? Unlock for $24.99 Pre server

    I’ve played many betas and they are never the same as live servers. Shoot they don’t even have the cash shop running yet or 2 races. The game had lockdowns and blocks in place along with some barriers lifted. Beta is not a firm indication as to how a live game will work. All we can do is take ANets info at face value and speculate.

  17. /accepts the handshake πŸ˜‰

    I also noticed you were being linked to by quite a few other sites – which either means you have some authority or a lot of visitors (Sorry, never been here before)

    Which also made me want to end the rumours rapidly πŸ˜‰

  18. Pete is a big deal… He knows people and has several leather bound books with an apartment that smells like mahogany. He IS stating the facts based on ANets information. So it kind of makes it a fact now. We can assume ANet had bad post or assume beta will be like live servers, but right now the facts are exactly what ANet says

  19. @scarybooster unlocking home worlds is something I highly doubt they’ll let you do. They’re going to a lot of measures to stop people jumping servers just to get the server wide benefits and wvwvw benefits etc.

    Allowing you to pay to gain benefits from 2 realms (which wouldn’t work at all anyway) is something that would hugely unbalance the foundation of their PVP.

    Also, before people start speculating about the cash shop and items it may sell, here’s the leaked shops which is exactly what you see in game.

    http://www.guildwars2guru.com/forum/cash-shop-items-leak-t32319.html

  20. unlocking homeworlds would let you move between them with a full geared full buffed (by realm buffs etc) character – which in your example I would assume to be true.

    Having new characters per server is just that, they’re not effected by what’s happened on another realms pvp battles.

    BUT, all of that would be speculation and you could argue all day about them limiting buffs for dual world chars etc etc etc. I’d prefer to stick with what I’ve seen.

  21. @justlol — Scary’s goofing aside, I get a handful of visitors here. It’s mostly a blog where I talk to my friends. So don’t worry, I’ve got zero influence on public opinion!

  22. @Pete That’s cool, well your blog is being chucked around a few other GW2 sites with your views in this article anyway, so congrats πŸ˜‰

    Seriously though, check out the last 2 links I posted. There’s a lot of good information there that you may not be aware of !

  23. Ok I’m confused now. You said in an arguement against Pete’s post:

    “But anyway, back on topic. You can create characters on multiple servers. The server you chose to play on at that time is the default for making more alts. This is how nearly all MMO’s work.”

    Toe that means you CAN have multiple home servers. What Pete said was ANet said you can only have 1 server with all your toons. Your statement says that is not true, but you said

    ” unlocking home worlds is something I highly doubt they’ll let you do. They’re going to a lot of measures to stop people jumping servers just to get the server wide benefits and wvwvw benefits etc.”

    No matter if you pay or you don’t pay is not the point. It is CAN or CAN’T you create characters on different servers. I think this is Pete’s point

  24. @Scarybooster

    Ok, it seems I confused you.

    You CAN create characters on multiple servers (currently. Whether they’ve worded the article badly, or changed how it works remains to be seen)

    Where you’re confused is with the term homeworld, I believe.

    You can only have one homeworld per character (where your personal stories are, where you do wvwvw etc) but you can move that character as a temporary guest to other servers to play with friends – with limitations on doing wvwvw.

    You CANNOT have one character with 2 homeworlds like you suggested. You can’t do wvwvw on 2 different realms.

  25. I don’t agree it is the worst of both worlds but i do think it is far from ideal. On the one hand the guest pass system is a lot more felxibility than better than most mmorpgs offer but I do think the whole idea of having rigidly named servers or “worlds” is a step backwads fom the incredible flexibiltity of Guild Wars 1. It also makes it very likely that Arenanet will have to endure the bad press of server closures and world transfers once the initial bulge of enthusiasm has passed. It will be a lot more embarassing for them to have to announce the closing of “(not so) Eternal Grove” that it would have been under the old system of quietly offlining US-server #25.

    I get that they want players to belong to various factions for pvp purposes and I even get why they don’t want to make it too easy to change faction but they didn’t have to tie pvp factions rigidly to servers.

  26. Oh I think I confused you too. I suggested you can pay to have more characters on different servers not the same character on 2 home worlds. I thought ANet could charge for people to open up servers to make characters on more than one server like they are going to charge for additional character slots. I was speculating why they would let beta testers create characters on several servers but state on their blog you can only have 1 server. That way testers can test it but the live servers would be locked down. Goes back to beta being different than live servers. Like Pete said, we will know Friday.

    Ty for the cool links πŸ™‚

  27. So here’s where my knowledge kind of vanishes.

    I never played Guild Wars 1 except for a few goes at friends etc. But I believe after you left a City or Town in Guild wars 1 that you were in an instanced (with your party) zone. Where you couldn’t interact with anyone outside of the party.

    Now if that’s the case, it’s a lot easier to run servers for that than it is to have giant servers with thousands of players – which is why GW2 has to have different servers to play on otherwise you’d literally have 40,000 people in one tiny area.

    Also I fail to see how merging servers is a bad thing. Companies that are against doing this usually end up with a few servers at very low population which will kill of the enjoyment for those players. Companies that actively merge the servers to maintain a high population will in my view see a far longer lasting userbase.

    Look at SW:tor. They have yet to even implement moving servers/realms into their game and a lot of their servers are stuck at low populations with the player either having to start over or just quit out of boredom. (Which judging by the latest news they are – they’ve lost 250,000 in the last month or so)

  28. off topic, but I have to say…

    @Justlol, you jumped all over Pete’s shit for not fully vetting the information he was discussing, and yet I don’t see that you fully vetted Pete’s other conversations in this forum for an understanding of what he’s about before accusing him of being an irresponsible poster of gaming information. Now I realize you two have since kissed and made up and I’m not trying to fan the flames of war, but I do take exception to this as Pete is probably THE most responsible gaming journalist I know and it offends me to read you malign his character based off just one of many articles he’s written. For whatever reason, he’s choosing not to out himself here, or I’d point you to a few different places for further education on the integrity of Pete.

  29. Like I said: Pete=Leather bound books. He is very humble, but he is pretty awesome and very knowledgable. I’m not even sure I spelt that word right. We all have Girls with Dragonchaser tattoos and will watch Twilight if Pete snaps his fingers.

  30. @Gwyn yes we made up πŸ™‚

    I didn’t question his integrity as such. I questioned the article and this is my first time here. First impressions count πŸ˜‰

  31. I came back to say – you guys (and girls ? ) are all in the US right ? Picked what server you’re all going to play on yet ?

  32. So I think what we’ve learned today is that the way to get a lot of comments on a blog post is to say something negative about one aspect of a much-hyped game! LOL I think the last time I got this much traction it was when I said something about not being sure SW:TOR was going to live up to the hype.

    Anyway @justlol we’re gonna be on Mag…uuu? Maguuna? Something like that. The first servername that starts with M in the US list, I’m told. It’s where the multiplaying.net people are setting up shop. I believe the mmorpg.com people too?

  33. Thanks Scary. And dagnabit I’m going to hunt you down and group with you! We’ve been in the same game a few times and I don’t know that we’ve ever grouped up.

  34. What Dusty says. With the guesting system, Pete’s rant is moot. You can take any of your existing characters and play with any of your friends on any server, except for WvW PvP. After you’re done playing with your friends, your character returns home, so you can still share your resources among all your characters. This is so much better than having characters scattered over several servers.

  35. @nathreee – So you can confirm that the Guesting system allows you to join your friend’s guild on another server? Also, as others have said in comments on other posts (I can’t believe I find myself aligned with Syncaine on something), WvWvW PvP is one of the unique aspects of GW2, so being cut off from that may not be as trivial as everyone is making it out to be.

    I’m guesting over on a friend’s server and their guild leader says “OK, our server is falling in rankings. I’m putting together a raid of guild members to take back what’s ours!”

    Now your friend is faced with choosing between spending time with you and spending time with your guild.

    If, on the other hand, I could have characters on two servers (and @justlol says that’s how it works in beta so I dunno why they’re changing it) then I could be in my friends guild and join him for guild-based fun.

    Everyone seems to be implying that I want the guest system to go away. Not true. I don’t see the two options (the Guest system and allowing customers to have characters on more than one server) to be mutually exclusive. The Guest system sounds great but I don’t think having it means you have to limit where a person can roll a character.

  36. Don’t forget that in GW 2 you can join multiple guilds. Everyone will be constantly choosing who they want to spend time with. Just like in RL?

    The purpose of this system is to make sure you can’t switch sides in WvW. That would take away much of the challenge, wouldn’t it? How would you suggest they tackle that problem then?

    I tend to gloss over PvP aspects of a game because I’m not a fan of that gameplay. I mostly PvE with my friends.

  37. The system makes perfect sense to me and I think it is awesome.

    1. You can play with all your friends

    2. You can’t cheat buy joining several servers to find a winning team

    3. You can pay if winning means that much to you4. If your friends are on a different server and you want to WvW with them, you should’ve planned ahead.

    All that makes sense and that is why I think they are only letting people roll characters on 1 server. You want a different server: delete your characters or pay to move. Plain and simple.

  38. You win a date with MEEEE!!!

    @nathree — If Guilds are cross-server, or if you can join a Guild on another server, then I agree that my rant is almost entirely moot. But we don’t know if that’s the case yet.

    But I’m not assuming that. I wish they’d give us more details on what you can or can’t do as a Guest.

    @Scary — Conversely, if a server is really struggling in the rankings, good players can’t roll an alt on that server and help it get better, either. End result? People will pay to move off that server, and that server will get even weaker.

    PS In practice a year from now when y’all are grumbling that you want to play with someone else on a different server and you don’t want to pay for the privilege I’m definitely saying “I TOLD YOU SO!!” πŸ™‚

  39. Realistically tho, nobody is going to want to roll on a losing server. People will pay to leave more than people would freely save a losing server. It’s just animal instinct to drown the runt of the litter.

  40. LOL!

    @Scary — You might be right that no one in the modern gaming community would ever try to go help a struggling server. I’m ancient and remember fondly the DAoC days. Over there I did witness guilds rolling on underdog realms to help them out. Not right away of course. First they enjoyed their time at the top for a while. But eventually winning all the time got dull. And eventually the losing side would just stop showing up. So for the good of the game some folk would move.

    Of course they still CAN in GW2, but they have to be fully committed to it. They can’t just be a weekend warrior on the weaker server.

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