So I made the big “free” jump from Moon Guard to Farstriders this past week. The jump was made in order to recapture some of my rather scant game time from the massive login queues prevalent on Moon Guard since Cataclysm’s release.
Always a highly populated server, MG has seen a dramatic uptick in returning players. Starting in the mid-afternoon, Moon Guard promptly locks and a login queue is implemented to keep things on the server at least somewhat playable. As I don’t usually get in from work until around 8pm and usually not into game until 8:30 I end up facing queues nearly 40 minutes long. The problems don’t end once you get past the queue. Once in game, those of us playing on challenged hardware (as I am) are faced with another problem:
Crushing lag and tepid frame rates.
During prime-time, Orgrimmar and Hyjal on MG are both flooded with people. There are enough of them in the zone that my poor Macbook Pro is forced to chug along at anywhere between 9 and 18 FPS. I’ve done what I can graphics wise. I’ve dropped render distances and other eye candy in the video settings down to the crayola levels, I ensure that nothing else is binding up my CPU, asked my wife to lay off You-Tube or streaming music to keep bandwidth available, whatever I can think of to help.
But even with all of these efforts, the act of getting from 80 to 81 on my hunter was an exercise in aggravation. My computer still struggles to keep up and I’m often swarmed by rapidly spawning mobs as I wait to catch up with the game. I can put up with a lot. Hell, I’ve played from Afghanistan before on a connection that ran around 1000ms on good days. What I’m experiencing in game most evenings on Moon Guard is honestly worse.
On top of the performance issues are the players themselves. With the new leveling zones choked with people, competition for mobs and trade skill resources are fierce. Simple courtesy is currently out the window as everyone fights for mobs, fights for herbs and ore and fight to be the first to tap named quest mobs.
Still, you can get used to the hectic pace and even some of the outright rudeness. What’s harder for me to deal with is what’s happening to the public chat channels. Most RP servers tend to be exuberant, chatty places. Moon Guard in particular. While Moon Guard chat isn’t as crass and vulgar as many large PvP servers (or even normal servers) I’ve been on, it has been on a rather slow decline for some time. Now, with our regular trade chat heroes in place and the sudden return of trade chat heroes of expansions past, we have what constitutes a low roar of inane and abusive banter flowing in a constant stream through the game.
This last part is really subjective. For me – it’s like someone constantly rubbing salt on an open cut. Others ignore it or turn the channels off altogether. Many honestly enjoy it and feel it adds to the “high population” feel that some folks actually go looking for.
Farstriders on the other hand is completely different.
First off, it’s quiet. Really quiet. So quiet in fact that I often feel like I’ve forgotten to turn chat “on” when I’m in the cities. It’s almost funny that the few times I’ve heard general chat light up it’s because some type-A Moon Guard transplant can’t hack the silence anymore and and starts poking sticks at people.
Frame rates and general in game “smoothness” are significantly improved as well. There is no lag to speak of and there is none of the horrible stop and go I get on MG. On top of the performance increase is the number of people in each zone. There just aren’t as many to contend with. On Moon Guard the demand for ore and herbs in the new zones was such that it took me nearly 3 days before I managed to tap my first post-Lich King ore node. On Farstriders I’m stacking ore up nicely. There’s still competition, but it’s not nearly as bad.
It’s hard to report on things like quality of RP or quality of progression and guilds and the rest. I don’t RP all that much and to be honest it doesn’t hold that much interest to me. I do enjoy RP – I love having it fill in the corners of my game via snatches of overheard conversation, running into RP events going on deep in Darkshire or seeing groups of people that have obviously put care and thought into their character and guild names. But I don’t play to RP. Many folks on Moon Guard *do*. I wouldn’t have to go far out on a limb to say that this is equally true on Farstriders. If there’s an argument to be had it likely has to do with tthat elusive and ephemeral entity known as “good RP” and how hard it is to find on any given server.
For some “good RP” requires a strict adherence to in game lore and even stricter adherence to social niceties expected of others that attempt to partake of the ArPee. The game within a game of how to RP “correctly” can be overwhelming for some to keep up with and thus – there are a goodly number on any RP server that have simply given up and do their own thing.
Moon Guard has for a long time arguably held the high ground as a “quality” RP server. The more canonical of the RP crowd tend to flock there. While Goldshire based exploits and SilverMOAN city have done a great deal to tarnish this reputation, MG is still a massively popular RP server and by population alone, probably offers the most opportunities for any given players take on “good RP”.
That said, several Farstrider folk have written to me in the past week to tout just how strong the RP actually is on their server. Additionally, there’s an opportunity on less populous servers to “make your own community” that many feel simply isn’t possible on a server as populated as Moon Guard.
I can’t comment on the validity of any of this as I refuse to get pulled into an RP quality war. I love all RP. Canonical, Vampire Bunniculal and even the guys on Farstriders touting the Forgotten Realms based guild tag “The Knights of Myth Drannor“. You’re all great – I love you all equally. Seriously. Play what you want – I do.
If there are any cons to the Farstrider move thus far it has to be faction based vs. anything else. Farstriders feels far more Alliance focused than Moon Guard. Not terrible by any means – but for the PvP minded hordey this might be an issue.
The only other issue is the fact that the bulk of my friends are all still on Moon Guard and have no intention of ever moving. I don’t blame them. For them, Moon Guard has been a great home for years and for the most part they have schedules that aren’t as impacted by the lengthy login queues. For myself, I still have my two “favorite” mains living there. I’ve just accepted that they’ll be leveling much slower than the toons I’ve moved to Farstriders. But part of playing the game means actually *getting* to play the game.
We’ll see how it goes.
Have any of you moved or thought about moving now that there are free server transfers going? Do you feel like your server was left out of these moves? If you haven’t moved yet – what would it take to push you over the edge?