Tamarind made a post about the new dungeon finder the other day, in which he noted as an aside that Crushridge seemed to be the one server in his battlegroup where "the tards come from". As I read this I nodded my head in agreement and thought about how I had observed something similar in my own battlegroup, except that I couldn't remember the exact name of the server at that moment. It was something starting with an S though.
So I went to have a look at all the servers on Cyclone, to see if I would recognise the culprit... and had to realise that no less than eight out of the fourteen servers in my battlegroup start with an S. Three of them start with "Storm" too. D'oh.
The problem was, now I was really curious. Which server was it that had caused most of my unpleasant experiences in pugs? So I started to take notes. And after grouping with more than one hundred and fifty different puggers, I came to a couple of interesting conclusions.
First off: Man, the official list of realms in the battlegroup as posted on the European forums is so outdated. I spent quite a while wondering why I never met anyone from Shadowmoon in my pugs, until I realised that that server was actually shut down over a year ago. It used to be one of the inofficial Russian servers until Blizzard created some official ones, and after everyone had transferred off it was shut down. Hello there, random piece of trivia!
After a while I started to wonder whether Silvermoon had already ceased to exist as well, but just as I was about to write it off, a Silvermoon player ended up in a normal-mode Ahn'kahet pug with my shaman. Still, she remained the only one. What's up, Silvermoon? Every other server showed up in my groups at least five times since I started counting. Is Silvermoon just that dead or are there any other factors at play? I can't help but wonder.
Enough yapping about dead servers, you say, which one ended up being the "black sheep" where all the jerks came from? Well, I feel a bit silly saying that, but there actually wasn't one. I mean, looking back at it now I was probably thinking of Stormscale, because I noted three negative experiences with Stormscale players during my "experiment" - however, one player also stood out as particularly nice and no less than thirty others simply did their job without leaving a mark one way or the other.
The thing about Stormscale is that for some reason it's massively over-represented in my Cyclone pugs: out of my one hundred and fifty-six puggers, no less than thirty-four were from Stormscale. (The second most represented server was Shattered Hand with twenty, which is already a fair bit behind.) My point is that when you run with a lot of people from a certain server, it's automatically also more likely that you'll run into some bad apples among them. I mean, the five players from Ravencrest and the five from Spinebreaker that I met didn't leave an impression one way or another, but does that mean that those servers are better or "nicer" than Stormscale? In all honesty, when you've only met such a small number, you can't really tell.
Also, contrary to what we people on roleplaying servers tend to believe sometimes, PvPers aren't all jerks and social rejects. I mean, Stormscale is a PvP server, and nobody does more pugging on Cyclone. In fact, nearly two thirds of my fellow puggers came from PvP servers. How surprising is that?
Before the release of the new dungeon finder there was some talk about how cross-server instancing would destroy the "local" server community. I can't really say that I've seen this happen yet, but only time will tell. However, after observing my fellow puggers from other servers in the battlegroup closely over the past week or so, I have to say that they don't quite feel like such a big anonymous mass either anymore. It's not that the battlegroup is becoming the new server, but it's like... having lived in the same city for all of your life and then travelling through the rest of your country. Some of it is strange, if you go far enough west the people start to talk funny, but some things are also familiar and there are certain cultural points of reference that you share. I'm curious how that will pan out for the WoW community in the long run.
How do you feel about your battlegroup?