Friday, November 14, 2014

Servers Move That Way, I Move This Way

They confirmed it long before I ever heard a rumor.
This feels more like a maintenance post than anything else, but it would feel loathe to not talk about this straight up.

I think it's been mentioned somewhere in the archives here that I started my Warcraft Career in Asia. I actually had friends there who played and they talked me into it. Needless to say, I was hooked.

That first fateful day, when I had no characters on any server, the server recommended to me was that Oceanic server Nagrand.  That is where I went. It was (is still) full of Australians and New Zealanders who enjoy warcraft. I could also report a significant number of Singapore players and guilds. This connection worked fine for me with a minimum of latency and I've made gobs of Australian, New Zealander and Singapore friends. Some of them have moved onto places like South Africa, Malaysia and a bevvy of European countries. Warcraft has been a fantastic international experience in that regard.

These Oceanic servers, however were located near Los Angeles, in the United States. While, for some reason, I was getting barely any latency rates, I never knew that my Aussie friends routinely played with 200-300ms latency rates. There were days when it was worse, but hardly any days when it was better.  When I moved back to the United States almost four years ago, I kept playing on Oceanic Nagrand with almost no change in my performance rates.

And then, last month, Blizzard announced they were moving their oceanic server farms actually to Australia and a week later it was done. They started offering free transfers for Aussies looking to come to home servers and all were happy!

Except me. My guildmates on Nagrand said they usually had 200-300ms when they connected to the LA server farm. I got between 400-700ms connecting to the new Australian server farm. There have been other problems too: I play on a Mac and just about every time Blizzard rolls out an expansion, there are display problems that have to be repatched.

The cumulative effect was that I'd go to Siege of Orgrimmar in LFR and get killed, repeatedly, by AoE that didn't appear until after it was too late. In the Garrosh fight, when the Sha sucks us away to another dimension, it would prompt a load screen which would take so long to load that the rest of the raid was getting their load screen back to the main arena. So I'd get a long load, a flash of alternate dimension, another long load. And then immediately crop up dead at Gary's feet because I hadn't been able to respond to whatever evilness he had thrown out.


I wrote a ticket to Blizzard describing the situation, and they wrote back offering me free character transfers. I took them up on that.

So, I bid farewell to 8 years of history on the Nagrand server with some bitterness. My friends who know me are aware this was probably some time in coming anyway for a lot of different reasons. I'm pretending to believe I can participate in heroic and maybe mythic raiding this expansion because of the change in my job status, and having a server in my own time zone (or at least not 16 hours in the future like the oceanic servers). In the modern game with the connected servers, I can still partner with my friends overseas when I want to anyway.

And say hello to Alleria Server!!!

I spent a few days trying to research which server to transfer to:

  • I located all the servers in Blizzard's Chicago server farm, which is the closest center to me, and in the U.S. Central Time Zone.
  • I crossed off all the PvP servers. I still don't want anything to do with that. 
  • I looked up census information to find which servers had favorable Alliance to Horde ratios. There are a few servers that are like 90:10 but I thought that would be a bit extreme. I don't want to forget what a Tauren looks like, or anything. I circled several with rations around 60:40, favoring Alliance.
  • I looked up raid progression on those servers. This seemed like a hit or miss kind of thing to have in mind but it seemed to me that a server with a generally high progression would be an active server that does a lot of PvE. I'm not sure if knowing this makes much difference in the long run, but since one can see these stats, I picked something that looked like a progressive place to be.
  • For the four remaining servers at this point, I rolled up human priests called "Boodum" and ran into Stormwind to scan the AH and listen to city and trade chat a bit. If anybody happened to see a hapless level one just standing there in the trade district about 10 days ago,  /WAVE!!!. PS: I deleted these Boodums, so that perfectly acceptable name is free everywhere once again. 
  • And then I chose. And it was Alleria. So far, I don't regret this choice

THE ONE OTHER THING I SHOULD HAVE DONE: I should have scanned to see if there was another character on the server already named "Merinna." There was, and had I known that, it might have been a deal-breaker. Anyway. Some other human tramp is now Merinna and my original shaman is Merinnia. Just an I. She's still going to be Merinna in my heart. I had to rename a couple of other characters who came too but I don't regret those.

So, here at the launch of Warlords of Draenor, I'm setting out with a new server in a new community and all the incentives to try and play this game the way I did four years ago. I've found a guild that is appealing and they are Oceanic server refugees too. I hope it all works out for us!

1 comment:

  1. I remember well, this Night Elf Rogue named Speela coming up to my Night Elf Rogue & asking if I wanted to join a guild called, of all things, League of Awesomeness. Then, Speela got the short shrift & this drae Shaman named Merinna became the hot guild member. Oh well. Glad the new server and guild are working out well.