My first tentative forays into World of Warcraft were on RP servers. It started out that way simply because that’s where my friends were playing, but as I continued to play and began to explore and branch out to other servers, I quickly realized that, no, there really was something different and special about RP servers. Even if people weren’t actually roleplaying, you were more likely to run into people who had put at least a little bit of thought into their character, and since that’s how I usually play the game as well, it was nice to be among like-minded folks.
Then, one day, one particular friend invited me to make a character on his server. It was a PvP server, and I tell you what, I was not a fan. I tried to play on it, I really did, but I was being ganked by max level characters left and right and most of them had terrible borderline offensive names and it just all felt pointless. So I decided to transfer my character away.
Originally I was going to head to a normal RP server. But then something made me stop and think. What if it wasn’t actually the PvP that was bothering me? Afterall, I was that person who would happily spend hours and hours in Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin. What if it was actually just the lack of those two little letters “RP”?
So I decided I would give PvP servers one more chance, but this time, I’d throw an RP-based community into the mix as well. So I did a little bit of research, browsed around on the official forums, found a server that sounded good called The Venture Co., and off I went.
To this day I remember logging into my new server– I was in Thunder Bluff– and immediately feeling that things were different. Trade chat was different. The people around me were different. It was as though the virtual air itself was different.
That was eight years ago. And I’m still here.
It’s difficult to explain what is special about RP-PvP servers. To be sure, the ganking is still there, but it feels different. It’s less pointless. Why? Because a lot of these people are, in fact, roleplaying. It was very common, back in the day, to have a guild “claim” a section of land and guard it. Usually there were all sorts of in-character motivations for this as well. Actually I can confirm that this still happens because my baby Paladin was killed yesterday for getting too close to Alliance lands (not until she had actually begun to cause trouble, mind.) For some people this won’t matter — they will either love or hate the world PvP. As for me, I like it. Sure, I may be dead, but it’s immersive, damnit! It adds an extra layer of depth to roleplay and character backstory.
Another thing I’ve found about these servers is that, I think more than any other server type, we kind of stick together. There are so many PvE and PvP servers that most people probably couldn’t name even a fraction of them off the top of their heads. RP servers are more rare, but there are still enough of them that you have certain divides (largely revolving around whether someone is on Moon Guard, Wyrmrest Accord, or one of those others that most people fail to remember.)
But there are a grand total of six RP-PvP servers in the US. And thanks to realm zoning, all six servers now interact with each other on what’s kind of one big happy (and gank-happy) RP-PvP server. VeCo long ago got merged with Lightninghoof and Maelstrom, so those are the people I mostly interact with in Draenor, but when I’m out in Azeroth I’ve certainly seen people from the other three servers– especially people from that most infamous of servers, Emerald Dream, which is the current World PvP hotspot.
It feels neat to me, somehow, that there aren’t many of us. Those of us weird enough to want RP in our PvP, and vice versa, had to be corralled into our own handful of special servers and now we’re all merged together. Being weird together. I guess I just think it’s neat.
So yeah. That’s my (long and rambling) story and I’m stickin’ to it. To paraphrase a blue cartoon alien: this is my server. I found it all on my own. It’s little, but good. Yeah… still good!