When I was younger, and I played MMOs mostly by myself or with just one other friend, picking a server was rarely a big deal. I would look for something with a medium population, a cool name, and click ‘Create A Character.’ As I have aged however and accrued more and more online friends (while simultaneously needing a way to stay close with offline friends in different states), ‘which server’ has suddenly become a terrifying question.
Do I roll with former guild mates or with real life friends I rarely see? Do I follow a close friend into a den of absolute strangers or do I group up with the in-law that will want to play together? These are the types of questions you may ask yourself when the question of which server comes up. Typically, it is a tough and deeply personal question, filled with pros and cons and politics. Rarely, everything just falls into perfect harmony and you don’t sweat over it for more than a few days. But in the case of Guild Wars 2, it isn’t an issue at all.
According to a recent post on the Guild Wars 2 website, ArenaNet has decided to simplify, streamline, and modernize the entire process into something really brilliant and well-conceived. Every account will have a specific region tied to it based on where the game was purchased, and from that information a set of region-specific servers will be available (though they have confirmed that you don’t necessarily have to play in your default region).
Now, your choice of server is still very important. After all, it will determine the strangers you meet, the people you represent in WvW, and it will be the designated home server for all of your characters. You don’t want a server where the <Million T33N Squad> rolls if you are wanting a somewhat mature, well-mannered experience. Nor do you want to have try to drag the <Care Bearserker> Norn nice guy roleplaying guild into WvW to defend a keep.
Servers do matter, but ArenaNet is fixing that with a few easy steps. First of all, free world transfers while the servers stabilize. This is a god send for the early development of any MMO because it gives the player control over their career’s destiny without setting them back by forcing them to re-roll. If you pick the wrong server, you will have a chance to transfer elsewhere without any typical costs.
Also promised, Guild Wars 2 will eventually have a guesting system. Guesting would be an entirely free process and aside from the limitation of no WvW, allow friends from different servers to adventure and hopefully do structured PvP together. This way, you will have the freedom to play with all of your various social circles, no matter how split up and spread out they are over the GW2 universe. And given GW2’s leveled zones approach, autoleveled structured PvP, and open quest objective systems, it should be easy for friends of very different backgrounds and playstyles in rather divergent social groups to play together with significantly fewer hitches than any other MMO.