Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ask Coriel: Low Population Servers

Brad asks:
Hello, I have always played Horde characters but am looking to try Alliance for the first time. I really enjoy your blog and rolled a character on Skywall, but I noticed on the offical WOW site that it is listed as a Low population server. Before I spend too much time leveling, do you have any regrets playing on a low pop server? Are the auction house prices too low/high, is it too hard to find pick up groups, etc? I appreciate any feedback you have!

Honestly, I don't think it makes that much difference while levelling. If you catch the main wave when most people are levelling, it's pretty easy to find groups. Right now, when everyone has finished levelling, it's a lot harder, but it's harder even on a full server. Auction House, it's pretty much the same. It's harder to find rare items, like patterns, but price-wise it's more or less the same. If anything, prices may be lower, as full servers usually have a lot more people with lots of gold. Also, if you're looking for specific crafted materials, you may have to look outside trade chat. There are usually people who can make the item, but they aren't readily available. If I'm looking for something rare, I tend to whisper someone in a high-end guild, and they will pass me a name.

The big difference is if you want to raid at endgame. Full servers offer a lot more choice and variety of guilds. They also tend to have more advanced guilds in endgame. As well, low-pop servers tend to have raid guilds that concentrate around a specific time. You need to make sure you are able to make that timeslot. Even being an hour or so off can cause issues. There are also much fewer raid PuGs. You really need to be in a guild if you want to raid on a low-pop server.

I personally like Skywall a lot. It's a very laid-back server, with a nice community, and is not overly gear-focused. But if you're really intent on raiding at the very highest level, it's not the server for you. It's a very casual, very carebear server.

Anyone else have comments on high and low pop servers?


  1. High Population does not mean high end game raiding.

    Silvermoon (EU) has a lot of endgame (BT+) guilds, and a high population (probably 90% alliance?) while Lightbringer (EU) has a high population, but only 5 or so guilds in BT properly. It varies a lot by server, check out WoWJutsu and talk to guilds before you start if you want to raid, population is a very bad indicator of this.

  2. Like 2ndnin says, it varies with the server.

    AH-wise, Mannoroth (H-US, high population) has many mats cheaper than Anatheron (A-US, low population). For example, you can find a stack of copper bars in Manno at around 2g, while in Anatheron it costs around 6g. Ragnaros (H-US/LA) falls in between the two, not being as cheap as Manno, nor being as expensive as Anatheron.

    There is also the factor that there might be more trolling in the /trade channel, which I find annoying in Manno.

  3. I would say that if you like to play solo,then a low population server is for you.
    If you like to group and raid, then go for a high population server.

  4. In my experience, low pop servers feel more expensive than high pop ones. I don't think that, on average, this is necessarily true. But it often feels that way because supply and demand are more likely to be unstable on a low population server. It mostly means you either need to spend a lot of gold on the AH, or be more patient about acquiring things you want until they're at a reasonable price point.

    As far as normal grouping, I'd say it's a little harder to find instance/questing groups, but not significantly so.

    I can't really judge raiding on a low pop server, I do all my raiding on a medium population server.

  5. When I transferred from Icecrown to Thrall I noticed a world of difference.

    I actually transferred due to balance and size issues, and also for economy purposes. The econmy on Ice was screwed with horde gear being outrageously expensive (population was like 14000 ally/6000 horde or something, very imba).

    After changing servers and transferring my alliance main and my primary alt (horde) I noticed a big difference. The economy was much better on both sides, and I think it has more to do with balance than size. The population ratio on Thrall is 1:1.1, with barely more horde than alliance.

    It's been easier to make money on the server, there are more goods available on AH, and there are more people on (meaning more grouping opportunities) overall.

    There will always be overpriced goods and people charging ridiculous prices, but overall I'm more satisfied on the larger server.

  6. I play on multiple servers, my main one being classified as high, but really being borderline medium (I believe). When I dinged 70 and started playing a little with the guys there, on a full, advanced server, I noticed it was a whole different ballgame. Pug MH/BT - or atleast, semi-pugs. Prices were about the same.

    Really though, I'll just third what's been said; Pop isn't that great an indicator. Make a L1 character and try to get a hold of a polite decent person and ask them what the server's like. I've been asked this myself and I try to answer to the best of my ability. My main server's alliance side is rather low on progression for its size, but the BG is excellent - much more useful info than the pop, imo.

  7. This is a bit late, but I just realized that this was your post number 400, even though you didn't make a huge thing about that. Congrats!

    It's quite an achievement to keep blogging for such a long time and always finding new stuff to write about. Amazing and inspiring to any WoW bloggers. There are so many who lose interest and give up after 5 or 50 posts. But you just keep going, never getting tired (at least not what you let us know).

    Thank you!

  8. Thanks, Larisa! Though how'd you know it was post 400? I didn't even realize it.