With LFR and Cross-Realm servers and grouped servers it is easier than ever to find people to knock off the dungeon/quest/etc that you need to tackle. Of course if you’re dps that wait tends to be longer. But all kidding aside, the game has certainly expanded its networking of players over the years. It’s been an eternity since you had to sit in a town in chat, trying to find a group to enter Deadmines, or Magister’s Terrace, or Dire Maul. But even though things have improved, it isn’t all for the best.
In my early days of playing WoW I met some great people on my server, Runetotem (US). Heck, a person I randomly asked to sign a guild charter for me became a really good friend of mine. Other people I began easily recognizing with and working with when we were able to do so. The server was unique and it felt like you really were in a world together. With all the changes to the game, that is all but gone now. I would argue you have a few small pockets but outside of the RP servers there isn’t much left of that old kinship. Short of guild choice, the server you roll on doesn’t matter anymore. Only the region might, depending on who you want to play with.
I bring this up because it’s something I’ve been able to re-experience being on a private server. Sure, the wait times are annoying some days (there was a day all our queue needed was a dps…dps!!!) but you can chat with people while you wait and I find on average once you’re in a dungeon it isn’t a zergfest…even if the party can likely wipe everything in sight with relative ease.
Even with a language barrier in some cases (because, again, one server), people are still friendly and helpful. Everyone is enjoying the server and you don’t have any keyboard trolls. But I also attribute that to a smaller population. I think the most players I have seen online at a time (and I don’t check that often) is about 2k-2.5k. Let’s face it, the smaller the pool of water is the smaller amount of scum you’ll have in it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of being able to hit a button and have my raid group filled in mere minutes because everything is connected. But when servers are an island unto themselves, it creates a feeling of “us and our world” so to speak. I think it makes the game come off more as it is intended to for the average player. Certainly Blizzard won’t be reversing their model any time soon. The closest players can get for that is the Classic server that’s being released later this year.
If there is one thing, just one, I could change about WoW. It is this. No more cross realms. People say LFG etc ruined a lot, but I believe it was this. I really miss that. Running into players one has seen before and so on. Today, you’ll never see them again, because of sharding, cross realms, what not.