There is a lot of vitriol about PvP servers currently going around. The general consensus is that PvP servers are filled with ganking no-lifers. And while there is a grain of truth to that, the reality is far more nuanced.
A lot of us saw this coming and thought everyone saw this coming, so we have issues feeling empathy for people who did not see this coming. With that said, many of us did not join a PvP server to just camp a bunch of lowbies or gank other players 10 to 1. We did it because it FORCES you to rely on others for help. It forces you to group up. It forces you to build a community or become part of it. In turn you end up making stronger bonds within the game, with the other people you rely on who also in turn rely on you. It makes an overall better community. This is the literal exact reason that MMOs can be so great.
I realize this directly counters what some of you actually think and in your minds PvP servers make the community worse. Here are my experiences both in the past and in the present which mirror each other.
If I don’t group up with 5+ people going to BRM/LHC/Hillsbrad/Feralas etc etc, then I’m going to expect to be doing a lot of corpse runs. My expectations have rarely been off from reality. You basically don’t go anywhere without your guild or at least several members of your guild. If you don’t have this mindset, you are doing it wrong. You all meet at Kargath (or where ever) and roll in as a unit. Obviously I don’t like getting ganked over and over, but it is what it is and I expect it if I’m not grouped.
Even then you will get steamrolled on occasion by a massive group or better players. But it’s manageable and chances are you will be fine. If you win, you do so as a group and you feel great. If you fail you do so as a group and you still feel great. Failure is just another notch on the belt of experience within your community.
On a PvP server, you are there to support each other. That is what we love about PvP servers. This is what we love about MMOs and playing with other people.
Even with leveling, you may be forced to group up outside of your normal company. Usually a few words in gen chat will get you grouped with several players who are on the same quests or at the same level as you. I’ll admit, it’s gotten harder over the last few weeks for leveling. Seems like it’s harder to find people to level with.
But that is what an MMO is all about. Relying on the greater community to further yourself and furthering the overall community by simply furthering yourself is what this is all about. It creates a strong community, who feels kinship with their own faction. If you expected a perfectly balanced faction PvP experience on whatever server you are on, your expectations were off and I’m sorry for you…but let’s make the best of it, shall we?
Of all the reasons that we ended up with retail or the watering down of MMOs in general, the failure to adhere to the mindset mentioned above is number 1. People wanting to be anti-social and wanting to do things on their own. I have never gotten that mindset. Why play an MMO if you don’t want to deal with other people?
So my final message is this: Don’t re-roll. Embrace the suck. It will make everything better and more rewarding and you will understand. Without all this stuff, we may as well be playing single player games. I implore all PvP server naysayers to really think about what you want. Without the tight knit community that thrived in the early days of MMOs, we really have nothing. THIS IS WHAT VANILLA WAS ABOUT and this is what Classic is also about.
PS Sorry about the wall of text.