Extremely Confused About Realm Population and Server Listings! Please Help!

I’m returning to the game after a long time gone and was hoping for a fresh start on a new server. I live in -7 MST time and can usually only play late in the evenings due to having young children. So I’ve been looking for west coast servers.

I’m trying to make sense of all the information out there to choose a realm. There is wowprogress, raider. io, and Blizzards own “low, medium, high, and full” listings. None of these seem to make sense though. For instance, I created a character on Kil’Jaeden which is listed as a “high” population server and is ranked as a “1” on wowprogress. I stood in an empty orgrimmar with 0 messages in trade or general chat for a long time. There were no people around in /who, and the realm forums online are completely dead…

So… what’s going on? Are blizzards population counts accurate?

I honestly don’t know how to help with this since Blizz hides their population information now and Blizz won’t say what the indicators Full/Medium/Low mean as far as numbers (low = 5000 players etc). The closet thing to an answer in that regards that I’ve seen is

in a response about classic realms and this

but that mentions classic so I’m not sure if it applies to retail as well :man_shrugging:

I can tell you from personal experience (i play there) that Tich which is also -7 is well populated :slight_smile:

People are mainly in Zandalar and Boralis. Boralis has a good central hub that is always full, while Zandalar is spread out and just a stopping off point. There currently isn’t a reason to be in any major cities besides passing through. Most players these days are in instance content. Or farming mats for visions.

The problem with Blizzard’s population counts is that they are not helpful.

Blizzard is extremely flexible with their definition of “high” population. When I was running server census, a high population could be as little as 1500 people. Compare that to a full server which could hold as much as 5000 people. (A full server is defined as a log in queue.)

Even Blizzard’s tag of “Full” leaves a lot to be desired.

You can rest assured, however, that a low population server is pretty deserted, though cross server connections have made it seem more populated than a server actually is.

What exactly are you looking for? A lot of people? A balance between Alliance and Horde? Are you looking for good progression?

There is a lot that goes into what makes a good server for someone. Perhaps if you listed what you are looking for, people could chime in and help point you in the right direction.

Is there any reason why I go on a full server and all the capital cities are empty?

I go on Classic and cities are full even on NOT high pop realms.