Hi, most people know me as Mortica. I’ve run a RP-PVP fansite for the Twisting Nether server (and later the combined Ravenholdt server) since late November of 2005, a few months after the first three RP-PVP servers opened up. It’s called the Twisting Nether Gazette. It was featured on the WoW Community Spotlight a couple of times back in the day (prior to the great worldofwarcraft website purge many years back). While I am now only a “casual” player, over the years I have invested much time, money, and tears in promoting my favorite type of realm in the past, until I, too, had to give in to Blizzard’s disinterest and recognize that TN is now, and forever will be a ghost town.
I don’t do Reddit unless someone links me there. These days, I only come to the official forums on rare occasions, usually because someone has linked something here. I may not be the vocal majority, but I kinda like to think I represent a decent-sized chunk of the WoW population that plays RP-PVP who may not be social media banshees. We are adults, with jobs, who like to log in and play for a few hours with friends a few times a week.
If I had never played RP-PVP, and as a data-minded person, I looked at the population of the retail RP-PVP servers now, I might be inclined to agree with this Ion person who I hear thinks RP-PVP is a niche too small for Blizzard to cater to. I miss Bashiok, who always seemed a good soul back when I came to these forums more often. With the exception of Emerald Dream, The RP-PVP servers probably do look like a failed experiment.
I could probably write a novelette on why they failed, but in the end, the people who wanted 24-7 RP had to move to high-pop servers. Those who wanted to kill dragons FIRST went to competitive PVE servers. And with all of the changes over the years that broke open-world PVP, those who loved that aspect most moved on as well. Don’t even get me started about Blizzard NOT opening up fresh non-RP PVP servers on the same day to filter out the people who just wanted to level race on a brand new shiny server and could give two hoots about RP. I still want to bonk whoever made that decision’s head. Gently, of course.
Classic could/should/might alleviate most of these problems, -->IF<-- you make a single RP-PVP server from the get-go. Let people pick the server type that is best for them. Don’t make people re-roll a few months down the line. Don’t make people have to check forums and Reddits and Ouji boards to figure out which server is going to give them the best approximation of the RP-PVP experience. Label things properly, and the people who want RP-PVP can settle on the correct one. If Classic, as a whole, succeeds, RP-PVP may actually be one of the more stable versions, as the kind of people who’d want to play Classic probably venn-diagram well with the kind of people who like RP-PVP servers.
The unique thing I can add to this discussion is numbers about RP. The number of stories created on the Twisting Nether server on the Gazette fansite are as follows:
Counting only threads started in the written RP section of the forums (so no journals, biographies, art posts, or general chit-chat) we had 828 stories written between 11/29/2005 and 1/17/2007 (when BC started) with an average of 11 posts per story. Which works out to roughly 2 stories started every day during Classic. Which may not sound like much, but that’s just people who bothered to write out their RP onto a forum. This doesn’t count in-game only RP, or RP that happened on guild forums, blogs, or other format. These were created by 576 active members (accounts created who posted at least once).
That’s just on TN. There were 5 other North American RP-PVP servers, and even if you assume that TN was the most prolific RPing realm of the group (humble*brag), that’s a lot of RP.
People play the game for different reasons. People have nostalgia about Classic for different reasons. For some of us, writing stories about conflict with the enemy out in the world gives the game meaning.
Here is a link to just ONE of the many stories that couldn’t have happened as emersively on a PVE server (alas, none of the image or video links in the story work anymore). You are welcome to browse around. Yes, the forum, like the server, is a bit of a ghost-town now.