Please help, Auchindoun-US is dieing.

90 Blood Elf Paladin
8890
Please forgive the long winded post. I don't want this to look like another knee-jerk poorly thought out reaction, and I'd actually like to provide a bit of back story. This is a problem we've seen coming for quite some time. Our server is dieing, and our guild is dieing with it.

When I got into this game right around 2007, Auchindoun was my first server. With the exception of a quick trip to Mal'Ganis, it has been my home ever since.

The server was small and cozy in the Burning Crusade. There were a handful of 25man guilds raiding everything from Gruul to Hyjal/BT. The population at the time couldn't support progression across the board. Player turnover is always a problem with raiding guilds, but when the available raider population is small, you end up pulling in poorly geared or inexperienced players. This slows over-all progression somewhat but is usually not a big deal.

Unless of course you run into a major road block.

I was outside Kara getting ready for my first raid ever. My guild at the time decided to not go because they didn't feel I was up to their standards. I had been sitting on the well outside for about half an hour when I got a tell from a random stranger asking if I'd help him summon their raid – oh and by the way this is an alt raid from one of the better raiding guilds, their alt tank had backed out for the evening and I was welcome to tag along. The raid went well and the next day I got a FLOOD of tells from their officers. You see, I was one of roughly 5 total Prot Paladins on the server, and unlike the others, I was available. Their raid was struggling to kill Kael'thas and they felt a Prot Paladin was necessary to tank the weapons correctly – and besides, they're required for Hyjal right? I recall a couple of nights where we didn't have the best and the brightest, but the nights we actually didn't raid were very few and far between. I have so many extremely fond memories with great people from BC.

I took a break after BC and ended up returning late for Wrath. My guild didn't have any spots available and my gear got farther and farther behind. I ended up transferring to Mal'Ganis because I just needed progression and any pug raids on Auchindoun were still struggling with Naxx while many of the guilds had Ulduar on farm. Mal'Ganis was great! You could pug any raid, at any skill level, pretty much 24/7. You could start off your night by running Ulduar as if it were a throw-back raid, or you could settle into a Naxx run where you really had to play sharp because the other individuals were a little behind the curve. I'll never forget getting into a 25M OS3D pug with <Vigil> and having Shields the Astral Walker (before ToC came out) make me look like it was my first night tanking – which it certainly wasn't.

But for all it had, something major was missing. All of those nights in Hyjal and Black Temple and all of the fond memories from where I belonged. I had left behind people who felt like my extended family so I returned when free transfers opened up. My guild still didn't have room for me, but the free transfers had put some life back into the server. I could pug into 10mans fairly freely and was able to keep up to some degree until their third tank slot opened up pretty early in ToC. In honor of my first raid back with my family, I pulled some shenanigans and for the first boss of the evening I wore the shield I had been wearing when we killed Kael'Thas, The Shield of the Wayward Footman. I was home again.

As ICC came to a close, so did Auchindoun. If I remember correctly, our guild ended up with the server 2nd, 4th and 5th 10man frost drakes – the 5th coming in the final weeks of the expansion. Our raids were barely full at the end and we pretty much had to take what we could get. There were maybe 4 25man guilds on the server (H&A). A major advantage for this expansion was the separate 10 and 25 lockouts. It allowed a crack team to investigate the instance and develop strategies which could be applied to our main 25man raids. It also allowed our guild to gear up much like LFR does currently – but with friends and in an environment that had similarly tuned mechanics. It also gave us a place to go in the event we didn't have enough people for our 25man, while still allowing us to pick right back up where we left off the next night.

And then the Cataclysm came. I don't recall much issue with attendance while we were raiding BWD/BoT, but I also believe we got another inbound transfer. Many of the same folks who were with us at the end of Wrath stuck around which was also helpful. We found progression a little more difficult with shared lockouts but we managed. Firelands was a different story entirely. There were two extra bosses - the attendance boss and the morale boss. Bosses that we farmed easily with minutes to spare when we had 25 became DPS races when we would zone in with 24. We calculated that for every empty slot in the raid we lost a full 10% DPS and healing output on average – this in turn summoned the morale boss. In the end we could usually fill DPS, but struggled with healers. I had a choice: Either I go Holy, or we don't raid. I get zero enjoyment out of healing, and I'm effected by the most common grievance among good raid healers – the worse people play, the harder my job is.

Dragon Soul was my nightmare. People were so burned out from Firelands that they began to turn on each-other. Anyone we managed to recruit was hopelessly undergeared and under experienced. About the only thing that saved us was LFR. I don't know if it was the tuning or our gear level but as few as two of our healers alone could make almost any LFR run smoothly. The extra gear went a long way towards keeping our heads above water in our main raids.

And then Mists happened. I'm not going to complain about the VP grind, and I'm only briefly going to complain about LFR in another thread (maybe). The bottom line is this: We are currently 5/6, 4/6 and 0/4 in T14 with almost no hope of seeing the inside of ToT in the immediate future. If everyone follows the strategies, there isn't a boss we've come across yet that takes more than a couple of nights to down so long as we've got a full raid group. Elegon, Garalon and Blade Lord were so demoralizing due to attendance issues that we stopped raiding with less than 25 people entirely. I'd estimate that we called off roughly 20% of our scheduled raids back when we would go with 23-24, now that its 25 or else, I'd say that we only actually zone in 30% of the time – if that.

Our progression situation also brings about a host of other issues – who wants to join a struggling T14 guild when there are functional T15 guilds that also need people?

Morale is at an all time low and the blame game is at full speed – and has devolved into utterly illogical hatred. One of our DPSers recently quit after stating, by name, that we carry some of our best healers. In truth, we've failed every DPS check we've come across.

Back in the real world, the problem is pretty simple: When you have people who are so fresh to 90 that they lack the ilvl required for MSV raid finder, and you're trying to kill Garalon, you're going to have DPS issues.

It has come down to desperate measures. Since the start of the expansion, one of our officers has taken it upon himself to sit in the game and /who guilds that he knows do not raid. He then whispers any 90s in these guilds and asks them if they would be interested in raiding. We're not interested in stealing raiders from other raiding guilds because we know good and well they're in the same boat we are. The situation has become so dire that gear requirements basically don't exist. If you want in, and are willing to work at catching up with gear, you're in. Heck, he's even set up a fund to provide some free gems and enchants to these new people.

Some of these people stop showing up because raiding just isn't their thing. Some of our more seasoned raiders get tired of the stagnant progression – or the constant intake of inexperienced and poorly geared players - and take a break (and then complain when they come back that we haven't gotten any farther – gee I wonder why).

At a quick glance, Auchindoun has no more than about 200 active raiders (Total, H+A) at an absolute maximum. This server is hemorrhaging players, and has been since Burning Crusade. We discussed recruiting people from other servers but came to the conclusion that no one in their right mind would pay to transfer into this server – I know of many free incoming transfers that ended up paying to get back off of here. We considered actually paying people to transfer in, but we have no way of enforcing any kind of commitment.

Auchindoun is dieing and our guild is dieing with it. I've been told that we have been slated for free incoming transfers several times this expansion but they have never materialized. Honestly I'm not sure they would do much good in the long run anyway – they haven't in the past. I'd personally like to see us merged with another server, but that decision is above my pay grade.

5+ years of great memories with great people.

Please don't let it end like this. Please find a way to give our server a new lease on life – even if it involves a merger.

Respectfully,
Mordral, Hand of A'dal (Did I mention I have fond memories of BC?)
<Addiction> Auchindoun-US
Edited by Mordral on 3/20/2013 3:59 AM PDT
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It's a shame players have to come to the forums to ask for other players to help their servers. You really have to wonder what Blizzard are doing about this.
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90 Undead Priest
6125
Firstly, if I were you, I'd make my forum post long enough to cover what you want to say but short enough to keep things interesting. If not, you get people who just read your title and go "TL;DR DEAL WITH YOUR SERVER POPULATION".

Secondly, this is the community forum. You're mostly addressing your peers and forum moderators. If you want your voice to be heard put your suggestions/thoughts/feels in the suggestion box. It wont move mountains, but I'm pretty sure blizzard reads all of their player's genuine complaints.

Thirdly, I'm sorry your server is dying. Has cross-zone not helped?
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90 Orc Death Knight
4505
There are only 2 viable options for you:

1) Wait for Blizzard to start merging low pop servers (won't happen in a good while)

2) Move with your friends to a high pop server

You know that people won't join a dead/dying server unless its a newb that never played a single MMORPG and doesn't know the importance about healthy population servers for events and economy wise.

I would talk to them about number 2 (not pooping) ASAP. Before more of them quit the game or transfer alone to different servers.

Take advantadge that you have a group of players willing to play together for raids and get everyone into a high populated server. Happens so many times in other MMORPG.

It will be hard to adapt at first to the new economy and dispute over quest mobs/nods but with some effort on recruiting and showing skill and organization on raids you will escalate back to raiding business.

Use the money that you would pay strangers to join your server for those that can't afford a transfer inside your guid. Of course loyal members that you know are dying to keep raiding with you and won't leave the game at first sign of difficulty or change to an established raiding guid.
Edited by Geminikanon on 3/20/2013 4:31 AM PDT
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90 Blood Elf Priest
SSC
12740
This is happening on a a lot of servers and Blizzard is really failing it's customers by taking no action to address it.
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100 Night Elf Hunter
13815
Very well written... I hope people will take the time to read it all.

If you will take a Hunter with blah gear and no experience in the current raids (work has been an issue til recently) but tons of overall raid experience, then perhaps we should talk.

I'd transfer for a legitimate shot on your squad.
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90 Pandaren Shaman
16840
Auchindoun was my first server as well. I left during TBC when I was unable to find a guild which could clear kara. But, your server experience isn't such a far cry from mine these days. I can say on Duskwood however, I do see some new guild formation; although their success is questionable.

I'm not really sure if the game is dying or not however, subs seem stable. Folks interested in group play seem to be forming mega servers.

And Blizzard will not comment on the issue.
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90 Night Elf Hunter
10535
Blizzard's current response to dwindling realm populations can be found below:
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*crickets*
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Edited by Spechunt on 3/20/2013 4:53 AM PDT
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90 Human Warlock
12935
This is the WoW's exodus. My last guild moved from Burning Legion (was the only 25M remanescent guild on that server) to Kel'Thuzad because it's harder to recruit, harder to pug (We barely had pugs going out there), harder to do anything raid-wise in a low pop server.

I moved from Burning Legion to Sargeras and, besides that nostalgia feeling that I have, I'm certain that I did the right choice.

Blizzard should stop with the CRZ gankfest crap and start to merge servers.
Edited by Maddik on 3/20/2013 5:14 AM PDT
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85 Blood Elf Mage
14930
I miss Wrath.

<End of Eternity>

What ever happened to Mosdef, Inj, Riddance, Shimta? All the people I hated.
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100 Human Priest
7520
It's a shame players have to come to the forums to ask for other players to help their servers. You really have to wonder what Blizzard are doing about this.


Why? It's player created problem that already has a solution.

1) Wait for Blizzard to start merging low pop servers (won't happen in a good while)

2) Move with your friends to a high pop server


They may not ever do the first one, but the second one is always available.
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90 Human Warlock
9100
We discussed recruiting people from other servers but came to the conclusion that no one in their right mind would pay to transfer into this server


Was I looking for a new /server guild to raid with, believe me when i tell you that I would apply, from the sound of things you are the knd of raid guild that builds good teams.

But there is no amount of money / gold you could pay me that would induce me to move my toons or roll on a pvp server. I hate to say this, but your issue with people transferring onto your server can be found in those 3 letters.

Pvp.

No one will pay to be flagged 24/7, no one wants to be ganked or griefed, and call it what you will (yes yes I know, pvp on a pvp server, spare me...I've heard it), people will look at a PVE server and be able to raid, quest and do what they in peace..or be subject to gankfests, camping on a pvp server, where you cant even go to Halfhill to do professions without someone wanting their own amusement by attacking you constantly.

I have seen more than one thread asking "Should we pvp at Halfhill"..the issue isnt pvp per se but the complete lack of consideration for others that is part of a pvp mentality. Yes they CAN pvp if they wish, it's a pvp server, everyone is "fair game", I hear all that.. trouble is that amongst all the "danger" and "excitement", if you were to sit down and talk to players, they would tell you that there are, as with all of us, times when they just want to be left alone to do their dailies, professions, whatever.

Can you? Yes. Should you? Depends on who you ask.

The basic thought of "I can pvp all day but hey, this is a quest hub and how about we all mutually agree to an unoffical truce in this one area. Doesnt have to be a sanctuary..but to the pvp mindset, it's "pvp 24/7 red is dead etc"...and never a thought that they can get all the pvp they want later, now?

Leave em alone and make this area an unofficial "neutral territory"?

Is that so hard? Seems to be.

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7006247454?page=1

You might be there to harvest or plant crops, but they are there to PvP. Since it is PvP server I doubt you're going to get much compassion from anyone about this, you're pretty much trying to tell people when and where they're allowed to PvP on a server that tells your when you roll on it that you can and will be ganked at every opportunity.


Actually, the flaw is in your own thinking. This is PvP combat in a non-Sanctuary area. That is what you sign up for on a PvP realm. There is really no good reason to have guards that "rock your world" when you attempt to engage in PvP combat on a PVP realm


Why would someone pay real money to transfer onto THAT?

I talked to a guy who transferred off a pvp server and came to us at AmanThul, and the one thing that stood out was this "They put all this content here and I never got to do a third of it"

A third.

He paid to bring five of his toons across and will never look back.

My stance on pvp is well known, my reasions are what they are, in many ways I am at a diametric opposite what what Pvp'ers call "fun", this is neither here nor there, but I have to say this, and believe me I am sorry to see this happen to you.

Pvp servers have a bad name now. A very bad name. laugh or scoff at me or sneer if you will, it changes nothing.

No one wants to go to them, more than not want out, and if offered a free or discounted transfer, would leave the same day.

I once, for a joke asked in Trade on my server how many would pay to transfer a pvp server..we had one taker. Other guilds and guild members both on my own server and CRZ are the same, they want to be on PVE servers and be able to do the everyday stuff everyone enjoys.

Mordral: I am not referring to you personally, you, but the the truth of the matter is: there were how many players you could have kept in raiding? Why did they leave?

They left because they wanted to raid. Your pvp server mentality drove them away. Your community told them "pvp server or gtfo scrub" (How often have I seen this said on this forum?)

There ARE some who like pvp servers and they trickle in now and then, but the truth is, that the vast majority are never coming back because the people on Auchindouin drove them away. They left to go to an "imbalanced" majority server so they could be on the winning side, or went to a PVE server so they could pvp when they wished to.

Agree with me or not, the bottom line is your own community bears a great deal of the responsibility and blame for the situation you are now in, and this isnt Blizzards job to fix.

It is and was yours. The server community.

They were told to leave..so they did.

My advice is either look for another pvp server with good progression, or move to a high /med pop PVE server with a better chance of recruitment.
Edited by Mirisanelle on 3/20/2013 7:45 AM PDT
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90 Human Paladin
8235
Hey OP, you need to get a clue! You can keep playing this game, for the privilege of paying $25 per character to transfer all your characters to a new realm. What are you complaining about?
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10 Tauren Warrior
10
It's happening all over, WOW's population is in decline.
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90 Human Warlock
9100
No, it isnt, and the majority of low pop and dying servers are pvp.
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100 Blood Elf Mage
8265
No, it isnt, and the majority of low pop and dying servers are pvp.


7/10 top pop realms are PvP. You can't blame pvp for realms dying.
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90 Pandaren Shaman
8525
No, it isnt, and the majority of low pop and dying servers are pvp.


That's pretty accurate....and most of the high pop PVP servers are all so unbalanced that they may as well be PVE. Most of them are high pop because the raiding scene on them is so strong.
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8890
All -

Thank you for the support and suggestions. I'm relieved to find that even the more coarse and snarky posts don't come close to the level of 'noise' that can pollute these forums from time to time. Some of those posts are even downright helpful.

We managed to recruit 6 new raiders in the last week and still went 0/3 against the attendance boss. Tuesday was due to several of our newer raiders being more 'casual' (read: showing up when they feel like it rather than when we have scheduled raids), but Wednesday and Thursday were more due to issues with core raiders needing to be elsewhere for legitimate reasons.

Jr still spends long hours whispering every warm body he comes across. We are up to 35 raiders and we still can't consistently get enough people online so we can zone in.

I am still optimistic that, with all the recruiting we've done and core raiders returning to normal schedules, we'll be raiding again next week. We might stay afloat for a little bit longer but, considering that we've lost 4 of our better DPSers in the last two weeks, it probably won't be for long.

As a related side note, there was some concern about Isle of Thunder unlock progression. I've not come across any blue posts on it or otherwise official information so I did some brief investigating. It seems to be across entire battle groups rather than individual servers. This is a good thing in general, but it really takes the wind out of one of the sails I had hoped to use here.

Anzak – Agreed on all. I wasn't entirely sure where to put this, so I dropped it in GD in the hopes of getting some traction and, more importantly, some direction. As a result, I've also gotten a better understanding of how wide spread this issue seems to be.

Cimorene – I was struggling with the length and figured I'd run into a lot of that. I'm glad the replies have been mostly positive. Your second point is golden. I'm going to get with the other officers at the next raid and discuss some of the tools available to us. I've personally had exceptionally limited problems with the game in the last 6 years and I find myself seriously unaware of what tools are available to hopefully work towards a solution. Thanks for the suggestion!

Geminikanon – We had actually considered option #2 back in Firelands, and several times since, but the idea gets shot down pretty quickly. The most common issue we face is the number of active alts that folks have which they won't leave behind. Most of our people are strongly against the idea of spending up to $275 on characters alone, in addition to the monthly subscription, in order to fix a problem that is largely regarded as a customer service issue. I'm right there with them on that, I'd be moving all 11 characters and 4-5 guilds. The idea of spending the equivalent of my average electricity bill to make a video game I already pay/paid for more playable isn't very appealing.

Disputes over quest mobs outside Pandaria are already there. CRZ absolutely destroyed one of the only advantages that a small server had. I understand that spawn rates are often scaled to population, but they aren't THAT scaled, nor are they scaled across the board. Being able to get quest loot off certain mobs that are already tapped when you get to them does help though – however to my knowledge this only applies to MoP areas currently, which aren't a problem for us. If we can tolerate the PvP aspect of CRZ where questing is generally impossible in certain zones due to a perpetual res timer, I'd say we can handle hanging around waiting for some respawns.

Regarding the number of active alts we have – its rather like a friend of mine commenting on why she has 8 siblings. Her parents didn't have any from of TV till the late 90s. No raid tonight? ALT TIME!

Genada, Ekbegahst & Corrock – I did more research on server populations and this is quit a bit more wide spread than I had imagined. I'm not sure WoW's population is actually in decline to that great a degree, but I believe there is quite an exodus from small servers to larger ones – and for good reason. There is a skill range, and the more people you are with, the more likely you are to find a group that you get along with that is actually at your skill level.

Graybow – Absolutely! The issue unfortunately is not a raid seat, its having a raid at all. I'd hate to have anyone spend $25 and get stuck logging on Tuesday – Thursday for an hour just to get attendance because others couldn't be bothered to show up.

Firestyle – It was basically RA, RN, Addiction or struggling T4 guilds. Homies, Pillage Inc and Pandemonium had something going on at times but they died off and we largely absorbed them to sustain ourselves. Synergos also got things going towards the end but I didn't care for their high turn-over mass recruiting method. Effective, but not my style.

Spechunt – I hope we can change that.

Maddik – That nostalgia. I don't want to turn this into a CRZ bash fest but small servers are also at a disadvantage here. When someone on Mal'Ganis gets rolled after zoning into Deepholm, they have a bunch of people they can call on who are willing to put in work. When I get rolled zoning into Deepholm, I just end up with a res timer. What am I going to do? Go find the 9 people in trade chat and hope that they all come do world PvP? Would it be productive? I tried to do some stuff in Outlands the other day and at random points over 6 hours there were no less than 8 Alliance 90s just waiting for people to zone in at the Dark Portal.

Candycorn – Unsure about the rest, I know Mosdef comes around every now and then. I'm pretty sure hes got realm first for every expansion so far. Some of the folks from Solstice/Synergos transferred back for a bit this expansion but they're already gone again.

Zariiah – The general consensus here is that folks are unwilling to pay extra money for a 'quality of life' improvement on a service they already pay for. It would be like your ISP wanting to charge you extra to make sure your internet actually worked 24/7.

Mirisanelle – Unfortunately, I rolled here with folks I knew IRL. They were smart enough to leave, but I was no longer with them after the incident involving Kara which I mentioned in my original post. I'd personally be happier on a PvE server, since its all I really care about, but world PvP was a non-issue here before CRZ. To support my claim, I will say that world PvP is very rare in the Pandaria sections of Auchindoun – and some of the Alliance Scum will actually leave carebears like me alone when I'm busy since they know I don't ever bother them when they're busy.

I can't tell you how many times we've run into Alliance on the Isle of Thunder and had them actually help us while questing – or in turn we've helped them. I'm sure this certainly does not extend to larger PvP servers, and the concept probably makes some of Blizzard's staff want to crawl into a hole.

Initially I wanted to agree with many of your points, but your hostility is overbearing and somewhat misplaced. You are correct with a number of things as they relate to the grand scheme of things, but I believe your assessment is grossly off the mark with regards to Auchindoun specifically. Our server really is THAT small – small enough that some of us have/had a good working PvE relationship with the Alliance. A few members of our guild actually faction changed at the end of Wrath after we stopped raiding and worked with an Alliance guild doing hardmode Lich King.

PvP servers may be A problem, but it doesn't mean they are THE problem. My personal advice would be to take a step back and not let your own personal hatred and bias get so involved in your assessment process. For funzies you might take your post and replace “PvP” with “Black People” and “server/realm” with “neighborhood” - I think you'd be rather amazed how it comes across.

I feel you on it, I really do. One of the many reasons I've avoid the forum in general, especially the CRZ discussions as the most recent issue, is that there is a ton of 'noise' and not a whole lot of 'signal' – well thought out articulate posts are extinguished and buried extremely quickly beneath a flood of ignorance and downright garbage. Eventually people begin to become extremely polarized and it destroys any notion of rational discussion.

As for our players leaving specifically, I'd say it has more to do with a recruiting pool that has a hard time producing raiders who can carry their own weight. We can be as helpful as possible with resources like Icy Veins, tips on setting up keybinds, and UI modification – whatever might help and yet some folks just refuse to get on board. Stagnant progression with a poor recruiting pool becomes a self-licking ice-cream cone which leads eventually to regression. At this point our raid's AIL is dropping every week and we are at the point where we should probably be going back to clear MSV for upgrades - which would in turn cause us to lose our better geared/skilled players who rightfully feel like they are being held back from their true potential.

Rathlight – GET OUT OF MY HEAD! I can't even begin to tell you how many times the cynical part of my inner monologue has said the same thing. Blizzard has been doing great things as a company for years and I think they'll eventually get it right – I just hope they do something before our guild burns out completely.

Mirisanelle pt. 2, Nouken & Indyana – All valid points. No seriously, all of them are absolutely valid. PvP servers alone can not be blamed for their decline. According to my information exactly 1 of the 50 lowest population North American servers is PvE. Going purely from memory here, I believe these numbers have changed significantly since Wrath. CRZ is again a discussion for another day, but I will say that I believe it has sped up the hemorrhaging from smaller servers. When I log into Mal'Ganis and there are more Water Elementals just inside the main Orgrimmar Auction House than there are total Horde players in the entire city on Auchindoun I'd say I'm going to have issues getting enough friends together for productive world PvP.

___________________________

Recruiting and raiders are somewhat cyclical, and people do come and go. Back in Wrath there were several guilds that would implode and reform every few months. I swear their 'leaders' would put their names in a hat, draw out 2-3 and form a new guild with some sort of strange merger process. There were always people left out who either didn't like or weren't liked by the new leadership, or just didn't care for the instability. Its almost like the server has a pulse.

Eventually the population gets so low that this process grinds to a halt. We're there.
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