I've dropped off the blogosphere a bit, between raiding, a wedding, two conventions, and now NaNoWriMo, but I'm still around.
For all of my time on WoW, Skywall has always been my main server. I knew the names of the vanilla guilds, the names of the top raiders. I knew who the PvP enthusiasts were on both sides of the faction divide, and I remember laughing at some of the forum jokes, like how members of the Sacred Samophlange had managed to get Eringobragh's name into the urban dictionary with an entirely inappropriate definition.
I've certainly made enough alts on other servers (mostly to play with friends) and I've gotten a feel for some of them, but I've always come back to Skywall.
The funny thing about being on the same server so long is knowing the history of how one guild rose from the ashes of another, or who went where and why.
Skywall has been a Medium population server since late vanilla. There was a brief period when it was high and we even had queues to come on, but then Arathor opened up and a lot of people transferred there, including the Alliance guild I played in with my coworkers. Server technologies improved and we went back to Medium pop.
At the end of Wrath of the Lich King we had at least five or six strong 25-man guilds on Alliance and perhaps four on Horde (Horde has always been weaker on Skywall). But when Cata launched, the 25-mans started dropping, with many reducing to 10-man during Tier 11 content, not all of them voluntarily.
Then Disconnected broke up. Driven to Conquer broke up. Language Barrier and Sanguine Curse couldn't managed the numbers and by Firelands had either dropped so low on the radar as to be invisible or vanished. And I know these guild names won't mean anything to 99% of the people who read this, and if they had gradually vanished it wouldn't mean as much to me either, but before I realized it, something was happening.
It was when Osmosis began struggling that it really hit me. Osmosis had long been one of the premier guilds on Skywall, and been undisputedly the best on Horde since TBC. I don't pretend to know all the details, and Osmosis still exists as of this writing, but they lost a lot of players. One of those who server transferred was a guy I'd known since vanilla.
Osmo, the last of our progression 25-man guilds, did their last progression kill on 10-man.
Skywall still has one 25-man guild on Alliance (Choice) and one on Horde (Tortured), so that kind of raiding still goes on for those who like it and can make the time slot, but they aren't the bleeding edge that Disconnected, or Osmosis, or DTC was.
Progression on Skywall is now in the hands of 10-mans guilds.
And while I like my 10-mans very much, I am very sad for those who want the bigger raids, who want to work the edge, and can no longer find that outlet. I don't remember the exact words used, but I remember the guild leader of Osmosis venting on the forums at the end of Wrath about the equal loot for 10s and 25s. He loves the 25-man format, he hates 10s, and he was afraid of what the change would do to recruitment.
Why aren't there more 25-man guilds on Skywall? Well, it seems everyone's leaving.
We used to be Medium population, but when I logged in last night we were one of only two realms with the blue New Players population size.
I hesitate to say Skywall is dying. A walk around Org nets a fair number of people and our economy is healthy. Pugs still happen and my guild hires itself out every now and then for achievement runs of old content to stuff the guild bank with more goodies. There are new guilds forming as always, and for all I know one of them will be fantastic and fill up a gap that people had forgotten was there.
But seeing New Players has been demoralizing. It is proof of how many people have transferred away.
I'll still be on Skywall. I don't do the transfer thing. But if you're looking for a new server, I won't mind if you roll here and say hi.
The disappointing change to Holy Wrath
5 days ago