Aion Server Choice…. ugh, not again.

It’s happening again…

I’m stressing out over my server choice.   This happens every. single. time.  a new mmo comes out and Aion is proving to be no different.  There are something like twelve servers divided up into regions.  However, the regions mean nothing in terms of server location because they’re all locations in the same place — Texas or somewhere on the East Coast… I’ve heard both.  The server time only applies to server events and when they will take place.  What server events are those, you ask?  A good example of one is the Fortress Vulnerability Window.  Fortresses can only be sieged within a certain time period/window.   Let’s assume it’s 8pm server time — an EST server would be 8pm EST (5pm PST) and a PST server would be 8pm PST (11pm EST).  Whichever seems more reasonable to you has to depend on your playtime schedule and/or your guild/friends.

My community decided early on that we really wanted to avoid the dbags and elitists but at the same time we all voiced our concern for playing on an underpopulated server; picky, I know.  We decided to follow the Aion roleplaying community closely because they (among other RP communities) usually draw the more mature crowd — usually.  Well, a little snag has popped up.  The Aion Roleplayers decided on Lumiel for their RP server, but NCsoft just put up a poll (which now appears to be off their front page….) asking people to vote on the RP server.  The Warhammer Online Phoenix Throne server community is pushing for Zikel and they’re really coming out of the woodwork to get it tagged as the “Unofficial Official RP Server”.  The Zikel forums are much more active and their community seems to be flourishing.

It was recently brought to my attention that the cream of the crop of elitists/dbags will be following the Phoenix Throne Bandwagon to Zikel.  I won’t name names here but you can go to our forums to read up on it.  This is a group of people that I want to avoid at all costs.

What’s the problem then?

1. The Random Joes, aka the vast majority, looking for a server will see NCsoft’s poll and go for Zikel making it the most populated of RP servers.
2. Zikel is attracting huge crowds, but with those huge crowds they’re attracting the predators (asshats) who want to feed upon the prey (RP’ers/casuals/people like me).
3. Lumiel will probably fall by the wayside and remain less populated than Zikel, yet have a better community.

So what do I do? The decision comes down to choosing an Asshat Population vs. a potential Ghost Town. It’s a lose-lose situation. The logical choice would be to consider a third option, but then I’m back at square one asking myself “Where should I play?”

Ultimately, I’ll follow my friends while remaining an active voice in support of avoiding the elitist crowd at all costs. Where that leads me… I have no idea. I’ll post my server choice as soon as I am positive about where I’ll end up (look for it Thursday evening).

  • I’m in Scotland and there is 5 “UK” servers in Europe. So basically anyone in Europe that doesn’t know German or French will flock to these 5 servers.

    Do you think it matters which server I choose since there is only 5?

    And how do I find out what server is the unofficial role playing server?


  • This is one advantage of the many-instances world design. In Guild Wars for instance, you can play with anyone, anywhere, and you’re never locked into the choice.

    Sure it breaks immersion etc having a bunch of different zones like that, but the real immersion killer for me is what you’ve described above (playing with either nobody, or tools).

  • Honestly I think all 12 servers will be packed at launch. 12 servers for how popular this game has become will make them all pretty crowded, and some more then others as you mentioned Zikel for one.

    I guess my main question is will it become another WoW launch with queues to log in? Or will it follow the path of WAR and be consolidating servers within a year.

    I’m not as worried this time around because PvP is on the bottom of my list of things to do. As long as we have enough people to tear up some high end content… then I’m one happy Asmodian.

  • UK also; Europe is following a similar trend in that one of the servers will unofficially be the RP server and that’s the one I will join.
    I’ve seen the 5 English server names but not sure what’s been voted for yet and won’t confuse this thread too much my naming them here.

    For Keen etc I think you should take the risk and join the more populated server.
    I face the same dilemma myself each time and have the exact same motivations: e.g. when WAR appeared I dived into one of the RP servers from day one, Mythic misjudged the initial growth spurt there and knee-jerked, opening more RP servers immediately within 24 hours.
    This quickly diluted the “mature / RP” people pop. and at within a month one of those servers rapidly became non-viable due to low population (this happened to non-RP servers too of course).

    Within the first weeks if not days the one I’d chosen was obviously one of the weak and the “Realm War” was just token gestures in Tier 4. I left the game partly due to this (and the horrific interface lag, bugs and laughable class balance *Bright Wizards*) and last I heard my server has merged at least once more since I departed.

    The same thing has happened to me in other MMOs.

    Joining a busy server means more “asshats” but assuming they are a small % of the general population this means more decent people in absolute terms too. Behaviour and performance on the busiest servers helps define the game and you can be sure will be first to see a change should the Devs wish to encourage faction balance.

    So while it’s nice to aim for the “mature persons” server and quietly go about your business you will miss even the few idiots who preyed upon you when there’s nobody left to fight. You mention a specific group you wish to avoid? “Know thy enemy” – any server tends to have a similar group anyway.

    Get on the busy RP server, stick to your principles and don’t let the assholes get you down.

  • Predicting the future and making assumptions based on educated guesses is not easy. I wish you good luck with your choice. 🙂

    Every new MMO should copy Champions Online’s naming system and CO/Guild Wars instanced one server model.
    Just call the servers “large instances”, and everyone can play with everyone. Even Euros with Americans and vice versa if they really want to.

  • I don’t think that the idea of “large instances” works well in a PvP MMO.
    In Age of Conan for example, on each server every zone is replicated a number of times, depending on the population of that specific zone. So for the same zone there is often more than one identical instance. The problem is that everyone can switch to a different instance of the same zone if, let’s say, the enemies outnumbers you, of if there is a PK blocking the way.

    This gives you the power to skip a PvP encounter with a single click. It’s a system that is so easy to spoil that it’s not even fun 😀

  • Our guild seems to have been leaning toward Zikel as well… Asmo or Ely?

    My experience has always been; the maturity of every server is almost always the same. You’ll find mature players on every server and you’ll find douchetwits on every server. I hate being on a boring/underpopulated server so that usually seems to be my 1st criteria. Our guild was under the same mindset though; avoid the asshats and elitists.

    TBH though, I’ve never been a fan of RP servers since their need to RP requires you to RP too a lot of times, causing them to turn into asshats themselves if you dont play along.

    That said, part of me hopes that Aion never offers server transfers… while the other part of me hopes they do in case we make the wrong decision (like we did in WAR and WoW).

  • Just go with the high pop — the vast majority (see: The Average Joes) aren’t posting on forums or voting on polls. As you may imagine, some of them will be grand and some of them will be jerks. You’re gonna get the same mix everywhere.

    On another note, don’t you think the game would benefit from a single-server model, especially with the “pvp” focus it has?

  • “On another note, don’t you think the game would benefit from a single-server model, especially with the “pvp” focus it has?”

    That is one of the most attractive and appealing aspects of the game to me. The destruction of WoW PvP communities through x-server BGs/Arenas was arguably the most degenerative change made to any MMO’s PvP IMO. I look forward to finally experiencing the thrill of grudges, vendettas, and forum trash talk again (which simply didn’t materialize much in WAR).

  • Roleplaying servers and mature communities to go along with them are a myth.

    There are mature players who have their own roleplaying community, but that involves getting into their crowd.

    If you want to actually play the game, enjoy a competitive atmosphere and indulge in some asskicking with friends, go to a popular server. You’ll get the most out the game, and that includes dealing with the asswipes.

    Don’t join an official/unofficial roleplaying server just because it ‘might’ be mature due to ‘back in the day’. All you do is stir things up – the roleplayers bitch because you’re not roleplayers, the gamers bitch because there’s not enough people doing ‘real things’ and the asshats are less in the minority because the population is smaller.

  • Best not to over think the server choice. I agree with most that you’ll probably be better off picking a server that is high population. Sure, you might have to deal with queue’s and lag… but at least that’s better than walking around a empty city and not being able to find groups to run content/pvp.

  • hopefully the 5 english speaking EU servers are fairly high population
    so it will basically just be “close eyes and point” scenario

  • Well My guild, which was a predominate PT Role Playing GUild in War will be rolling on both. We will be primarily Zikel for Asmos, but we will have an Elyos Division on Lumiel

  • @Shamutanti: You’re going to find idiots on all kinds of servers. I think the idea is that non-RP’ers will tend to avoid RP servers and that people into RP tend to be either old or more mature as a whole. Hence, more of the mature people gravitate towards RP servers. It may not be true everywhere but I’ve found it to hold up pretty well.

  • Personnaly, i would go Zikel Asmo and Elyos Lumiel.

    At least well be able to mesure it in game and not by the forumz.

    I know the Havok’s poll are hinting towards Asmo Lumiel so im waiting to see the conclusion.

    I know a bunch of peeps heaving to Asmo Zukiel so im hoping for that 😛

  • My experience with “roleplaying” servers is not good. Most people seem more interested in monitoring how other people roleplay than roleplaying themselves.

    I started MMOs on hyper-crowded EQ servers in 1999, when, even playing GMT hours on a U.S. server, there were 100+ people in South Karana on an average evening and you had to join a list to hunt just about anything. Consequently, since then I always try to get on the lowest population server I can find, within whatever ruleset I am looking for.

    On the other hand, you can’t PvP without someone to v. Bit of a dilemma.

  • @Chris – the logic has been around for an age tho. and time and time again since WoW got ‘big’ it’s been proven wrong, at least in my eyes. You get guilds going there for more competitive means to control/be the first of something and then kick up a fuss over stuff, the RPers bitch at each other/other groups for not fitting in or doing the right events.

    Too many non-RPers go to RP servers with your mentioned frame of mind and end up often ruining it for the RPers and thus generating exactly the situation they went to avoid.

  • I’m going with Lumiel. Forum posts are not idiotic for the most part, the IRC channel is active, and it seems like a good core.

    And if it is as popular as it is in Asian markets, well, I doubt any of the original servers will be ghost towns.

    300,000 preorders already divided by 12 servers = approximately 25,000 per server atm. If averaged out 😛

  • All of the servers should be “High” pop given the overall interest in Aion. That said, you will find asshats and dipshits on every server out there – they’re like the plague and simply can’t be avoided. I’d say make the move to Zikel and at least have a larger group of mature people to play with/against because the asshat/dipshit ratio will probably be the same on every server.

  • I am going to Lumiel, the RP server now. I was going to go to Zikel but I’m not liking their community now.

    I really doubt there will be ghost town servers. AION is doing it right and only has 12 servers to start. Didn’t WARhammer have atleast 24 or more servers at launch?!

  • Keen I dont think Lumiel will be a ghost town. The game is popular and there are not many servers. All of them will be well populated. Better to go with less populated than over populated at launch. Overcrowding causes so many other issues like lag, login queues, and disconnects.

    Overtime all threse things even out but its better to be on a less asshattery server and people will come.

  • I have been pondering upon this – what’s the background etc. to Aion actually like? Is there enough scope/room to have a vast array of roleplay, storylines, etc. to it? All I know is it involves angels… sort of… o_O

  • Hopefully with the 12 servers and hundreds of thousands of players none of the servers will be underpopulated, I agree.

    Lumiel is on the top of my list right now.

  • You should roll on Nezeken. It is going to have a strong guild focus and a anti-zerg mentality which is why I am rolling on that server.

  • Keen do you still have a vent server? I met a really cool guild called scydis they are a pvp oriented, mature group of players who have been a small guild for 10+ years from DAOC, to WoW. We are trying to get on a server to avoid the zergs, goonsqaud from WoW and ruin from Dark Crag. Let me know if you want vent info for this guild to talk to some people. Average age is 27.

  • Honestly my biggest concern is population. Not just launch population, but long term population. With a character in Aion taking more time to max than most other Western MMO’s, there is no way I could deal with maxing to 50, only to find my server populations sucks after a month or two at max level, and then being faced with having to reroll on the “high pop” server. Now, who knows, maybe we actually see NCSoft handle things correctly when it comes to servers and they don’t pull a Mythic by creating waaaay to many servers at launch.
    My guild is basically facing the same dilemma, however atm we are leaning towards Zikel. Now, with the news ffrom NCsoft that Nezekan is the official Oceanic server, it appears the 8 man and roaming pvp guilds are looking at moving to another server, possibly Zikel. I just know that I want to make sure we end up picking a server that will always be full of pvp action in the Abyss. Zikel seems the safest bet for that as far as the East servers go.

  • My guild had the same problem on the EU side with only 5 servers + all the drama on the forums with[server name] is the unofficial[insert name].So we finally chose Gorgos and going Asmo.

    I will join the game a week after launch to stay away from the mass login 🙂

  • I agree that any of the 12 original servers will all be very high population if this game is worth it’s salt to be played long term.

    A dice roll is one of my favorites, sometimes over-analyzing choices like this makes you miss the magic of the right fit.

  • I think we have decided on Lumiel, which I am fine with. All the servers should have a fairly high population and the truth is, every server will have its fair share of asshats and morons.

    Lumiel does seem to have a good community at the start, so that is a big plus.

    Now if we can do a final vote on Asmo or Elyos?

  • I was on a very busy CB EU server and tried to log into it the day the flood gates had opened.

    My log in waiting time was 143 minutes and over 1400 in the log in queue. The second server that I was testing on was also over 70 mins waiting.

    As my highest character was on the first server I clicked into the queue and then took the dog for a walk, did some chores around the house and asked my son to check now and then if I was at the log in screen.

    It wasn’t quite 2 hours to log in but close enough and the bonus was I had a lot of housework and stuff completed.

    I logged in my character, rechecked all my hotbar icons, made sure I remembered what to press on my next quest and then I was looking at a blue screen.

    No big drama, I get a few during testing so I restarted the computer, relogged back into Aion and up popped the message,

    143 minutes to log in, you are 1400+ in the queue.

    I restarted on a brand new server with no queue and wont be heading to a busy server come live. As for the dogs, they will get their walks at a different time but the dust wont be shifted as often.

  • I had characters on 4 different EU servers at Open Beta and didn’t once have to queue for any one of them.

    (I also barley had any lag at CB and no problems with game guard)

    Guess I’m just lucky!

  • @ Naamah
    I vote for Elyos. From what I’ve heard, it seems that the Elyos faction got more love from NCSoft in terms of environment design and quest variety. Also, Elyos will likely be the underdogs in PvP. Lot more fun to fight against the zerging Asmodians. Then again, always losing can be frustrating as well.

  • Choosing a server is tough indeed. Fortunately for Europe we tend to have a limit selection (and don’t need to worry about timezones) which makes things easier.

    Aion server selection kinda remind me of WAR – I don’t want to end up on the “wrong” server and be faced with huge queues or poor opponent poluation. Hmm, tough choice ahead I think.