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  1. #1
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    Question A Guide to Picking Your Server(s) Redux

    A Guide To The Servers Redux: Picking Your Home Plane(s)


    This guide is designed to assist you in selecting a ‘home server’ – or ‘servers’ as the case may be – in relation to what you desire to get out of your DDO experience. It is intended to help you learn about the unique culture that exists on each of the 5 servers of the DDO community. Contrary to popular belief, the servers are not ‘all the same,’ nor do they offer the same experiences, based on a several weeks study of all of them. Additionally, post merger, the nature of these sects of players will evolve. Within this body of work, you will find information as related to
    • Traits common amongst all servers
    • Specific features found on each server (as provided by the players)
    • Information concerning demographics of the play-style on each server as it existed before the merger
    • A plane-by-plane guide to each server with an overall review of that server
    • Advice concerning the similarities (and differences) between the merged populations

    It is recommended that you read all caveats that appear below the Glossary before moving through sections of the guide.


    Glossary



    CAVEATS & HOW THE STUDY WAS CONDUCTED

    Originally Merlask conducted this study over the course of several weeks, from 5-16-07 to 6-20-07, prior to server merger. It entailed studies that were done with the players aware, as well as without their knowledge. Merlask observed the players and collected data via the following means, looking for patterns:
    - In game incognito as an observer to their respective habits and interaction
    - One on one interviews with volunteer players
    - Open discussions in game and on the ddo.com forums
    - ddo.com forum observations
    - Observations of guild websites
    - Observations of related non-ddo websites
    - At various times of day - morning, noon, and night
    - On different days of the week
    - Weeks before, and during the weekend of, Turbine’s special +1 Welcome Back Weekend
    - Brief incognito census studies
    - In game as an announced visitor to their respective servers
    - At length interviews and conversations with well known ddo player personalities when available

    Note that ALL servers CAN provide you with ANY experience, especially now that they have been combined. At the time what Merlask was watching for was a repeated pattern of certain traits, as demonstrated by behavior across the board of all the different studies and samples.

    Despite the effort invested in making the study very thorough, there are aspects that cannot be accounted for. In light of this, please remember that several factors play into the study, and you should use this as a guide, not as a definition, of the servers.
    For example, the portion of the study that consisted of direct player feedback (roughly a minimum of 1300 trait listings, involving hundreds of players, to sort and analyze, be it in writing or verbal form coming from both in game and the forums) ... is comprised of those players who offered their input. That is only a fraction of the actual game population. While it is considered courtesy to hear from the players themselves about their servers, this means that those results are coming from only the most vocal portion of the population. This required that in addition to things players said, direct observations were made without their awareness. Also consider that upon being merged, the interest of the populations may shift depending on what they are now exposed to with one another.

    Of data collected in total, the servers each comprised the following portion of that data (These percentages do NOT include the portion of data collected by direct observations without player awareness or input):

    Adar 7%, Aerenal 9%, Argonnessen 10%, Aundair 6%, Fernia 5%, Ghallanda 6%, Khyber 4%, Lhazaar 8%, Mabar 5%, Risia N/A, Riedra 8%, Sarlona 9%, Tharashk 5%, Thelanis 10%, Xoriat 8%

    NOTE: These figures reflect data gathered prior to server merger.

    No server comprised more than a 10% quantity of the total feedback received directly from players, thus the study does not show exceeding favor for one server over another. No one server was the focus of all data. Only one server was excluded from player feedback – Risia, commonly referred to as the test server. A special guide to Risia has been created independent of the study, due to lack of data, and updated with new information concerning Risia as of 7-27-07.

    Also note that many players play on multiple servers (more than you might suspect.) While this was in consideration, it has ALSO been demonstrated that players often log on to different servers for different reasons in the same week or even day. When they are in the mood for one type of play, it determines what server they load into at that time.

    The entire review of individual servers consists of information directly from player feedback, and also those times when Merlask was observing while players were unaware. It was not a quantity that Merlask was looking for; it was a demonstrated pattern across all facets of that server’s interactions. To name a few:
    • Forums
    • Guilds
    • Individuals
    • Well known and little known players
    • /Who information
    • LFM information
    • General chat amongst players in populated zones
    • Times when numbers are low or high
    • Times when the player base was extremely happy or extremely irritated


    Existing players may read the guide, and perhaps disagree based on their personal experiences. But as stated before, ANY activity can be found across all the servers... for the purpose of the guide, it was a concentration of those qualities Merlask looked for. Additionally, with the server merger, these results are going to evolve based on sects of players now playing readily together, who otherwise may not have had exposure to one another before merger.

    Players enjoy the best gaming experience when like-minded people surround them. Hence the guide is designed to help you find people of like-mind to yourself. If you would like contrast, simply find a server that focuses on the opposite of your normal enjoyments, and see what comes of it.

    Ultimately, the decision to stay, to try, or to move to and from any server is your own to make. Also consider that it is perfectly reasonable to play upon multiple servers, and many players do so. This is a guide, not an ultimatum.

    Lastly know that with the merger of the servers, you can use this guide to see what demographics of players were grouped together in the end product, but that will NOT tell you how those players will adapt / adapted to one another, and what that means for the newly formed communities.

    Know that at the time this guide redux was written, ‘transfer’ between servers of existing characters was in the works, and server merger was also in the process, but not yet complete.
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 02:30 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

  2. #2
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    Default Why Was This Created/Rewritten

    INTRODUCTION: WHY WAS THIS GUIDE CREATED/REWRITTEN?

    Until recently, there had never been any organized indication of why a player should select one server over another. Despite intent to have an even distribution of players, that method whole-heartedly failed. Not only were server populations not consistent, but also the player base within each server was different. Much like a person growing up in a given region of a city or town, those they are surrounded by have great influence on what sorts of behavior players exhibit as they grow up... or in this case, as they level.

    With a server merger, and the capasity to hop from server to server with your highest level character and all their belongings, a whole new window of opportunity arises for not only new players, but existing ones as well. Thus the guide had to be adapted to account for this.

    For a new and unaware player arriving to the game, the decision of what server to select often comes down to things like coin tosses; or what server their real life friends are on; or who ever posted fastest/most often to their thread in whatever portion of the forums they chose to make their presence known. Very often, they don’t bother asking, and simply lurk, trying to find buzzwords to point them in a direction. That time is past. The time of existing players spouting to new players that their server is ‘the best’ is also past. This guide was created as an indication to players of what they can expect from the given servers, thus helping them to locate where they may enjoy themselves most, based on their needs.

    Additionally, this study had long ago been prompted by the repeated mention of ‘merger.’ Too often, the solution for players not having a good time where they are is to ‘merge.’ What this does is force portions of a population to suddenly cohabitate. Sometimes they get along well, and more relationships florish. Other times, they get at one another's throats and drive each other away from the game itself. The servers of DDO were very similar to states or provinces... sure, they are within the same country, but you would notice a vast difference traveling from say New York to California in the United States.

    However, the difference in the scenario of states and servers is... those living in a state have the option to move away from that state and take their worldly possessions. The most rational solution would be to offer server transfers, rather than forcing together communities simply because people didn’t manage to click with where they were. This solution, server transfers, is coming. Server merger however is also being implimented.

    Now players have an even larger choice ahead of them. Not only have the populations been thrown together into 5 groups, but players soon will have the chance to merely pack up their things and transfer to another server if one is not to their liking. What this means for the guide is that in time the populations will evolve, and this guide WILL become outdated. However... taken into consideration from onset, those who had thought about moving may now have a better target in mind. Those who were brand new may see something in the population of an 'old' server to their liking, and head in that direction where the previous server ended up.

    The purpose now of the guide is to give all players a window into one another's worlds prior to - and during - the merge to help them adjust to this transition. Ultimately your experience is going to depend on actually getting in the game, and checking things out. However, it's always nice to have a preview, or at least to see the history of 'the way things were.' There is an old saying that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    So as you read this guide, keep in mind what it is you are seeking from the game experience, and you will be far more content with your choice.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

  3. #3
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    Default Of Mergers, Transfers, & Guides

    CONCERNING MERGERS, TRANSFERS, AND THE GUIDE

    When the day came that we learned of server transfers and server merger, many believed I had perhaps imploded from the prospect that it meant my original study would now be seemingly invalid. Fortunately, for my own sanity, I had long considered the prospect that character transfer would be on the horizon, and that by the time the guide had been put out, it was already perhaps too late to hope that population shifts would be enough to help the communities in the grand scheme of things. So I had a contigency plan in the event that the communities were to come together. What I had to wait for was to see WHICH communities ended up where.

    Simple merger however is not enough to solve the deeply rooted trouble that is: when players are in the same place at the same time, and don't share the same goals, they are going to experience a decrease in their enjoyment of playing a game.

    Let's take a look at WoW for example. Is there anything 'wrong' with WoW? By observation, I would say no mechanically speaking. The game offers features that many come to accept (and look for) in an mmo. However, time and time again those players who have ill to speak of concerning WoW make mention of the fact that they 'do not like the community.' Community was enough to drive them from that game, and keep them here. I've met many 'converts,' as they jokingly refer to themselves, who site the people as the reason they stay in a game. Not just their immediate friends. Not just their guildmates. The atmosphere of the population on the whole. Not every player requires this to enjoy a game. Those who do however are heavily driven by the capasity to find others 'like them.' Leaving players to do this and figure it out on their own, fumbling about among the worlds hoping to chance upon what they are looking for, is not the best prospect. Nor will it help them to enjoy their experience.

    So once more the guide provides you with the chance to get to know your neighbors, as it were. The most perfectly crafted, well made game, with narry a bug to be found, and more content than a Robert Jordan book with no end in sight, can still fail utterly... if the players are not able to mix and mingle with each other in a way that suits them.

    The Prospect of Server Merger

    On the whole this will be an experience like no other for many players. Keep in mind that there is a portion of the DDO demographics who have never played an MMORPG before, and thus, having to 'merge' is a brand new experience for them. Consider also that with a merger, despite the fact that we all play the same game, read the same forums (some of us), and get the same news and game updates, we have fundamentally been divided by a physical barrier that was: being on a different server. The times of day one would be logged in on a server, playing with a certain sect of friends and familiars, will now be inundated with brand new faces. Despite the fact that we all play on the same game, we all approach this game in different ways. Players report to me often of different slang used on their server vs another. The run time of a particular quest or raid they experience on one server might be extremely fast (or extremely slow) compaired to the habits of players from another realm.

    With a merger, players will initially feel around trying to understand their new servermates. A certain amount of curiosity, and showmanship, will be involved in this process. Each side will test the other trying to learn what one another are about. What their tolerances are. What their likes and dislikes are. How they deal with certain aspects of the game, or how they spend their time on a regular basis. They may in some cases find no true fundamental difference, or in other cases, the cultures may be radically different. Some qualities are not the same, but similar enough to have common ground - such as powergaming and min/maxing. Character optimization (min/maxing) is a very specialized form of 'power gaming.' Powergaming on the other hand tends to encompass the whole gambit of trying to strive for the best. A shared quality of the two interests is a desire to be proficiant with their character. Such common ground will be found among the players, but it is important for them to realize it.

    In some cases, players may find that the server they are being combined with was already to their liking, or they'd already desired to go there in the first place. Rather than having to uproot, the places they considered are coming to them!

    The Prospect of Transfers

    With the advent of server transfers, there will be MUCH shift in the population, as the players set their eyes to new homes. Before now, the hesitation at restarting from scratch with a new character, without resources, and without the people they already knew, was enough to keep many players grounded on the server they played on (no matter how much more appealing another server may have been to them). Now that fear is somewhat less so.

    Additionally, should a player find that the combination of the servers is not to their liking, they now have the liberty to select a new location, without worry over having to start over.

    However, the downfall of this will be that populations will be far more volatile. With no vested interest, players may be inclined to be more aggressive simply on the grounds that now, if things don't work the way they want, they can simply leave. The threat of having to continue to level with others can be a tool that creates reasonable inhibitions to not trash a place they must live in.

    The only saving grace perhaps is that it will cost players in their pocketbook, should they opt for being spiteful towards their fellows. Reputations and rumors spread like a wild fire, and having to start a character over, or pay for a server transfer or character rename to kill off a bad reputation, will get hefty for those who don't heed to online social etiquette. So only time will tell how the players respond.

    The Guide

    This guide will now serve as a window, and the term 'guide' is MUCH more accurate now than 'study.' After all, I have no access to being able to see into the future, I can only speak for what I have seen in the past, present it, and let you make your own decisions. Remember that the choice to play on, try, move to, move from, or cohabitate any server is yours, and yours alone.
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 02:31 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

  4. #4
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    Default What All Servers Have In Common

    WHAT ALL SERVERS HAVE IN COMMON

    The servers as they existed were different. However, it is important to consider what the servers had in common, before focusing on their differences. The following is a collection of statistics and experiences in regards to the servers pre-merger, with the exception of Risia, which was excluded from these portions of the study:

    • All servers, even large population servers, had ‘peak times.’ These were when they experience an upsurge of activity.
    • Of 14 servers, 80% of servers responded that they were most busy on weekends... those servers who did not indicate this, didn’t respond to the survey in the first place. Activity/population studies conducted also correspond with this across all servers. There are many weekend DDO players.
    • Of 14 servers, 71% of servers had responses from players stating that they ‘love the people’ or love their guild, on that server.
    • Of 14 servers, 92% of servers had responses describing server mates to be ‘helpful’ and/or ‘friendly’... some mentioned this more frequently than others, but ALL servers had positive mention on this trait.
    • Guilds with members numbering above 50 were found on 100% of the 14 servers
    • Of players interviewed and surveyed, 100% of the 14 servers received marks for the closeness of their community. Some expressed this more frequently than others.
    • 100% of the servers have some level of forum activity on the ddo.com forums, even Risia
    • Players denoted 0% of servers as a distinctive haven of PVP focus. No server gave indication – via interview or observation – of any more heavy PVP activity than any other server, other than organized player events on an individual basis. All servers, when randomly sampled, had activity within the PVP arena of the Lobster, as well as players who fine-tuned their character to PVP prowess.
    • Players of 11 out of 14 servers stated that their server had ‘experienced’ players on them in their eyes.
    • Servers were measured for ‘aggression’ essentially. No server scored the maximum on this study, and most were at or below half. (Specifics on this aspect of the study can be found on the Swimming Index)
    • All 14 servers visited responded in a productive manner to Merlask when she made her presence known, and indicated she was seeking feedback. This publicized visit (all other in game visits were incognito) was conducted during the height of Welcome Back Weekend, as well as after difficulty with the servers being down – thus the population was the most irritated and most focused on loot and XP. Despite this, all servers still responded in game.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

  5. #5
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    Default Understanding Merger Profiles

    UNDERSTANDING MERGER PROFILES

    Read this explanation of Reviews and Profiles to understand how to best apply the information as you search for a server to call home!

    Sample Merge Profile

    Server Combo: A list of the original servers that were combined into one. To view the original review of the individual server prior to merger, use the links provided.

    Population Style:
    The population style of each of the servers is listed to give you an idea of what the players had been accustomed to pre-merge
    Like states and provinces, some servers were larger than others. Each server had been defined by: Urban, Suburban, and Rural.
    - Urban servers were those where activity bustled constantly morning noon and night. Think of New York City or the capital of a country in terms of the amount of players you would have found there.
    - Suburban were servers where there were peaks and falls in the level of activity, but who still had a fairly large amount of traffic. Still filled with people, but not nearly to the level of an Urban server.
    - Rural were those servers where the player base was much smaller and more intimate. Players on Rural servers often were very familiar with who the locals were. The term rural does NOT refer to the amount of resources of the server, simply to the demonstrated quantity of the player base.
    And just like real urban, suburban, and rural cities, the experience varied along these same lines. However, in terms of the study, Urban servers were on par with data collected/received, and their size proved immaterial in the study in terms of how MUCH was learned about them.
    In addition to this you might want to read this section in regards to population and mergers


    Focus Graph by Comparison:

    On the first server guide, each of the 14 servers had a visual graph of what the focus of a server's community leaned towards. A different type of play-style drove each community. Here you will see these results side by side, to help you understand what the similarities and differences between the cultures are. Keep in mind that greater or smaller bars on this graph does not mean that there were physically more players, simply that the community was more interested in a given type of play style.

    For some, it is the ability to quickly form groups. For others, it is the amount of focus put on guilds. Still other players enjoy roleplaying or other non-traditional styles of playing the game, such as perma-death. Then there are servers where the primary focus is on high end content, or strictly looting. The Focus Graph demonstrated what areas each server had the highest responsiveness to. You will see very quickly that not all servers are built with the same profiles in the least, and especially now that they are presented side by side. Each graph consists of Traits that the compiled data indicated more than a 2% ratio of pattern. Those traits with less than 2% pattern are excluded from that server’s Focus Graph. For definitions of what each trait is, see the Server Trait Definition List

    For servers who reflected less than 2% of a given trait, when shown side by side with other servers who did show data in the catagory, you will simply see no colored bar to the left of the server names.

    Swimming Index: See the specifics about the Swimming Index

    Server Compatability Analysis:

    Here you will find two lists of traits as related to the Focus Graphs

    Strongly Matched Interests: Those qualities that all three of the servers shared close data on
    Culture Shock: Traits that may take some adjustment for the residents to aclimate to one another.

    Review:
    For the merger, the review is designed to compair and contrast the servers based on the original study. This will alert players to what they may expect once their homes are combined. It will not tell you definitively what the end results of such a merger will be, but will provide you the chance to understand how you can connect with your new servermates.

    Original Server Profiles:
    Here you will find links to the 'old profile' of the individual servers that were merged together, as they existed during the time of the study in May-June and July. These profiles will still speak in present tense, and have not been changed from the initial findings. Use this as a window into what the cultures of the servers were like prior to the merger and character transfer options.

    OLD PROFILE FEATURES NOT FOUND ON THE MERGER PROFILE

    Server Slogan: In light of the combined servers, no one slogan is being retained, and if you are intersted in what the old slogans were, you can review the old versions of individual server profiles
    Peak Activity: In some cases this data is no longer useful, as servers who previously were busy on say monday & tuesday have been combined with servers who were busy on wednesday & thursday, and all servers at the time exhibited heavy weekend traffic...thus the peak activity would now read as: monday-sunday
    Resident Celebrity: It is difficult to list every person in the game with a large positive contribution to the whole DDO community, for there are many. Even the original 'celebrity' listings were lacking folks worth denoting. Additionally players mistook this as meaning:
    "People on my server who are famous"
    rather than
    "People who contribute to DDO, and happen to be on my server"
    While a certain player CAN be a draw for a person to pick one server over another, the reduction down to 5 servers has concentrated these personalities a little more heavily than before, so the propsect of you bumping into some of these people is a lot more likely. 1 in 5 vs 1 in 14 if you're looking for a certain well known DDO personality.
    Interesting Facts from the Study: Should you like to see these findings, they can still be found on the old server profiles
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:27 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

  6. #6
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    Default Server Trait Definitions

    SERVER TRAIT DEFINITIONS

    It is important to read the following definitions to know WHAT each trait means, before weighing the Focus Graph in your considerations:

    Broad Level Range:
    Servers with a repeatedly demonstrated ‘even spread’ of high, mid, and low level characters.

    Casual Drive:
    The focus of these players is on having fun, more so than being the best, or even being good, at any aspect of the game. So long as everyone is having a good time, that is what is important to servers with a great Casual Drive index. A laid back attitude is a must for Casual Drive communities. Players here are often only ‘part time gamers,’ who have limited playtime.

    Economy Driven:
    On these servers, there is an extremely active and bustling trade and sale community. This does NOT refer to plat farmers. It refers to the portion of players interested in trading, selling, and bartering their items via the forums, auction houses, and so forth.

    Events:
    The focus of these communities has been invested in providing player-created events on a large scale. While you can find activities run by players of all servers, servers with high marks here have a consistent drive to involve great volumes of their players in games, contests, and parties strictly for the fun of it.

    Forum Presence:
    Those servers with marks here have a very active presence on the ddo.com forums, in particular as related to the individual server forums provided by Turbine.

    Guild Driven:
    Servers with high marks in this category are those where a higher portion of their feedback revolving around guild activity. Here you will find that more players enjoy being a part of a guild. In some cases, this means very large guilds

    Min/Maxing:
    Often confused with power-gaming (but in a related family of traits), this consists of players optimizing their character’s for specializations. The term is derived from sacrificing effort put in one skill or attribute, in order to specialize in another. Players who enjoy this sort of activity are those most concerned with optimization of their character’s stats, or building a character for a certain end goal.

    Older Crowd:
    A high mark in Adult Crowd indicates a strong number of older players and family players. Family players often game with their spouses and children, but usually along side their respective spouse/children. Hence scores here do not necessarily mean you are more likely to find children playing on these servers verses any other server. In fact... very often younger players play on a different server than their parents to free up character slots, or to be out from under the parental thumb.

    Overseas:
    Time and time again, servers in this category had an indication of a heavier over-seas or foreign player base than usual. The only certain way to know if a server has other players from your country is to... well... ask. Many servers had Australian, Canadian, and even British players... some simply had a heavier reading of this than others. High Overseas scores frequently feature players on at the off-peak US times.

    Power gaming:
    Quite simply put, players of this play-style seek to be ‘the best.’ Their primary concern is with excelling at the game itself. They seek to level the fastest... to do the most damage... to quickly reach the XP cap... to complete quests the quickest... to have the best gear...there is only one drive: to be the best.

    PUGs:
    Servers with high marks here are those who readily form pick-up-groups with strangers, rather than strictly mingling with their friends and guild mates.

    Raid Driven:
    These communities strive to put specific effort into completing raid content, keeping their members flagged, and being immersed in raid related material

    Roleplaying:
    Pockets of Roleplaying can be found on every server... very often this consists of real life friends forming static groups to roleplay with. Servers with high marks for Roleplaying, however, are those were players frequently roleplay with ANYONE on server, have multiple roleplaying guilds, form Rping PUGs, and have players who detour from their regular play style to roleplay spontaneously.

    Server Camaraderie:
    The focus of these servers is in knowing your fellow servermates. Sharing and bonding with others on server is the predominant focus.

    Specialty Guilds:
    Servers showing repeated data here are those that have a high portion of non-traditional guilds. The focus of each guild can be very unique, such as guilds of all one race, or all one class... all one type of real life hobby common among their members... all perma-death... all roleplaying... and a host of other exotic requirements for membership.

    Veteran Players:
    High marks here indicate a large portion of players who are considered to be very experienced with the game, and make experience their focus. Learning the ins and outs of quests, the little nuances, the tricks of the trade... this is the life of the veteran servers. Some veterans are very open to passing on their knowledge to less experienced players, while others might shun newcomers. It is important to read the entire profile of servers with high veteran marks.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

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    Default Original Server Reviews/Profiles

    UNDERSTANDING SERVER REVIEWS/PROFILES

    Read this explanation of Reviews and Profiles to understand how to best apply the information as you search for a server to call home! Remember that these profiles are for the servers as they existed prior to the merge. This will help to to understand what demographics of players were combined together. You can read about each of the servers and denote the cultural differences. In time, these differences will meld, but for the moment, here is the way life was, which will influence the future of what life will become

    Sample Server Profile

    Server Name: The name of the server prior to merge
    Server Slogan Players on each server were asked to cast suggestions for a motto for their server between 6-22-07 and 7-7-07 on their server's forums prior to merge.
    Peak Activity Levels (in addition to weekends):
    All servers have demonstrated a history of having higher levels of activity on weekends. However, not all people are weekend players. Use this to find servers that have additional activity comparable with your own availability, such as particular time zones or weekdays. Keep in mind that this will shift as players are now able to transfer across servers, and for a period of time, there will be an 'adjustment' happening.
    Resident Celebrities:
    Scattered within the DDO community are players denoted for special contributions to their fellow DDO players to unite the community. Not all DDO ‘celebrities’ can be found in this listing, but those who felt like indicating what server they played on are listed here.

    Population Style:
    Like states and provinces, some servers were larger than others. Each server had been defined by: Urban, Suburban, and Rural.
    - Urban servers are those where activity bustles constantly morning noon and night. Think of New York City or the capital of a country in terms of the amount of players you will find there.
    - Suburban are servers where there are peaks and falls in the level of activity, but who still have a fairly large amount of traffic. Still filled with people, but not nearly to the level of an Urban server.
    - Rural are those servers where the player base is much smaller and more intimate. Players on Rural servers often are very familiar with who the locals are. The term rural does NOT refer to the amount of resources of the server, simply to the demonstrated quantity of the player base.
    And just like real urban, suburban, and rural cities, the experience varies along these same lines. However, in terms of the study, Urban servers were on par with data collected/received, and their size proved immaterial in the study in terms of how MUCH was learned about them.
    In addition, you may wish to read the section regarding population and merger

    Focus Graph:

    A visual demonstration of what the focus of that server’s community leans towards. A different type of play-style drives each community. For some, it is the ability to quickly form groups. For others, it is the amount of focus put on guilds. Still other players enjoy roleplaying or other non-traditional styles of playing the game, such as perma-death. Then there are servers where the primary focus is on high end content, or strictly looting. The Focus Graph demonstrates what areas each server had the highest responsiveness to. You will see very quickly that not all servers are built with the same profiles in the least. Each graph consists of Traits that the compiled data indicated more than a 2% ratio of pattern. Those traits with less than 2% pattern are excluded from that server’s Focus Graph. For definitions of what each trait is, see the Server Trait Definition List

    Swimming Index: See the specifics about the Swimming Index

    Review:
    Here you will find a very specific write up concerning the individual server. This will help you to understand life on that server prior to merge. The review will not tell you that you were more likely to have a good time on one server over another, it simply related specific features of that server community, overall impressions, and interesting facts about the server related to the study.
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:26 AM.
    Thank you all!
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    Default The Swimming Index

    ABOUT THE SWIMMING INDEX

    In the sea of players that is DDO, if you were to jump into water containing these server fish, with an open wound on you, how likely would you be to make it back out in one piece?

    This index is one of the most controversial factors of the Server profiles. It relates specifically to new comers, and refers more or less to how rough and tumble the population of that server is. With the advent of server merger, it is necessary to list the merged servers by their respective types as they existed prior to merge. Initially the 14 servers were given a sign of a particular fish. Less harmful types of fish denoted a population where newcomers or people new to an MMO experience might have had an easier time adjusting. The more dangerous the fish, the more one should tread the waters with care. It does NOT mean how ‘friendly’ a server is – make no mistake that ALL servers have their nasty and nice people.

    Also note that just because the servers merged, it is NOT correct to assume that because you had a server that was a Minnow combined with a server that was a Jellyfish, that it will balance out to a Siamese Fighting Fish. In time the Swimming Index will shift as the players adapt to one another, but what the result will be only time will tell, as now players can escape the waters via server transfer. For example, a minnow server will not necessarily become more aggressive simply because some Barracuda were dumped into the tank, figuratively speaking. Being denoted as a minnow typically was a demonstration of an easy going/laid back attitude with less of a chance of being ruffled by things, thus the antics of a Barracuda would be of little impact or interest to a minnow population. The Barracuda will either continue to inhabit the water and bite where they can, or move on to better territory.

    The index does NOT factor in the following features:
    • Platfarmers
    • Random ‘cybering’ propositions
    • Cross-server spats (i.e. one server’s hostility towards another)
    • How shy a server was in regards to the study


    The index factored in the following features:
    • How often hostility was exhibited towards surveys
    • How often hostility was exhibited towards Merlask as a visitor
    • How often hostility was exhibited in public between the server residents
    • A repeatedly demonstrated disdain for community bonding activities
    • A reoccurrence of elitist or ostracizing attitudes
    • Frequency of locked threads on the ddo.com forums within their respective server sections (only threads closed for reason of flaming/rudeness were factored into this aspect of the index, and the content of the thread was reviewed)
    • Quantity of random tells and unprompted propositions during the course of the study
    • Repeated disregard for instructions as related to LFM messages, /who messages, and survey instructions


    Just because a server had a more dangerous swimming index, or shows an unusual mixture of fish signs in the merge profiles, it does not mean it is not a good server to be on. It just means that you may be in for a bit of a surprise if you’re unaccustomed to a player base that will keep you on your toes. I will reiterate that if I had the chance, I would play a character on EVERY server, because on the whole, the people of all the servers are great people to be around. I will not sugar coat your experience by excluding the negativity you’re bound to come upon at some point in time, hence the Swimming Index was created.

    The following descriptions are metaphorical in terms of how ‘guarded’ you should be, as you swim in the waters among the servers.

    The Fish of the Swimming Index (a scale of 1 to 10)


    Minnows (1)

    The atmosphere here is very open and casual, and is the most harmless of the climates. There's little fear of these players doing much to you.

    Koi (2)

    A playful nip from these players can be expected from time to time, but the atmosphere is still largely relaxed and easy going.

    Siamese Fighting Fish (3)

    A little more assertive, but still relatively harmless, they may flair up their colors at you, but don’t expect too much to come of it.

    Catfish (4)

    Generally docile, but watch out for the spines on these, which may prod you from time to time. They may inadvertently try to devour you, but their efforts are typically not going to leave a lasting mark.

    Jellyfish (5)

    Knowing where not to swim will keep you safe in the waters here... but if you happen to be so misfortunate as to bump into trouble, you might find the experience quite stinging. But if you leave them be, they’ll not come for you.

    Pike (6)

    I wouldn’t stick my fingers out for these... they have teeth, and they’re not afraid to use them! The atmosphere here is a little less peaceful than the quiet ponds of the minnows and koi, but they will keep their distance so long as you don’t give them a reason not to.

    Stingrays (7)

    They know where to aim to hurt you... swim carefully among them and try not to provoke them into lashing out! Watch where you step to avoid a big barb in your leg! Sure you can pet them, but just don’t try to hang onto their tails.

    Electric Eels (8)

    You may be in for a shock if you swim here unaware. Everything about this atmosphere says ‘handle with care,’ and only the heartier and more experienced swimmers can feel at ease.

    Barracudas (9)

    That open wound of yours is likely to bring their attention, and you had better think fast once they narrow in upon you. Inexperienced swimmers may well not make it out with all their limbs unmarred. However... it is POSSIBLE to swim here without harm no matter how much blood is in the water.

    Sharks (10)

    Attacking and swallowing anything they bump into, the very scent of your wound will drive them to a feeding frenzy! Thankfully, the waters of no servers were found to have sharks swimming in them.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
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    Default Finding a Server Based on Interests

    FINDING A SERVER BASED ON YOUR INTERESTS

    Looking for a particular quality in your server?

    With the merger, a pool of interests has been combined. However, if you had a certain activity in mind, the best I can offer to you at present is a representation of how things were before the communities came together.

    Here you will find the top recommendations for different types of activities/interests in gaming as the communities existed prior to the merger. In some cases, some traits are no longer a concern. Each lists servers that had a high portion of their community that was devoted to the activity. They are listed in order of their concentration levels. Remember that servers seen in these lists placed the highest in the given category in terms of what their communities were focused on at the time of the study. Remember that ALL of these activities can be found on ALL servers, but servers listed here had a particular devotion / concentration of players interested in the trait, and you may have an easy time mingling with players who originally came from these communities:

    Please note that the links below will now direct you to the merge profiles, so you are aware of where that community ended up. If you would like to see the original profile of that server, a link is provided at the bottom of each of the merge profiles

    Population: See section regarding populations and merger.
    PVP: All servers showed equal levels of interest
    Broad Level Range: Fernia, Tharashk, Ghallanda
    Casual Drive: Fernia, Aundair, Riedra
    Economy Driven: Adar, Khyber, Fernia
    Events: Thelanis, Ghallanda, Aerenal
    Forum Presence: Xoriat, Mabar, Aundair
    Guild Driven: Lhazaar, Argonnessen, Mabar
    Min/Maxing: Mabar, Fernia, Argonnessen
    New Game Content: Risia (profile updated)
    Older Crowd: Fernia, Adar, Sarlona
    Overseas: Lhazaar, Riedra, Argonnessen, Ghallanda, Khyber
    Power gaming: Aerenal, Argonnessen, Ghallanda
    PUGs: Fernia, Khyber, Sarlona, Adar, Aundar, Argonnessen
    Raid Driven: Aundair, Mabar, Tharashk
    Roleplaying: Sarlona, Thelanis, Khyber, Mabar
    Server Camaraderie: Aerenal, Tharashk, Riedra, Mabar (though all servers express a strong love of their players)
    Specialty Guilds: Sarlona, Thelanis, Ghallanda, Tharashk
    Veteran Players: Lhazaar, Riedra, Xoriat, Aundair
    XP Grinding: All servers show equal levels of interest

    NOTE: These lists refer to the original 15 servers communities prior to merge, and not to the present merged server names.
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:18 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
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    Default Population Post Merger

    POPULATION IN A POST MERGER WORLD

    Data on the populations, as a player, has always been an ellusive animal. We have our methods of guestimating what we believe to be the level of activity on a server in many ways. For my own purposes it was a combination of the following back in the days of a 14 server world:

    • Visible players in the /who roster
    • Portion of visible players in off peak times/days
    • Observations of other players independent long term census work/study concerning populations as it appeared on the forums
    • Activity levels in the LFM window
    • Activity levels in the forums


    All of these factors came together to give a reading for the 14 servers of: Ubran, Suburban, and Rural

    The advent of merger, as well as character transfer being available very soon, means that a certain amount of initial shift will be seen among the servers. So those desiring a server based on 'population' as a concern should now be relatively appeased on ALL servers.

    Mathematically speaking, based on the original guide, if you convert the terms 'urban, suburban, & rural' to numerical figures and add them together in terms of which servers ended up where, you get the following:

    Assume a Rural Server = 5
    Assume a Suburban Server is at least twice as large as a Rural and you get Suburban = 10
    Assume an Urban Server has twice as many as a Suburban server and you get Urban = 20

    So Rural=5, Suburban=10, Urban=20

    On top of this, a couple of the 'suburban' servers were showing readings that put them as borderline urban, so for them we'll spot an bonus of +5. Another server was urban leaning towards suburban, and suburban leaning towards rural, so we'll give them a -5. And lastly, a +5 Bonus to Argonnessen for being so handily large in the first place.

    The figures would then be for the 'new' servers:

    ============================== Argonnessen
    ========================= Ghallanda
    =================================== Khyber
    ======================================== Sarlona
    ========================= Thelanis


    So what we see is 3 servers on par with one another roughly, and two servers running neck and neck more or less. Remember that this is largly only guess work on my part, as I have no official count of say actual subscription numbers. Additionally, players who previously were playing on multiple servers, should a headcount be taken post merger, will perhaps show up in the data far more often, as there are only 5 locations (6 counting Risia) they can be on, rather than 15, at any given time in a study period.

    Here is a demonstration of the point value you would have seen pre merger, and an idea of how that may have affected play for players on the different servers when they were 14:

    ==================== Adar
    ========== Aerenal
    ========================= Argonnessen
    ========== Aundair
    ===== Fernia
    ========== Ghallanda
    ==================== Khyber
    ========== Lhazaar
    ===== Mabar
    ========== Riedra
    =============== Sarlona
    ===== Tharashk
    =============== Thelanis
    ===== Xoriat


    Now in the past, where do you suppose a player would lean towards if seeking population? Naturally the ones spiking ahead of the pack. Where does that leave the smaller servers, such as Xoriat, Tharashk, Mabar, and Fernia? How can suburban servers such as Riedra, Lhazaar, Ghallanda, Aundair, and Aerenal compete? A whole host of challenges is present when there are so many choices for a player, and the population is so radically different among those choices. Unfortunately in a game where grouping and social activity is a huge draw, population often IS a consideration to many players. This served only to bog down the higher population servers, and leave the smaller ones fighting for survival.

    Now the servers have been placed on a far more evenly matched playing field. Additionally, with population shifts, even the pack leader may find its numbers dwindle to level off with the other 4 servers, or that the smallest of the 5 suddenly balances out, or any number of things once the players decide where they will ultimately end up. That power now rests in their hands.

    Players can now base their decisions to stay or leave a community on more than merely how many people are around them. Players can plane hop and experiment with different styles of play. In the end, with a little luck and time, the populations may come to balance out rather well.
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 12:54 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
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    Default Frequently Asked Questions

    Frequently Asked Questions about the Guide

    Q: I read somewhere that you only actively play on one server. What gives you the right to write about other people's servers?
    A: The fact that I only play on one server does two things:
    - I am exceedingly impartial, having no particular attachment to the rest of the servers per say in that regard.
    - I am seeing your server in the same way an outsider does... for new arrivals to your server are just that - outsiders - until they blend with the population.

    My very public presence with the community also means that I constantly have been the recipiant of feedback, stories, comments, and a plethora of other information for quite some time, thus giving me a very ready window into your lives that I otherwise would not have.

    So yes, all of that I would say accords me somewhat of a notion that I can objectively speak about the servers. I will say it yet again: I love ALL the servers, and I would play on each and every one of them if the time in my days made that possible!!!! It seems being narrowed down to 5 makes that a little more feasable, but even so, I will still have to be content with visiting from time to time. To give you an idea of what my lifestyle here and time alots me at present: I have only 2 'main' characters that I play with any frequency. I have never reached a level cap with either of them, and my highest character to date is a mere level 12, followed by a level 10, and somewhere a 3rd alt who has been level 3 for about a year. Can you imagine the progress I would make trying to seriously play a character on each of the other servers as well?

    Q: Why was this created?
    A: To help new (or returning) players find a server that will best suit their interests/needs, thus helping them to have a good time.

    Q: Why was this revised and updated?
    A: To help existing players learn about their fellow servers in prepairation of server merger, as well as the availability of character transfer.

    Q: How was the original study done?
    A: Logging on incognito onto each server making observations as well as interacting directly with participants of the ddo.com forum... in addition to speaking directly with guild leaders, watching non-ddo.com websites, and making publicized appearences on the servers. These activities took place for over a month during the course of May-June, and a follow-up activity was done in July.

    Q: How accurate is the study?
    A: As accurate as human error. So in other words, take things that you read with a grain of salt. Even though I received feedback from hundreds of players, and studied the servers for a full month (both by watching the forums as well as logging onto each server and watching/interacting with them), that doesn't mean that my word is law on this subject. I am only one person. While this means I had ultimate control over the study, and didn't have to worry about error on the part of workers/helpers... I am only one person.

    Q: Why isn't there a list of the servers by day of the week / time that they're busy on the 'picking a server by your interest' section?
    A: Because some servers have no data in that regard. It would hardly be fair for me to list them by that, considering there are some of the servers where the 'peak time' description states 'unknown.' What that means is: the data I collected did not conclusively demonstrate a disposition to one time frame/day more so than any other. If you're thinking about a server, but not sure about the time frame, the best thing to do is to
    1) Visit their server forum and state that you're playing at a certain time of day/day of the week and see who anwers
    2) Try it. It doesn't take much effort to whip up a new character on a server simply for the purpose of loading in to see how much is going on.

    Q: Why isn't there a definitive study shown of the size of the populations?
    A: The closest thing you'll find is the Population Style, where the servers were originally sorted by if they are Urban, Suburban, or Rural. Post merger these have obviously changed. I am not here to tell you 'this server is the biggest, followed by this one, then this one.' That's exceedingly inaccurate first off, because so many players play on multiple servers. Second off, there are more players out there than you might suspect on a server - as to avoid random tells, folks go anonymous. Just to demonstrated how volatile population studies are, here is something from the study:

    On a Thursday, at 2pm, I logged in to do a visible population, LFM window, and guild count. Argo, regarded as the largest server, had 230 visible players. Sarlona had 102. Argo had only 2 groups listed in the LFM window at that time. Sarlona had 6.
    On a Thursday at 1am, Argo had the same exact number of groups in the LFM as Riedra. Riedra had only 1/3 the number of visible players on compaired with the Argo head count.
    So just because you have a quantity of people doesn't mean those people are interested in doing what you are. Hence the study focuses on what people like doing, not how many there are of them. What's the use of having all the people in the world, if they're not interested in playing the game the way you like to play it?

    Q: How can I get on the celebrity list, or how do I get someone there?
    A: This section was for those players who consistantly make a meaningful contribution to the DDO Community. In some cases, notoriety is their contribution, but on the whole, the point is, they do something that brings the community (or their server) together. With server merger, many of these personalities are in one of 5 places, and the need to specify where is less so. You have a 1 in 5 change of running into them now.

    Q: Do the bar graphs mean that there are more players who like to do a thing on that server?
    A: No. It means that a higher portion of their population enjoys doing that, not that there are physically more of them than another server. For example, if you see that one server shows a really high roleplaying bar, but the roleplaying bar on another server isn't as much, it doesn't mean that there are physically more roleplayers on the server. What it means is that of the people who play on that server, roleplaying was one of their strongest interests.

    Q: Does the Swimming Index mean that that server is mean or not a nice place to play?
    A: Of course not. What it means is that a server with a higher swimming index might be more intimidating to a newbie totally unfamiliar with MMOs. Experienced gamers will probably have no more or less trouble on any server, no matter what the Swimming Index says. Does it mean that they're going to beat you up and take your lunch money from you? Well...they might. But the point is, if you are made aware of it before going in, you won't be nearily as shocked or surprised, and you'll be less likely to have a personality clash with them, knowing what the aggression drive is like. Look at it this way, if you think about the types of fish listed in the Swimming Index, even the more dangerous ones you can swim with if you just mind what you're doing, and take certain precautions before you get in the water.

    Q: How does the Swimming Index function now that the servers are merged?
    A: It is yet to be seen how these schools of players will interact with one another. Some will be unaffected, some will see no significant changes, others will have an adjustment period, and still others will simply migrate. The listing of the Swimming Index on the merge profiles simply gives you an idea of what climates of players have been lumped together.

    Q: Do you have a life?
    A: I used to. I really really used to.

    Q: Is this study constantly updated?
    A: Certain aspects of the guide will be updated and changed as I see fit (such as the advent of the merger/character transfers). It should be noted that it was conducted for one month between May and June. Eventually it will become outdated as people migrate and shift between the servers, or their interests change in the game, or new features are added by developers... so EVENTUALLY, a full revision will have to be done. For now, considering that the players have been more or less left to their own devices for over a year now, this is how they have 'settled' on their own. All I did was take a snapshot of that. If players continue to hold to these trends, the guide will still serve for a very long time.

    Q: Why is the FAQ so short?
    A: You all haven't asked very many questions yet.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
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    Default Merger Profile: Argonnessen, Mabar

    Server Combo: Argonnessen, Mabar

    Population styles: Urban and Rural

    Focus Graphcs By Comparison

    Broad Level Ranges
    === Argonnessen
    == Mabar

    Economy Driven
    = Argonnessen
    Mabar

    Forum Presence
    Argonnessen
    ===== Mabar

    Guild Driven
    ======== Argonnessen
    ===== Mabar

    Min/Maxing
    === Argonnessen
    =======Mabar

    Overseas
    === Argonnessen
    Mabar

    Powergaming
    ======== Argonnessen
    Mabar

    PUGs
    == Argonnessen
    == Mabar

    Raid Driven
    == Argonnessen
    ===== Mabar

    Roleplaying
    Argonnessen
    == Mabar

    Server Cameraderie
    Argonnessen
    ====== Mabar

    Veteran Players
    == Argonnessen
    == Mabar

    Swimming Index: Jellyfish & Stingrays

    Server Compatability Analysis:

    Strongly Matched Interests - Guild Driven, Min/Maxing, Raid Driven
    Culture Shock - Forum Presence, Powergaming, Roleplaying, Server Cameraderie

    Review

    The mating of Argonnessen to Mabar is actually rather well suited, so long as the communities involved approach it from the right stand point. For the residents of Mabar, they are now a part of a much larger picture. Once nestled into their tiny community, they are now counted as neighbors among a thriving haven of players. Fortunately for them, with an interest in min/maxing running at the forefront, and a strong interest in raiding, the notion of 'powergaming' should not be foreign in the least. On the whole, Argonauts will not notice much of a change, for they had such a host of diverse people to run with initially anyway. For the roleplayers among Mabar, there are 'part time' roleplayers who exist on Argo, willing to humor them perhaps. Both Argo and Mabar have always held to similar data in terms of how they regard 'veteran players' and 'economy,' so nothing so radically different for them there either. For the Mabarians, the hardest adjustment will be losing the 'close knit' feel that many of them were accustomed to, with so many more players to pick from now. They won't be over run however, for the Jellyfish and the Stingrays know how to swim in their respective waters, and being dumped into the same sea only means they now have to watch where they're swimming around. The two factions predominantly will be 'used' to one another's 'kind' so to speak, being close on the scale. The aggressive players know the talk, are familiar with the tactics, and will indulge as they see fit on both sides of the coin.

    Original Server Profiles: Argonnessen, Mabar
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:36 AM.
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    Default Merger Profile: Ghallanda, Fernia, Lhazaar

    Server Combo: Ghallanda, Fernia, Lhazaar

    Population styles: Suburban, Rural, & Suburban

    Focus Graphcs By Comparison

    Broad Level Ranges
    ==== Ghallanda
    ==== Fernia
    === Lhazaar

    Casual Drive
    Ghallanda
    ===== Fernia
    Lhazaar

    Economy Driven
    Ghallanda
    === Fernia
    Lhazaar

    Events
    == Ghallanda
    = Fernia
    Lhazaar

    Forum Presence
    Ghallanda
    Fernia
    == Lhazaar

    Guild Driven
    Ghallanda
    Fernia
    ========= Lhazaar

    Min/Maxing
    == Ghallanda
    ==== Fernia
    == Lhazaar

    Older Crowd
    == Ghallanda
    ======= Fernia
    === Lhazaar

    Overseas
    ==== Ghallanda
    Fernia
    ====== Lhazaar

    Powergaming
    ======= Ghallanda
    Fernia
    ===== Lhazaar

    PUGs
    Ghallanda
    ======== Fernia
    Lhazaar

    Raid Driven
    Ghallanda
    === Fernia
    Lhazaar

    Server Cameraderie
    Ghallanda
    ======= Fernia
    == Lhazaar

    Specialty Guilds
    ==== Ghallanda
    Fernia
    Lhazaar

    Veteran Players
    Ghallanda
    Fernia
    ======== Lhazaar

    Swimming Index: Siamese Fighting Fish, Minnow, Catfish

    Server Compatability Analysis:

    Strongly Matched Interests - Broad Level Range, Min/Maxing, Older Crowd
    Culture Shock - Casual Drive, Guild Driven, PUGs, Specialty Guilds, Veteran Players

    Review

    Another relatively 'peaceful' mixture, these servers (all three in the lower portion of the Swimming Index) share common ground, and those things that they do not share common ground statistically (such as PUGs or Specialty Guilds) have supporting evidence that it will be alright. For starters, they all share an interest in character optimization. While the readings for 'veteran players' was higher for Lhazaar, all servers show readings for an 'older crowd,' thus maturity and experience - be it from playing the game for a long time, or simply living life for a long time - will serve these communities well in terms of adjusting to one another. The strong overseas drive of Lhazaar and Ghallanda will enable those overseas players who may have been frustrated on Fernia with more opportunity. The people of Fernia and Ghallanda may well have to approach things in a new light, as Lhazaar had a vested interest in guilds. This will be beneficial to the guilds of the Lhazaar people, for since the folks of Ghallanda and Fernia were already accustomed to PUGs, should the need arise, they can fill out the ranks of guild only grouping. Additionally, Ghallanda's interest in powergaming should sate the desires of Lhazaar in terms of Lhazaar's high expectations of game knowledge. For Fernia an adjustment will be casual drive. The people of Ghallanda and Lhazaar take things a wee bit more serious perhaps than what a more casual Fernia player is used to. These Fernians may take comfort at the side of those Ghallandians who enjoy the frequent event hosting by fellow players.

    Original Server Profiles: Ghallanda, Fernia, Lhazaar
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:39 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
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    Default Merger Profile: Khyber, Aundair, Riedra

    Server Combo: Khyber, Aundair, Riedra

    Population styles: Urban, Suburban, Suburban

    Focus Graphcs By Comparison

    Broad Level Ranges
    Aundair
    Khyber
    === Riedra

    Casual Drive
    = Aundair
    Khyber
    = Riedra

    Economy Driven
    Aundair
    ===== Khyber
    == Riedra

    Events
    Aundair
    Khyber
    = Riedra

    Forum Presence
    ==== Aundair
    == Khyber
    = Riedra

    Guild Driven
    ==== Aundair
    ==== Khyber
    Riedra

    Older Crowd
    ==== Aundair
    Khyber
    = Riedra

    Overseas
    Aundair
    ==== Khyber
    ====== Riedra

    Powergaming
    ===== Aundair
    ====== Khyber
    ==== Riedra

    PUGs
    === Aundair
    === Khyber
    Riedra

    Raid Driven
    ========= Aundair
    === Khyber
    Riedra

    Server Cameraderie
    === Aundair
    Khyber
    ============ Riedra

    Specialty Guilds
    Aundair
    == Khyber
    Riedra

    Veteran Players
    ===== Aundair
    Khyber
    ======= Riedra

    Swimming Index: Koi, Pike, Siamese Fighting Fish

    Server Compatability Analysis:

    Strongly Matched Interests - Powergaming, Casual Drive
    Culture Shock - Raid driven, Server Cameraderie, Swimming Index

    Review

    The secret society that is Khyber is about to meet two distinctive cultures, and some adjustment time is to be expected. Denoted as a rather private sect of players, the elusive Koi Khyberians will find the social Riedrians and the aggressive raiding Aundairians as a bit vocal for their tastes perhaps. Fortunately, despite their predominant silence, Khyberians are on the same wavelength with their new neighbors on powergaming and casual drive. Had the Khyberians not been strong in this prospect, there might have been cause for alarm. Instead, all three of these populations displayed an even amount of powergaming, and an equally lower interest in 'casual drive,' thus this will be the common ground to offset the Aundairian passion for raiding, especially for the Riedrians. The manner in which each of these communities came together before was varied. Aundarians took extreme pride in their raiding capabilities. Khyberians held to a shared communal lurking. Riedrians bonded with a shared communitiy spirit/identity. Now these three sects will have to meld together. The people of Aundair and Riedra at least share similar interest in 'veteran' concepts, so Riedrans knowledge of the game will help them get along with the raid hungry Aundairians, while Khyberians did express interest in raiding as well. Khyberians and Riedrians will have to adjust to the more assertive and aggressive culture that Aundarians have come to accept. The Aundairian overseas population will have a happy mating with the existing one of the two new servermate communities. On the whole, there may be a lot of initial shifting and settling between these factions, but there will be enough common ground to hold them together. Perhaps in the end we will see a private tight knit group of raiders?

    Original Server Profiles: Khyber, Aundair, Riedra
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:41 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

  15. #15
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    Default Merger Profile: Sarlona, Adar, Aerenal

    Server Combo: Sarlona, Adar, Aerenal

    Population styles: Suburban, Urban, Suburban

    Focus Graphcs By Comparison

    Broad Level Ranges
    == Adar
    Aerenal
    === Sarlona

    Economy Driven
    ======= Adar
    == Aerenal
    = Sarlona

    Events
    Adar
    == Aerenal
    Sarlona

    Forum Presence
    = Adar
    == Aerenal
    Sarlona

    Guild Driven
    ==== Adar
    ==== Aerenal
    === Sarlona

    Min/Maxing
    == Adar
    Aerenal
    Sarlona

    Older Crowd
    ====== Adar
    == Aerenal
    ====== Sarlona

    Overseas
    = Adar
    == Aerenal
    === Sarlona

    Powergaming
    === Adar
    ======== Aerenal
    Sarlona

    PUGs
    === Adar
    == Aerenal
    ==== Sarlona

    Roleplaying
    Adar
    == Aerenal
    =========== Sarlona

    Server Cameraderie
    ======= Adar
    ============== Aerenal
    === Sarlona

    Specialty Guilds
    Adar
    Aerenal
    ===== Sarlona

    Veteran Players
    == Adar
    == Aerenal
    ===== Sarlona


    Swimming Index: Pike, Jellyfish, Siamese Fighting Fish

    Server Compatability Analysis:

    Strongly Matched Interests - Economy Driven, Guild Driven, Older Crowd, Overseas, PUGs, Server Cameraderie, Veteran Players
    Culture Shock - Specialty Guilds, Roleplaying, Powergaming

    Review

    This combination of servers may actually do well together. The differences in interest in terms of roleplaying vs powergaming can be balanced with the many other interests the three communities have in common. Adarians will be right at home in their Economic persuits. Sarlonians might hold a strong interest in specialty guilds, but their new servermates are no strangers to the importance put in guilding. All three communities have a vested interest in how 'together' they are, and this shared communal spirit may well bleed seemlessly onto one another to produce a larger version of this same server camaraderie. The potentially abrasive nature of the Adarian Pikes will mate well with the 'let's do this' no-nonsense attitude of the Aerenalites, and the Sarlonians already come with a thick skin. There may be some posturing and dancing at first, but once they're past that, these servers will find they're on the same page more than they may have thought. There remains only one hurdle to crest, which is roleplaying. Fortunately many players on both Aerenal and Adar have expressed a curiosity toward roleplaying in game, and now the reluctance due to having to 'start over' has been removed. They can simply interact directly with the Sarlona roleplayers and decide first hand. Curiosity may well over take hostility for some. For those who don't find it to be their cup of tea, there will be more than enough powergamers, raiders, and traders to mingle with instead.

    Original Server Profiles: Sarlona, Adar, Aerenal
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:40 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

  16. #16
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    Default Merger Profile: Thelanis, Tharashk, Xoriat

    Server Combo: Thelanis, Tharashk, Xoriat

    Population styles: Suburban, Rural, Rural

    Focus Graphcs By Comparison

    Broad Level Ranges
    ==== Tharashk
    == Thelanis
    Xoriat

    Economy Driven
    Tharashk
    Thelanis
    == Xoriat

    Events
    Tharashk
    ========= Thelanis
    Xoriat

    Forum Presence
    === Tharashk
    === Thelanis
    ===== Xoriat

    Guild Driven
    ===== Tharashk
    Thelanis
    == Xoriat

    Min/Maxing
    Tharashk
    Thelanis
    == Xoriat

    Older Crowd
    ==== Tharashk
    == Thelanis
    Xoriat

    Overseas
    === Tharashk
    Thelanis
    === Xoriat

    Powergaming
    ==== Tharashk
    Thelanis
    ===== Xoriat

    PUGs
    Tharashk
    == Thelanis
    Xoriat

    Roleplaying
    Tharashk
    ======== Thelanis
    Xoriat

    Server Cameraderie
    ============= Tharashk
    === Thelanis
    ===== Xoriat

    Specialty Guilds
    ==== Tharashk
    ===== Thelanis
    Xoriat

    Veteran Players
    === Tharashk
    Thelanis
    ======= Xoriat


    Swimming Index: Minnows, Catfish, Barracudas

    Server Compatability Analysis:

    Strongly Matched Interests - Forum Presence, Server Cameraderie
    Culture Shock - Events, Powergaming, Specialty Guilds, Veteran Players, Swimming Index

    Review

    This is perhaps the most controversial matching of any of the server mergers. Looking at the figures, it would initially seem that these three entities have very little in common, if not opposite interests. On the contrary, there is a certain beauty to the manner in which these three servers have similarities and that is: their shared capasity to be exteremely social. Thelanians are a zany lot who welcome 'tourists' to their realm readily, and spend their days partying together. Tharashkians have long been hanging out together on their own private forums. Xoratians of course being the 'Sparta of DDO' are close knit and talkative with one another. So the potential that these three outgoing groups can come together for one massively proud group is there. All three being forum social butterflies, the three factions will find many more forum socialites to mix with. The biggest adjustment for the Xoratians will be pride. Tharashkians tend to be easy going and varied in their interests, other than their interest in mingling with each other. Thelanians are very passive about their capabilities, simply existing as they exist, and not speaking too often of it other than welcoming others to join the party. Xoratians however are accustomed to being very vocal and proud of their accomplishments and sense of community. For Thelanians, adjusting to folk who take their game a bit more seriously will take time. The only group that will be predominantly unscathed by this merger will be the Tharashkians, who were more or less accustomed to being among different interests in the first place. Another adaption for the Xoratians and Tharashkians are events and roleplaying. To many Xoratians the idea of being in the game, but not playing the game (i.e. questing/raiding) is foreign. To Tharashkians, a wacky party-style atmosphere may be something new. There has been expressed interest from both sides to investigate both events and roleplaying, but this also means a learning process, and period of time where they will determine of they enjoy - or loathe - the experience. In the end, those who partake will continue to, and those who don't will simply not.

    The Swimming Index has repeatedly been referenced in regards to these groups of players - the 'minnows' and 'barracuda's in particular. Fortunately, minnows are small, and the Barracudas prefer larger prey. The unique aspect of minnows is their exceptional patience, and skill with the /ignore feature. One who now swims these waters must simply learn where the Barracudas habitate, where the Catfish are mingling, and where the minnows are schooling, and tred to the area they'll be most comfortable in. Some folk prefer a little more bite in their servermates anyway. On the whole however, if the Barracudas find the waters to be too tame and not hold anything worth feeding on, they will swim to more sutable feeding grounds thanks to the joys of server transfer, as can the minnows or catfish for that matter.

    Original Server Profiles: Thelanis, Tharashk, Xoriat
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:41 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

  17. #17
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    Default Old Profile: Adar

    OLD SERVER PROFILE

    Server Name: Adar
    "Adar: In Gold We Trust"

    Peak Activity (in addition to weekends):
    Thursdays, Prime-time Eastern, Weekend Afternoons

    Resident Celebrities: Buzzsaw of Forgotten Tales
    Population Style: Urban

    Focus Graph

    == (Broad levels)
    ======= (Economy Driven)
    = (Forum Presence)
    ==== (Guild Driven)
    == (Min/Maxing)
    ====== (Older Crowd)
    = (Overseas)
    === (Power gaming)
    === (PUGs)
    ======= (Server Camaraderie)
    == (Veteran Players)
    Swimming Index: Jellyfish

    Review:

    With a population second only to the largest server, the people of Adar enjoy a thriving economic focus. In comparison with their neighboring servers, Adarians put a heavy amount of emphasis on trade over other things they could be focusing on in the game. Despite their large quantity of residents, the Adarians tend to express an extremely close sense of community. This is not to say they don’t spat with one another, but overlapping social circles on a broad range are not uncommon here. On the whole, the people of Adar are reserved, and content to maintain their focus on the tasks at hand, rather than detouring to entertain more casual pursuits. They also display strong results concerning the adult population located here. It has been said that despite the large number of people, you’re liable to bump into a familiar face very frequently here. The guild drive is also somewhat above the normal, and I was approached numerous times during my stay to join various guilds, or seek out the assistance of various guilds, should I need it. This server also performed well in the PUG findings, as well as the proportion of lower level characters vs higher level, making it a very hospitable start-up for newcomers. Adar also benefits from being the first server listed alphabetically, hence very often in the early days, players loaded into the first server on the list as a place to dive right in and experience the game. This resulted in the corner stone of Adar’s population strength. Despite their large size, they ranked low in the amount of voluntary player feedback received in person and in other sections of the forums ... but responded very frequently to the study conducted directly in their specific server forum. There is a strong running vein of power gaming and mix/max to suit anyone’s need. It has also been said of the Adarians that they are made of layers, with some portions very game driven, and others more person-to-person driven. This seems to be largely responsible for the ‘familiar face’ phenomenon for their size. Each layer tends to associate with those of that personality – much like the ‘gangs’ of a large urban city – and thus repeatedly you find yourself among folk you swear you’ve seen before.

    Some interesting Facts about Adar from the study

    • Adar’s most popular/active server thread relates to how skilled/elite players are
    • Adar was the first server visited on the +1 weekend during ‘peak’ hours on a Saturday night... and yet the responsiveness of the community was equal to - or often less than - the data collected on smaller servers that were visited on ‘off peak’ hours.
    • Adar was the only server that did not have the express mention of ‘helpful/friendly’ in the voluntary feedback. Players responded with other traits, or indicated that they ‘love their server,’ rather than commenting on the friendly nature of their servermates. Indeed the people of Adar are here to play the game.
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:30 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

  18. #18
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    Default Old Profile: Aerenal

    OLD SERVER PROFILE

    Server Name: Aerenal
    "I'm not twinked - just really lucky!"

    Peak Activity (in addition to weekends):
    East Coast Prime time

    Resident Celebrities: Jerry Snook of DDOCast
    Population Style: Suburban

    Focus Graph

    == (Economy Driven)
    == (Events)
    == (Forum Presence)
    ==== (Guild Driven)
    == (Older Crowd)
    == (Overseas)
    ======== (Power gaming)
    == (PUGs)
    == (Roleplaying)
    ============== (Server Camaraderie)
    == (Veteran Players)

    Swimming Index: Siamese Fighting Fish

    Review:

    Want to get down to business? The Aerenalites are right behind you. A close-knit community with a very blue-collar no-nonsense persona, the residents of Aerenal play hard, and play to win. Their power gaming readings were second to only one other server. This is not to say that all that work doesn’t leave them the time to socialize. On the contrary, Aerenalites had the highest proportion of server camaraderie of any server studied. They frequently define their experience in their home server as ‘small town’ and are quick to socialize... for the right reason. Indeed, the people of Aerenal seem to lurk somewhat, unless they find your reasoning to be worth interrupting their playtime. There is a strong and thriving community of DDOCast listeners located here, as it is the home server of the show’s host. However, all of this podcast listening has instilled a desire for travel, as many Aerenalites were found to vacation on other servers. I suppose one does need a break from all that power gaming once in a while. The Aerenal server exhibits a broad diversity in the types of players that dwell here, but they all seem to be of like mindset: Get the job done. Aerenalites love to converse, and will open up to you readily, so long as you show good intent to them. However, don’t expect them to hold your hand if you are a newcomer. The people of Aerenal expect a certain amount of self-sufficiency out of their fellow players, and if you can’t keep up, well you might be left behind. It’s nothing personal... there is just business at hand that needs tended.

    Some interesting Facts about Aerenal from the study:

    • To my great surprise, despite having the 2nd highest power gaming faction, there lurks among this community an underground sect of roleplayers as well.
    • Aerenal displayed the highest percentage of direct cross-server player evidence.
    • The most active Aerenal forum thread is a Roleplaying thread
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:28 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

  19. #19
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    Default Old Profile: Argonnessen

    OLD SERVER PROFILE

    Server Name: Argonnessen
    "Can't post... questing"

    Peak Activity (in addition to weekends):
    East Coast Prime Time, and Wednesdays & Thursday activity spikes

    Resident Celebrities: Cupcake of Forum Fame, Shecky of Forum Fame, and on occassion... Chuck Norris

    Population Style: Urban

    Focus Graph

    === (Broad Level Range)
    = (Economy Driven)
    ======== (Guild Driven)
    === (Min/Maxing)
    === (Overseas)
    ======== (Power gaming)
    == (PUGs)
    == (Raid Driven)
    == (Veteran Players)

    Swimming Index: Stingrays

    Review

    Meet the Metropolis of DDO. Boasting the handily largest population of all servers, Argonnessen is a thriving haven of players. At the most awkward of hours, the visible population count of Argonnessen reads as high as the highest head count during peak times of smaller servers. A wealth of activity can be found here, which comes from having a large player base. PUGs, Raids, players of many nationalities and play-hours, many people to cater your wears to, low and high level players... Argo seems to have it all. Not all things can be found on Argonnessen however – for more often than not, residents of Argonnessen not only indicated a low level of interest in player bred events and roleplaying, but an actual aversion to it. Those with the interest often vacation on other servers to sate their need. Despite being the largest population server, they also do not boast the most active forum presence in relation to other servers half their size. Instead, power gaming is the bread and butter of Argonnessen. Power in general really. Argonauts strive to be ‘best’ at as much as they can. Their received the highest marks of any server for power gaming, and their drive for accomplished guiding is prevalent. Players spoke frequently of their love for having ideal stats and character builds. They are even quick to use the term ‘best’ in relation to their homeland. They even have the most syllables in their name, of any server in DDO. However, with a large concentration of people also come the same problems that large cities have. Argonnessen has the 2nd highest Swimming Index of any server, as well as the lowest readings for ‘sense of community.’ This of course comes from having so many people all in one place. Argonauts have more of a ‘national’ pride than a sense of community. They are quick to fly their colors, if they suspect that anyone is talking of their server in a light they don’t fancy. In recent times, Argonnessen has seen an influx of refugees seeking a quantity of residents, and Argonnessens welcome them with open arms. The high Swimming index is more in relation to competition than outright hostility. For activity levels that bustle at all hours of the day, Argonnessen is Mecca.

    Some interesting Facts about Argonnessen from the study:

    • Argonauts prefer the term ‘best’ when asked what they think of their home server.
    • Despite having the single largest population flow, Argonauts were also the least receptive to the study if told up front, and were quick to becoming hostile about being ‘labeled,’ regardless of the fact that they have the least to fear in terms of a threat of merger.
    • The people of Argonnessen were the only server that used color in their general chat channels as a regular means of communication during the study
    • The vocal Roleplayers of Argo were found to do their roleplaying on other servers often times.
    • During the study Argonnessen displayed higher marks for low-level and mid-level characters than their high-level population.
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:30 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

  20. #20
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    Default Old Profile: Aundair

    OLD SERVER PROFILE

    Server Name: Aundair
    "Lead.... follow.... or get out of our RAID!!!"

    Peak Activity (in addition to weekends):
    Mondays & Tuesdays

    Resident Celebrities: Riot of forum fame, Maldini of forum fame
    Population Style: Suburban

    Focus Graph

    = (Casual Drive)
    ==== (Forum Presence)
    ==== (Guild Driven)
    ==== (Older Crowd)
    ===== (Power gaming)
    === (PUGs)
    ========= (Raid Driven)
    === (Server Camaraderie)
    ===== (Veteran Players)

    Swimming Index: Pike

    Review

    Raiding is on the menu for your stay in Aundair. Guilded or unguilded, the desire to participate in raid content is strong and well among Aundairians. The people of Aundair enjoy a close sense of community, and a mellow attitude in regards to their love for power gaming. After all, one must be skilled in order to complete raids, no? Aundair has a high ratio of guilded players, and yet, there is a frequent camaraderie cross-guild here. Most of Aundair’s Swimming Index revolves around personality conflicts, and the normal trouble associated with being a heavy raiding/power gaming server. With their love of the game comes a degree of interest in seeing that things are accomplished smoothly. Aundairians have an active forum presence, and yet a distinctive lurking about them. Once they warm to you, they are eager to help, to make you feel at home, and share information and stories with you.

    Some interesting Facts about Aundair from the study:

    • Aundair is one of only two servers that showed high activity readings in the early part of the week in comparison to the rest of their week
    • Aundairians most active thread is a sharing / fun activity thread
    • Of servers visited, the Aundairians were one of only 3 servers to give offerings of Tasty Ham to Merlask
    • The people of Aundair expressed a repeated enjoyment of helping newbie players
    Last edited by Merlask; 07-28-2007 at 01:31 AM.
    Thank you all!
    INTRODUCING: Thelanis Thursdays (Sarlona Sundays now up and running too!)
    The Thelanis Mass Event Schedule - what's happening on server
    "Ask Mer'lask" of DDO Podcast Roleplaying advice for the community

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