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If you are in a position of wondering what type of server to pick when the game finally launches, then some information regarding such may prove useful. Now, I'm not trying to convince anyone to pick one over the other, but rather simply call attention to something that many may forget in their thoughts for this. Firstly, I'll say in the most dramatic way possible, that this relaunch is potentially history in the making. We've had games launch and relaunch with some minor revisions or a cash shop added to them, but A Realm Reborn is something different entirely; one of the few, if not the only that has completely scraped their old engine and nearly everything from the last game and relaunch as practically an entirely NEW game in the same game world (that it in itself was recrafted).
Many are of the persuasion that starting on a fresh server will allow for them to see how the community and economy grows, and endure the hardships and lack of resources that follow. That memory years from that point where you say, I was on this server at the start. Indeed, it is perhaps the only way some of us desire to play the game: at the start, and without any past history to speak of.
But there is another case here that wasn't exactly present in many other circumstances that games have once new servers are opened. The fact that those who join in existing server will not only be a part of a helpful community that stayed together through thick and thin in the past, but they will experience what may never again happen in the history of MMORPGs. They will be a part of server that has be completely transferred from one world that no longer exists, to another that has changes to every single system that was once known. From the hundreds of thousands of characters files transferred, to the altered currency, and differences in how to acquire items and resources (We may even see new players teaching 1.0 players about some systems that seem simple to fresh players, but complicated to old as the old system wasn't like such).
New servers open almost every week spread across the thousands of MMO, but this is the first time that we will see first hand how a community adapts and comes together to reevaluate everything they once knew, from the simplest quest systems to the storylines and even the economy (and the former lack of an auction house). This isn't just a patch; this isn't just a number to signify extra content. This is a completely different game, yet in it exists a people who have to learn it all over again, who come from that world and who have to come together as a community to reevaluate every single item, class, profession, dungeon, map, attack and even the simple things such as traveling.
This is an opportunity to see how this all happens that will be missed if there is just a blank slate to start on -- something that can be seen, again, on a frequent basis throughout all MMORPG games (and even the future if they open new servers again).
It is a great and exciting time, an experiment and something that could say to publishers, if successful, that such a thing can be done and profitable. As dramatic as it sounds, we could be seeing the entire genre go down one road, or maintain it's path of "if it's unsuccessful the first time, make it be F2P with cash shop after some changes without fixing the problems".
So I guess the choice is really this:
Do you want to say you were there with the start of a server... or do you want to say you experienced what has rarely happened and may never happen again in the history of MMORPGs? New players will shape this game no matter if it's a new server or not, as they'll participate and become a part of the reformation and adaptation of a community that is practically just as foreign to the game as they are. The driving factor of their level brackets, and the foundation of the new economy that will arise from the complete changes the past game and economy had endured during the transition.
In my opinion, the "easy" road is joining an existing server as you will have auction houses filled with every at level item you could want at low prices (or even make friends who will make items for you, which the community is known for). But it is also the most fascinating decision, and something that could change one's thoughts regarding the future of MMOs in general and how the communities form and adapt therein.
When the release date is upon us, what are your plans (subject to those who think they are going to play)?