… was that at the time I only knew a couple of people who played it. So I played on their server and with them, and everyone else, the dozens – even hundreds – of people I met and played with were new.
When I look at new games, I now go to my dozens – even hundreds – of friends and can’t get them all to agree on the same server to play on. Largely, this is because all of us at one time or another played other games and made new circles of friends that weren’t part of the EQ crowd. Or even if they were part of the EQ crowd, they weren’t part of the E’ci server crowd. Maybe they were on Bertoxxulous or The Nameless or Tunare or one of the many other servers, and they have a circle of friends just like we do, and they’d like to play with them and their new friends, only we want their new friends, who are our old friends, to play with us, and we can’t all play on the same server because most of us would just end up in the queue for a few hours. And so we go to new servers in these new games, and we make new friends, and making the next new game even harder to play with our friends in.
A lot of people (not an alot made of people) make the claims that your first MMO colors your vision of the mechanics of later MMOs. And while I can’t completely dismiss that, I fully believe that what matters most about your first MMO is that it marks the only time that all your MMO playing friends were all on the same server at the same time. It’s kind of like High School that way. People look fondly back on High School not because High School was so great, but because of the people, for good or bad, that High School contained. Once they leave High School and go off to College and get Jobs and have Kids and join Clubs and all the other things that life brings, it gets hard to reconcile your friends into one group where you can do awesome stuff with all of them, you don’t have to choose and you don’t have to leave anyone out.
When I was playing EQ, the fact is, despite there being many servers to play on, as far as I was concerned, there was only one server. My server. As such, it’s no surprise why I advocate so much the single server design philosophy, so that I have the most control possible over playing with who I want when I want and not having arbitrary divisions between us.