With the opening of the Dark Portal, legions of Alliance players have set off to find their fortune in Outland leaving Azeroth a virtual (!) wasteland devoid of player characters. Tales are rife across the MMOGosphere of the depopulation of Azeroth. Since I recently rerolled and started up with a new group on this server and none of our characters have hit level 58 yet, we are still largely based out of Ironforge so perhaps I notice the effect particularly acutely.
As much maligned as “Lagforge” has been since release, I must say the new silence is somewhat deafening and yes, maybe just a little bit depressing (sort of like life at the Scotch Tape Store in the “old” mall in that Saturday Night Live skit from long ago, Season 4, episode 2, and yes, I saw it live).
I logged on during prime time and took a quick survey:
No duels out by the gates of Ironforge, a few characters dashing from the auction house to the bank and mailbox, maybe three players at the great forge. The usual inane general chat with its flame wars and middle school quality banter all but silent. Even during the week I would usually have to turn off general and trade just to squelch the flame wars and chuck norris jokes. Back in the day, there were probably 69 players standing in front of the bank on a typical weeknight.
Tobold’s blog pretty much summed it up from the Horde perspective, but with the historical population bulge on the alliance side, I think its probably even more noticeable in the Alliance cities. Tobold writes:
A major part of the problem is that after level 60 there is no real reason to go back to the old world again, except for two new dungeons and the class trainers. Most of the travelling I do now is across Outland, a single continent, and one that isn’t very elongated. From a central point, like Shattrath, you can get anywhere very quickly. I only go back to Orgrimmar whenever I level up and have to train, but as soon as I hit level 70 I’ll only have to go back to the old world if I want to visit the Caverns of Time or Karazhan. There isn’t an auction house in Outland, but I simply mail items back and forward to a bank alt, I don’t travel back to the old world for the auction house. So while previously my daily travelling spanned two continents, I’m now down to one.
I guess everyone’s shopping at the new mall now.