I’m on the fence as to which Guild Wars 2 server to choose as my home server. Fort Aspenwood, Stormbluff Isle, or Sanctum of Rall? I feel it might be a game-time decision.
Never in the history of my playing MMOs have I been this careful about which server to play on. Sure, occasionally I’d pick one based on it’s reputation… Landroval on Lord of the Rings Online, for example. Or I’d pick one that my personal friends have already started on, thus always needing to play catch-up, but that was after I had already been playing for a while, and still didn’t feel that important.
In most MMOs, your guild is essentially a place to find available people to group up for instances, raids, and maybe PvP, but that’s if you were lucky. Mostly its just used as an advanced chat channel. Rare is the guild that I have joined that led to more than just that. The majority of the game is still spent questing solo, where other players encountered mostly feel interfering, a stop of productivity, or a bother. Simply inquiring another player you encounter to group leads to silence, ignoring, or at the worst, griefing. This is why MMOs have tried their hardest to make grouping easier, to help ease the negatives… but still, grouping is mostly only for instances.
But initial server choice has never felt like so big a decision before, and I believe that’s simply because of the way Guild Wars 2 handles grouping. Suddenly, those other players around you aren’t a burden. If more people help, the more difficult the enemies, and greater rewards will be. Dropping in and out of groups is automatic, coming in late or dropping out early doesn’t punish everyone else. Easy traveling makes meeting with others quick and painless. Without individual quests (apart from the main story), there is no “being on different parts of the questline”. Grouping just feels like a good choice Everywhere, not only in Instanced areas. So, suddenly, the server you choose and the guilds you join become important decisions and a guild becomes more than just a chat channel.
I’ll make a decision by the time I roll in for launch, and will post it here, but I’m still on the fence. If you’re going to play Guild Wars 2, what server are you playing on, my dear readers, and why?
[Edit: By the way, if you're looking for individual server "types", it appears that the unofficial North American Roleplay server is Tarnished Coast, the EU Roleplay server is Piken Square, and the NA E-sports PvP server is Yak's Bend.]