I've been wanting to make a post regarding my thoughts on PvP servers for a while now, and now, while my other computer is busy running a file system check, sounds like a good time.
I really, really want to like PvP servers. They add an element of excitement to the game that is lacking on normal servers. I like the idea of them in principle-- "in principle" being the key words.
The main problem, for me, is that the my idea of an ideal PvP server, and most other peoples' idea of an ideal PvP server, seem to conflict.
For an example, I will tell of some of my adventures yesterday. I was logged onto a tauren alt, questing in and around Tarren Mill in the Hillsbrad Foothills, which is arguably one of the most contested areas in the game. In my hour and a half of playing, most of which consisted of hunting bears and mountain lions for some quests, I was ganked... 8, 9 times? I lost count around there. One of those was a decently fair fight-- I say decently because the other person was four or five levels higher than me-- but it was still a fun enjoyable little skirmish and I dished out some damage before dying. The other 7 or 8 times I was ganked, it was by somebody who was level ?? and was able to one- or two-shot me.
To me, PvP servers would be ridiculously fun if most of the PvP went on like the first fight I described-- by people at decently similar levels. But in my experience, most of the PvP is high-levels ganking low-levels, when the low levels are trying to quest or something. That, to me, is not fun. It is just annoying.
Now I don't claim to be an expert on this subject; maybe it gets better later on, or maybe it's just like this in certain zones (like Hillsbrad and STV). And obviously a lot of people enjoy PvP servers, and I don't blame them. But my style of play is one where I like being able to go to Booty Bay and think "Wow, what an interesting place full of interesting characters", and not "Oh joy. Booty Bay. I wonder how long I can survive this time before I'm one-shotted, maybe I can last more than a minute and set a new record."
So there you have it-- why I'm not a big fan of PvP servers. I will continue to play on many of them because it's where most of my friends play, and because (as far as the aforementioned tauren character is concerned) I'm a part of some great guilds. But when given the choice... I think I'll stick to my normal/RP servers.
Closing Note #1: I am yet to try an RP-PvP server, I would definitely like to look into that.
Closing Note #2: Some interesting stuff does indeed happen PvP-wise. For example, the level ?? guy who went around and killed all the low-levels he found... except for me. And then he proceeded to help me kill a monster to finish a quest. I don't know why he chose to help me instead of gank me. I like to think that maybe he is a fan of Dostoyevsky's novels, after which my pet Alyosha was named. Much more likely, I was the only girl there, and/or he was planning on killing me later and I just left before he could. Either way, it was interesting and sort of fun.