Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Life, the Universe, and Everything

The other night I was talking to the significant other, and an interesting topic of discussion came up. He has been casually leveling another warlock (I guess class obsession runs in the family?) and I asked him what would hypothetically happen, roleplaying-wise, if this new warlock and his level 70 warlock were to meet. What would they talk about? How would they get along?

His response was that he had a difficult time envisioning that happening, because they reside on different servers-- and thus, different universes of the same continuum. Same stage, different players, so to speak.

I thought, "huh".

And I realized that I am like that too.

When I first started Lunapike, my original story for her was that she had met Tawyn before, in passing (when Lunapike was still very young), and that it sort of subtly influenced her in her quest to become a hunter. But it wasn't long before that story completely dissipated. Why? Easy. Tawyn and Lunapike are on different servers. They can't meet.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I'd sort of unconsciously divided all my characters like that. Whether Alliance or Horde, even if the characters live in the same city, I had always assumed that different servers = different parallel universes and that characters on one server could not know characters on another.

Anyways, we started to talk about why, and my suggestion was that as you spend a lot of time on a certain server, you get to know it very intimately. There are things that set a server apart and make it what it is. Certain guilds. Certain players and personalities. Even server-wide RP storylines. When you go to another server, and you don't run into those familiar things, it strikes you as being a place that is familiar, but different-- a parallel universe, to use fantasy/sci-fi terminology. This is perhaps one reason why I have a hard time playing Alliance on anything but Silver Hand and a hard time playing Horde on anything but Venture Co., but it also means that I do in fact see servers as being different, but similar, planes of existence and the idea of characters on different servers interacting with each other does seem innately "wrong" somehow.

I would be curious to know if anybody else feels this way, too. Roleplayers, non-roleplayers, one and all, tell me your thoughts. Do you envision characters of yours on different servers as being able to theoretically "meet", or do you experience the same mental halting at the idea that the boy and I do?


Cynra said...

Ooooh, right up my alley!

I roleplay World of Warcraft through a variety of different mediums: inside of the game, tabletop roleplaying, or even writing such as through forums or stories that I write in my spare time. As a result, I theoretically have numerous "realms" to draw upon, even though it's a single universe. However, I treat all of my characters as being from the same world, same environment, and possessing the potential to run into one another -- which has happened.

For example, I had a World of Warcraft RPG game that inspired the creation of my Forsaken mage Cili. Back when she was known as Mariska Stormborne, she ended up in a group of eclectic characters that were actually roleplayed versions of my friend's and brothers' characters. This plot was later recycled in a written story (jealously horded because I'm a little embarrassed). While in Booty Bay, my character and my brother's character bumble into two trolls -- one of whom is my Shadow priestess.

I enjoy throwing in those little character cameos because it makes the World of Warcraft universe seem that much smaller and even approachable. It's fun being in a tabletop game where my brother's kal'dorei druid interacts with us as an NPC, fresh out of the Black Temple. Or if an alt I created somehow interacts with another character in a story I've written. It's fun!

Dechion said...

I actually had an entire post written up about this, all from the perspective of the character who had just transferred "realities" and was starting to look for his lost friends.

It does not really fit well with my blog theme though, so I never really included it.

Perhaps I should look back and dust that post off.....

Avaric said...

I actually think of all my guys as living in the same world, even though I have characters on five different servers. I can't play them meeting because I can only log into one character at a time, but I always envision them hanging out or doing things in their offtime that I don't always know about. For example, I have a gnome warlock on one server and a gnome warrior on another. I picture them as sisters who went down different paths (I like to tell people Kelcie is just like Xixia except that she has a hard and spiky outer shell).

My hunters are all members of a big club, since I testbed talent specs and pets on various characters to decide which work for me and which don't. I always picture them sitting in a tavern somewhere comparing notes. It needs to be a big place because a tauren needs room to stretch out. :)

kantaro said...

Having a limited number of characters, and only across two realms makes this question sort of moot point for me, but I have thought about it.

I orginally started a hunter who i got to level 47 on Eonar, but have basically scrapped as I didn't enjoy the server and didn't want to pay $25 for a transfer. I have since then created another hunter on argent dawn, but i really like to think that somehow that first hunter is connected in some transient way to the hunter i have now, sort of in a previous life/alternate copy way.

Great reference to hitchhiker's guide. 42 4tw!

Jeniya said...

As a recovering altoholic, I've done some server skipping in my time, whether it be trying out PVP, RP, or just following friends around.

I keep coming back to my main's server, though. You're absolutely right in saying that each server has a distinct personality to it. I find my own server (Plain ol' vanilla PVE) to be full of longtime players, many of whom remain around since the game came out. We aren't huge on the progression front, we aren't huge in PVP, and there's no RP to speak of (save for a couple of stellar personalities that rise above - we have a longstanding gnome-loving orc that I suspect may be green in real life, but I digress).

What makes this server special is its sheer friendliness. Drama just kind of seems to die or be ignored, and there's a remarkable lack of idiots, compared to the other servers I've bounced around on. I spent some time on a PVP server that was an abso-friggin'-lute dramafest, through and through - violent interguild rivalries, serious problems with raider-poaching, deliberate wiping of other guilds on outdoor bosses, stuff like that.

While I can't speak too much as to the inter-meshing of RP personae, as my few forays into RP land have been largely abortive, I find it hard to think of pretty much any of my cross-server characters meeting each other. While my druid, hunter, pally, and mage share friends on my main server, none of them have anything in common with my shaman on the PVP server. No friends in common, no events in common, nothing really. They wouldn't even have the same expectations of strangers, due to the disparate populations between the two servers.

I can easily see the druid and hunter chatting it up, but if you put the shaman in the room, I suspect there'd be a lot of awkward glances all around. They're pretty much total strangers.

Single White Alt said...

My original server was an RP server but I didn't participate. I liked running across it and I played so that I didn't bother anyone else's stories... I just was so hesitant to take part. But lately, I think more and more in terms of stories for my characters. I had a Blood Elf priest I started quite a series of stories for, made her the little sister of my Blood Elf hunter.

But in regards to your cross-server story question.. I woke up just the other night suddenly inspired. I've had my ghost saber on my BE hunter since 19 and she's been 70 for probably 5 months now. And the poor cat is still nameless. What suddenly came into my head was a name I'd used years ago for a NE warrior who only made it to 20. And that name seemed to suit the cat. Which led to... what if that cat was the warrior? So this story has been brewing of NE warrior dying off the coast of Darkshore possibly boat wreck, possibly something magic and naga related, and becoming entrapped in one of the cat figurines there. Along comes Ms Horde Hunter to beast tame her. She resents it, dislikes becoming companion to an enemy... but it's better than being tied to the figurine and forced to fight her own for the naga. She's loyal but guarded... thus she's only cat. But something happens and now she finally able, after all these levels and all this time, to reveal her name and truly bond.

The point being... (though clearly still a story in progress) it never entered my mind that they were from different servers and thus couldn't "meet."

Keiem said...

Not to strip away some of the RP overtones, but what about battle groups? In theory, your characters on different servers _could_ meet each other via battlegrounds, where multiple servers populate the player base.

LS said...

As the significant other that inspired this train of thought, that's a really good point Keiem!

PERSONALLY, I maintain that it just doesn't seem to fit in my mind that two of my characters would be able to "meet" one another. That's due largely to three things:

1) Of all the servers I play on, none of them are in the same battle group. At least, none that I play on frequently are.

2) I strongly dislike all pvp except world pvp. Very occasionally you'll find me in AB, but that's it.

3) In all the scant arena / battleground experience that I do have, I've never once connected with somebody from another server enough to exchange a full 3 lines of witty banter. BGs just don't seem like they connect servers in any social way that is strong enough to justify characters from different servers knowing each other.

All three are very personal to me, and obviously you may feel otherwise. Still, that was a really good point and I appreciate that you gave me something to think about.

Wildhermit said...

I often wish that this multi-universe was not such a big deal. I want my toons to defect. I would love nothing more than to take my 70 Paladin and 70 Hunter and Defect from Alliance to the Horde. I just enjoy playing the Horde more and wish these guys could enjoy it too.

Having said that, in the past I have often considered that my Human Paladin and my Undead Lock were the exact same person. I worked up this story, in my head of course, that in the course of time the paladin would give his life for his beliefs and perish. Later... He would rise from the grave as a member of the Undead.

It feels good in my head to view it this way. I will continue to view it as such and encourage all to make and undead and human counterpart :P

LS said...

I to have actually viewed different servers as different periods of time. I have an undead mage named Deitra and a human mage named Daetra who I figured were the same person.

Ratshag said...

Me and me Team, we gets together once or twice a month on Friday night at me flat in Shattrath. We pays some mages ta get us all there. Not quite sure how they manages it, exactlies, but I can't be bothered ta keep track of the details. Anywho, we has some drinks, complains about stupid quests or guildies, sings some songs, and if we's lucky DangerMouse brings some cookies she's baked. Is good funs fer everybody, and helps keep morale up.

Wildhermit said...


I secretly thing Mr. Ratters and "his team" are all the same person....

Don't tell him I said that...

Viktel said...

Each server is very distinct and moving to a different server can be a little unsettling.

I have played Vik on 3 different servers. He was created on Echo Isles, moved to Aerie Peak with hopes of playing with work friends (they went horde...), moved back to EI, and now I just recently moved him to an Oceanic Server.

I play late nights Pacific Time so that should put me in the game as their prime time is starting (kinda like being in NY on a pacific server).

The first thing you notice is the difference in guild names, the next is that the chat seems to have a different tone to it.

It all looks the same, but feels different.

So for me each server is a different alternate universe. I even created a space holder named Vik and am toying with making him a Belf Death Knight.... Evil Vik as it were.

Same basic character with a totally different experience.

Featherkitty said...

lol i have a blog i just deleted my other one cause this one is better but i dont want anyone reading till its complete