What's in a Server Name?
Now that Turbine has released href="http://www.turbine.tentonhammer.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=84&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0">the
list of North America severs ready on launch day for Dungeons &
Dragons Online: Stormreach (DDO), I want to take a little closer look
at the names and size up what they mean to gamers.
To some massively-multiplayer online game (MMOG) fans, a server is a
server is a server. That is, they just want to log in to their world as
quickly as possible and hook up with their friends. To others, the
sever's name means almost as
much as their character's. And it's more than just a need for a
cool-sounding name. They want a name with meaning--something that sets
the tone for the server. Slap the name of the goddess of arts on a
server and watch the bards pop up all over town. Name any server after
a dragon and you can count on a high server population.
So, in the tradition of the many NFL analysts who try to predict the
outcome of the SuperBowl during presoason, I will break down each
server below. I will give you the meaning of the name, my prediction
for population, and my expectation of the types of players you will
meet on the server. Yeah, I know. It's all speculative and judgemental,
but so is the evening news!
So, without further preamble, let's get to the servers!
Adar (A region of Sarlona,
home of the kalshtar race)
This is the top server on the list. Servers higher on the list almost
style="text-decoration: underline;">always end up with a large
population. The reasons are many: some people don't care about server
names and just pick the first one, powergamers want to get into the
game quickly, and people with limited time want to log in as fast as
possible. Adar is also a short name, so it will be easy to remember and
spell for others. This makes it all the more attractive. Finally,
diehard Eberron fans interested in playing a kalashtar character when
(and if) the race is
introduced to the game may choose this server because the name refers
to the kalashtar home.
I anticipate that most players on this server will impatient,
blast-through-the-content types. Most roleplayers will pick a lower
server to avoid the crowds. And Adar will almost certainly be crowded.
Aerenal (Small continent
southeast of Khorvaire, home of elves)
Any home of elves will be home to large numbers of players. Elves are
just attractive, dammit! They are graceful and talented, ancient, and
wise. Well, you know the deal, and you should check out our target="_blank"
Race guide if you don't. Only second down on the list, this server
will draw a lot of people who don't want to be caught up in the glut of
players on the top server. While the name isn't the easiest to spell
and it's meaning doesn't inspire thoughts of conquest, Aerenal will be
I expect some of the same types of people from Adar to play on Aerenal.
I wouldn't be surprised by a little more roleplaying, though, as many
fans of elves dig the noble disposition of the race and the inherit
bickering among their different cultures.
continent, home of dragons)
Okay. This is the home of dragons. Expect Argonessen to be one busy
server! It doesn't matter that the city of Stormreach is in Xen'drix.
People who know that Argonessen is place known for its dragons are
going to pick this server. Some will be roleplayers whose alter egos
are dragon slayers. Others will be members of guilds with names such as
Jade Dragons, Dragon Masters, Eyes of
the Dragon, Dark Black Dragons of Midnight, and style="font-style: italic;">Dragonriders.
People on this server will most certainly be competitive, trying
to prove they have the "heart of the dragon." They will also be the
ones complaing to Turbine about the lag experienced in taverns due to
the dozens of dragon-named guilds gathering for their weekly meetings. style="font-style: italic;">
Aundar (A nation in
Khorvaire, center of the Arcane Congress)
Fourth down on the list, Aundar is still high enough to be on the
screen without having to scroll down. Thus, it should garner quite a
few players. The interesting tidbit about Aundar is its ties to the
Arcane Congress. Expect to see the posts for "Best Wizard Build" coming
from players on this server. A lot of roleplayers enjoy playing arcane
casters, so Aundar may find itself home to a strong contigent of folks
who proclaim, "Thou hast angered me!"
Fernia (Plane, The Realm of
It doesn't get much--well--cooler
than The Realm of Fire. People who want a server name to connect to
something cool will love Fernia. As such, I suspect the server will
seldom be a lonely place to be. Look for strongheaded warrior-types
here, including the first Level 10 fighters, barbarians, and rangers.
Also look for the casters who focus on damage to be here.
Ghallanda (A powerful
style="font-style: italic;">House, or faction, known for
Ah, finally a more serene server. Ghallanda is neither thrilling in
name nor in ties to the world of Eberron. Plus, names that start G-h
are hard to pronouce for many English speaking players. The name comes
from the House that trains hostelers,
people who use magice to perform the duties needed in an inn. One note
is that hostelers often possess rudimentary healing abilities. As such,
we can expect to see more than a handful or clerics played by people
fascinated with Eberron's lore. Bards might also be common, as they are
the posterboys (and girls!) for wanderlust--just the type of people who
need an inn most. In the end, I expect Ghallanda to be the first server
on the list that isn't bursting at the seams, but the people here
should be kind and fun-loving.
Khyber (Dragon Below)
Oh boy--another dragon name! The imagery of Khyber is strong and will
draw many people for some of the same reasons as Argonessen. What's
more, those captivated by evil and the macabre may flock to this server
(but see below). This will be another popular choice for dragon fans.
Again, expect competitive people who will be interested in helping you
if it also helps them. Khyber should be an active server.
Lhazaar (Area of Khorvaire
known for piracy, necromancy, and the occasional volcanic eruption)
Maybe the only thing harder to say than a G-h word is an L-h word like
Lhazaar. Nevertheless, I expect this server to be crawling with wizards
and clerics built to be dark magi. I expect the people to tend somewhat
Mabar (Plane, The Endless
While The Endless Night sounds really cool, we're starting to get far
enough down the list of servers that people shopping for a cool name
may not get this far. With Argonessen, Fernia, and Khyber above it,
Mabar may not get as much traffic. It may turn out to be a draw that
Mabar falls in the middle of the pack, though. People will expect it to
be less populous. As for the personalities of the people who land in
Mabar, I can only guess that they will exhibit hints of despair and
ennui. It is a desolate plane, afterall.
Riedra (Headquarters of the
Dreaming Dark, a group of quori
spies and assassins who call Sarlona home)
If Eberron's lore were as
common knowledge as that of Forgotten Realms, Riedra might just be the
busiest server. The background of the Dreaming Dark would appeal to a
wide audience of would-be assassins. Look for solid rogue builds from
those who know what Riedra represents. Also be wary of "roguish"
behavior--dropping group without warning, tricks, and lies. Intentional
or not, we tend to allow the characteristics of a server's meaning to
manifest in our actions.
Risia (Plane, Plane of Ice)
If anything can match the coolness that is The Realm of Fire, it has to
be the Plane of Ice. And only the coolest people should attempt to play
on Risia. Within minutes of the release of the North American server
list, the first self-proclaimed guild for powergamers had posted in the
official DDO forums stating that Risia was the server for them. The
roleplaying contigent quickly answered to the effect of, "Duly noted.
We'll stay out of your backyard." The players on Risia will game long
and hard, and they will be the first to complete most of the quests in
DDO. Consequently, they will be the first demanding more content on the
forums. Without revisiting the href="http://ddo.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=38">Casual
vs. Hardcore debate, let's just say the players of Risia will drive
Turbine to keep updating frequently and fix the problems with new
continent, once the home of humans, but
now ruled over by psychics from Dal Quori)
Many posts on the official DDO
forums indicate that this will be the gathering place of roleplayers.
Sarlona is a continent steeped in history and opportunities for
storytelling, so it is no surprise that roleplayers would be intrigued
by what the name represents. The server will be highly populated--at
least at first. Expect a lot of "thees" and "thous" out in Aspirant's
Corner. Also expect a slight bit of hautiness if you mention that you
need to go move the laundry from the washer to the dryer. Commitment to
roleplaying will vary from guild to guild and person to person, but
some level of "performance" in
character will be the norm. Impatient gamers need not seek a
party on Sarlona, as they will soon find themselves frustrated and
lonely after a few sour groups with Gundak, the warforged cleric who
speaks with a stutter and insists on a strategy session before opening
Shavarath (Plane, The
If ever Turbine decides to answers the endless cries for a player vs.
player (PvP) server, Shavarath is the perfect candidate. With a name
signifying a plane of tireless strife, this server is the easy pick.
Until the server converts to PvP (if it ever does), expect extremely
competitive people who vie for the best build for a given class by
comparing combat numbers and times through quests. It is my advice that
people who don't care about PvP stay clear of Shavarath. The petitions
to have it converted should start any moment now.
Tharask (A powerful
or faction, of bounty hunters)
We're getting near the end of the server list now, and traffic should
pick up again. People will pick this server for a couple of reasons.
First they will expect it to be less crowded because it is near the
bottom. Secondly, bounty hunters are freaking cool! I anticipate a few
Drizzt Do'Urden wannabes on Tharask, along with a few conspicuously
named Fetts. This server should be a popular haven for rogues, rangers,
and fighters who perceive themselves and swords for hite. The bounty
hunter's life is tough, and so will be life on Tharask.
Thelanis (Plane, The Faerie
Thelanis doesn't inspire visions of combat-oriented adventure, but it
has drawn interest from the roleplaying community. Locked in a heated debate against Sarlona on DDO's official forums, Thelanis holds a slight edge (3%) in the voting as the Head Start event draws near.
Outside of that, as the next-to-last server on the list, this server will be home to those who wanted to
find a home away from the masses. Will the people be agoraphobic? I
wouldn't go that far. It's more like they just didn't want to be caught
in all of the races and competitions of the so-called mainstream.
Xoriat (Plane, Realm of
The bottom of the list of servers--the bottom of the barrel in players.
The concept of the Realm of Madness will serve as the perfect excuse
for some people to be outright jerks. style="color: rgb(153, 51, 0);"> "Jakk
Darippa tells you: I can leave group anytime I want to. This is the
Realm of Madness, baby!" Expect the server to be crowded,
as some will go straight to the bottom of the server list as an easy
location to describe to friends. Moreover, names starting with X are
cool. Don't be surprised if every character on Xoriat is Chaotic
Neutral (see our href="http://ddo.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=60">Guide
to Alignments) and if half of them are bards. Only the brave should
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