If you ever want to know just how important social networking is to WoW, change servers to a place where you technically know nobody.
Sure, if you're switching to join a guild, you've got the people in that new guild.
But you've got no rep. No street cred.
And no friends list to fall back on.
After spending a year and a half on the same server, you take for granted just how many people you know, and just how much your reputation is actually worth.
The culture shock starts when you log in for the first time and you're forced to change your name.
WTF, my damn name is taken already? By some punk @ss level 19 hunter who hasn't logged in for 3 months? /facepalm. Suppose that's what I get for using a name suggested by the Blizzard randomizer when I first signed up for my first level 1 character.
Impulsively just went with whatever tweak to my old name would be accepted as unique on the server. For the couple days since then, I've been seriously considering plunking down $25 to fix that impulse. But I digress.
Then, an hour later, your other toon transfer completes, and now you've got a banker / disenchanter, and happily, your friends list is no longer empty. But, a single solitary name actually looks more lonely than an empty list.
Make your way over to the big city in the sky. First thing you see? Three Mini-Vans standing outside the northern bank. On Terokkar, I had not seen a single other Traveler's Tundra Mammoth, but in my first 10 minutes, I've already seen three others. Welcome to a new world.
Eventually, one of the guild officers logs in and gives you the invite, and suddenly you're faced with the next wave of culture shock.
The guild's got 15 level 80's who are running Heroics and debating whether that night's attack on Naxx should be all-guild 10 or PuG 25. And you're sitting there blissfully ignorant at 74.
Better get your grind on!
As you clear out a zone, you're generally left with Group quests and Dungeon quests.
Luckily, a Hunter with T4-5 / Arena / Badge gear and a Gorilla can solo most of the Group quests, or find the occasional person on the same quest near the target.
But Dungeon quests? Rough to get a group for normal mode Nexus when everybody around you is 80 and your friends list only has your bank mule on it. Not just the guild, all over the server, seems people have outgrown non-end game after less than 2 weeks of Lich King. Even the LFG channel was filled with only Heroics - OR - every single player is a DPS'er.
News flash. I don't care if you're Retribution. If you're level 74, you can definitely tank Utgarde Keep without any spec change. Too damn many people have this mindset of "i spec dps, therefore i am dps". Hell, just to prove a point, me and the gf hit up Utgarde Keep. Just the two of us. She was a level 69 SHADOW PRIEST at the time. And I was a level 76 Hunter with a Gorilla. Just the f'ing two of us. She healed, Bubbles tanked, Amiva DPS'd and healed. And we cleared the first hallway before it became too much. Granted, it was painful, and had many wipes in that hallway, but.....it was just the f'ing two of us!!!!!! And she was 69!!!!!! And SHADOW!!!! So get your damn level 74 Retribution @ss in there and help a sister out!!!!!!!!
But I digress. Back to the strange new world...
While waiting for an escort quest mob to respawn so you can start up the quest, you run to get a soda IRL, and you come back to find yourself a spirit.
Welcome to PvP server, baby!
I'll save this little taste of culture shock for its own post.
Overall, I'd say the server switch is going reasonably, but the experience clearly illustrates the tremendous worth of your social network, and reminds you how much energy you actually put into building up credibility and reputation.
Now, if I could just get a group for Gundrak so I can finish those last few quests to ding the Accomplishment for questing in Zul'Drak, I'd be a happy camper.
Well, that's a lie, Happy Camper doesn't come until 80, but we'll have to see whether Turkey comes between me and that. At least I can fly in cold weather now!