Best Swtor Server 2016 – Choices Matter In Server Selection
Which server you decide to play on is the first decision you make in SWTOR, but it may be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.
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When I was creating a character for the first time during the SWTOR beta I was a complete MMO novice. Most of my gaming experience was with consoles (I bought a cheap gaming PC for the sole purpose of playing SWTOR) and so a lot of decisions I made in those first few days were made blindly, with no context of what I was actually doing. As a new player, and possibly new to MMO’s in general, you might be feeling the same as you boot up SWTOR for the first time and decide what server you want to play on. On the surface, it may seem like something not worth much thought, but servers can have a sizeable impact on your game experience.
Servers are not one size fits all in The Old Republic and you should take care to consider your decision before rushing through it to create your first character.
The location of the server and the style of gameplay it highlights are both aspects players need to pay attention to in order to make a sound decision. Let’s begin with location.
The European SWTOR servers
Bioware has two server groups, one for Europe and one for North America. The European servers are classified by their language preference, along with the preferred gameplay style. You’re a bit more limited with your options in comparison to the North American servers, since you’re basing your selection first and foremost off of language and then gameplay style.
With North American servers however, location becomes a key factor in deciding which server will be best for you. Here, instead of being divided by language, servers are either east or west. The obvious path here is to choose a server appropriate to where you live — if you live west of the Rockies, you run with a west server, east of them obviously an east server. The reason for this is ping a.k.a. server lag, or the time it takes for your computer to communicate with the game servers. The lower the number the better. Truthfully, there are a ton of technical factors that will influence the quality of your ping that are way above my technical expertise, but the simplest factor is distance — the closer you are to the server, the better your ping.
For example, I live in Kansas. Here, you can see my server lag on Shadowlands, an East server, is 57 ms.
But my server lag on Begeren Colony, a West server, is almost twice that at 107 ms. Both of these are pretty good and neither number is large enough to have a significant impact on my play, but the higher the number the greater chance you will see lag in game or possibly have connection issues.
So the obvious solution is to simply pick the server closest to me and be done with it, right? Not necessarily. The other thing to consider is timezones and what your gameplay schedule will typically be. If it’s as simple as, “I live on the west coast and will usually play on nights and weekends,” then the decision may be as simple as that. However, if you’re a player with a nontraditional work schedule it may make sense for you to consider a different server. East servers have their peak times — the time of day where the most players are in game — during primetime hours for the eastern time zone, west is on pacific standard time. For a time after I first moved from the west coast to Kansas, my work schedule was such that it still made sense for me to play on a west server, since I wasn’t able to log in until much later at night my local time. If the same is true for you, consider what server is going to enable you to play during peak times the most, increasing your chances for quick group finder queues, pvp warzones, etc.
Yet the most important decision you can make when it comes to your server selection is the gameplay style.
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There are three distinct server types when it comes to gameplay — PvE, PvP, and RP.
PvE, or ‘player versus environment’, is the most popular server type. You will find the highest populations of the player base on these servers. The reason for this is it’s the least restrictive of the three. This is the recommended server type for the majority of new players.
PvP, or ‘player versus player’, servers add a wrinkle to the typical PvE environment with the possibility of player vs. player gameplay in the open world. On a PvE server, you must opt in to open world PvP, but on a PvP server, the potential to be attacked by another player in the game world is always on except for in designated safe areas.
A player flagged for PvP
The potential for open world, spontaneous player vs. player competition is an exciting prospect for some players — getting the jump on an unsuspecting opponent, or successfully defending yourself from an attacker, can add a lot of excitement to the game. But it’s not for everyone. Just keep in mind that there are no negative consequences to dying to another player in SWTOR. They can’t loot your corpse or steal anything from you. Still, if the idea of being interrupted by another player trying to kill you while in the middle of a quest isn’t something that excites you, then a PvP server is probably not the destination for you.
RP, or ‘role-playing’, servers are our third and final server type. These servers really emphasize the RP of the MMORPG. On these servers you will likely experience things like players acting out elaborate stories for their character in the ‘say’ channel, guilds that only invite smugglers and troopers to their guild staying away from any force users, or guilds that utilize a master and apprentice system to fully train their dark side force users. Role playing is an exciting and creative way to add a completely other layer of experience to your gameplay and many players find it to be even more entertaining and rewarding than built-in mechanics like operations or war zones. Joining a RP server does not require you to roleplay, but if you join, you’re expected to be respectful of people who do.
Some other things to consider when choosing a server and FAQ.
A common question new players have is, “What’s the most populated server?” The ‘light, standard, heavy’ designat
ions you see for populations on each server in SWTOR are a little misleading since the max populations of each server are different depending on the gameplay type. For example, Harbinger, a PvE server, has a much higher population capacity than the RP server Begeren Colony. There may be times when you see Begeren Colony listed as ‘heavy’ on their population, but that does not necessarily mean that server has more people online than the higher capacity Harbinger listed as ‘standard’.
Another thing to consider — once making a decision on a server, you are not stuck with it forever. Feel free to create characters on different servers and get a feel for each of them before committing to one. This will help give you an idea of your server lag and the type of gameplay you prefer. Each server is their own community, with different players, varying peak times, and more. Take the time to consider some options before settling on a home. Furthermore, server transfers are incredibly easy (at the time of this writing, incredibly cheap at 90 cartel coins — essentially $1), so don’t feel like even if you’ve spent some time leveling a character and later change your mind or have a friend that you’d like to join on another server, that you need to be locked to your origin server.
Choosing a server is an important part of the new player and character creation process in SWTOR. While a guild you choose might be your ‘home’ in game, the server you choose is equivalent to the city you live in. You want your choice of server to be reflective of the game style you enjoy playing the most. Hopefully, this guide has set you on the path to making the best decision you can.
Feel free to ask any questions or make recommendations for additions below and thanks for reading!