Posted 12 September 2019 - 05:19 AM
I'm not sure anyone has favorites to begin with, I think everyone just goes where people are. Hence the popularity of scumholes like Lakeshire and other neutral towns of its sort, and the Wastewander phase. But it seems like Fallen Azeroth, in its first incarnation, was decent despite the drama that later permeated the staff team, and the overall lack of quality/rule enforcement. Hence why it had 100+ people.
If you're asking, in order to find out what kind of phase you could start that everyone likes, my advice is what applies to me and my experience: Make a phase where actions have consequences, and anyone who is committed to the phase can impact it. Ensure that you have a solid administration who won't have beef with you, or each other, and won't become control freaks/power-mad. Also make sure to listen to what they have to say, as they may have solid points even if you disagree. Write out a plan for what this phase's story should be, and all of the branching choices. Decide on how the combat system should be, not on how people necessarily want it to be. Though don't shy away from taking criticism and acknowledging mistakes. It encourages people to have someone in control of things who doesn't have their head up their ass.
And I think this type of phase should be a faction war phase with heavy rpg elements. Namely, every faction should have their own story and goals to get through, that should be of sufficient challenge, and yet not tedious or seemingly maliciously delayed to inhibit that faction's progress. New factions can have their stories made up with the owners of said factions, in a mad-lib style piece-together. If they don't like how it turned out, go over it again. If they're picky about something that goes outside the plan, see if you can compromise, and if they insist and don't go halfway to meet you in an agreement, tell them tough luck and to take it or hit the road. It's your phase, don't bungle it up because someone can't insert their OC without derailing things.
At least, this is what I've learned, being in as many phases as I have, and what I would do if I were to make my own phase. As such, it's my two cents and I advise you to do the same, if you are making a phase.
TL;DR People want interesting phases, and interesting phases are made through preparation and planning. The most numerous phases have largely been that way because people want to go where the most people are. But the most noteworthy and truly successful phases, have been planned, and properly managed.
Asking me to pick my favorite phases and guilds is like asking me to pick between one unique disaster, and the next. I have no favorite, and any of the phases that I initially liked (which were the majority, if not all of them) ended up trashing themselves or I eventually woke up to how garbage its administration and concept were, and left on my own, if I wasn't already kicked.