A shard is a copy of the game world that has its own unique set of characters and guilds. You may team up and play with other characters on the same shard, but not with characters on other shards. Many MMOs have the concept of a shard, and there are several different terms in use for the same concept including Server, World and Realm.
Note that Instances, multiple temporary copies of a game area to split off population and prevent lag, is a separate concept.
Neverwinter initially had three live shards:
An entry in the [Shard Section of the Extended FAQ] indicated that the shards would eventually be merged to match the single shard approach in other Cryptic games. On September 30, 2013 it was updated with further detail regarding what the impact of this would be to existing characters.
On October 08, 2013 the three shards live were combined leaving only Dragon.
Neverwinter Preview (Mimic)[edit | edit source]
On May 23, 2013, it was stated that a Public Test Shard (PTS) was planned in the announcement State of the Game. This shard was eventually named Mimic and access to it can be gained by following the procedure in the [Welcome to NeverwinterPreview] post.