Over the years, World of Warcraft players of all kinds have naturally migrated to different realms to play with their friends, find new guilds, strive for Heroic boss kills, search for the most competitive PvP experiences, and otherwise try to find the right place to call home. Over time, these shifts in player population can sometimes create a less-than-optimal play experience for those on less popular realms, making it tougher to find guilds, conquer group content, and get what they’re looking for from the Auction House and in-game economy.
In Patch 5.4, we’re looking to address this with a new feature called Connected Realms. Building on our existing cross-realm technology, a Connected Realm is a set of two or more standard realms that have been permanently and seamless “linked.” These linked realms will behave as if they were one cohesive realm, meaning you’ll be able to join the same guilds and Arena teams, access a single Auction House, run the same Raids and Dungeons, and join other adventurers to complete quests.
Our goal with Connected Realms is to give players on lower-population realms more opportunities to group up, compete, and connect with other players to take on Azeroth’s bigger challenges. That sort of interaction is a big part of what makes World of Warcraft fun, and this feature will help us deliver that experience to even more players.
We’ve prepared a short FAQ to answer a few questions we’re sure you’ll have, and we’re very eager to hear your thoughts and collect further questions in your comments below.
Q. Why are you implementing Connected Realms?
A. As WoW has evolved, we’ve seen players naturally gravitate toward a subset of very active realms, leaving behind lower-populated realms. Due to the massively multiplayer nature of World of Warcraft, certain kinds of gameplay experiences simply aren’t well-suited to a low-pop realm. By allowing players from two or more lower-pop realms to play together, we hope to give more players more opportunities to participate in group-oriented activities, helping to foster a more vibrant in-game community.
Connected Realms also allow us to link populations in a way that’s not disruptive to players, and that doesn’t negatively impact players’ sense of identity and character. Other alternatives such as merging realms would require us to force character name changes if there were conflicts, and could lead to confusion for returning players who’d log in to find their realm missing from the realm list. Some players also feel strong ties to their realm’s name or history, and we don’t want to erase that.
A. Our cross-realm technology has continued to evolve since it was first developed for joining players in dungeons. It’s now at a point where we can create seamless worlds made up of multiple individual realms, and we think there are some really positive benefits to that.
A. Similar to how we use the (*) symbol next to a player’s name to denote if they’re from another realm in Raid Finder, Dungeons, Scenarios, or a cross-realm zone, we’ll be using a (#) symbol to indicate that someone is part of your Connected Realm, but not your home realm.
A. We haven’t decided yet which realms will be made part of a Connected Realm, or which other realms they’ll be connected to, though realms will only be connected to other realms of the same type (e.g. PvE to PvE, PvP to PvP, RP to RP). In the end, we’re considering a number of factors, including Battlegroup, population, and faction balance.
A. We don’t know how many realms will make up a Connected Realm yet, and it’s likely to differ from Connected Realm to Connected Realm. Our goal is to create a vibrant and fun online experience where you can join guilds, access an active Auction House, and band together to take on group content.
A. There should be no limitations. We want the experience to be seamless, and we expect it work as if you’re suddenly part of a much more active realm.
A. We haven’t yet determined when we’ll be creating the first Connected Realms, but we expect it will be some time after the launch of Patch 5.4.
This new feature should not be over analyzed. The net net of this to an individual player: there is no change. Except one day in the future, your server will have more people on it. That is all. Everything else will be exactly the same as it was but with a higher populated server. If done near optimally, only the low and medium population servers will really feel it. Being on a low population server, it is sorely needed and a good move by Blizzard.
I really hope Pandaria is included now and no longer stays a dailies island in those unbalanced realms.....
And then the hunt for Time Lost Proto-drake became even longer!
To all the people saying what a bad idea this is:As a GL on Dentarg - EU, I've been watching our realm sink slowly toward doom over the past 3 years. Though, this process has sped up rapidly in MoP. So much so, in fact, that we are now down to only 3 active raiding guilds, one of which is mine and we still have problems getting 10 people together for a raid at times. Pugging new content just doesn't happen, it's been pretty much unheard of in MoP, as there just aren't enough people here with anywhere near enough experience to get anything done. To be fair, we do give new players experience as much as we can, which is great, but it does mean painfully slow progress. We try to recruit, but there's hardly anyone to recruit. Btw, when I said 3 active raiding guilds, that's Horde. The Allies have 1. This compared to, off the top of my head, the at least 15 raiding guilds that have transferred away from here in the last two years.The huge migration hasn't just affected raiding. Our AH is a joke. It doesn't matter whether you're trying to buy something that isn't there or selling something to people who aren't buying, our economy is flat-lined. The only consolation is because there's no-one here, there's plenty of nodes/herbs etc to farm for yr own mats, which of course takes away time from doing more fun things in the game and it's not as if you can even sell leftover mats on AH, as there aren't enough people to buy them, or people levelling up profs. Of course, the other massive side effect of being low-pop is that it just starts getting lower. From the first big raiding guild leaving, it just created a domino effect. Like rats leaving a sinking ship, one went after another and now it's more a case of many individual players just xferring or quitting WoW because they're on a dead realm.Added to this, and I know I'm not supposed to feel sorry for Allies, but they are sooo out-numbered I genuinely do pity them. I'm not sure if they've even done Galleon yet, but they've given up trying to group up for Nalak or Oondasta. I actually have huge respect for most of our Allies, as they're sticking it out despite rarely getting an opportunity to do anything in the game apart from get beaten up. We don't just need more people, but a very balance of Horde and Allie also.All in all, those of us that have stuck it out, because we love our realm and the (ever-decreasing number of) people in it over the years, have been screaming for any sort of merger for ages. This idea seems even better than that, as forced char name changes etc... would have been a logistical nightmare. I know we're not the only realm like us, and I'm sure people on those realms would agree that Connected Realms aren't just a good idea, they're an absolute necessity to be greeted with fanfares and street parties, as they're our last hope of breathing enough life back into our realms to make them live and kicking again.GZ on this one Blizz, and the sooner the better. It's the much-needed best idea you guys have ever had. :)
This is going to be great. Tired of looking at Warsong US Alliance Auction house and seeing 120 items listed and 4 players online. I can't even find a guild because there's nobody recruiting, not even for social guilds. Trade chat can go for hours without a word, probably even days if it wasn't for a level 1 Human priest spamming their gold sales.I think rolling this out gradually is a good idea. This is what was done for Battleground region-wide merging. I recall it took a total of a month to merge all of the battlegroups & datacenters together (in the US) for battlegrounds. Best be cautious in case any unforeseen issues arise they affect the least amount of players possible.
If I wanted to play on Stormrage I'd have rolled on Stormrage. I picked my server because it wasn't some overpopulated clusterpluck. Yay, now we all get the cheap crowded carnival experience.
Cross realm can sometimes be annoying but, I imagine this will be a good idea for low pop realms. As I play on one that almost seems a bit dead, it could help.
How can it be a bad idea? Having all the features that a single instance realm has this will be paradise on those low pop realms.
My question would be is if I make a character on the connected realm can I finally mail it BoA items? I would assume that if CR people can use the same AH, join guilds together, etc, you would think that would be possible (and about time).(and yes I am well aware that I can go out and get BoA gear on other servers without being 90 and I have done so, but it's a pain!)I'm also interested to see a list of which realms Blizz would be connecting so I can go stalk them on wow progress. :P
I wonder how it will work with high pop realms with a screwed up ratio Horde:Alliance or vice versa. My guess is they can't possibly link or connect those together with their opposite ones. Simply because it would be impossible for the servers. Unless.. You make it faction specific and connect just the factions to bring balance back.Another way I could see this work is connecting just the character data/AH and have the players stay on their own realms unless you meet players in the same guild where they will be transferred just like cross-realm groups work right now.Crossing my fingers for this one. It might "fix" the underpopulated alliance side on TwistingNether-EU again.
I imagine that the realms they will be joining are already linked by CRZ, so I doubt this will have any effect on the population of pre-Pandaria zones, or the things people farm there. We'll still have the same amount of competition in low-level zones, and this won't affect your farming habits or your rare camping any more than CRZ already has. It will increase population in Pandaria, though, with the increased competition in resources and rares. I'd recommend anyone on low-pop servers get any grinds they have been putting off that are mob or spawn dependent out of the way.The cons for this will be:- If you were unhappy about the CRZ increase in World PvP, that increase will now carry over to Pandaria.- If you were unhappy about the CRZ increase in competition for quest mobs, rare spawns or nodes, this increase will now carry over into Pandaria.The pros are that:- For all the zones that are now CRZ, more resources from low level zones will stay in your own economy, meaning that there will be more competition and lower prices. Even if there are more buyers, the number of sellers will help keep one or two people from cornering the market. - More supply in the economy- there are times on low pop servers where there isn't a single meta gem up for sale, or a single leg armor. Never mind paying more- there's nothing to pay for at all. For players who don't know anyone who can hook them up, this is huge pain. The mergers will help fix supply issues.- Guild/raid recruitment is in dire straits on low pop servers. On my server, according to Wow Progress, my guild is the only Alliance guild who has done any ToT at all. And we only raid 4 hours a week at most on any given team. For everyone else, PvE end game ends at LFR, or the raids from two tiers ago that they can start to muscle through. That sucks- people want to at least try, and even our guild which does raid is held hostage when a tank or a heal takes a leave of absence, because we don't have a lot of options. More people = a better selection for raid rosters, and a better chance to replace members who leave. This will give low pop servers a nice influx of new blood, and get more people raiding. - More character slots- if you are merged with 1-2 other servers, that's another 11-22 character slots effectively available on your home server. That's a nice boost for altaholics, for people looking to roll the other faction who have maxed out their slots on their main faction, etc. - If they're smart about it, they can do it in such a way as to correct some of the faction imbalance that exists on some servers. There are servers that are both heavily horde and heavily ally, and if they mix and match, it can help even out world PvP. - It may draw PvP-ers away from low level zones to the newer continents.Overall, I see this as a good change from the way things are now. It's still going to be unpleasant for people who like having empty servers, but Blizzard seems to be of the opinion that running a bunch of nearly empty servers doesn't make much business sense, and it's a smart move for themselves to do this. I think that for players on low-pop realms who are missing out on a lot of content, or having issues finding anything to buy, this will be a tremendous help.
Yay, finally a fix for faction balance on servers!
Good. Maybe this will alleviate the ^&*!up that CRZ was.
More potential buyers on AH. \\o/