Blizzard Responds to Questions Regarding Classic Realm Consolidation
Blizzard has shared a very detailed Blue Post responding to multiple community questions on the topic of Classic Realm consolidation, including what happens to character names, guild names, and so on.
Thanks for the post, I’m going to do my best to respond to your thoughts and questions here.
Low population servers not included
There are a few servers that are not included in the realm consolidation, but in my opinion probably should be. Mainly Razorgore(EU), Earthfury(US East), and Old Blanchy(US West). Arguably extends to (slightly) bigger servers like Ashbringer(EU) and Azuresong(US West).
There were several factors that went into the process to select which servers were going to be retired, but mostly we used data around the Daily Average World Population (DAW) that we track internally. There was a specific threshold that we looked at and if, over a certain period of time, a realm was under that that DAW threshold, we added that realm to the list of servers to be consolidated. A similar number threshold is also what we use to determine whether we should enable Free Character Moves off of a realm. Most of the realms you mentioned are on the lower end of the population spectrum, and may at times fall below that threshold, but at the time we decided on the list of servers to consolidate, they weren’t quite there.
Another factor that led to us not being super aggressive when it comes to consolidating all of the lower population realms has to do with the upcoming release of Wrath of the Lich King Classic. As was the case at the launch of Burning Crusade Classic, we expect a pretty significant increase in players joining or re-joining the game and we definitely want to make sure everyone who wants to play in Wrath Classic has a place to do so, preferably with multiple options in their chosen ruleset that aren’t experiencing heavy queues or are layered. While many players will choose to play on the busier servers, there are always actually a contingent of players who prefer smaller populations or are uncomfortable with layers and those individuals may not all want to be funneled to high, or even medium population realms. This certainly is not a majority of players (and I expect many people reading this to scoff at this notion :P) , but these players definitely exist and having a few, let’s say, “small town” options of realms to play on isn’t something we feel is a bad thing, especially going into an expansion launch where we expect to see a large spike of new and returning players of all stripes.
All that being said, I agree with you that we likely need to revisit Free Character Moves on additional realms that don’t have them or have had population changes in the very recent days or weeks. I’ll personally follow up on that and look at the numbers to see if any of these realms are consistently at the point where we should take that action.
As for the destinations themselves for the consolidation effort, we are still working through where exactly these realms’ remaining populations should end up, but I think its safe to say that we are unlikely to move these populations onto the realms you listed above, but rather onto realms with a much higher active population. I hope that we can lock in the details and provide more specific information on these destinations very soon.
I would suggest looking into merging the factions separately in cases where a server which works for both can not be found.
Splitting factions during the realm consolidation effort is an interesting idea, but the process isn’t currently set up to do that, unfortunately. We’d like to do our best to match, say, a Horde dominated realm that is being consolidated to another horde dominated realm so as to negatively impact as few players as possible. However, in many cases the population on some of these realms is so low its hard to even categorize any of these realms as either Horde or Alliance dominated. At the end of the day, the best way to ensure that a player on one of these soon-to-be retired realms ends up on the best possible destination for them is for that individual to take advantage of the FCMs that are being offered right now and will be offered right up until August 9th when we kick off this process.
I also want to ask about the possibility of Free Character Migrations on one faction only in the cases where it is more or less completely dead, even if the other faction isn’t.
It seems at this point that there are plenty of players and characters stuck on dead factions, considering how many servers have trended toward a single faction.
I think there’s a lot of merit to this suggestion, and allowing faction-specific FCMs is something we’d like to explore, but isn’t likely to be available in the near-term. As it stands now, Free Character Moves are sort of an all-or-nothing affair and while we’d prefer not to enable them on a realm with a healthy population on at least one side and potentially cause a cascade effect that causes damage to said healthy population, there are some people on the minority faction who feel left behind, and we should explore options to give them a way out if they don’t have one.
SoM & Classic Era
SoM realistically only has a couple of active servers left, and could definitely use some merges as well.
Due to the nature of Season of Mastery being a time-limited experience, and all SoM realms will eventually permanently close, combined with the the fact that we currently have FCMs available off of many low population realms there, its unlikely we will push too hard to consolidate these realms before the end of the season.
(Up to) Two week character lock
This doesn’t affect many people on these dead servers, but could be an obstacle or issue if merging more active servers. Preferably this would be significantly lower to be more reasonably useful on servers that aren’t dead.
I do want to clarify that characters on the destination realms that we are consolidating characters onto will not experience any interruption in access to the characters at all. The only characters that might not be accessible for a short time are characters currently on the realms that are about to be retired.
To understand this better it’s helpful to look at this entire consolidation process as a mass FCM operation. We are basically transferring the entire remaining population of several unhealthy realms onto a single or few healthy destination realm, and the destination realms should not in any way see an interruption in access to characters already residing there.
Will Guilds (& Guild Banks) transfer?
Unfortunately no. As mentioned above, the characters being moved as a part of realm consolidation are in effect being FCM’d en masse. Guilds (and by extension guild banks) will not survive this process and should be emptied out well ahead of time.
Who gets to keep duplicate names?
The characters on the destination realm will retain their name and the incoming character from the other realm will be flagged for a rename.
Same for Guild Names
See above. Guilds will not carry over.
What happens to Characters & Names on the Forums?
This is essentially going to work the same as it currently behaves when a character is moved as part of a paid or free character move. The character that is moved will essentially be replaced on the forum with the new name (if it changed) and destination realm name where they end up.
UI/Character settings? (Currently saved to the server, and has to be copied over when transferring)
This should all carry over just fine.
Whew… that was a lot of words. Hopefully that answers most of your questions fairly thoroughly. Thanks so much for taking the time to to bring forth some of these questions and give us the opportunity to provide a bit more insight into all of this.
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