World of Warcraft to link low-population servers

World of Warcraft already supports raids, dungeons, and arena battles with players on other servers, and the next patch will take another big step to combat dwindling populations. 5.4 will introduce Connected Realms, linking--but not formally merging--certain underpopulated servers so people can do everything together.

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World of Warcraft already supports raids, dungeons, and arena battles with players on other servers, and the next patch will take another big step to combat dwindling populations. 5.4 will introduce Connected Realms, linking--but not formally merging--certain underpopulated servers so people can do everything together.

Players on linked servers will see each other running around the same world, quest together, shop in the same auction house, fight each other in Battlegrounds, and so on. They'll always be marked as from their home server, though.

Why not simply merge servers, like so many other MMOs have? "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," Blizzard explained in a blog post yesterday.

"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."

All servers linked will be of the same type--PvE, PvP or RP--but Blizzard hasn't yet decided which realms will be connected, how many will be in each group, and so on. The developer expects to launch Connected Realms some time after patch 5.4 launches.

WoW's current 'subscriber' count is around 7.7 million, down from a peak of 12 million in 2010. Yes, it has fallen a lot, but it's still pretty ruddy huge.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 6, 2013 6:00 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, World of Warcraft to link low-population servers.

    World of Warcraft already supports raids, dungeons, and arena battles with players on other servers, and the next patch will take another big step to combat dwindling populations. 5.4 will introduce Connected Realms, linking--but not formally merging--certain underpopulated servers so people can do everything together.

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      August 6, 2013 6:25 AM

      They also avoid the negative publicity associated with "closing down" servers.
      I don't play anymore, but I'd say this is the best way to handle the next to empty servers.

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        August 6, 2013 10:14 AM

        Also, avoids having people to change their names and/or name conflicts.

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      August 6, 2013 6:40 AM

      they should just combine WoW / SC 2 and D3 into one platform and merge all servers so that I can zerg rush belial in between dailies/paragon farming.

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        August 6, 2013 7:42 AM

        World of ActiBlizzard, throw CoD in there for one helluva griefing brofest

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      August 6, 2013 7:40 AM

      Isn't it about time that some MMO figured out that you don't have to pick a server? Make it seem like everyone is playing on the same server.

      Having your friends on different servers suck.

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        August 6, 2013 7:42 AM

        that's how gw2 is. you still pick a 'home server', but you can go into any other server as a guest, or join a friends party on another server and teleport to them seamlessly

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          August 6, 2013 8:09 AM

          GW2 did two things really well in my opinion: being able to play with whoever regardless of server and being able to play with people lower level than you. Both of these changes make it easier to play with your friends which is the whole point of online games

          Too bad they couldn't use the same magic on the combat

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          August 6, 2013 10:26 AM

          TSW works this way as well.

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        August 6, 2013 7:53 AM

        WoW's been moving in that direction already. You can already join your friends for dungeons, raids, and overworld content independent of server.

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          August 6, 2013 10:20 AM

          I don't think current tier raids are available for cross realm play yet. LFR for sure, but not for normal/heroic modes.

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            August 6, 2013 10:32 AM

            Ah, looks like they hold back the current tier for server progression stuffs.

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        August 6, 2013 9:21 AM

        Age of Conan (And I believe The Secret World) you are assigned a spot on a server when you log in. Once you team up you can switch to your teammates servers at the respawn points.

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        August 6, 2013 9:34 AM

        Better yet, doe it like EvE where there is only one massive server.

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          August 6, 2013 10:30 AM

          I don't know if that would work properly. EvE still grinds to a halt with tons of people in one system. I'd get tired of that shit if an entire zone in WoW did it.

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        August 6, 2013 10:19 AM

        Everyone? 7.7 million people will make things ridiculously crowded.

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          August 6, 2013 10:28 AM

          You gotta remember, Blizzard counts subs weird because of the inclusion of occasional cafe players in China and such. And that 7.7 million is not concurrent users or anything.

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            August 6, 2013 10:30 AM

            IIRC, they count anyone who has paid them money to play in the past month.

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        August 6, 2013 1:30 PM

        Wish Online

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      August 6, 2013 7:55 AM

      Give me the new mmo, Blizzard. I am ready.

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      August 6, 2013 8:03 AM

      I started playing WoW again last month after like four years off. My friend and I have been doing loads of BGs and 2v2 arenas. Having a pretty good time!

      Anyone want to join for some BGs?

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        August 6, 2013 8:07 AM

        I did the same. I don't do PVP but I've been raiding a lot lately. It's still fun but I think it's really important who you are playing with.

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          August 6, 2013 8:32 AM

          Yeah. We just Skype and bullshit with each other while melting face in PvP.

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            August 6, 2013 8:52 AM

            Yeah I used to do that every night. Even though it's fun, I am starting to find all of this a bit ... immature? Not sure, I think I'm just getting old :(

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        August 6, 2013 2:37 PM

        Horde or Alliance? I just switched back to Alliance after a couple of years playing horde. Some pvp would be fun and my guild doesn't really pvp at all.

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      August 6, 2013 9:14 AM

      Why not just merge? KISS

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        August 6, 2013 10:21 AM

        names. people don't want to change them.

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      August 6, 2013 10:10 AM

      It's still a server merge, you can call it whatever you want.

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      August 6, 2013 2:47 PM

      i remember when daoc started having to do this.

      shit, someone should set up a dawn of light/daoc freshard.