MMO-Champion - Cross-Realm Zones Coming to Beta
Update: Clarification about realm grouping, initial zones, and zone splitting added.

Cross-Realm Zones Coming to Beta
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
In the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria beta, we’re introducing a new technology that will enable players to meet up and group with other players in under populated areas of the world such as low level zones or areas that other players may have outleveled or moved on from. This technology will allow players to form a group with other players from within a select pool of realms in order to quest just like they normally would while still allowing the social structures of their home realms to remain intact.

During the initial phase of testing we will be sharing the following zones between the available beta realms: Northern Barrens, Ashenvale, Azshara, Darkshore, Westfall, and Silithus. We are also able to split over-populated zones and will be testing this new technology on the Pandaren starting area (turtle zone).

For beta testing purposes, we will be matching up all realm types whether they are PvP or PvE. This is different than what we plan to do for the live realms, however. For the live realms we will be matching realm types: PvP with PvP, PvE with PvE, RP-PvP with RP-PvP, and RP-PvE with RP-PvE. As always, we plan to keep an eye on constructive feedback while in testing of this new technology.

F.A.Q.

Q. Why cross-realm zones?
For many years now, the significant majority of the player population online at any given time has consisted mostly of characters at or near the level cap. This has resulted in an environment where characters that are leveling up experience a world that has fewer other players to interact with than what the world was designed for. Cross-realm zones give us the capability to ensure that level-up zones retain a population size that feels more like the high level areas of the game, leading to a more fun play experience for characters of all levels.

Q. How do cross-realm zones work?
When you’re in a zone that is set as a ‘cross-realm zone’ you’ll notice that in addition to the players you’d ordinarily see from your realm, you’ll also see (and be able to play with) players from other realms. This will happen seamlessly, and players will be able to group and quest as they normally would with players from their own realm.

Q. How will this work on boats or zeppelins?

Usually transitions will occur on area boundaries (think moving from Darkshore to Ashenvale).

Q. Can I form groups with the people I meet in the zone?
Yes! You can group and talk to others within the cross-server zone normally though trading will be restricted much as it is within raids, dungeons, or battlegrounds.

Q. Will my cross-realm group be disbanded if we move on to an adjacent zone together, like from Goldshire to Westfall or from Thousand Needles to Feralas?
Much like how cross-realm groups currently work, your party won’t be disbanded when you move through different zones, though if you’re not in the same home realm, you won’t be able to see each other if you’re in separate zone instances.

Q. Will I be able to group with my friends?
Yes, you will be able to group with your Real ID friends, provided they are within the same faction. The functionality works the same as it does for cross-realm dungeons, raids, or Battlegrounds.

Q. What level range do my friends and I have to be within in order to group?
There is no restriction on level ranges. You’ll be able to group with anyone you would normally be able to.

Q. Can I go into main capital cities while grouped with others?
Capital cities and areas with regularly high populations will not be set as cross-server areas/zones so you will not be able to enter into the same instance of a city as someone who is from a different realm.

Q. Will I be able to trade with others I meet?
Trading restrictions are in place much the same as they are in cross-realm dungeons, raids, and battlegrounds.

Q. How is group loot handled?
Group looting will function the same as it would with any group you would create through normal play.

Q. Who will I be playing with?
You’ll be able to interact with players from within a select pool of realms which will make it possible to run into a player in Redridge that you already ran into within Westfall.

Q. What areas will be shared?
This can vary from realm to realm and relies on how densely populated (or underpopulated) an area is. Capital cities and areas with regularly high populations will not be eligible for area sharing.

Q. What about resources or gathering nodes, will those be shared too?
Resources and nodes will be available to all parties within the shared area the same as always. We will be keeping a close eye on the impact of area sharing and should an area become too populated, we are capable of adjusting how many realms are able to connect to a shared area.

Q. Does this mean that Auction Houses will be merged?

No, when any player access an Auction House, they will be only able to access their home realm’s Auction House.

Q. What about zones that are already overpopulated, like new race starting zones?

With this technology, we can also flag zones to allow for more than one copy of that zone per realm. Players on that realm will be split among those copies in order to alleviate problems due to overpopulation. Players won’t normally see or interact with those on a different instance of their zone, although joining a party will relocate all party members to a single instance of that zone.

Q. How will this work for PvP vs. PvE realms? Will these realm types be shared?
No. Realm types will be matched with like realm types. So if you’re on a PvE realm, you’ll only be matched with other PvE realms. The same rules will apply for matching RP realm types and will be restricted to matching RP-PvP with RP-PvP and RP-PvE with RP-PvE. We plan to keep an eye on constructive feedback while testing this new technology.

Q. How will RID groups work? Which realm type would we play on?
If you group up with somebody from a different rule type (via RealID for example) and go into a cross-realm zone you’ll be on the ruleset for that player’s realm type. So, if you’re on a PvP realm and a friend joins your group from a PvE realm and enters a cross-realm zone, the group will be in one of the PvP realm clusters and will use the PvP realm ruleset.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Q: I really don't see any reason to group with others when everything is so easy to do at the lower levels. All these other people will be doing is killing my mobs and taking my resources.
The game is specifically designed with variable respawns, and huge influxes of players on launches. Having very few people in a zone is actually not what the game is supposed to be.

Q: Will be have to zone to every zone from now on then?
No, it's as seamless as it is today.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Cross-Realm Zones Coming to Beta started by chaud View original post
Comments 597 Comments
  1. Darnassian's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bombkirby View Post
    Oh now I get it. This is an attempt to help repopulate the world, and in theory will guarantee world pvp since so many people will be running about.
    People on PvE realms don't care about world pvp, that is why they are on PvE realms.
  1. Keleri's Avatar
    This is ridic! C'mon Blizz, cross realm AH next.
  1. Horseface's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Karosene View Post
    Don't come in here using logic!
    Made my day.
  1. Terranullis's Avatar
    This sounds like an awesome feature. And I can't believe people are complaining about it.
  1. Rinnegan's Avatar
    Plus this takes the the word 'ganking' to a whole new level ... think about the Nesingwary camp in Stranglethorn Vale ... skeletons only ^^
  1. zugzug's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Keleri View Post
    This is ridic! C'mon Blizz, cross realm AH next.
    Well D3 AH is Region wide. Entire EU is on same AH.
  1. Brexan's Avatar
    I must admit I did a double take when I read this news post, and even double checked it wasn't April 1st again

    The main problem I see with this is the same issue we have seen with LFR/LFG - certain people from other servers seem to think its acceptaible to grief-play to varying extents as they can 'get away with it' without any of the social reprecussions you'd get if you were acting badly towards someone on your own server. Want to ninja a mob? sure why not, you'll never seen that guy again. Want to get into a random flame war in general chat? go right ahead, your guild won't know etc etc etc.

    We will have to wait and see how it all turns out in practice, but I can definately see potential for this to become a double-edged sword.
  1. Darnassian's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by zugzug View Post
    Thing is they dont do that for any xrealm transfer issue. This is done for new toons and it was never a problem to click on change realm and start toon w/e you want to. Xrealm transfers is mostly for maxed chars and they barely will get affected by this if i have read that blue post right. So what they do is you dont chose with/on what realm you level your toon, they`ll just shove in your throut entier battlegroup or even more.
    yea and that is what I don't like. Their system needs to be smart, they need to spell out pve realms will only have pve realms added so like minded players show up. PvP realms can have all the mindless ganking they want with like minded individuals, the last thing we need are zone disruptions coming about from cross-realm crap. They definitely need to put a level cap on it. Example Stonetalon is 25-35, anyone higher than that is no longer elligible for the cross-realm zone, to prevent a bunch of useless 85s (or 90s) from causing cross-server zone disruptions because a lot of so-called pvpers seem to think killing npcs and flagged lowbies is a "pvp experience"
  1. Maxilian's Avatar
    I would really like these, but in may cause problem for some people, Ex:

    I don´t know, there is a problem, what will happen when Blizzard place together a PVP and PVE server together? what will happen then? or will they make Cross-realm Zones for servers that are of the same time, i mean a PVP server with another PVP server, A PVE server with another PVE server, RP server with RP or/and PVE (If it´s RP only, i mean not RP-PVP)?

    -Roleplayers these will make RP harder but at the same time it will make it easier to RP with more people

    -There are some server that are divided by language, what will happen to these? will they be united like in LFG/LFR? Example: Stormrage and Ragnaros
  1. TrollSlayer's Avatar
    In all my days on MMO-Champion have I seen something the entire community agrees is going to be a nice addition to the game. This really is time-well-spent as far as development for blizz, IMO. I'm looking forward to leveling my monk alt now.
  1. Verain's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by dokhidamo View Post
    That's exactly what will cause this to never see the light of day. People like you who will abuse it for ganking.
    Ganking is working as intended. It's one of the reasons I play this game. As much as I like destroying questing 85s, it is wonderful to obliterate in one mighty ambush some tinysmall levelling hordie.

    However, it would be very unfair to someone who has opted out of being ganked (aka, rolled on a pve server) to be flagged.
    Likewise, it would be ludicrous to be the only flagged guy in a field of blue because I rolled on a pvp server.

    Bashiok did clarify this, and realm type will be matched.

    Pretty obvious the pool of servers that'll cross over will be specific to what type of server you chose. I just don't want to be crossed with German/Spanish/Russian/French servers which I also doubt would happen, unless the other faction is a different language, like BG's, well, that's not so bad (unless people like making level 1 characters to hurl abuse at someone who just wiped the floor clean with them).
    Heh, no problem. I find all horde speak dagger-in-the-spine remarkably well. Or maybe it's just my talent with getting the, uh, point across.

    The beginning of the end of servers.
    Possibly. There are logistical issues even if the technical ones are solved, however. Can you picture ALL of the trade chats?


    @Kadaje: We'll be matching realm types when this goes to the live realms. (We will add a Q&A in the above FAQ to make that clear.)
    Yay good!







    Anyway, this is the biggest rogue buff in the expac :P
  1. Azkalani's Avatar
    Am I the only one that doesn't like this? one of my least favorite parts of wow is how when im questing someone can just swoop in and take and kill every mob just cause they have better survivability or even if they were there first either way i have to stand and wait for respawns. So now instead of being able to just quest I'll always have to compete for mobs sounds terrible would be okay if they just made anyone who contributes to a kill get credit but they have said they don't want to do this( I believe).
  1. Huggabear's Avatar
    umm Thi s is Bliz's way of saving themselves money having less servers for area's that are totally devoid of people. thy can reduce the amount of servers required to power the areas they are not doing this for you they are doing it for themselves.
  1. Maxilian's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Darnassian View Post
    yea and that is what I don't like. Their system needs to be smart, they need to spell out pve realms will only have pve realms added so like minded players show up. PvP realms can have all the mindless ganking they want with like minded individuals, the last thing we need are zone disruptions coming about from cross-realm crap. They definitely need to put a level cap on it. Example Stonetalon is 25-35, anyone higher than that is no longer elligible for the cross-realm zone, to prevent a bunch of useless 85s (or 90s) from causing cross-server zone disruptions because a lot of so-called pvpers seem to think killing npcs and flagged lowbies is a "pvp experience"
    Well i like your idea, but not the Lvl cap, why? if you don´t want to be killed by a high lvl player, don´t play on a PVP server, i think these is a great idea, these can help the World PVP, but yes i think the PVP realm should Xrealm with another PVP server and PVE with PVE
  1. ghora's Avatar
    Really that a nice touch blizz gonna add to the game
    And i still don`t understand a few people that doesn`t like it ... they whine when server are overpopulate and they whine when server are underpopulate ... nothing can really pleasse everyone always searching for the little thing and always wanted more ...
  1. Nivram's Avatar
    The good: gankers will have more victims to feast upon.

    The bad: low population realms will still have the same issue at max level... not enough players to put a 10 man raid together.

    This is a very poor way to address the complains about low population servers, don't get distracted people! We still need realms to merge... or a cross-realm LFG channel.

    Edit: autocorrected gankers to bankers lol.
  1. WoWFlame's Avatar
    Wow... Just wow... This has so many possibilities that it can bring in the future. This could fix world PvP and Low Populated Realms! Looks like this expansion is gonna be pretty pretty good!!!
  1. gums's Avatar
    This is awesome.

    However, I would like to thank Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars for this. Not because "Blizzard stole their idea or someone else did it first", but for the first time in awhile, WoW has some competition.

    Competition leads to innovation, leads to companies trying to stay ahead and learn from others, and most importantly it leads to new things like this where we, the customer, benefit.

    This is going to be awesome.
  1. Maxilian's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nivram View Post
    The good: bankers will have more victims to feast upon.

    The bad: low population realms will still have the same issue at max level... not enough players to put a 10 man raid together.

    This is a very poor way to address the complains about low population servers, don't get distracted people! We still need realms to merge... or a cross-realm LFG channel.
    Well is true it won´t help for High lvl PVE, but it will make Lvling cooler, and it will help the World PVP...
  1. Wondercrab's Avatar
    This really needs to be an optional feature. Regardless of what the intention of low level zones has been in the past, they've evolved (and have even been designed quest-wise in most places) as rather solitary singleplayer areas. People expect, and some have even grown to like, that quieter atmosphere. It's useful for farmers, rare mob hunters, roleplayers, and just those that prefer getting away from other players for a while.

    It's a great feature, but by making it always-on it's going to alienate a bunch of people.

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