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. Nobar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Verain View Post
    Possibly. There are logistical issues even if the technical ones are solved, however. Can you picture ALL of the trade chats?
    Region wide, just you wait.
  1. Nullpointer's Avatar
    I like how everyone is ignoring the fact that this will destroy low populated servers' economies, if the high level zones with the current ores and herbs are not excluded from cross-realm. The thing is, everything is overpriced at the moment in low populated servers, for example Queen Garnets still go for 3k+ gold on my server, Inferno Rubies for 250g+ each, Essences for 150g+ each, stack obsidium for 120g+ each, stack Azshara's Veil for 120g+ each and so on. Depriving the economies of low populated servers from materials even further will bring us to unreachable inflation levels.
  1. troll's Avatar
    Time to transfer to a PvE realm I guess.
  1. Ohly's Avatar
    Wow... And they just announce it with a blue post like that!? This is easily one of the biggest features of the expansion so far!

    I'm actually getting more and more tempted to pick up the game again in MoP. Many of these changes are amazing.
  1. ghora's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by gums View Post
    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.
    i thought star wars was in decline the past few month
  1. Serenia's Avatar
    I knew this would happen, nice change...
    But if this is the way blizz is adressing the low pop realm problems in MoP then I can say that I'm completely unsatisfied and this move was already predictable.
    What can the damn cross realm low lvling do to me if I want my guild to recruit fresh raiders? What???
    Just doing cross realm LFR, older raids and bgs is not that fun when you just want more people in your realm so you can progress.
    I really hope this is not how their will adress the low pop problem else I'm disappointed. And a lot more people will probably think the same and they will either shallow it and transfer to a better populated realm or they will quit. Also I predict quite a lot of bot farming and rage over mining nodes/herbs.
  1. slackjawsix's Avatar
    I can't believe people are complaining PVp and pve realms are going to merge u have to give blizzard some credit do you really think they would be that dumb
  1. zilvis's Avatar
    Yes this is true some other games might have came up with the idea first most notably GW2 announcing guilds will be present across every server but it was surprising WoW actually kept this quiet and was able be like "Hey look what we have now" without someone mining it and saying its a rumored piece of info lol. Keeping up on tech and what makes the game better in the long run is the endurance blizzard creates in their games. Overall gj on making WoW a touch better...again.
  1. Emophia's Avatar
    This doesn't help those of use who are already max level on dead servers at all.

    I can't even buy landslide on the AH one my server, that's how bad it is right now.

    I sincerely hope this isn't all you have planned to help deal with low Pop servers.
  1. gurv's Avatar
    Pretty impressive move from Blizzard.
    Seems like they still can innovate, I'm curious to see what's next.
    Personally I would be interested in cross realm AH in case my realm went low pop in the future.
  1. gums's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ghora View Post
    i thought star wars was in decline the past few month
    It is, but it was still a sizable game to come along for awhile, and whether it fails or not, Blizzard knows it can't just get by any more.

    There are more MMOs coming, pushing everyone, whether it is Age of Conan, WoW, Guild Wars 2, or whatever, game developers need to continue to be pushing and innovating like this in order to get us and keep us as customers.
  1. Ellixen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by zilvis View Post
    Yes this is true some other games might have came up with the idea first most notably GW2 announcing guilds will be present across every server but it was surprising WoW actually kept this quiet and was able be like "Hey look what we have now" without someone mining it and saying its a rumored piece of info lol. Keeping up on tech and what makes the game better in the long run is the endurance blizzard creates in their games. Overall gj on making WoW a touch better...again.
    ^this is something I've always loved about Blizz, take an idea and see how they can make it better. I'm hoping this leads to xrealm heirlooms sooner rather than later
  1. kazso's Avatar
    Cross-realm zones have so much exploiting potential. I can't wait for this to be implemented
  1. Pancha's Avatar
    I like this. I really do.
  1. Illitti's Avatar
    Honestly, I'm not impressed. It's impossible to find decent people to join your 25man raiding guild and this doesn't help the slightest.
  1. Synche's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Emophia View Post
    This doesn't help those of use who are already max level on dead servers at all.

    I can't even buy landslide on the AH one my server, that's how bad it is right now.

    I sincerely hope this isn't all you have planned to help deal with low Pop servers.
    Until a merged AH, Low pop server economy will always be terrible, there is no fixing them outside of a server merge itself, and even then that won't guarantee anything.

    Blizzard already gives you the option to move to a large population server with server transfers, it is yourself whom refuses to use it.
  1. Dordric's Avatar
    Cross-Realm Zones Coming to Beta: Also know as "we don't have any players"
  1. retronym's Avatar
    PvE noobs need to stop their QQ. who cares if there is world pvp and ganking, that is what the world of WARcraft is about. if you dont like it go and play hello kitty world adventure or farmville on facebook
  1. gums's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Synche View Post
    Until a merged AH, Low pop server economy will always be terrible, there is no fixing them outside of a server merge itself, and even then that won't guarantee anything.

    Blizzard already gives you the option to move to a large population server with server transfers, it is yourself whom refuses to use it.
    Also, with how easy it is to level, start a new character on a new high populated server if you can't transfer because of money.
  1. greyghost's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by enchanted View Post
    If they can do this when why the fuck wouldnt they introduce cross-realm heirlooms? :madface:
    Implied at Blizzcon, one of the lead designers stated that he wants to make Heirlooms so that they're stored in such a way that they won't need to be mailed across characters, but rather they can be clicked and 'turned on' on empty gear slots.

    IE, the way that account-wide pets and mounts will work, but a storage for heirlooms that all characters can access by opening a panel instead of how it works now.

    For that to happen, it'll need some work. But I bet it'll be out before the end of MoP once the mount and pet systems work ok.

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