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. Vyomesh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondercrab View Post
    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.
    If you want a single player expirience, play a single player.
    This is an MMO.
  1. runeb1980@hotmail.com's Avatar
    Pretty much called this in the other thread about the non-existant 10.2 million subscribers. Blizzard are unwilling to admit that the number of subscribers is actually in steep decline in the US & EU.

    They would rather keep running a hundred lowpop servers than make an admission that would send investors fleeing. So the natural solution is to crossrealm everything, including regular gameplay... which is cool for us PVE'ers, but kind of economically retarded for Blizzard.
  1. Herecius's Avatar
    I've been saying it forever; Blizzard is going to, over time, slowly break down the boundaries between servers, and they'll keep doing it and modifying how the servers work until those boundaries are almost totally gone.

    This is a good thing, by the way.
  1. cyborgen's Avatar
    Hopefully they balance realm count this way, such as giving people on stormrage some horde and giving people on illidan some ally.However this may be difficult for them , as most pve realms are alliance dominated. This can be fixed by making the zones that are going to be cross realm, sanctuarys.
  1. beanman12345's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by maxilian View Post
    Well is true it won´t help for High lvl PVE, but it will make Lvling cooler, and it will help the World PVP...
    How will it make leveling "cooler?" grouping for quests severly gimps xp gains, and makes quests take longer because more people need drops from mobs. And it'll make leveling a gathering profession near impossible.
  1. Emophia'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.
    Yes, it's my fault I refuse to spend £200 to server transfer all my max level characters so I can actually play the Massively multiplayer part of this MMORPG.

    How can you possibly even say something so completely stupid?
  1. markdall's Avatar
    So what I hear you saying is that if I want to level a monk come MOP, I will now have the opportunity to be ganked by high level characters from other worlds? YIPEE!!! /sarcasm

    Seriously - I didn't see them address it, but that's what this sounds like to me.
  1. Khime's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cairm View Post
    I wonder if people who paid for the cross-realm chat with friend are feeling frauded. They paid for that kind of service for a while now (1-2 years).
    Cross-realm chat with RealID friends is a free service...
  1. Ryukai's Avatar
    As long as they keep PvP realm types together, RP realm types together, PvE realm types together, it'll be fine. :P If they mix them then I can see problems ariseing ;D
  1. greyghost's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Pretty much called this in the other thread about the non-existant 10.2 million subscribers. Blizzard are unwilling to admit that the number of subscribers is actually in steep decline in the US & EU.

    They would rather keep running a hundred lowpop servers than make an admission that would send investors fleeing. So the natural solution is to crossrealm everything, including regular gameplay... which is cool for us PVE'ers, but kind of economically retarded for Blizzard.
    Need some more tinfoil, bro?

    The sub number count released the other day wasn't done to play lip service to idiots like you who aren't willing to believe them even if you were shown screenshots monitoring server activity.

    Activision wouldn't lie about their sub numbers in an earnings call. It's tremendously against their best interests to lie to their investors, EVER. They couldn't care less about what you think, or what your uninformed opinion is. They have the data. You don't.
  1. gurv's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Synche View Post
    Blizzard already gives you the option to move to a large population server with server transfers, it is yourself whom refuses to use it.
    Fortunately I'm not on a low pop realm, but I can understand him.
    I have all ten classes at level 80+ (6 at 85) and I'd never pay Blizzard 200 € to fix something that's their responsibility.
    Nor would I want to level all these characters again.
    Eventually they'll have to do something about those low pop servers or it will come bite them.
  1. eschatological's Avatar
    I have to wonder about the people who cry "server community, OH NOES!" I've played on a dead server, and most of the server community are trade chat trolls and the remnants of serious players who've been around since Vanilla when their realm was high pop. My guildleader decided to transfer our whole guild to a high pop server, and I realized that, if the friends I had in my guild all moved, I'd have absolutely no qualms moving too as my attachment was solely in the guild I'd been a long time member of.

    This opens up the game. As long as: 1) spawns are kept variable, 2) named quest mob sharing (ungrouped) is somehow implemented, and 3) they address max level/AH stuff as well, this is a good thing.

    A good first step, imo.
  1. Runeweaver's Avatar
    This looks very good indeed, might bring some world PvP back?
  1. Nekosom's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Terranullis View Post
    This sounds like an awesome feature. And I can't believe people are complaining about it.
    People will literally complain about anything. For every happy event, there's always some Debbie Downer getting ready to take a shit all over it. Such is life.
  1. kaisha's Avatar
    Will i be able to gank people from other realms? :P
  1. retronym's Avatar
    World pvp is coming back!!! Cant wait to gank lowbies on my rogue muhahahaahah
  1. det's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Pretty much called this in the other thread about the non-existant 10.2 million subscribers. Blizzard are unwilling to admit that the number of subscribers is actually in steep decline in the US & EU.

    They would rather keep running a hundred lowpop servers than make an admission that would send investors fleeing. So the natural solution is to crossrealm everything, including regular gameplay... which is cool for us PVE'ers, but kind of economically retarded for Blizzard.
    /sigh - when are ppl like you are ever gonna recogize that lying about sub numbers is actually a crime.

    First thing that poppped into my head is that Blizzard is once more thinking ahead of the competitors
  1. markdall's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Vyomesh View Post
    If you want a single player expirience, play a single player.
    This is an MMO.
    I tried, but apparently they [edit: don't] consider @*%$ing Diablo 3 single player either.
  1. finchna's Avatar
    i don't get it. what low level content these days isn't soloable? If friends want to group up to play together from the start of the game or low level why aren't they all creating characters on the same realm/server? guess it doesn't matter much but why, really, is this necessary rather than hiring a bunch more dungeon developers to create more creative and interesting content?
  1. kays's Avatar
    oh god terrible idea is terrible, this should be called you'll never finish a kill quest again!

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