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. Bahska's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sarahstrasza View Post
    i'd rather they took off level caps on dungeon requirements.. So when i'm bored at 90 and want to cycle through old dungeons, I can queue and help 4 lower levels through without them getting a penalty.
    That's actually coming as well, they said probably not at launch but by the first major patch level scaling will be in the game.

    Was said during the press tour.

    ---------- Post added 2012-05-11 at 12:43 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawsix View Post
    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
    Yeah that's not happening here, only way you can get on a pvp realm from a pve realm is to group with a real id friend on a pvp server.

    ---------- Post added 2012-05-11 at 12:45 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Dordric View Post
    Cross-Realm Zones Coming to Beta: Also know as "we don't have any players"
    10.2 million people say hi
  1. Kink's Avatar
    I really want to start seeing changes for dks the current state of them in the beta is pretty bad..finding it extremely slow and boring to play DW frost as it currently sits, I really hope it doesn't launch like this.
  1. Bahska's Avatar
    Im excited for the pvp stuff this will bring over anything else.

    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.
    Actually no that's SW:ToR your thinking of http://www.gamebreaker.tv/mmorpg/sta...rpg/no-change/ That video was made on Aprl 24th, fast forward 2 weeks and no that was actually a lie they are losing subs.
  1. Pusekatten's Avatar
    Guild Wars 2 had it first, this is just blizzard copy pasting ideas into wow to keep people playing it.
  1. Arewn's Avatar
    This is such a great feature that helps the players so much, the only thing ashamed about it is that they introduce it as some "new technology" now, when they realistically could have implemented it ages ago. Well, now's the best time I guess, when such an idea has proven popular in other games and when they could use it advantageously to counter their realm pop problems. Better late then never seeing it at all.
  1. Bahska's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pusekatten View Post
    Guild Wars 2 had it first, this is just blizzard copy pasting ideas into wow to keep people playing it.
    Im pretty sure all the cross realm stuff was put into the game way before GW2 was out of alpha. Look back to pre cata when they consolidated Battle groups that's probably when blizz was thinking about doing this stuff.
  1. Plzbegentle's Avatar
    They mean the oveflow system from GW2 , where the system puts random players from random servers , in 1 common server , instead of waiting in the login que .
    But i find it strange , that after all these time in the MoP beta , and 1 week after GW2 open beta , they introduce this system
  1. Skulli's Avatar
    now they need to reintroduce group/elite quests to support group play again
  1. Nymie's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Skulli View Post
    now they need to reintroduce group/elite quests to support group play again
    Yeah, this. So many group quests can be soloed in halfway sufficient gear, I hope that the inject a reason to group instead of grouping just because you can. I miss the days of needing help killing Knucklerot in Ghostlands :P

    My question is: what happens once you are level 90 on a low pop server that would need something like this? Still have a dead economy, lack of pug raids or rbgs, and lack of community. Will there be more availability of cross-server raids? Because in my mind, this just gives more of a possibility for people to behave as they do in LFR (i.e. like total jerks), because they know they will never see these people again. Coming from an absolutely dead server (3 guilds actively raiding, 1- 25man, 2-10man) with an AH that half the time doesn't have flasks or potions up, no pug raids for alts, no rbgs, no.... life... to it, I am more concerned about addressing low pop servers in a way conducive to end game (and not giving Blizz over $600 in xfers for my husband and my toons).
  1. Arewn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Plzbegentle View Post
    But i find it strange , that after all these time in the MoP beta , and 1 week after GW2 open beta , they introduce this system
    It's by no means new tech as blizz advertised it in the post, they in all likelihood introduced it now that guild wars 2 demonstrated it works and is popular, and didn't bring it out earlier because of the large profit they get from payed realm transfers. Even if it's a great feature for players that would really help a lot of their player base, why would they introduce something that will chop their own profits by lowering the need for one of their other services. Now that other games offer it though, they have to to compete and as such made a timely introduction to it.
    I'm not putting them down for it since it's very smart and makes a great game, but since it's creation WoW has always been a game that takes features that other games have proven popular, and was created on that basis.
  1. Summerdrake's Avatar
    WORST

    IDEA

    EVER!

    LFD, LFR, Cross-realm pvp arena & battlegrounds have RUINED server community so that you don't bother to get to know people as much as before since you will meet so many people you probably won't see again.

    Also, most servers are horde populated so this will just make it worse for alliance players.

    The fun of Vanilla was to find people questing n leveling on your server n becoming friends, and now I'm supposed to meet people I won't see again cuz they'll be on another realm with guilds I thus won't be able to join. This is worst idea ever! What's next!?
  1. carnifex2005's Avatar
    Heh. Blizzard really are just looking at Guild Wars 2 production notes and out right copying things now. This is hilarious... and a sign of a serious lack of innovation.
  1. Kathranis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ghora View Post
    i thought star wars was in decline the past few month
    TOR lost 25% of its playerbase in the last quarter, dropping from 1.6 million players to 1.2 million.

    That said, Blizzard's greatest strength has always been improvement, not innovation. Iteration, not invention. That's one of the reasons WoW is such a juggernaut. They do come up with plenty of new ideas, and also borrow plenty of ideas from other games, but their area of expertise is refining those ideas by polishing them over and over.

    Naturally this isn't the be-all-end-all solution to low population realms. In all seriousness, Blizzard simply opened too many realms over the years and needs to start merging some of the low population ones (while taking into account faction balance needs).
  1. crackleslap's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by carnifex2005 View Post
    Heh. Blizzard really are just looking at Guild Wars 2 production notes and out right copying things now. This is hilarious... and a sign of a serious lack of innovation.
    Because you know when the genre of "cross realm zones" came into Blizzards agenda. WoW had cross-realm bgs and dungeons before cataclysm. In most cases, they probably already thought about cross realm zones. Guild Wars 2 implemented it, was popular Blizzard FOLLOWED the same steps NOT COPY. Not hard to pay attention to events happening prior in games that are of the same variation.
  1. MasterHamster's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Summerdrake View Post
    WORST

    IDEA

    EVER!

    LFD, LFR, Cross-realm pvp arena & battlegrounds have RUINED server community so that you don't bother to get to know people as much as before since you will meet so many people you probably won't see again.

    Also, most servers are horde populated so this will just make it worse for alliance players.

    The fun of Vanilla was to find people questing n leveling on your server n becoming friends, and now I'm supposed to meet people I won't see again cuz they'll be on another realm with guilds I thus won't be able to join. This is worst idea ever! What's next!?
    Next should be your time to leave.
  1. Kathranis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by carnifex2005 View Post
    Heh. Blizzard really are just looking at Guild Wars 2 production notes and out right copying things now. This is hilarious... and a sign of a serious lack of innovation.
    Be honest with yourself. Is it better to imitate the competition, or fall behind them?

    Forget innovation. If another game introduces a cool, popular feature, there's no reason for Blizzard to not try their own hand at doing the same thing. Why limit themselves just because someone else thought of it first?
  1. Irisel's Avatar
    It's going to buggy as hell, I bet, for about 2-3 patches.
  1. crackleslap's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Summerdrake View Post
    WORST

    IDEA

    EVER!

    LFD, LFR, Cross-realm pvp arena & battlegrounds have RUINED server community so that you don't bother to get to know people as much as before since you will meet so many people you probably won't see again.

    Also, most servers are horde populated so this will just make it worse for alliance players.

    The fun of Vanilla was to find people questing n leveling on your server n becoming friends, and now I'm supposed to meet people I won't see again cuz they'll be on another realm with guilds I thus won't be able to join. This is worst idea ever! What's next!?
    This wont be anything like LFD, LFR, you're out in the open world not a group of 5 or 2 people.

    Horde are most populated in most severs? Since when? - complete bullshit

    This happened in Vanilla, because it was a NEW game.

    Also this encourages world PvP which looks massively orgasmic, low populated servers will have some more enjoyment with playing with new people. Now that they have cross-realm raids AND zones now. Great change.
  1. papaz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bahska View Post
    That's actually coming as well, they said probably not at launch but by the first major patch level scaling will be in the game.

    Was said during the press tour.

    ---------- Post added 2012-05-11 at 12:43 AM ----------



    Yeah that's not happening here, only way you can get on a pvp realm from a pve realm is to group with a real id friend on a pvp server.

    ---------- Post added 2012-05-11 at 12:45 AM ----------



    10.2 million people say hi
    yeah, that's why they feel need to make things like this. because WoW is so overcrowded.
  1. Kathranis's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Summerdrake View Post
    LFD, LFR, Cross-realm pvp arena & battlegrounds have RUINED server community so that you don't bother to get to know people as much as before since you will meet so many people you probably won't see again.
    Why not just become BattleTag or RealID friends with them? You'll be able to chat, group, raid, or PVP with them cross-realm. Literally the only thing you wouldn't be able to do is join their guild.

    The fun of Vanilla was to find people questing n leveling on your server n becoming friends
    Yeah, too bad that seven years have passed and very few people are still level 23. I'm not exactly sure what you want Blizzard to do, here? The lowbie zones are deserted because players are playing higher level characters, leveling in dungeons, etc.

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