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 iamthedevil View Post
    This can do so much for world PvP.
    As long as pvp servers and only crossed with pvp servers.
  1. Ellixen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Theodon View Post
    I'm praying they don't decice to merge PvE and PvP realms together and have PvP active as a result. I can understand why people would want to play on a PvP server, but I don't personally want to be randomly involved in 1 sided PvP after rolling on a PvE server because the realm grouping turned it on.

    If they don't merge same-status realms together then it's going to be a pretty horrid implementation for a lot of people.

    Some people are clearly happy with this, so no idea where you are getting the impression "all" are complaning from. Also people have different opinions on merging everyone together in to a huge group or keeping individual servers individual. If you cannot understand their reasons behind this then calling them idiots just makes you look like a hypocrite.
    One, learn to read a post, no where did I call them idiots. I simply stated Idiocy of the world as a whole which I'm pretty sure you cannot retort against as that is my opinion. Also it was directed towards those who dislike this system due to the LFR style anonymous jerks they expect to see everywhere while they themselves are portraying the exact persona they claim to dislike. If you don't know what I'm talking about then please start from page one and read every post. Thankfully the majority is for this wonderful feature but my statement (once again) was for those who have an irrational dislike for it.

    Now please move along as I have nothing to do with you and your unwarranted pompous remark against me.
  1. Madruga's Avatar
    Wow. This is big!

    Didn´t see such a huge feature coming! Seems like Blizzard is SERIOUSLY concerned about players sitting only in the capital cities and REALLY wants the world to feel crowded!
  1. zugzug's Avatar
    Is it only me or that sounds terrible? Imagine leveling alt from 1-85 to be as populated as the cata areas within the first weeks of its release. Bunch of ppl w8ing and fighting over a quest mob, gank fest in PvP realms forcing players that want just to lvl that damn alt and get it over with to either quit that alt or farm their a**es in instances. I`m not the biggest fan of leveling, quite frankly even opposite, and i thank god that i got all my alts to last lvl before that goes live or it could have been just PITA to do it.
  1. kalo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Flimsy View Post
    That's brilliant and unexpected thanks Blizzard <3

    This is a awesome feature, especially for those stuck on low pop servers.
    oh really? i play on a very low pop server and the only influence this might offer to me is the decline of the last advangtages low pop servers offer. not only is our ah empty but then players from high pop servers can roam my realm and farm the ores to sell on their ah. gg.
    also players can now start to quest on my realm to circumvene their flooded areas and flood mine.

    good news for players on high pop realms indeed..
  1. beanman12345's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by zugzug View Post
    Is it only me or that sounds terrible? Imagine leveling alt from 1-85 to be as populated as the cata areas within the first weeks of its release. Bunch of ppl w8ing and fighting over a quest mob, gank fest in PvP realms forcing players that want just to lvl that damn alt and get it over with to either quit that alt or farm their a**es in instances. I`m not the biggest fan of leveling, quite frankly even opposite, and i thank god that i got all my alts to last lvl before that goes live or it could have been just PITA to do it.
    It is not only you.
  1. Darnassian's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by zugzug View Post
    Is it only me or that sounds terrible? Imagine leveling alt from 1-85 to be as populated as the cata areas within the first weeks of its release. Bunch of ppl w8ing and fighting over a quest mob, gank fest in PvP realms forcing players that want just to lvl that damn alt and get it over with to either quit that alt or farm their a**es in instances. I`m not the biggest fan of leveling, quite franly even opposite, and i thank god that i got all my alts to last lvl before that goes live or it could have been just PITA to do it.
    You're not alone. I don't really like that blizzard is taking it upon themselves to unleash the pent up dbags inhabiting overpopulated servers, especially those with severe faction imbalances like 100 horde for every alliance, onto unsuspecting quiet realms. People choose to be on the realms they are on to get away from having to deal with trash people like the example I've given. Some people like quiet backwaters. If a player doesn't like it they can pay the money and xfer to a populated realm.
  1. Bombkirby's Avatar
    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.

    Also. Be reasonable and don't assume EVERY zone is cross realm. Who knows, maybe only a few will be that way.
  1. Deadanon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by zugzug View Post
    Is it only me or that sounds terrible? Imagine leveling alt from 1-85 to be as populated as the cata areas within the first weeks of its release. Bunch of ppl w8ing and fighting over a quest mob, gank fest in PvP realms forcing players that want just to lvl that damn alt and get it over with to either quit that alt or farm their a**es in instances. I`m not the biggest fan of leveling, quite frankly even opposite, and i thank god that i got all my alts to last lvl before that goes live or it could have been just PITA to do it.
    It sounds more than terrible. They are creating instanced world that will just make the questing worse for PVE players. For PVP it might sound good tho.
  1. Nullpointer's Avatar
    I am on pvp server, but not because I like pvp, but because my friends are there and there is a rather large community from my country. While this big change is surely good for most of people who like world pvp or are accustomed to playing on high populated servers, it is an awful addition for people like me, who are disgusted with wow pvp in any form and are playing in low populated servers. This is because of the economy of low pop. servers - it is bad, everything is overpriced, rare items are very hard to be found, but on the bright side there are a few serious material gatherers for example, so if you have gathering alts, mats are easy to come by. Now with this change, low populated servers become like medium or even high populated ones, but their economy stays the same, it will be even worse, because less mining nodes and herbs will actually be fueling the economy. This will destroy auction houses on low populated servers.
  1. Thunderlight's Avatar
    Awesome! This is a very good move by Blizzard! World PvP!!
  1. Rinnegan's Avatar
    EU: Aegwyn (30k allys) and Frostwolf (30k horde) are both sharing the same pool (Blutdurst) - this feature will make intense battles possible- I LIKE!
  1. harod's Avatar
    Been procrastinating on my Arena Grand Master achievement. I better get to work before it's all but undoable.
  1. Ellixen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Deadanon View Post
    It sounds more than terrible. They are creating instanced world that will just make the questing worse for PVE players. For PVP it might sound good tho.
    In line with your concern, it would be nice if blizz put in an option to enable or disable this feature for those who would rather be in an underpopulated realm.
  1. turbe's Avatar
    This shit rocks.
  1. Nobar's Avatar
    The beginning of the end of servers.
  1. Synche's Avatar
    I love how no one knows the finer details of the system yet will complain.

    You really think blizzard will merge PVE / PVP players unless grouped ? No. They aren't that stupid. It only makes sense that they will pull from the same server type unless grouped. I will assume that if you have a friend that is on a PVP server, invites you to a group and you are on a PVE server, you would then move to a PVP zone due to the invite coming from a PVP server.

    This is a move in the right direction for all MMO's. There shouldn't be servers any more, this is just the first step to make it truly a "World". It is called WORLD of Warcraft, now SERVERS of Warcraft.

    I couldn't be more happy with it, I play an MMO to play with other people not to play in a world by myself. The addition of the Battletag system will perpetuate this even more, so that players can group together easier and actually have fun out in the world again.

    oh really? i play on a very low pop server and the only influence this might offer to me is the decline of the last advangtages low pop servers offer. not only is our ah empty but then players from high pop servers can roam my realm and farm the ores to sell on their ah. gg.
    also players can now start to quest on my realm to circumvene their flooded areas and flood mine.
    Except you don't understand how it works, no one actually plays on "Your" realm, nor do you play on your own realm either. You are going to be on an instance of that zone which is separate from any other server. While I can understand the complacency of being on a Low pop realm , the faster that it transitions to a "World" rather than individual servers, community will thrive. Those ass hats that group up to be douchebags will get black listed "world" wide rather then a specific server.
  1. zugzug's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Darnassian View Post
    You're not alone. I don't really like that blizzard is taking it upon themselves to unleash the pent up dbags inhabiting overpopulated servers, especially those with severe faction imbalances like 100 horde for every alliance, onto unsuspecting quiet realms. People choose to be on the realms they are on to get away from having to deal with trash people like the example I've given. Some people like quiet backwaters. If a player doesn't like it they can pay the money and xfer to a populated realm.
    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.
  1. Thunderlight's Avatar
    Btw doomsayers, here's Bashiok's answer to your cries!
    @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.)
    @Rogarb: 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.
    This is looking so awesome!
  1. Karnige's Avatar
    great idea! be nice to quest in areas that are busier. just because. make the game feel like the older days. love it

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