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Patch 5.4 Feature Preview: Connected Realms
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Over the years, World of Warcraft players of all kinds have naturally migrated to different realms to play with their friends, find new guilds, strive for Heroic boss kills, search for the most competitive PvP experiences, and otherwise try to find the right place to call home. Over time, these shifts in player population can sometimes create a less-than-optimal play experience for those on less popular realms, making it tougher to find guilds, conquer group content, and get what they’re looking for from the Auction House and in-game economy.

In Patch 5.4, we’re looking to address this with a new feature called Connected Realms. Building on our existing cross-realm technology, a Connected Realm is a set of two or more standard realms that have been permanently and seamless “linked.” These linked realms will behave as if they were one cohesive realm, meaning you’ll be able to join the same guilds and Arena teams, access a single Auction House, run the same Raids and Dungeons, and join other adventurers to complete quests.

Our goal with Connected Realms is to give players on lower-population realms more opportunities to group up, compete, and connect with other players to take on Azeroth’s bigger challenges. That sort of interaction is a big part of what makes World of Warcraft fun, and this feature will help us deliver that experience to even more players.

We’ve prepared a short FAQ to answer a few questions we’re sure you’ll have, and we’re very eager to hear your thoughts and collect further questions in your comments below.

Q. Why are you implementing Connected Realms?
A.As WoW has evolved, we’ve seen players naturally gravitate toward a subset of very active realms, leaving behind lower-populated realms. Due to the massively multiplayer nature of World of Warcraft, certain kinds of gameplay experiences simply aren’t well-suited to a low-pop realm. By allowing players from two or more lower-pop realms to play together, we hope to give more players more opportunities to participate in group-oriented activities, helping to foster a more vibrant in-game community.

Connected Realms also allow us to link populations in a way that’s not disruptive to players, and that doesn’t negatively impact players’ sense of identity and character. Other alternatives such as merging realms would require us to force character name changes if there were conflicts, and could lead to confusion for returning players who’d log in to find their realm missing from the realm list. Some players also feel strong ties to their realm’s name or history, and we don’t want to erase that.

Q. Why implement this now?

A. Our cross-realm technology has continued to evolve since it was first developed for joining players in dungeons. It’s now at a point where we can create seamless worlds made up of multiple individual realms, and we think there are some really positive benefits to that.

Q. How can I tell if someone is on my Connected Realm, but from a different realm?
A. Similar to how we use the (*) symbol next to a player’s name to denote if they’re from another realm in Raid Finder, Dungeons, Scenarios, or a cross-realm zone, we’ll be using a (#) symbol to indicate that someone is part of your Connected Realm, but not your home realm.

Q. Which realms will be connected as Connected Realms?
A. We haven’t decided yet which realms will be made part of a Connected Realm, or which other realms they’ll be connected to, though realms will only be connected to other realms of the same type (e.g. PvE to PvE, PvP to PvP, RP to RP). In the end, we’re considering a number of factors, including Battlegroup, population, and faction balance.

Q. How many realms will make up a Connected Realm?
A. We don’t know how many realms will make up a Connected Realm yet, and it’s likely to differ from Connected Realm to Connected Realm. Our goal is to create a vibrant and fun online experience where you can join guilds, access an active Auction House, and band together to take on group content.

Q. Will Connected Realms have any limitations?
A. There should be no limitations. We want the experience to be seamless, and we expect it work as if you’re suddenly part of a much more active realm.

Q. When will Connected Realms be available?
A. We haven’t yet determined when we’ll be creating the first Connected Realms, but we expect it will be some time after the launch of Patch 5.4.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Patch 5.4 Feature Preview: Connected Realms started by chaud View original post
Comments 285 Comments
  1. Kilmir's Avatar
    Not with 5.4 and no announcement which servers yet.

    Annoying. My raidgroup is basically waiting for this to get a bigger playerpool to recruit people from. I was really hoping to be able to go to the to-be-connected realms and start recruitment early.
  1. Nibbor's Avatar
    Damn its about time they link some servers. Im on a very low populated realm and I cant find any guild or like today... Galleon was up for the whole day, lol. There are just no people wanting to kill it (I dont know any ppl from others realms).
    Cant wait for it!
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ComputerNerd View Post
    There is nothing that states it being permanent.
    That is a huge part of why it is virtual rather than a traditional and irreversible merge.

    Giant realms are simply not a good option given how the economy in the game is driven.
    There is already stupid amounts of competition and undercutting due to the supply of many items, imagine making it 10 or 20 times worse.
    There have to be individual realms, and a fair number of them.
    "a Connected Realm is a set of two or more standard realms that have been permanently and seamless “linked.”

    kthxbai
  1. Verain's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bauwagast View Post
    Exactly my thought when I saw this feature coming. Should be no problem to transfer BoA items between your "off server alts" with this new tech, although I suspect that the answer is "nope sorry, can't do that, until some unspecified future date, that is probably never coming" (because paid transfers with chars full of BoA items is just good money?!).
    No, it will work. You will be able to mail people on your merged servers, so you will obviously be able to mail your own alts.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilmir View Post
    Not with 5.4 and no announcement which servers yet.

    Annoying. My raidgroup is basically waiting for this to get a bigger playerpool to recruit people from. I was really hoping to be able to go to the to-be-connected realms and start recruitment early.
    Are you 10s and on PvP? We should all group up and be a 25. Of course, we can't meaningfully do this until we learn who merges with what.
  1. ZehGeek's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tyrindor View Post
    CRZ will still exist pretty sure, those CRZ zones could be even more populated after this depending on how they choose which servers to merge.
    As far as I understand, This CR..or VR..or whatever..is completely different then CRZ. CRZ is ment to make old zones still be populated..and this is the actual fix people expected with CRZ so
  1. Calypso's Avatar
    Looking forward to this new feature, hopefully it will save the dying realms
  1. Alantor's Avatar
    this is huge, im really excited and dont even play wow anymore xD
  1. Karnige's Avatar
    This is blizzards desperate attempt to not look bad with server merges and instead do it this way. merge 3 low pop servers. solved. can't look weak blizzard huh
  1. Soulfròst's Avatar
    I really don't think it's an intentional avoidance of "looking bad" as much as it's just a smart solution to a prominent problem. They can see that the numbers of raids completed each week have likely steeply declined. Guilds have probably vanished or become idle. So, with virtualization tech, they innovated a fix. I'm betting it was in the cards while CRZ was being developed and deployed, as a "test bed" or trial. So if it's being implemented as a long-term solution to help the low-pop realms, it's not going to hurt high-pop realms. They wouldn't implement something that counteracts the very goal it was created to achieve.
  1. Balo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilbruz View Post
    I wonder how the "Blizzard are greedy to charge for realm transfer" - trolls will argue and complain about this one

    (Im sure they will find a way of course)

    very simple this is only going to effect servers that are low pop. they said NOTHING about servers that have huge server imbalances. So is your on a server that is like 99% horde or alliance and your not on the dominate side your still screwed and will have to give blizzard money to play on a server that is more balanced.
  1. Soulfròst's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Balo View Post
    very simple this is only going to effect servers that are low pop. they said NOTHING about servers that have huge server imbalances. So is your on a server that is like 99% horde or alliance and your not on the dominate side your still screwed and will have to give blizzard money to play on a server that is more balanced.
    This may or may not be the case. It would depend on what demographics they're using to determine the population status of the realm. If faction balance is worked into the equation, then it could potentially fix that as well. At least, that would be what makes sense. Matching a high-pop, horde dominant realm with a high-pop, alliance dominated realm. It all really depends on how the background infrastructure is setup. If its just a virtual tunnel they're creating to bind the two realms together, then it may cause problems. If there's a "middleman" or mediary server that mediates between the two realms and combines them into a cluster, then it would work out provided that mediary hardware is upgraded to handle that larger load.
  1. Sarevokcz's Avatar
    So, they are merging servers and keep player names through unique identificators other than the actual name... well its not like I saw that suggested atleast 3 years ago, took you long enough Blizzard.

    Honestly, I have NO idea how this is gonna work anyway in practical world, decent chunk of realms are pretty much single/double nation realms that are used to have chat in their language for years, one bad merge and they are gonna loose more people from those realms that they would get by the merge. I saw that like half a year ago, our server got some FCT and couple dozen people transferred, saw trade and general filled with something else that english and started flaming everyone and demanded the 2 thousand players to use strictly english in chat for those maybe 50 people, if course they pretty much got flamed back and told to not expect it any time soon. In the end they eihter stopped playing or transferred elsewhere for cash since I havent seen them since. Now imagine it on a much larger scale when most of the people on the internet are unreasonably stubborn, put into it the fact, that lots of people dont actually know english very well and chat is gonna be a mess thats gonna make loads of people leave. This HAS to be done properly and Blizzard really needs to do serious research of communities on the realms targeted for the merge.
  1. jazzyy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Balo View Post
    very simple this is only going to effect servers that are low pop. they said NOTHING about servers that have huge server imbalances. So is your on a server that is like 99% horde or alliance and your not on the dominate side your still screwed and will have to give blizzard money to play on a server that is more balanced.
    fun fact: nobody wants to play on evenly sided realms

    imagine 1:1 ratios on a High/Full pop server. Want to do Oondasta? Galleon? Nalak? Sha? Good luck. Dailies? Good luck. Leveling 85-90? Node farming?

    server imbalances were created by the players on purpose to stack their odds and make their life easier. if a majority of people actually want blizzard to force all realms attempt to be as 1:1 as possible then more people would complain simply because the game would actually be HARD in WPVP again

    it's funny because I wouldn't mind trying it but I know I would immediately regret it because it's such a fucked concept.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarevokcz View Post
    our server got some FCT and couple dozen people transferred, saw trade and general filled with something else that english and started flaming everyone and demanded the 2 thousand players to use strictly english in chat for those maybe 50 people, if course they pretty much got flamed back and told to not expect it any time soon.
    further proving how absolutely toxic the wow community is
  1. Muradu's Avatar
    It'll be interesting to see how it's implemented; though I hope they don't do it as they did with Battlegroups, and ignore/largely ignore language barriers between realms.
  1. Verain's Avatar
    I doubt very much they will bring over non-English into English realms. That is super annoying just for CRZ, but they backed out on that mostly.
  1. Soulfròst's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzyy View Post
    fun fact: nobody wants to play on evenly sided realms

    imagine 1:1 ratios on a High/Full pop server. Want to do Oondasta? Galleon? Nalak? Sha? Good luck. Dailies? Good luck. Leveling 85-90? Node farming?

    server imbalances were created by the players on purpose to stack their odds and make their life easier. if a majority of people actually want blizzard to force all realms attempt to be as 1:1 as possible then more people would complain simply because the game would actually be HARD in WPVP again

    it's funny because I wouldn't mind trying it but I know I would immediately regret it because it's such a fucked concept.



    further proving how absolutely toxic the wow community is
    I have no idea where you got this idea from. There's no illuminati group of players. There's no player conspiracy to skew the ratio.
  1. Tribunal's Avatar
    Yeah, I have been excited for this to come in patch 5.4 since they hinted at it. I have actually been putting off a guild choice (hoping for more attractive options without x-fering AGAIN) because of it.

    Now... this "maybbbeee one or two realms and mayyyybeeee after 5.4" backtrack is really disappointing. The original hint seemed like it would be launch day, and that most realms would already be coalesced and ready to go.

    Still going to wait and see, but much less hopefully that it will actually fix my problems. Heck, the way they're talking my ghost-town-but-still-technically-still-lowend-medium pop server might not even get the treatment :/
  1. Valarius's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tharkkun View Post
    I wouldn't be suprised to see them go live a few weeks post 5.4. They will spend a couple weeks hotfixing any bugs in the lost isle, 5.4 raid, flexraid tech and new arena team functionality before they jump headfirst into connected realms.
    By which time my guild will have quit.

    Up until now we've been holding onto the hope that we'd be able to recruit to do SoO because of Virtual Realms. Now today they announce they don't actually know when it's coming. Heh. My sub is currently not active, and I won't be activating it at all if they don't drop this on the first week. It's already too little too late. Asking us to wait even longer after all of this "it's coming in 5.4" spiel is just the final slap in the face.
  1. workhabits's Avatar
    (Blizzard Stalls on V-Realms and calls it something else )
    We haven’t yet determined when we’ll be creating the first Connected Realms, but we expect it will be some time after the launch of Patch 5.4.

    (and they are still using the name change factor an excuse to not do a real merge)
    Other alternatives such as merging realms would require us to force character name changes if there were conflicts, and could lead to confusion for returning players who’d log in to find their realm missing from the realm list. Some players also feel strong ties to their realm’s name or history, and we don’t want to erase that.
  1. Airwaves's Avatar
    Hmm. Now that my brothers realm is going to be high pop I might move a toon there to play with him. Nice!

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