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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. Duende's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mcaffee View Post
    I play horde on a realm that is alliance dominated (0.4-1) will this connected realm stuff mean that our connected realm will be horde dominated to balance us both out?
    If you read the blue post you would see that they are considering faction balance....

    Hint: Q. Which realms will be connected as connected realms? Last sentence. The more you know.
  1. l4808's Avatar
    Disappointed that they are only connecting two and two realms.. :/

    That whole "players have changed server for blabla all kinds of reasons" was just an excuse because they didn't want to admit that they had to do something to fix the problem that comes with losing as many subs as they have.
  1. SodiumChloride's Avatar
    Wonder if they would be connecting across battle groups. No doubt the additional latency can't be good.

    Also maybe the heavens have mercy on whoever ends up connecting with Moonguard.
  1. Duende's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SodiumChloride View Post
    Wonder if they would be connecting across battle groups. No doubt the additional latency can't be good.

    Also maybe the heavens have mercy on whoever ends up connecting with Moonguard.
    I remember hearing that they will be allowing us to play against players from other battlegroups with the new arena system.
  1. Crevox's Avatar
    It's basically Blizzard's solution to low population servers instead of closing them.

    Instead of big "we have to merge servers due to low population" announcements, it's "oh man look at our new feature we link the realms together so cool."

    It works, I guess. Just tricky PR.
  1. ComputerNerd's Avatar
    Regarding the permanence, the connection is meant to resolve an issue which could simply happen again.
    Why do those imbalances happen in the first place, why have they continued to happen for years.
    There is simply nothing to stop it happening again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crevox View Post
    It's basically Blizzard's solution to low population servers instead of closing them.

    Instead of big "we have to merge servers due to low population" announcements, it's "oh man look at our new feature we link the realms together so cool."

    It works, I guess. Just tricky PR.
    Merging realms forces name changes.
    Is that good PR ?
  1. |Dexter|'s Avatar
    Hey here is a idea I can keep my name if you add my server name like a back name both problems fixed
  1. Quarla's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzyy View Post
    fun fact: nobody wants to play on evenly sided realms
    I wouldn't say nobody. Back when transfers were half off my guild decided to take a look at servers to try to find something better than what we were on with a balanced horde to alliance ratio. Let me just say, there really aren't any. The only once that have balanced populations are lower pop ones. So in the end we decided it wasn't worth transferring and stuck with our current PoS server because hey, at least it won't cost us a ton of money for absolutely no reason.

    Personally I'm not a big fan of the super high population servers that are very one sided. I like world PvP. It gets a bit boring without it. And I really hope that this helps our realm out. Our horde to alliance ratio is about 2 to 1 right now but pretty much we're the only progression raiding guild that's alliance side. It'd be nice to perhaps have more options and not always have to recruit off server, or not have recruits turn up their nose at our server because it isn't 'Zomg populated!' like Sargeras or something. Personally I'd like a bit more population on my server but there is such a thing as over populated and there's a damn good reason my guild and I haven't transferred to one of overly populated realms.

    In the end though, to each their own. Everyone has different likes/dislikes in this game but I do think that this will generally help the realms that really could use a little help. Now if only they could come up with a more useful way for guilds to recruit than a stupid forum based system. I mean, for gods sake, there has to be something better after all this time!
  1. Robert3620's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Revak View Post
    After thinking about this more it really seems like they should be merging a few low-pop realms with medium realms. What good is going to come of some of these low-pop dead realms where maybe 20-30 people are online at night being put together?!!!!! Keep the medium ones from getting low and give the low pop realms a lot more people to play with.
    I am sorry but no. Many of the people on these low population realms haven't been able to play with a enjoyable playing experience this entire expansion while Blizzard has let a long standing problem fester. I am tired of waiting and many others are as well. They have been able to take care of the problem for a long time now and choose not to and telling people they just need to wait it out longer is not ok. I am done with Blizzard after the terrible treatment they have given players on this issue. It's not a lot of fun not being able to play a mmo with other people, they have done the worst population management for a mmo I have ever seen or heard of.

    Also I will trade q times to be able to play with other people. World of Warcraft is a terrible single player game imo. If I wanted a single player game I would of bought that and over the course of this expansion that's what I have gotten with seeing my realm die.
  1. Quakefan's Avatar
    In the future all PvE reals are one and all PvP reals are one! xP
  1. Spotnick's Avatar
    I'm really curious to see if they will use this even on high population realms to try to balance factions. This would definitively be a game changer.
  1. Arganaut's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Spotnick View Post
    I'm really curious to see if they will use this even on high population realms to try to balance factions. This would definitively be a game changer.
    Shame it came to late for many otherwise I am in agreement.
  1. Zachary's Avatar
    With this technology, they can add more servers to the groups when the populations inevitably shift again in the future.

    With merged realms... well they would just have to merge again.

    There is simply no downside to this. The haters just have to find a way to criticize or be sarcastic at this fantastic announcement as well.
  1. goltnum9's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ComputerNerd View Post
    Regarding the permanence, the connection is meant to resolve an issue which could simply happen again.
    Why do those imbalances happen in the first place, why have they continued to happen for years.
    There is simply nothing to stop it happening again.
    Merging realms forces name changes.
    Is that good PR ?
    Ok then , cancel the projoect blizz pls. ComputerNerd has spoken,.

    really after all these qq on forums about fixing low population servers this is how community react? i expected a huge celebration over these changes.
    FYI name is reserved for the whole battlegroup also. Thats 1 reason they will connect realms on same battlegroup.
    People must start reading about the game they play or try to comment
  1. Sugarpixie's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Eroginous View Post
    From what they're saying, connected realms will be a 'seamless' experience, which indicates that all things available to one server would be available to all servers that are connected (mail, trading, AH, ect).
    I did mention 'as seems to be the case', what I meant was that I'd like a confirmation on this, the vagueness of the entire blog post annoys me. Why not just give us direct answers to the questions that have been popping up on the forums constantly ever since the words 'virtual realms' were first dropped?

    The problem that arises is now we have connected realms, what happens with realms that aren't connected? Will we be able to mail BoAs between those? If we want to make a new character on a different server, are we still screwed unless we just happened to get lucky with the realms they pick to be connected?
    I think this will be the case, BoA to linked realms only, and wait and see to find out which realms will be linked. I'm glad they're only connecting realms of the same type, at least. Part of the reason why I'm annoyed is that they've no idea about sets of servers yet. Was looking forward to more information to see what realms I should target for alts, among other things.

    The entire post annoys me. Rather than offer specific details on this feature and how it impacts players, they spend half the article talking about why they are doing it. Not sure about you guys, but I could give a fuck about why they are doing it. All I care about is how this will impact players, and thus far, they've been vague across the board.
    This, pretty much. It feels vague and comes across as a monologue to convince players how much they care about their playerbase having a good experience, etc etc etc. While I would really have liked some answers to the main questions that have been appearing on the forums everywhere, such as BoA possibilities, queue times for high pop realms, etcetera.
  1. Pheraz's Avatar
    I've heard that they're making way more money with micro transactions than with the subscriptions. Especially with the server trans

    - - - Updated - - -

    I've heard that they're making way more money with micro transactions than with subs. Especially with server trans
  1. Vynestra's Avatar
    I'm on kel'thuzad, HEAVILY dominated alliance. And a VERY populated server. If they brought any horde server, it'd need to be a server that's heavily horde populated, however it would take a super heavy horde, and high populated server to balance kt...That's not possible. As the server would be full all the time, and no one would be able to log in...Not sure they should target high pop realms, putting a low pop horde server onto kt would be catastrohpic for the horde server...


    Maybe adding a really low pop alliance to high pop alliance? I mean I don't think they would merge two high pop servers...It's to fix low pop...So...I do not want my alliance dominated pvp server to get a shit ton of hordies..I came here knowing there'd be 0 pvp. Blah.
  1. FAILoZOFF's Avatar
    Cant really say i like this solution. Feels too much like some kind of band-aid more than a serious "fix". Would prefer them to just leave this server BS in the past. They should make just 4 servers PvP/PvE/RP-PvP/RP-PvE. As for names, they could add surnames at that same time so you have to choose surname before 1st log in. Didnt like their old "server solution" mostly because it adds to the effect of "phasing" like: you can see just ppl close to you, as opposed to old times where you could see enemies from a far away. It was good and feelt very mmo'y.
  1. ophion1990's Avatar
    Took 'em long enough! Really cool new feature, now I can play my alts on my old realm without paying 2-3 times as much for gems/enchants as I do on my main's realm.

    How awesome is 5.4 looking btw? Blizzard is going out of their way to add alot of cool features, even though this one might not make it to 5.4 itself, it's still really cool.

    Quote Originally Posted by FAILoZOFF View Post
    Cant really say i like this solution. Feels too much like some kind of band-aid more than a serious "fix". Would prefer them to just leave this server BS in the past. They should make just 4 servers PvP/PvE/RP-PvP/RP-PvE. As for names, they could add surnames at that same time so you have to choose surname before 1st log in. Didnt like their old "server solution" mostly because it adds to the effect of "phasing" like: you can see just ppl close to you, as opposed to old times where you could see enemies from a far away. It was good and feelt very mmo'y.
    This has been brought up about a million times but it's next to impossible to merge realms. Players with the same name come up. Look up a name like Ophion on the armory, you'll find atleast 10 people with this name on PvP realms. What about people who quit playing? Sorry pal, you lost your character (unless Blizzard is gonna waste time copying millions of inactive characters around)! How about guilds with the same name? They'd have to make servers which can handle a ton of people or you'll have 2-3h+ que's before people can log in to game servers (2-3h is very generous, will probably be alot longer). Making a new character is already pretty tedious because alot of names are already taken, what if a realm has 1 million people playing on it who all have 5-10+ alts?

    This is the best solution I think, no messy server migrates, no naming issues, ... It's not perfect, but atleast they're working hard on a solution.
  1. Zachary's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Vynestra View Post
    So...I do not want my alliance dominated pvp server to get a shit ton of hordies..I came here knowing there'd be 0 pvp. Blah.
    I hope players like you are not catered to.

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