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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. Alexor's Avatar
    nice job with the name change bliz,.. virtual realms was a poor choice for the name,.. you couldn't tell what it was from the name as all realms seem to be virual.'
    but connected realms is good,.. better still would've been realm groups like battle groups
  1. Necrotica's Avatar
    I'd like to see them allow ingame mailing for account characters... Why can't I send something to a toon on another server and just mail to Necrotica-ServerNameHere

    Wham bam! Check please!
  1. gorocz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Darthballz View Post
    They don't have to say it's server merging because just reading the method they are using is saying the game is losing population slowly. Also I'm never for these Cross Realm things because some people want to be on a low/med pop server away from others. Rares become more annoying and for someone like me who would spend some hours hunting rares I just couldn't deal with everyone so I simply quit.
    You know something's wrong when the best way to do an achievement is to start a DK on another server...
  1. xlightning's Avatar
    I wonder what they will make with my server, Aggra EU. It's the only Portuguese server and it definitely needs more activity.
  1. Time Sage's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by gorocz View Post
    You know something's wrong when the best way to do an achievement is to start a DK on another server...
    They've explained this. The mail system is so heavly encoded into the core of the games systems, that when they start makeing changes other things just start falling apart. I assume work on such a system is thus very slow going
  1. Revak's Avatar
    The only negative thing I see with this is that it's being touted as a 5.4 feature but it's not being added on the release of 5.4.

    Questions:

    1. If you have 2 or more realms connected that means you are getting another 11 character slots per those realms, right? So you could have 22, 33, etc. to work with on the realm you play.
    2. BoA items should be mailable if you created toons on each of the connected realms since the economy, ah, etc. are all linked. Or am I missing something?
    3. Are they only merging low-pop realms. Mine is considered medium population but the activity is more on par with low pop realms. It is dead. Hopefully we get at least one other realm merged with ours.
    4. Is this in essence a "forever" merger? If you can have guildies and things like that b/c they are merged but on different servers then "un-merging" would remove those members of your guild. Seems like it would have to be a permanent link b/t the servers they choose to merge with each other.

    Exciting though. I hope this works like they say it will.
  1. Rennadrel's Avatar
    You know, WoW used to have a good community back in Wrath, before Blizzard started all this cross realm nonsense, back then the realm forums were worth using. The more Blizzard tries to merge servers and player communication, the further they sink the nail into the already sealed coffin that is the game's community. For low population servers, this might be a good idea, for everyone else it's just further destroying the community.
  1. Marema's Avatar
    Glad to see this finally happening. I'd be curious though if they'd contemplate combining 2 high pop servers with major faction imbalances to even things out a bit. Of course that would be done well after the low pop realms were combined but it's just some food for thought!
  1. Nivena's Avatar
    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.tb

    No reason for me to resub untill that feature is on live servers. My realm is dead, all guilds which raided left during the 50% promotion. Frostmourne-EU was one of the first german realms to go live and we were a full server up to Wrath; now there are around 10 people online in Orgrimmar at Saturday evening.
  1. DirtyCasual's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kazlehoff View Post
    So they get to merge realms.... without having to say they are shutting down any realms,... meaning they dodge the bad PR from that. lol.

    or maybe they are doing it this way to avoid thousands of people being forced to change character names and the drama that would unfold surrounding who gets what name? As well as what to do with the multitude of inactive characters associated with each realm, allowing them to avoid a Age of conan style deletion of characters that are innactive.

    personally, i'm glad they are doing it this way, i have a hard enough time as it is coming up with names for new alts nvm potentially losing names i've been known as for years and having to come up with new ones
  1. Nivena's Avatar
    It makes perfect sense. The tech will go out with the 5.4 release, but the realms themselves won't be connected until a bit later into 5.4. I don't see a problem with the wording at all.
    Let's hope that is the case.
  1. Spl4sh3r's Avatar
    They forgot the biggest question...what about names? Can you use same name as another player in the Connected Realms but is from a different home realm?
  1. hiragana's Avatar
    good news but too late for millions of players, if theyd done this a couple of years ago im sure i would still be playing but its taken a staggering subloss for them to finally get of their asses, shame.
  1. lewisderp's Avatar
    My characters are all on completely dead servers. This and flexible raids would really push me towards resubscribing. As much as I dislike some things which Blizzard are doing, I really like the look of these features.
  1. Matty710's Avatar
    So basically it's server merging without using the phrase "server merges", which allows the fanboys to completely ignore the fact that this is just another form of server merges.

    Well Blizzard, at least your marketing/PR people deserve a raise.
  1. Miakisaki's Avatar
    How they could have simply merged the servers in a few easy steps.

    1. Implement a surname system like many other games have. This would allow you to keep your current name, and even spice it up a bit more. Give people a week to choose new names.
    2. Begin server merging process. Select one medium population realm and several low ones.
    3. Disallow new AH posts and new mail on the low population realms for a period of 3-7 days, letting people on that realm know they must empty the AH and mailbox before merges
    4. At the end of that period, merge the low population realms into the medium one. Doing it this way will allow for less guild name clashes.
    5. In the event of a duplicate guild name, the guild with more members will win the rights to the name. The other will receive a free guild name change.

    So there's no real point in using fancy terms like "connected" realms. Just merge the damn things.
  1. Necrotica's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Revak View Post
    The only negative thing I see with this is that it's being touted as a 5.4 feature but it's not being added on the release of 5.4.

    Questions:

    1. If you have 2 or more realms connected that means you are getting another 11 character slots per those realms, right? So you could have 22, 33, etc. to work with on the realm you play.
    That'd be cool, allow me to start doing alliance toons on the same "server" too...

    Quote Originally Posted by Revak View Post
    2. BoA items should be mailable if you created toons on each of the connected realms since the economy, ah, etc. are all linked. Or am I missing something?
    3. Are they only merging low-pop realms. Mine is considered medium population but the activity is more on par with low pop realms. It is dead. Hopefully we get at least one other realm merged with ours.
    On mine, the Alliance side is very healthy, the Horde side is very dead... Our server is considered "medium" but... Horde is Low Pop easily.

    Quote Originally Posted by Revak View Post
    4. Is this in essence a "forever" merger? If you can have guildies and things like that b/c they are merged but on different servers then "un-merging" would remove those members of your guild. Seems like it would have to be a permanent link b/t the servers they choose to merge with each other.

    Exciting though. I hope this works like they say it will.
    Prob have to be a perm thing.
  1. Razamith's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Revak View Post
    The only negative thing I see with this is that it's being touted as a 5.4 feature but it's not being added on the release of 5.4.

    Questions:

    1. If you have 2 or more realms connected that means you are getting another 11 character slots per those realms, right? So you could have 22, 33, etc. to work with on the realm you play.
    2. BoA items should be mailable if you created toons on each of the connected realms since the economy, ah, etc. are all linked. Or am I missing something?
    3. Are they only merging low-pop realms. Mine is considered medium population but the activity is more on par with low pop realms. It is dead. Hopefully we get at least one other realm merged with ours.
    4. Is this in essence a "forever" merger? If you can have guildies and things like that b/c they are merged but on different servers then "un-merging" would remove those members of your guild. Seems like it would have to be a permanent link b/t the servers they choose to merge with each other.

    Exciting though. I hope this works like they say it will.
    1. The names aren't merging. You can still have 11 slots on Windrunner and 11 slots on Wyrmrest if they merge those two (or more) together; you just get lucky with having 22 that can mail each other items. Still limited to 50 total chars or however many it is.
    2. You can mail BOA to same linked server. If you couldn't then you couldn't mail items to guildies on same linked server either -- wouldn't make sense. You likely still cant mail them cross server until they figure out something else with that.
    3. Probably merging anything medium or lower with others to create high-pops. Seems like the purpose is to get pools of people together, with a side benefit of server balancing if possible. High-pop one-sided servers may still be in trouble. Your guess as good as mine though.
    4. Besides the word "permanently" in the description yes it will be a forever merger unless new tech/paradigm came out. You cant expect to join a guild and then unmerge and not have access to guildies or guild bank, amongst other logistic issues.
  1. xlightning's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Miakisaki View Post
    How they could have simply merged the servers in a few easy steps.

    1. Implement a surname system like many other games have. This would allow you to keep your current name, and even spice it up a bit more. Give people a week to choose new names.
    2. Begin server merging process. Select one medium population realm and several low ones.
    3. Disallow new AH posts and new mail on the low population realms for a period of 3-7 days, letting people on that realm know they must empty the AH and mailbox before merges
    4. At the end of that period, merge the low population realms into the medium one. Doing it this way will allow for less guild name clashes.
    5. In the event of a duplicate guild name, the guild with more members will win the rights to the name. The other will receive a free guild name change.

    So there's no real point in using fancy terms like "connected" realms. Just merge the damn things.
    I agree with this.
  1. usiris's Avatar
    subtle way of saying "were merging realms"

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