The idea is spot on - fill dead realms with lively players to make for a true "MMO" experience.
My problem is that these features are filling realms (and gameplay) with "inorganic" players - players from different servers as well as players that speak different languages. The sense of intra-realm community experienced in past expansions is something that I would like to see in upcoming expansions. I want to know the people I play with and play with the people I know. Realms are losing their sense of identity for the purpose of being connected. For example, I dislike playing with South Americans who hardly speak English and cannot be told the mechanics in LFR.
There should be more free realm transfers from high to low pop servers. They should do the hard thing and consolidate and delete realms because there is a surplus.
My advice - shift features towards community strengthening. Allow players to play with people who they are going to be actively engaged with on their realms and less with people on different realms.
TL;DR: Make features realm specific.
Would you like to see features more realm oriented, or do you like connecting with other realms?
If your going to make features realm specific, than your going to need many, many players on that realm all at the same time willing to use that feature. Which just isn't possible in most cases with merges (aka, connected realms).
Originally Posted by Ehrenpanzer
Annnnnnd...this is the point you should be euthanized for the betterment of humanity ;p
Originally Posted by Chris Metzen
"As you can see the age of the whimsical panda sadly, is over."
I agree that being connected to a realm where a large portion of the players speak a different language than you could be frustrating. It sounds like the better thing is to re-evaluate the realms that they are connecting, rather than limiting the features available to the connected realms. It has the added bonus of being simpler.
Free transfers to low pop servers doesn't work. People are paying to leave them for a reason nobody is going to leave a busy server with several things going on to sit in the wasteland of a dead server. The few that do are guilds looking to get server 1sts and things like that. Now those are no longer a thing less and less people will knowingly choose a low pop server.
Being on servers where you can't kill world bosses because you cant get groups, holiday events fizzle out and go undone because there isn't any participation and not being able to do organized pvp or raids outside of a small window a few nights a week sucks. Bosses like Oondasta would have gone unkilled on way too many servers until he was completely outdated. Things like that are exactly why CRZ/real id groups are needed. Sure it is a bandaid fix but it is better then what we had.
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before... He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way. -Kurt Vonnegut, "Cat's Cradle"