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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. Shudder's Avatar
    That's funny, I called it being delayed. They said it was a 5.4 feature not awhile after.
  1. dewd's Avatar
    is this the "we dont wanna overhype it" 5.4 feature they kept secret?
  1. Arrowstormen's Avatar
    I wonder how low the pop has to be for the server to be a part of it.
  1. ComputerNerd'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.

    hey blizzard you fools should have done this YEARS AGO. except ACTUAILLY MERGE REALMS instead of waiting for "new technology" to do it you know... back when you started hemorraging subs because people diddnt want to pay to play on a server thats not stupid dead? yeah...
    Did you bother to actually read ?
    This avoids name clashes, and being non-permanant allows them to be shuffled around again should a faction representation or population go screwy.
    A big assumption that the low population realms were THE primary reason people left.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyy22592 View Post
    What about bind on account items?
    As far as I can tell, connected realms should effectively function as one, allowing mail to be sent between those characters whichever traditional realm they came from.
    Therefore if your characters on separate traditional realms form part of the same connected realm, then mailing items between them should be possible.
    Given how interaction like auction houses, guilds etc are intended to be possible, it makes sense for mail to be included and I would say pretty essential that it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by dewd View Post
    is this the "we dont wanna overhype it" 5.4 feature they kept secret?
    Blizzard hinted there were many big features in 5.4, and you could pick and choose your favourite.

    I would say that Connected Realms, Flex Raiding, Proving Grounds and the Arena Team changes are the bigger changes coming with the patch.
    Functionally it is Connected Realms and Flex Raiding that are the biggest imo.
  1. JLarks's Avatar
    Does this mean that, if someone already has 11 chars on one realm, they can make an alt on another realm connected together, and send the hierlooms across?
  1. Prokne's Avatar
    I wish they would just allow current tier cross realm raiding. Being in the same guild or having the same auction house really doesnt matter, what matters is having as large a pool of people to play with as possible. And this connected realms will probably only merge medium to low pop servers which may or may not want to be merged or benefit from it. What about people who are purposefully on a low pop realm because they like it but might want some opportunities to do specific group activities? Of course they probably think the number of people like that that they will lose is smaller than the number that will like it and either keep playing or come back.
  1. Ethas's Avatar
    Wouldn't it be better to allow duplicate names on the single realm and then merge them together with the future possibility of merging all realms into single big world?
  1. wow2011's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Durandro View Post
    I only have one question:

    Will connected Realms share 'realm population', or ever be split apart if one realm gets too large?
    Virutal Realm will have no population limit (this is not a merge). Each individual server will have population limit (aka log in queues).

    Short answer is no, the connected realms will never be split apart because of population issues.
  1. Ecwfrk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rennadrel View Post
    For low population servers, this might be a good idea, for everyone else it's just further destroying the community.
    For "everyone else" it's presumably irrelevant as it should only affect the low pop servers that are already lacking in community. Of course, if this complaint is based on the same logic as the "I don't like LFR but those who do like it enjoying it destroys the game!!!" complaints then yes, this will horribly and irrevocably destroy something; just like every other thing they don't like/care about/want/need does.

    For those on low pop realms that have been wanting a solution other than dropping $25 for each character they have, this will will be great. For those on realms with an already healthy population, it will be meaningless as those realms are unlikely to be connected to other realms.
    Other than the previously mentioned illogical complainers, the only ones who don't seem like they'll get much from this is those on high pop realms who are on the wrong side of a massive faction imbalance that makes it feel like a low pop realm. Only those who want to be on a low pop realm have anything to complain about because they're gonna be screwed.

    Quote Originally Posted by wow2011 View Post
    Short answer is no, the connected realms will never be split apart because of population issues.
    I doubt that's entirely true. This is a server merge. People from more than one server will now be sharing the same space. They could also say they're merging servers, giving each player the surname of their former server, but only making the surnames visible to people with a different surname. It's just PR semantics.

    5000 people in Vale of Eternal Blossoms will still cause performance issues for the players there no matter what virtual realm they rolled their character on. Population limits are implemented for performance reasons. So it's likely connected servers will have a shared queue. Although they'll likely connect servers so that it would take a massive population explosion in one or more of the connected realms for queues to ever be necessary. So shared queues or splits should be highly unlikely, but not unlikely enough to say they'll never happen. I wouldn't be totally surprised to one day see an offer for free transfers from one connected cluster to another.
  1. Illuminance's Avatar
    Server mergers without having to call it a server merge. Blizzard is trying to save face while getting close to halving their subscription base. Interesting.
  1. Shudder's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by eldritchforeshadow View Post
    I am on a super populated realm, hopefully this will not be for populated realms or at least limit it lol.
    Yeah, cause that's the whole goal of this, to give high pop realms large queue times...

    Quote Originally Posted by Agzarah View Post
    I suppose this method, as apposed to merging the realms would allow blizz (should they ver need to) un-link the realms back into single ones again, or if population decreases further, add more into the mixup.

    At the touch of a button the can theoretically combine or split as many as they like without ever having to worry about identity and naming consequences.
    Yeah, another awesome idea, let's tear guilds apart one day.
  1. Amatalai's Avatar
    Why some people are bashing such positive feature is beyond my understanding.
  1. balir's Avatar
    As long as its faction based too, it will be great. I really don't want a 70% Alliance realm connecting to another one with a similar ratio. If they can balance Horde/Alliance population ratios at the same time it will be sweeeeeeet.
  1. ganush's Avatar
    I'm crushed this isn't dropping with 5.4. We need it right now, not months into the raid tier. If we can't plug a couple of holes in our raid group, I sense we're going to fall apart sooner than later, and once people quit, they aren't coming back.
  1. Wilhelm137's Avatar
    It's amazing that one of the biggest features and probably the one thing that would bring more life back to the game gets pushed back to 5.5+. People aren't leaving in droves due to lack of content(this expac has had the most so far), they're leaving because no ones like being on a dead server which there's more than several handfuls of them. You want people back? merge their dead servers together with this feature and now what were once dead servers now have life on them again so it's more than a few hundred on at prime time.
  1. Aerisot's Avatar
    Won't this allow players to multibox again?

    Just create seperate accounts with characters on each different server that is connected..
  1. wow2011's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Illuminance View Post
    Server mergers without having to call it a server merge. Blizzard is trying to save face while getting close to halving their subscription base. Interesting.
    So many stupid threads like this -_- Do you think ESO is pre-merging their realms even before the game launches?

    Server merges and virtual realm solve 2 different set of problems. Low population is only 1 of the many problems that have plagued MMO games. All in all, virtual realm is vastly superior to server merges.
  1. ComputerNerd's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Aerisot View Post
    Won't this allow players to multibox again?

    Just create seperate accounts with characters on each different server that is connected..
    Multiboxing hasn't stopped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amatalai View Post
    Why some people are bashing such positive feature is beyond my understanding.
    Because some people are attention seekers and the best way to get that attention is to join the latest popular discussion and fabricate some negative points of view.
  1. Risale's Avatar
    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?
  1. Amatalai's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm137 View Post
    It's amazing that one of the biggest features and probably the one thing that would bring more life back to the game gets pushed back to 5.5+.
    It isn't.
    They add technology in 5.4 and will start connecting realms some time after patch day.

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