When Blizzard first announced that Connected Realms (Virtual Realms) was being introduced I was very pleased with the concept, but as time goes by I am starting to have my reservations. I found a blog post titled "Are Connected Realms The Answer TO Population Issues In Warcraft?" expecting to find somebody had done all my thinking for me. Unfortunately the post although succinctly put, only addresses the reasons and not the implementation.
I say this because on paper Cross Realm Zones sounded like a good idea, but I still dislike the implementation and the results. I think we all know the reasons for the impending functionality, but just for the record, here are my thoughts.
Reasons for Implementing Connected Realms
- WoW is still in terminal decline and if the predictions of a Bell curve are accurate then the projected number of subscribers is going to hit 4 Million in another 4 quarters and 2 Million after a further 2 quarters.
- Blizzard already have the infrastructure in terms of servers so it is unsure how they will benefit from de-commissioning servers but each server will have a maintenance cost attached in terms of patching hardware updates etc....
- A reduction in numbers of subscribers will make the game play of a MMO less Multiplayer and all grouped activities will be become harder to complete.
- Discrepancies in server numbers is a problem, and the need to try and balance Horde and Alliance numbers.
- Low Population servers have advantages of farming materials but a difficulty in both buying a selling goods in the Auction House.
- Higher Population servers will have more competition from Sellers but will also have increased Demand from Buyers.
- Merging servers is unpopular due to the requirement of Unique names of players and Guilds, and the bad publicity surrounding realm closures
|Freefalling numbers will peak again with an expansion but the trend is a downward spiral|
Issues with Cross Realm Zones
- Cross Realm Zones were very buggy when first introduced, stories of people plunging to their deaths and game crashes when crossing zones. The General chat - originally was multiplied by the number of Realms combined together. A simple "hello" would spam itself 6 or 7 times.
- There is a delay whenever moving between zones, most zones have an artificial cutover between zones which is fine when on the ground but is not very good when on a flying mount. If you want an example of this just fly near the larva flows between zones in the Barrens.
- Fights and abuse over farming of lower level resources and Rares.
- No accountability or reputation to uphold because you would be unlikely to see them again (lack of community)
Issues with Connected Realms
- The major issue is the expansion of CRZ technology, It didn't work that well when first implemented, it was poorly tested on the PTR, because by it's very nature it needs multiple realms to be joined
- How is the load balancing going to take place, is Stormwind on one realm and Ironforge on another, or does it not matter because nobody is left in Ironforge
- Just a feeling that the realms will be stuck together by tin cans and piece of string, as shown up by the implementation of the inhouse voice system. Mumble and Vent manage it at the same time as WoW is playing. If Auction Houses become buggy, the Goblins are not going to be happy
- How realms will be connected? we honestly do not know and then we have the issues surrounding dwindling numbers and further uncoupling and coupling taking place to even out the numbers
I would just feel happier if Blizzard shared some of this information with us. It is not like you can opt out of these mergers.