Rapid Fire: Cross-Realm Zones

Gavendo at Rapid Fire: A few days ago, Blizzard unveiled a new Mists of Pandaria feature that will in itself redefine the way modern MMORPGs work;  Cross-realm zones (follow the link to read the complete FAQ).

In the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria beta, we’re introducing a new technology that will enable players to meet up and group with other players in under populated areas of the world such as low level zones or areas that other players may have outleveled or moved on from. This technology will allow players to form a group with other players from within a select pool of realms in order to quest just like they normally would while still allowing the social structures of their home realms to remain intact.

The introduction of this feature isn’t a complete surprise to the community since there have been discussions on cross-realm phasing technology ever since this cryptic statement by Zarhym in February:

Having said all that, yesterday we discussed low-population and faction-imbalanced realms with our developers. They have some pretty bold and spectacular plans for addressing this in anticipation of implementing some of the features we plan to in Mists. I just don’t have a lot of information to share with you at this stage of programming and development.

I remember the guys on Legendary came to the conclusion that the blues must be talking about cross-realm phasing technology because everything seemed to be moving towards cross-realm lately (with the LFD/LFR, cross realm grouping, etc) and what else would be “bold and spectacular”?  Just merging and/or shutting down low population realms certainly wouldn’t be.

What is this?

Basically there’s been a problem in WoW for many years now (which got worse with the introduction of LFD back in WotLK) that most people spend most of their time in the game inside a city. If you’re Alliance you’re always in Stormwind and if you’re Horde you’re always in Orgrimmar. This is because there isn’t really much need for you to go anywhere else, you can just queue for dungeons, battlegrounds and LFR right in the city.

The effect of this is that most zones in Azeroth feel totally deserted and if you’re leveling up characters through questing then you will feel more like this is a single-player game than an MMO… Obviously, that’s not a good thing.

So, enter cross-realm zones. . . . read full article

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