Cross-Realm Zones are getting a bad rap. This recently introduced new feature seems to be stirring up all kinds of hostility on the forums, with players complaining about them left, right and center. And yes, they have definitely had their problems. I can totally understand why players on PvE servers weren't happy with being merged with PvP servers, for example, and why people weren't pleased about the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza being winnable within an instant of its starting.
I totally get that the spammy chat is annoying, and why being dismounted on crossing into a CRZ was really tiresome. And I do really understand how people are fed up with other players around stealing their nodes, and their Time-Lost Proto-Drakes. I can completely wrap my head around the many reasons why players are not enjoying the CRZ experience.
But, having read the thread Rygarius posted a few days back, it seems like Blizzard are listening to the concerns, and trying to take active steps to mitigate them. I hope we're going to see more official information coming from Blizzard soon regarding the problems players continue to experience.
On the flip side, while I hope readers can see that I totally understand why they aren't happy with some aspects of CRZ, I wanted to talk about the reasons why I do like it.
Well, I'm sure you saw it coming. I'm thrilled by the rejuvenation of world PvP. I'm not talking about the ganking of low level characters by geared players in the upper levels. I've never been OK with that, I find it dishonorable and unpleasant, and it's not something I'd do, unless a lower level player is doing it to players even lower level than him. Then he'll feel the full wrath of the elements!
I'm talking, rather, about places like Halaa. Halaa has gone, on some servers, from being rather a cool looking ghost town, to a hotbed of world PvP. Of course, the launch of Mists has taken the wind out of its sails a bit, but for the time leading up to Mists' launch, Halaa has returned to being what it should be.
The way that CRZ works so well with world PvP, is the influx of new players. Obvious? Well, I'm not just talking about the numbers. There's a high likelihood it could just be me, but it's one thing having Horde from my servers attacking Halaa, as just one of many examples, but when they're Horde from some other server? Or some other server's Horde attacking my server's lower level Alliance players? Well. I'm a kind soul, but let me tell you that the red mist descends.
I'm well known to several of the Horde on my servers, to the extent that world PvP between us is more like a friendly duel. I'm in their Horde guilds, they're in my Alliance guilds when we're over on the opposite faction. We talk about our battles and have a great laugh about that time I blew them off the side of Thunder Bluff. Players from other servers? No such camaraderie. If anything, by approaching it from this angle, I might even go as far as saying that CRZ are improving realm community. I do, however, fully appreciate that this is a reach!
Playing with friends
You may have already gathered that I play with people spread over a few realms. This may or may not be unusual, I can't really comment on others' playing habits, but for me it's just how things have turned out.
Some of my friends don't want to play on PvP servers, which I can completely understand. PvP servers aren't for everyone, but CRZ coupled with RealID or Battletags means that we can engineer it so that I head over to their PvE realm, to do some questing or the like on my characters on PvP realms. We can even just hang out!
And for my friends on ridiculously overcrowded servers around Mists launch, with a little to-ing and fro-ing we can get them over onto a quieter server where there's less lag and we can quest together. Finding the eyes on largely eyeless crocolisks is much easier on a less populated server, and more fun with friends!
Putting the Multiplayer back in MMORPG
This is probably my most controversial point. And I really, really won't be surprised if people don't agree with me. I can, as I said, completely understand that players are frustrated by the appearance of more people in leveling zones, taking gathering nodes, hunter tames, that sort of thing. But I'm hoping that, with time, Blizzard will rework the spawn timers and these issues will be ironed out.
And at that point, I hope some players might join me in being happy about this feature. Ghostcrawler mentioned in his recent interview with Wowcrendor that WoW is a multiplayer game. And I agree with him! If I wanted to play Oblivion: Elder Scrolls IV, I would. One of the exciting things about WoW is that there are other players out there, other players going about their in-game lives, other players from opposing factions who I might have to take out to get something I'm going after.
That's one of the things I was most excited about when I first got into WoW, and something I'm still excited about now. And I welcome the return of players to the world. Right up to the point where they steal a Proto-Drake from under my nose. Then they can all go right back where they came from!
It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!