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Posts with tag CRZ

Do connected realms render CRZ irrelevant?

When CRZ first appeared, I was excited. I thought it would re-invigorate places like Halaa, I thought it would bring world PvP back into the game. I thought the mixing of servers would strengthen my own server's community, to oust the invaders in "our" Halaa, in our Shrines, in our Goldshire. I thought Blizzard would sort out the spawns and the drop rates and the questing issues, and that we would see more and more players around, and be glad to understand the multiplayer nature of WoW. I even wrote an article about it where commenters were less than kind about my optimism.

But it turns out, 18 months later, that I was wrong. I'm happy to say so, too, I was flat wrong, misguided, incorrect in my optimism and early happiness. Where CRZ have added world PvP back into zones, it seems to be pretty universal ganking without consequences. There's no point going to get my main to flatten that 90 who killed all the level 20s time and time again, because I'll probably end up on a different shard where he isn't. And while I'm leveling, the spawns are so slow that it's a case of waiting and frantically clicking to get the first tap on a quest mob or node. CRZ is not doing good. In fact it's doing quite the opposite, it's encouraging players to try to avoid it, to work around other players. If WoW was designed so you were happy to see other players, it'd be great. Alas, the opposite is true.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

What was the worst of Mists of Pandaria?

I recently posted my list of the best of Mists of Pandaria, so you must have seen it coming. An article discussing what I personally think was the worst of Mists of Pandaria. You will notice that many of the same things crop up on both lists. Well, that's just because there can be both positive and negative sides to any addition. It's all about perspective, you know?

Cross-realm calamities

Let's begin at the beginning. It seems like a logical point. Cross-realm technology, as I stated in my nice list, has been instrumental in allowing of many players' favorite features in the game. The sensationally popular Flex raiding, for example. But it's also responsible, on the downside, for some pretty negative happenings.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Community Blog Topic Results: Merging servers and Virtual Realms

Community Blog Topic Results Merging servers and Virtual Realms DNP
Last week's Community Blog Topic was whether or not servers should be merged to alleviate the problem with low population servers. With the announcement that Virtual Realms will be tested on the patch 5.4 PTR, this subject became very timely, if not a little belated. Blizzard's answer to whether or not servers should be merged seems to be yes ... kinda. Rather than merging servers into several bigger servers, Virtual Realms will cluster several separate realms together into one big meta server with a shared AH and the ability to join guilds and groups cross realm. I assume that like servers will be put together, just like CRZ, so that PVE and PVP players won't be mixed.

If Virtual Realms make it to the live realms and work, it seems like an excellent solution to the problem of dead and imbalanced servers. But how will it be implemented? And what if Virtual Realms don't work? Should servers be merged?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The OverAchiever: Time zones, battle pets, and an achievement you probably don't know about

Courtesy of Wowhead.
Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, Allison desperately wishes to return to the days of "server time."

Confession: This article was originally going to be about achievements you could get from unexpected places, because I thought it would be cool to run a column on the areas you pass by a lot without necessarily realizing there are points there for the taking. I'd worked all the way up to Wanderers, Dreamers, and You, which I've been meaning to do for a while but never got around to ... and then I hit a giant road block.

Why? This achievement was one of those unintentionally affected by changes in patch 5.1 that altered event times for a lot of servers. Most players will probably remember when the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza disappeared for a few months while Blizzard tried to figure out a way to square it with Cross-Realm Zones. The Fishing Extravaganza returned alongside a new system that standardized most event times across servers in an effort to simplify what was happening and when. The Wanderer's Festival was one of the affected events.

After spending hours trying to track down and confirm the event time schedule for servers across the European, North American, and Oceanic servers, I decided it probably merits an article all to itself because the Wowhead thread is a giant rat's nest of conflicting and outdated information. Also, it's not enough to be there while the festival is actually happening, and if you don't get there early, you probably won't have a shot at a battle pet you can't get anywhere else.

I am not too proud to admit I need help with this one.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Massive cross-realm gathering successfully unites players from 11 realms

Massive crossrealm gathering successfully unites players from a halfdozen realms
It was a massive multiplayer success for this massively multiplayer game: On March 20, the Thundering Hammer Clan of Feathermoon (US-Horde) successfully brought together more than 120 players from multiple roleplay realms in what might have been WoW's first large-scale, player-run cross-realm event. In bringing together three full raid groups from half a dozen realms, the Kosh'harg roleplay gathering of Horde clans helped demonstrate how to pull off a major cross-realm event and explore the possibilities and limitations of CRZ (cross-realm zone) mechanics.

What can other players learn from the Kosh'harg about organizing a CRZ event? We went behind the scenes with Kosh'harg organizer Thorgrun (GM of the Thundering Hammer Clan).

WoW Insider: It sounds like the event was a smash success. Congratulations!

Thorgrun: The Kosh'harg was an amazing success. At the peak of the event we had three full raid groups and a number of ungrouped local attendees, bringing us up over 120 players from a dozen different realms who joined us in Nagrand for the festivities.

How much did you and other organizers know beforehand about realm and zone loads with regard to cross-realm mechanics?

We only knew what has been published and widely publicized, namely that the CRZ mechanic is designed to populate low-pop zones with players from associated realms and when population grows to a certain point to split those players off into separate zones. We also knew that players from any North American realm could be brought into any zone on a host realm just by being grouped with a majority of members from that realm – i.e., two Feathermoon players can host a third player from say, Farstriders, in their version of the zone, or alternatively a 5-man group of Feathermoon players could host an entire raid of CRZ players, provided no more than four of them were from the same realm in that particular raid. This is the mechanic that we used to "anchor" our event firmly on one server's seed of the Nagrand zone.

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Filed under: RP, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Weekly news roundup with Panser of TradeChat

TradeChat's Panser returns with this week's WoW Insider news recap, where we look back at the hottest news from the past week and whatever other kickin' rad things may have come our way. This week's topics include: If you enjoyed the show, make sure to subscribe to TradeChat, leave a comment, and come back next week for the next episode!

Filed under: News items

The CRZ-free realms

The CRZfree realms
A fellow twitter user tipped WoW Insider off on something that many of us weren't previously aware of. CRZ, the recently introduced system which combines realms together when their zones are low in population, has not always been a popular feature. There have been many complaints about the behavior it enables from other players, the effect it has on questing, rare spawns, gathering professions and the like, and Blizzard's team are still working on ironing it all out.

But what if you could get away from it all? What if there were realms where CRZ wasn't active at all? Well, apparently there are, two to be precise. The tweeter who tipped us off sent over a Game Master's response to his ticket asking if there were any CRZ-free realms, confirming that The Venture Company and Ravenholdt are both exempt from the cross-realm zone system. A little research confirms that the Venture Company forums have various threads discussing the absence of CRZ on their realm, and welcoming what they call "CRZ refugees" with open arms.

It's not completely clear to WoW Insider at this point just exactly why these realms are exempt from the CRZ system. It's also not clear whether this is a permanent situation, or whether it's just a matter of time before cross-realm zones are implemented on both realms. Both are RP-PvP, so perhaps that is somehow associated, so perhaps it relates to RP servers and their battlegroups. Nonetheless, whatever the reason, it's interesting.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Players visiting a different realm no longer eligible to receive loot from Oondasta or Nalak

Oondasta may have the best loot table in the entire universe, but the encounter understandably requires quite an army of players to defeat. And when I say army, I'm not exaggerating -- groups are currently rallying at least four 40-man raids to successfully put this guy down. Due to server stability issues, mainly brought about by using CRZ to bring over enough players, Blizzard is hotfixing how loot is earned for an Oondasta or Nalak kill.

In order to receive loot from either, players must be on their home realm.

Rygarius - Oondasta and Nalak Hotfixes
We're in the process of implementing a hotfix that will remove players' eligibility to receive loot from Oondasta and Nalak, The Storm Lord if they're not on their home realm.

We think it's great that encounters like Oondasta have been able to bring back some of the excitement of massive spontaneous outdoor raids. However, with cross-realm groups giving the ability to play with friends on each other's realms, the amount of people concentrating on a single realm to try to zerg these bosses down can unfortunately cause a number of stability issues, impacting the availability of the game for everyone.

While Nalak isn't available yet, we want to preemptively address this so that the first realm to unlock it doesn't then become the single focus for the rest of the region.

Here's the hotfix note that'll be added to the blog shortly:
  • Players visiting a different realm are no longer eligible to receive loot from Oondasta or Nalak, The Storm Lord.

Many players may take issue with this change, as it's much easier to rally such large numbers through the CRZ system and down the boss with sheer numbers. For smaller realms especially, this change will be a big blow to successfully defeating Oondasta using the zerg strategy.

I'm happy with the change, and it'll hopefully turn Oondasta into the challenging world boss he's meant to be -- more like Doom Lord Kazzak was, back in BC.

Filed under: News items

Cross-realm zone use clarified in Brawler's Guild

CRZ clarified in Brawler's Guild
Blizzard Senior Community Manager Zarhym has taken to the forums to address player's concerns regarding the appearance of players from other realms in the Brawler's Guild.

We've seen some confusion about people from other realms showing up in the Brawler's Guild.

It's important to note that the Brawler's Guild only uses realm coalescing when the number of participants is really low, so a lot of people are seeing people from other realms due to the fact that there haven't been many invitations to join distributed yet. It's highly likely the area will cease to activate CRZ on most realms as participation increases. Having 100+ people in the queue doesn't create a good experience, but, from our perspective, neither does having only a small handful of people.

The feature is designed to bring a decent population into the guild, and those people should spend at least a modest amount of time as spectators or loiterers before getting into the ring. We didn't design the Brawler's Guild with the intention of getting you through queues in 10 minutes or less. We're not trying to replicate Dungeon Finder for the solo player with Brawler's Guild.

If the place seems overcrowded AND you're seeing people from other realms there, it could be a situation where the population check that determines whether or not to coalesce a realm hasn't run again yet. As I said before, this should stabilize in time and likely automatically disable CRZ for the guild.

This, to me, seems a little counter-intuitive given Blizzard's earlier explanations of their theories behind the implementation of the Brawler's Guild.

Daxxarri posted this back on November 8th:

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

How feedback works and why it matters

How feedback works and why it matters
Lately I've seen some forum posts that confuse me. Perhaps it's because these posts themselves seem confused. Posts like this one, where Librily the worgen mage accuses Blizzard and World of Warcraft's development team of soliciting feedback that they don't actually look at. I find this especially odd on a forum where community managers regularly engage with posters, and I wanted to address what feedback is, how it works, and why it matters now and going forward.

Frankly, it is impossible to look at the design of Mists of Pandaria and not see how much player feedback has influenced the design of the expansion. The 85 to 90 game is everything Cataclysm was not -- it all takes place in a seamless new land, it removed flying in order to provide player immersion, it works the Horde/Alliance conflict into the storyline. It is in every way the result of player feedback being constructively weighted and utilized responsibly. By that, I mean that the game's developers clearly looked at what players were saying they liked and disliked and worked to find ways to address player concerns.

What they didn't do -- what they have never done and cannot ever do -- is simply go to the forums, see who yelled loudest, and give them everything they wanted. That would be absurd design by mob, it would produce an unplayable game full of broken classes and most importantly of all, it would not be fun to play. Games require a ton of work to produce, especially a game like World of Warcraft, and the amount of effort behind the scenes to bring what we get to see and experience does not allow for that kind of design even if it were desirable, which it is not. Game design is not about giving the players everything they say they want, nor is it about doing everything they say as soon as they say it.

Let's talk about how good feedback works, the difference between opinion and fact, and why taking the time to make a well constructed argument is worthwhile even if you don't see any signs of it changing anything.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria

Developer Q&A with Wowjuju

Developer Q&A with WowJuJu
Blizzard Community Manager Zarhym emailed WoW Insider yesterday to give us a heads up about a lengthy developer Q&A which was published over at Wowjuju. This is a hugely in-depth interview, so let's dive right in with our synopsis.


A couple of questions came up regarding the Monk ability, Zen Pilgrimage. This ability allows monks to travel to the Peak of Serenity in Pandaria, and on re-use, returns the player to their previous location. Death Knights, understandably, were asking for the same to apply to their Death Gate, which takes them to the Ebon Hold, and unceremoniously abandons them there. Monks, conversely, were bemoaning the confusing effect of the ability if they don't use it a second time, and hearthstone back instead. The devs said that both concerns were reasonable, and that they would look into rectifying the issues. WoW Insider thinks that Monks are missing a trick with what could essentially be a second hearthstone!

Hunters queried whether the increase in available pets might lead to more stable space, which, to the consternation of sentimental beast masters everywhere, was met with a resounding "No." There was also some discussion of the hunter ability Scatter Shot being dodgeable, while a rogue Blind wasn't. Rogues and hunters work very differently, rogues are reliant on expertise and positioning to avoid being dodged or parried on a plethora of other abilities, so the devs didn't really feel this was a valid comparison.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: If you could opt out of CRZ, would you?

Breakfast Topic If you could opt out of CRZ, would you
Cross-Realm Zones have to be among the most controversial features in the game right now, and despite Blizzard's best efforts to make them work, with Blizzard CM Rygarius working hard to keep players updated, many remain immensely dissatisfied.

WoW Insider readers already know I'm not one of those players. I am a fan of CRZ, and I'm not afraid to say so, despite the disapproving glares. I like the return of lower level world PvP, I like seeing other players around, I like the reinvigoration of PvP hubs in Outland, and elsewhere. However, I do get fed up with people stealing quest mobs and node spawns!

But, despite my opinion, I can put myself in the shoes of players who don't like it and understand where they're coming from. Many players have called for an opt out feature, allowing them to select whether to participate in Cross-Realm Zones or not. It doesn't seem particularly likely that Blizzard will add any such feature, Cross-Realm Zones are a new feature themselves, that Blizzard's developers have clearly put quite some time into. Letting players switch it off would, firstly, likely require a ton of work on the systems side, and secondly not provide Blizzard's team with the information they need to improve the feature. Opting out would defeat the purpose of the feature completely.

Nonetheless, I'm wondering. If you could opt out of CRZ, would you? If there's only one "no" vote in the poll, that's me.

Would you opt out of CRZ?
Yes, I'd opt out4961 (59.3%)
No, I wouldn't opt out3401 (40.7%)

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Rygarius updates us on Cross-Realm Zones

Whether you love, hate, or have absolutely no opinion on Cross-Realm Zones (I'm in that third group, I just plain don't care about them) you're hopefully aware of them by now. Rygarius has been the CM working to keep us all informed about the feature, originally created to help lower level zones have more players to interact with when questing and leveling up since the majority of players tends to be in the higher level zones.

Now Rygarius has updated us on CRZ, explaining what's being done on various issues players have with the feature. Discussed is the range of time zones the servers can pull from and ways to address the discrepancy (including wholly redesigning how the servers tell time), players being dismounted and seeing nodes disappear as they cross zones, and framerate/transition lag. If you're interested in any of these CRZ issues, you should read the full announcement after the jump.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Mists of Pandaria

3 reasons to like Cross-Realm Zones

3 reasons why I love CrossRealm Zones

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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard clarifies Cross-Realm Zones

Blizzard clarify CrozzRealm Zones
Blizzard CM Rygarius has posted a huge amount of information clarifying Cross-Realm Zones over on the Blizzard official forums. This much-discussed new feature has recently arrived on EU realms having been live on US realms for some weeks now, and has had a few teething problems that Blizzard continue to iron out.

Rygarius has clarified that Blizzard are still working to address problems with things like reporting and ignoring players, the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza, /who requests, chat spam, realm hopping, and Tol Barad and Wintergrasp. It's always great to know that Blizzard are listening to player concerns, and if you have any more do check out Rygarius' post to see how to report bugs or issues.

Rygarius also provides a complete 101 on Cross-Realm Zones, letting us all know how they work, how realms are selected to be joined, and how parties and groups work. Rygarius also addresses concerns about realm community, low-population realm economies, and clears up just exactly how CRZs will work when Mists of Pandaria launches.

Check out the full post after the break!

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

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