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Posts with tag cross-realm-zones

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

Patch 5.4.2 PTR Patch notes

Patch notes for patch 5.4.2 have finally been released, confirming at least some of the new features we can expect to see in the next Mists patch. Keep in mind that 5.4.2 is not a content patch -- there will be no new content to play through, no new raids, scenarios or dungeons added. However, 5.4.2 is adding several new features that players have been clamoring for for quite some time.
  • The Cross-realm raid browser now has new categories for Mists of Pandaria world bosses -- the Celestials and Ordos, as well as Flexible raid difficulty for the Siege of Orgrimmar.
  • Players will finally be able to mail account-bound items to characters on different realms.
At the moment, the official list of patch notes is pretty short. Follow after the break for the list, which will likely get more updates as the patch nears completion.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4.2 PTR: Cross-realm Account-Bound mail being tested

Cross-realm zones have been in place for quite some time now, but players have been consistently requesting that the ability to mail cross-realm heirlooms and account-bound items be added as well. While Warlords of Draenor's feature list includes an heirloom tab that should negate the need for mailing heirlooms between servers, that does little to address the feature as it stands right now -- and with many players leveling alts, it's still something players would like to see.

Today Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas announced that the patch 5.4.2 PTR is beginning testing for exactly that feature. This process should allow players to move heirlooms between servers, in advance of the changes already planned for Warlords. The feature should work like any other cross-server communication, in that instead of simply mailing to a character name, you would be mailing to "Charactername-Servername." Note that this feature is only for account-bound items like heirlooms -- mailing gold or other items won't work. Players wanting to test this feature should hop on the patch 5.4.2 PTR and mail account-bound items across servers, reporting any hiccups by bug reports or feedback. For more information, check out the official thread on the forums -- and look forward to being able to chuck your heirlooms to your alts in patch 5.4.2.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Updates on US Connected Realms

Updates on US Connected Realms
By now, several US realms have been successfully connected with Blizzard's new Connected Realms feature. In case you've been out of the loop, Blizzard released an update in regards to the new feature, which seamlessly connects two realms so that they'll behave as one. That means players on realms that are connected can join the same guilds, use one Auction House, and run raids and dungeons with each other -- a pretty big bonus for realms that have been suffering from lower populations. The list of successfully connected realms is as follows:
  • Auchindoun and Laughing Skull
  • Black Dragonflight and Skullcrusher
  • Aegwynn and Gurubashi
  • Balnazzar and Warsong
  • Burning Blade and Onyxia
  • Chromaggus and Garithos
  • Dalvengyr and Dark Iron
  • Dethecus and Detheroc
  • Dunemaul, Maiev, Boulderfist and Bloodscalp
  • Hakkar and Aegwynn
  • Rivendare and Firetree
It's a sizeable list -- but if your realm wasn't on the list, not to worry. Blizzard is revving up for more realm connections, and soon. Two new batches of realm connections are on the way, and the first batch of connections will be taking place on Monday, October 28.

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Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Next wave of Connected Realms announced

Next set of Connected Realms announced
Following Monday's successful connections, the next wave of realms to be added to the Connected Realms feature have just been announced. While Community Manager Nethaera had the names of the realms available for players, as of yet there still isn't a fixed date for the realm connections to take place. However, given the faster turnaround that we've been experiencing, players may see these connections happen sooner than one would think.

Nethaera
As a part of our ongoing Connected Realms implementation, we will be connecting additional realms as listed below. We don't have a specific date yet on when these connections will occur, but we'll provide another update once we do. Please be aware that as a part of the connection process realm times may change to match each other.

Next Realm Connections:

Dethecus and Detheroc
Auchindoun and Laughing Skull
Hakkar and Aegwynn
Rivendare and Firetree
Dunemaul and Bloodscalp/ Maiev/Boulderfist

We're currently evaluating further realm connections and will provide updates as they're available. For more information on Connected Realms, please read the preview blog post here.


It looks like the Maiev/Bloodscalp/Boulderfist triad can expect another addition to their happy little family with Dunemaul. In addition, Hakkar will join Aegwynn, which was connected to Gurubashi last week. If you're a player on one of the realms slated for connection, you might want to keep an eye on the official thread for future updates.

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Latest round of Connected Realms coming Monday

Latest round of Connected Realms coming Tuesday
The latest sizable batch of realms slated for the Connected Realms feature will be going under maintenance on Monday, October 21 from 5:00 a.m. PDT until approximately 11:00 a.m. PDT, according to the official thread on the feature. Community Manager Bashiok also added that once these realms return from maintenance, the realm connections should be complete. The realms scheduled for this round of connection are as follows.
  • Balnazzar and Warsong
  • Gurubashi and Aegwynn
  • Dalvengyr and Dark Iron
  • Garithos and Chromaggus
  • Onyxia and Burning Blade
  • Maiev and Bloodscalp/Boulderfist
If you happen to be calling any of these realms home, be prepared for a brief bout of maintenance come Monday. However, Tuesday's regular maintenance should simply be a set of rolling restarts for everyone, so realms that are in the process of being connected should be hit with double downtime. This seems to be a pretty quick turnaround -- will we be seeing more realm connection announcements next week? For more information and updates on the process, keep an eye on the official forum thread.


Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

New wave of Connected Realms announced

New wave of Connected Realms announced
After the connection of the Skullcrusher and Black Dragonflight realms earlier this week, Blizzard has announced the next set of realms to be connected -- and this time, there's quite a list of them. Twelve realms total are slated to be connected, although a specific date for the connection has yet to be announced. However, Community Manager Bashiok provided the full list, noting that these are all US realms -- no EU realms have been slated for connection at this time.

Bashiok
As a part of our ongoing Connected Realms implementation, we will be connecting additional pairs of realms as listed below. We don't have a specific date yet on when these connections will occur, but we'll provide another update once we do. Please be aware that as a part of the connection process realm times may change to match each other.

Next Realm Connection Pairs:
  • Balnazzar and Warsong
  • Gurubashi and Aegwynn
  • Dalvengyr and Dark Iron
  • Garithos and Chromaggus
  • Onyxia and Burning Blade
  • Maiev and Bloodscalp/Boulderfist
We're currently evaluating further realm connections and will provide updates as they're available. For more information on Connected Realms, please read the preview blog post here.


Note that the Maiev realm will be connected with the Bloodscalp/Boulderfist connection that was the first to be made in this process. Although an exact date for the connection has not been set, given the connection that took place during this week's maintenance, we can hope that these connections will also take place during regularly scheduled downtime. Players on these realms should continue to check back with the official thread on the forums for more updates as they become available.

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Black Dragonflight, Skullcrusher realms to be connected tomorrow

Black Dragonflight, Skullcrusher realms to be connected tomorrow
Black Dragonflight and Skullcrusher, the two latest realms to be announced as slated for the Connected Realms feature will be connected tomorrow, October 15, during standard maintenance. The two realms were next in line after the success of the Bloodscalp and Boulderfist realm connection. Given that the realm connection will take place during regular server maintenance, one would hope that this means that the wrinkles have been ironed out of implementation -- but just in case, Blizzard will be providing updates on any potential delays.

The rollout for Connected Realms has been considerably slower than most players were expecting. However, it's nice to see that Blizzard is taking its time with this one, making sure that everything is functioning correctly and all potential issues have been addressed. Of course the question on everyone's minds now is which realms will be slated for connection next, and when will it occur? Are you hoping for the connected realm feature on your server?

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Black Dragonflight, Skullcrusher realms to be connected

Connected realms implementation continues
After the successful integration of the Bloodscalp and Boulderfist realms, Blizzard is continuing with the slow rollout of connected realms. Although no date has been finalized, CM Nethaera has announced that Black Dragonflight and Skullcrusher will be the next two realms to be connected.

Nethaera
As a part of our ongoing Connected Realms implementation, we will be working toward connecting our next pair of realms, Black Dragonflight and Skullcrusher – we'll provide another update once we've finalized the date. We will also update this thread with any additional information that becomes available. Please be aware that as a part of the process, realm times may change to align better with each other.

We are currently evaluating additional realm connections and plan to provide a more complete schedule at a future point in time.

For more information on Connected Realms, please read the preview blog post here.


CM Bashiok stepped in later in the thread to clarify some details on the connected realms process. While many are eager to see this new feature give a boost to realms with lower than optimal populations, the process is far more complicated than you'd think. Blizzard is taking its time with each connection in order to evaluate possible issues with the process -- and the choice of realms was specifically to help identify potential issues. In other words, at this point in the process it's not so much a matter of how much a realm would benefit from a connection, as it is how much that connection will help clarify any potential issues with the process itself. Check out the full forum thread for more information and updates on the process as it continues.

Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Nethaera fills in the blanks on Connected Realms

Nethaera fills in the blanks on Connected Realms
With patch 5.4 up and running, many players have been wondering about the status of the new Connected Realms feature. Questions have run the gamut from wanting to know the exact criteria of putting two realms together, to wanting a list of the realms that are scheduled to be connected. Most importantly, players have been wondering if the Connected Realms feature has actually been enabled, or if we have yet to see if the process has taken place.

Community Manager Nethaera filled in some of those blanks in a series of updates posted on the official forums. The first two realms that have been scheduled for connection are Boulderfist and Bloodscalp. The system will be rolled out over time, much like what we saw with the Cross-Realm Zones feature -- players won't suddenly see all realms introduced to the Connected Realms feature all at once. Blizzard intends to keep realm types together as much as it possibly can -- for those on RP realms, this means if your realm is connected to another, it will likely be another RP realm.

Nethaera went on to note that faction balance, something that has caused many players to struggle on incredibly lopsided realms, may not be the ultimate reason for a connection. But perhaps most importantly -- as of Friday, no realms have been connected. Any server restarts or messages about Connected Realm restarts in game are absolutely not an indicator that your realm has been connected to another -- it's simply some of the work that needs to be done in order to enable the connecting process, should it need to be utilized. For now, it seems that players are still isolated on their own realms -- but there should be further updates to the thread if that changes. For more information on the implementation of this new feature, check out the thread on the official forums.


Filed under: Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

Why do we still have servers?

Why do we still have servers
I was wondering about it all day yesterday, considering the existence of cross-realm play, CRZ, that PvP, dungeon finder and LFR all pull across multiple servers why do we still have those servers at all? Are they a relic of the original game's design? Are they still physically necessary or could we simply have all these different servers exist as one large super-server that everyone in a region plays on? It certainly feels to me that, for better and for worse server communities are a thing of the past - I know a lot of people who play WoW, my friend's list is relatively hopping and my twitter feed even more so, but I haven't run a dungeon with random people on my realm since mid-Wrath and even then I didn't do it very often. Before the rise of dungeon finder groups, I either ran with a guild group or I didn't run, having soured on the experience after tanking BC heroics.

The way I currently play, I raid with my guild, run LFR occasionally (not very often) or queue for some dungeons either solo or with some Real ID/Battletag friends, do some retro raiding in the same fashion, and in general to me my server is almost completely meaningless. I play with and chat with people from all over the place, from Sisters of Elune to Norgannon to Malfurion to Kilrogg. If I could add EU players and chat with them, I'd have an even bigger friend's list. The people I know in game are people I've played with, people I've chatted with online for a while, but in very few cases are they people I've actually met here on my current server outside of guilds I've joined.

Of course, as I've argued before, personal experience isn't universal and anecdotal data isn't conclusive. I'm just one player. So the question becomes, what about you reading this now? How important is your server to you? It's very possible there are thriving server communities out there that would be damaged by a change that reduces server identity further and if so I think it would be useful to find out. If a single mega-server per region would be detrimental to people's playstyles, let us hear you. Positive or negative, your feedback is desired.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

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

Feathermoon Horde players organize massive cross-realm RP event

Feathermoon Horde players organize massive crossrealm RP event
Horde players from multiple roleplay realms will gather on Feathermoon (US-RP) next week for what may be the game's first major cross-realm, multi-realm roleplay event. On Wednesday, March 20, Feathermoon's Thundering Hammer Clan and the realm's Horde roleplaying community will present the Kosh'harg, a gathering of the clans of the Horde.

WoW players have historically not been happy with the implementation of cross-realm zones, with some players going so far as to transfer realms to escape them completely. The Kosh'harg will attempt to blaze a positive new path for CRZ play, bringing together players from different RP realms to participate in what could be an event of some magnitude.

Activities for the tribal-themed spring equinox event include a ceremonial processional of the clans, a great feast, a bracketed 1v1 PvP tournament, and a Spirit Walk storytelling competition. "It is part spiritual pilgrimage, part tournament, and part raucous feast," writes THC's Thorgrun, "and if you are a Horde player who respects Horde culture and lore, we want to see you there!"

Organizers have assembled an array of prizes, with consideration for items that cannot be traded across realms. The Kosh'harg is open to both individual players and groups or guilds, but sign-ups are strongly encouraged. Keep reading for more details about how to sign up to attend or volunteer.

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Filed under: News items, RP

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

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