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Posts with tag low-population-servers

Breakfast Topic: Potential Virtual Realm headaches

We're looking forward to Virtual Realms, which will solve low population problems and make it even easier to play with friends. However, it probably won't be all fun and games. With multiple realms acting as a single realm, you can expect more competition to buy and sell on the auction house; more crowds vying for quest drops and rare spawns; and more players trying to get, well, everything World of Warcraft has to offer. So while cooperative efforts, like world bosses, dungeons, and guilds will most certainly get easier because of the expanded pool of players to pull from, solitary tasks like farming are likely to be a bit more challenging because of those same players.

So we ask you, readers: are you looking forward to virtual realms or are you frustrated that they'll crowd your realm? Are you racing to get farming done before patch 5.4 -- and virtual realms -- arrive?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Officers' Quarters: One realm's solution to low population

Low population realm's shrine area
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

Low population realms have been a problem in WoW as far back as 2007 and they continue to be. Blizzard has opted not to merge realms like other aging MMO's have done. For a long time, players asked for these mergers. They've watched their already low-pop realms bleed more players because of the population problem, making the issue worse and worse.

Recently, Blizzard unveiled their solution this ongoing issue: virtual realms. Potentially slated to arrive in patch 5.4, virtual realms could be the answer that we've been waiting for. In the meantime, however, one low-pop realm has taken matters into their own hands by organizing their guilds and creating a better experience. They call it the Kargath Guild Council on Kargath-US.

I had the pleasure of interviewing two of the minds behind the KGC -- Battlevixen, officer of Bloodsworn, and Merciful, guild leader of The Iron Fist -- about why they founded the council and the challenges they've faced along the way.

What was your realm like prior to the formation of the KGC?

Battlevixen: Prior to KGC, Kargath suffered from attendance issues that did not allow a lot of guilds and groups to raid. We had a lot of smaller guilds/groups that could not fill a 10man roster. Very few players were able to even pug because of this. There was also almost no communication between all the various guilds. Each guild kept to themselves for the most part.

Merciful: In addition to people who just stopped playing WoW, we were losing good players to other realms. The notion is that Kargath is a dying realm, and once that takes root in people's minds, they self-select themselves off the realm.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Do we need a cross-realm Auction House?

Do we need a crossrealm Auction House
I live on a dying server. It's not quite dead, but it's slowly withering away. I'm not sure what happened, exactly, but I have an idea of when -- at the beginning of Wrath of the Lich King, Dalaran was packed. By the end of the expansion, there were far fewer people running around. Orgrimmar in Cataclysm was a quiet place to be, and in Mists, the Horde shrine is populated by a few handful of players. As I said, I don't know what happened, but for some reason the masses that were on my server when I rolled there in Burning Crusade have all but evaporated.

On the one hand, it makes Pandaria a pretty quiet, idyllic place to be. There's hardly any competition for rare spawns, and you don't really have to compete with anyone for quest mobs or ore nodes or herbs, either. There's hardly any drama on the server, by and large because there really aren't enough people around to generate it. Sure, there are a few jerks, but it seems like everyone on the realm is generally relaxed and well-behaved -- as long as you stay out of Trade Chat.

On the other hand, it makes trying to buy or sell anything on the auction house an absolute nightmare.

Read more →

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

A cautionary tale of lockouts and low-pop realms

A cautionary tale of lockouts and lowpop realms ANY
Imagine if you will that you are in a raid guild that has enjoyed some small amount of success. You've quietly managed to successfully raid your way through each tier of content, and you've managed to snag every realm-first kill of an end boss along the way. Now imagine you are working on a realm-first kill of a boss, wiping endlessly and working on individual performance and tightening up the execution of the fight. Suddenly, another guild grabs that realm-first kill before you do. Frustrating? Yes -- but it's all part of progression raiding.

Only this time, it's different. This time, the realm first was taken by a guild that wasn't really a raiding guild at all. The guild that nabbed the golden ring used a method that skipped all progression fights and instead plopped them at the feet of the final boss, the only one whose death counted for that realm first achievement. How would that make you feel? How would that make your guild feel?

This isn't a far-fetched situation at all. It's already happened. And it spells a bleak future for low-pop realms and the raiders that diligently work at content -- only to have a realm first taken away due to the cross-realm raiding feature.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

What is the future of cross-realm play?

I have way more friends than I have any right to, really. Considering my personality is just shy of misanthropic and I look like I was trapped in a cave for 10 years, the fact that I seem to make friends in World of Warcraft surprises me. But I do, and there lies the issue: My friends are everywhere. They're on Malfurion, Cenarion Circle, Norgannon, Sisters of Elune, Zul'jin and now Ner'zhul. I still have characters on Dark Iron to chat with friends there.

The advent of Real ID, allowing me to group with these disparate friends, has made my life in game a lot smoother overall. Why, just last night I convinced Anne over on CC to log on an alt long enough for me to go inside Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj and punch everything in the face. Just because. I had no reason; there were bugs with unpunched faces, and it was bothering me.

Recently, I've noticed a spate of discussion on low-pop realms. Low-population realms have been one of the most enduring problems World of Warcraft has had in its years of operation, so much so that recently it's been announced that Mists of Pandaria will include a new feature allowing certain zones to exist across several realms for ease of grouping and questing. The cross-realm zone concept is as much to help with the shortage of low-level characters in general (most of a realm's population is often at or near the level cap at any given time) as it is to help low-pop realms, but it's still a step in the right direction for them.

With Real ID and now Battletags allowing for cross-realm raiding and the implementation of entire zones across several realms, I find myself wondering if the future of World of Warcraft will see a radical shift in how we think of the realm and how it is used. We already can randomly group with players on many realms for dungeons, Battlegrounds and the Raid Finder. We can group across realms with our friends for dungeons, PvP or raiding, as well. We're about to be able to meet players from other realms as we level. What's next?

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

Will merging servers help low pop realms?


When the subject of low population realms comes up, some people suggest the ultimate way to fix the problem is to merge servers. On the surface it looks like the perfect solution. If you have two servers struggling with low populations, mixing them together would create one medium population server. Problem solved. Not really.

Coriel on Blessing of Kings mentions that the real problem isn't simply the low population, it's also player retention. Hardcore gamers leave the low population realms to go where they can achieve their goals, namely raiding end-game content (I would also add high -level PvP to this.) Simply having more bodies to a server won't keep that player there. Coriel's analogy of server buckets with holes is a valid one. The only thing that keeps a hardcore player on a server is a guild (or arena team) that can get them where they need to go. The guild is the plug that keeps the leaky bucket full.

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Filed under: Realm News, Analysis / Opinion

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