Connected Realms

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The goal with Connected Realms is to give players on lower-population realms more opportunities to group up, compete, and connect with other players to take on Azeroth's bigger challenges. That sort of interaction is a big part of what makes World of Warcraft fun, and this feature will help deliver that experience to even more players.[1]

Building on the existing cross-realm technology, a Connected Realm is a set of two or more standard realms that have been permanently and seamlessly "linked." Connected realms behave as if they are one cohesive realm, meaning players are able to join the same guilds, access a single Auction House, run the same Raids and Dungeons, and join other adventurers to complete quests.

The first realms were connected 2013-10-25, and as of 2014-10-08 all planned realm connections have been completed. However, it is possible that more will be connected in the future.

List of Connected Realms

US

PvE servers

Planned

N/A

RP servers

Planned

N/A

PvP servers

Planned

N/A

RP-PvP servers

Planned

N/A

EU

PvE servers

Planned

N/A

RP servers

Planned

N/A

PvP servers

Planned

N/A

RP-PvP servers

Planned

N/A

General information

Characters in a Connected Realm are able to send mail to characters on other realms in the Connected Realm, and to friend, whisper, and group with characters on other realms in the Connected Realm. Characters in a Connected Realm may join a guild on any realm in their Connected Realm.

All realms in a Connected Realm share a common Auction House. All realms in a Connected Realm share a common Trade Chat. Custom chat channels also work between Connected Realms.[2]

Characters on different realms within a Connected Realm may have the same name, as may guilds. Only the name (and guild, if any) is displayed above a character's head, but if a character is on a different realm within the Connected Realm, chats, whispers, and the character's tooltip will show the character's name, followed by a dash ("-") and the name of that character's realm. The same conventions are followed within character tooltips for guild names if the other character is in a guild on a different realm.

The names of characters in lists such as guild Rosters and Who Lists who are on other realms within a Connected Realm are appended with a dash followed by their realm name. When addressing in-game mail to characters on another realm within a Connected Realm, the recipient character's name must have a dash and the other character's realm name appended.

The current limit of 11 characters on each individual realm is not affected by Connected Realms. Players are therefore allowed to create 11 characters on each Connected Realm, allowing for an overall total of far more than 11 characters on the combined virtual realm. Players who have already reached the character limit on their own realm may therefore wish to create new characters on a Connected Realm, with negligible difference. This provides new possibilities for players with regard to character limits, and effectively redefines the realm character limit as 11 x number of Connected Realms.[3]

When a Connected Realm is selected for services such as free character moves or new player recommendations, that will affect all of the realms in a given connection.[4]

Blizzard are considering the possibility of merging individual Connected Realm forums in order to provide a single communal forum for all players on Connected Realms.[5]

In some cases, realm times may be adjusted to match each other as a part of the connection process.

FAQ

Why are you implementing Connected Realms?
As WoW has evolved, we’ve seen players naturally gravitate toward a subset of very active realms, leaving behind lower-populated realms. Due to the massively multiplayer nature of World of Warcraft, certain kinds of gameplay experiences simply aren’t well-suited to a low-pop realm. By allowing players from two or more lower-pop realms to play together, we hope to give more players more opportunities to participate in group-oriented activities, helping to foster a more vibrant in-game community.
Connected Realms also allow us to link populations in a way that’s not disruptive to players, and that doesn’t negatively impact players’ sense of identity and character. Other alternatives such as merging realms would require us to force character name changes if there were conflicts, and could lead to confusion for returning players who’d log in to find their realm missing from the realm list. Some players also feel strong ties to their realm’s name or history, and we don’t want to erase that.
Why implement this now?
Our cross-realm technology has continued to evolve since it was first developed for joining players in dungeons. It’s now at a point where we can create seamless worlds made up of multiple individual realms, and we think there are some really positive benefits to that.
How can I tell if someone is on my Connected Realm, but from a different realm?
We want the experience to feel seamless so we won’t be indicating player’s home realms in the game world. In certain places, such as chat, players' home realms will be displayed next to their name.
Which realms will be connected as Connected Realms?
We haven’t decided yet which realms will be made part of a Connected Realm, or which other realms they’ll be connected to, though realms will only be connected to other realms of the same type (e.g. PvE to PvE, PvP to PvP, RP to RP). In the end, we’re considering a number of factors, including Battlegroup, population, and faction balance.
How many realms will make up a Connected Realm?
We don’t know how many realms will make up a Connected Realm yet, and it’s likely to differ from Connected Realm to Connected Realm. Our goal is to create a vibrant and fun online experience where you can join guilds, access an active Auction House, and band together to take on group content.
Will Connected Realms have any limitations?
There should be no limitations. We want the experience to be seamless, and we expect it work as if you’re suddenly part of a much more active realm.

Blue posts

Vaneras has stated the following regarding the eventual target population for Connected Realms:

"...the target is high population realms with some additional capacity for new players and/or migrating players. We basically want a healthy population for the connected realms, but not so high that there will be queues from the get go."[6]

Faction balance on Connected Realms has also been the subject of much discussion on the official forums:

"Faction balance is definitely being considered, but it is a tricky factor though, because generally the factions are not balanced within the same realm types.
If we were connecting PvE realms with PvP realms, then faction balance would be much less of an issue since our PvP realms are typically Horde heavy, and our PvE realms are typically Alliance heavy. But since we have to connect realms within the same realm types, the population will be increased on the connected realms but we cannot fully balance the factions on all of those realms.
That being said, the overall population situation on those realms should feel vastly improved overall once we are done with the whole process, so although the outnumbered factions in some cases will remain outnumbered, they should still see a nice boost to their numbers."[6]

Vaneras has stated that while Connected Realms are not intended to correct population problems on high or full population servers, the implementation of the technology may eventually help with these problems:

"The primary purpose of the connected realms feature is indeed to improve the situation on low population realms, to reinvigorate said realms. Currently that means that some of the highest population realms will not be connected with other realms, but it is a possibility that this may change in the future.
We are very much aware that we have some high population realms that have a less than optimal faction balance, but the situation on those particular realms is a harder one to resolve exactly because the population is already at(or close to) capacity there. The Connected Realms technology implemented with the latest patch will allow us to do some great things to improve the population on many realms, but there are still technical limitations on how high a population the system can manage, and this means that it is very hard to improve things like faction balance on realms that have a very high population. Perhaps we will be able to expand or evolve the connected realms technology in the future so that it can help improve faction balance on all realms, but although this is something we can look into for sure, it is not certain that this will be possible.
Saying this doesn't mean that we are just going to ignore the situation on those high population realms, it just means that it may be a while longer before we have a proper solution that can resolve that particular issue... it is not an option to make players change faction or transfer to another realm against their will, and that means a proper solution will have to be one that doesn't involve forcing people.
Once realms have been connected and the populations on currently low and medium realms are healthy again, then perhaps things like FCMs from current very high population realms to the connected realms will become more attractive."[6]

Trivia

  • First announced in June 2013, Connected Realms were originally known as "Virtual Servers", before being presented under their new name when the feature was officially previewed in August of that year.[7]
  • It was originally planned to use a (#) symbol to indicate a character who was part of the player's Connected Realm, but not their home realm. However, this plan was quickly changed in order to make the experience "feel seamless", with players' home realms only displayed in certain places, such as in chat.
  • Connection of the first US Connected Realms took place on September 25th, 15 days after the launch of Patch 5.4, while connection of the first EU Connected Realms took place on October 25th, 45 days after the launch of Patch 5.4. The last planned realm connections were completed on October 8th, 2014, almost a year later, and 6 days before the release of the pre-Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.0.2.

Patch changes

References

External links

Announcements

US

EU