- 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.
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." These linked realms will behave as if they were one cohesive realm, meaning players will be able to join the same guilds, access a single Auction House, run the same Raids and Dungeons, and join other adventurers to complete quests. In some cases, realm times may be adjusted to match each other as a part of the connection process.
The feature is currently in the process of being rolled out.
List of Connected Realms
Blizzard are currently in the process of determining and connecting realm groups. Full lists of planned Connected Realms have not been released for any region. Given the time elapsed so far, completion of connection for all selected realms will likely take place over a period of several months.
- Nesingwary, Vek'nilash, and Nazgrel (10/28/2013 and 01/09/2014)
- Dentarg and Whisperwind (11/04/2013)
- Fizzcrank and Aggramar (11/13/2013)
- Echo Isles and Draenor (11/18/2013)
- Cairne and Perenolde (11/25/2013)
- Winterhoof and Kilrogg (11/25/2013)
- Arygos and Llane (11/25/2013)
- Zangarmarsh and Hellscream (11/25/2013)
- Fenris and Dragonblight (12/02/2013)
- Nordrassil and Muradin (12/02/2013)
- Icecrown and Malygos (12/16/2013)
- Quel'dorei and Sen'jin (12/16/2013)
- Darrowmere and Windrunner (12/23/2013)
- Velen and Eonar (12/23/2013)
- Draka and Suramar (12/23/2013)
- Galakrond and Blackhand (01/03/2014)
- Shandris and Bronzebeard (01/03/2014)
- Bladefist and Kul Tiras (01/09/2014)
- Norgannon and Kargath (01/09/2014)
- Uldaman and Ravencrest (01/09/2014)
- Antonidas and Uldum (01/17/2014)
- Blade's Edge and Thunderhorn (01/17/2014)
- Misha and Rexxar (01/23/2014)
- Alleria and Khadgar (01/30/2014)
- Shu'halo and Eitrigg (01/30/2014)
- Undermine and Anvilmar (01/30/2014)
- Mok'Nathal and Silvermoon (01/30/2014)
- Hydraxis and Terenas (02/06/2014)
- Uther and Runetotem (02/06/2014)
- Azjol-Nerub and Khaz Modan (02/13/2014)
- Eldre'Thalas and Korialstrasz (02/13/2014)
- Alexstraza and Terokkar (02/27/2014)
- Ghostlands and Kael'thas (03/06/2014)
- Exodar and Medivh (03/13/2014)
- Drak'thul and Skywall (03/13/2014)
- Borean Tundra and Shadowsong (04/03/2014)
- Dath'remar and Khaz'goroth (04/03/2014)
- Kirin Tor, Steamwheedle Cartel and Sentinels (02/06/2014 and 03/27/2014)
- Farstriders, Silver Hand and Thorium Brotherhood (02/13/2014 and 03/27/2014)
- Feathermoon and Scarlet Crusade (03/13/2014)
- Boulderfist, Bloodscalp, Maiev, Dunemaul and Stonemaul (9/25/2013, 10/21/2013, 10/24/2013 and 11/04/2013)
- Black Dragonflight, Skullcrusher and Gul'dan (10/15/2013 and 11/13/2013)
- Balnazzar, Warsong, Gorgonnash and The Forgotten Coast (10/21/2013, 11/18/2013, 01/03/2014)
- Gurubashi, Aegwynn, Hakkar, Daggerspine and Bonechewer (10/21/2013, 10/24/2013, 11/04/2013 and 01/17/2014)
- Dalvengyr, Dark Iron, Coilfang and Demon Soul (10/21/2013, 12/02/2013 and 12/23/2013)
- Garithos, Chromaggus, Anub'arak, Smolderthorn, Nathrezim and Crushridge (10/21/2013, 10/28/2013, 11/18/2013, 11/25/2013 and 12/23/2013)
- Onyxia, Burning Blade and Lightning's Blade (10/21/2013 and 11/18/2013)
- Dethecus, Detheroc, Blackwing Lair, Haomarush and Lethon (10/24/2013, 10/28/2013, 11/04/2013 and 11/18/2013)
- Auchindoun, Laughing Skull and Cho'gall (10/24/2013 and 01/30/2014)
- Rivendare, Firetree, Drak'tharon, Malorne, Spirestone and Stormscale (10/24/2013, 10/28/2013, 11/13/2013, 12/02/2013 and 01/09/2014)
- Blood Furnace, Mannoroth and Nazjatar (10/28/2013 and 01/09/2014)
- Tortheldrin, Frostmane and Ner'zhul (11/04/2013 and 01/23/2014)
- Scilla, Ursin and Andorhal (11/13/2013 and 12/16/2013)
- Azshara, Azgalor, Destromath and Thunderlord (11/25/2013, 01/17/2014 and 03/06/2014)
- Ysondre, Magtheridon, Anetheron and Altar of Storms (12/02/2013, 12/23/2013 and 01/23/2014)
- Akama, Dragonmaw and Mug'thol (01/03/2014 and 02/27/2014)
- Executus, Kalecgos and Shattered Halls (01/03/2014 and 02/06/2014)
- Agamaggan, Jaedenar, The Underbog and Archimonde (01/17/2014, 01/23/2014 and 01/30/2014)
- Spinebreaker, Wildhammer, Gorefiend and Eredar (02/13/2014, 02/27/2014 and 03/06/2014)
- Frostwolf and Vashj (02/27/2014)
- Gundrak and Jubei'Thos (02/27/2014)
- Dreadmaul and Thaurissan (03/13/2014)
- Runetotem, Kilrogg and Nagrand (2013-11-15 and 2014-03-26)
- Alexstrasza and Nethersturm (2013-11-22)
- Area 52 and Un'Goro (2013-11-27)
- Thunderhorn and Wildhammer (2013-12-02)
- Minahonda and Exodar (2013-12-20)
- Colinas Pardas,Tyrande and Los Errantes (2014-01-08 and 2014-02-26)
- Nozdormu, Garrosh and Shattrath (2014-01-15 and 2014-01-22)
- Krasus and Eitrigg (2014-02-07)
- Suramar and Medivh (2014-02-26)
- Elune and Varimathras (2014-03-12)
- Marécage de Zangar and Dalaran (2014-03-12)
- Aggramar and Hellscream (2014-04-02)
- Ulduar and Gilneas (2014-04-02)
- Taerar, Echsenkessel and Mal'ganis (2013-10-25 and 2014-03-05)
- Theradras, Dethecus, Mug'thol and Terrordar (2013-10-25, 2013-11-06 and 2013-11-22)
- Temple Noir, Naxxramas, Arathi and Illidan (2013-11-06, 2013-12-20 and 2014-04-02)
- Emeriss, Hakkar, Crushridge, Agamaggan and Bloodscalp (2013-10-25, 2013-11-06, 2013-11-22 and 2014-03-05)
- Burning Steppes, Kor'gall, Executus, Bloodfeather and Shattered Hand (2013-11-06, 2013-11-27, 2014-02-12 and 2014-04-02)
- Shen'dralar, Zul'jin, Uldum and Sanguino (2013-11-12, 2013-11-22 and 2013-12-04)
- Vek'lor, Arthas and Blutkessel (2013-11-12 and 2014-02-07)
- Chromaggus, Shattered Halls, Boulderfist, Daggerspine, Talnivarr, Trollbane, Ahn'Qiraj, Balnazzar, Laughing Skull and Sunstrider (2013-11-20, 2013-11-22, 2013-11-27, 2013-12-04, 2014-01-08, 2014-01-15, 2014-01-22, 2014-03-05 and 2014-03-12)
- Rajaxx, Anetheron, Gul'dan and Festung der Stürme (2013-11-20, 2014-01-08 and 2014-01-15)
- Dalvengyr and Nazjatar (2013-12-04)
- Throk'Feroth, Arak-arahm and Rashgarroth (2013-12-04 and 2014-01-08)
- Разувий and Подземье (2013-12-04)
- Aggra and Grim Batol (2013-12-20)
- Ner’zhul and Garona (2013-12-20)
- Lightning’s Blade, Karazhan and Deathwing (2013-12-20 and 2014-02-07)
- Eldre'Thalas, Sinstralis and Cho'gall (2014-01-08 and 2014-01-15)
- Auchindoun, Jaedenar and Dunemaul (2014-01-29 and 2014-02-12)
- Bladefist and Zenedar (2014-02-07)
- Haomarush, Dragonmaw, Spinebreaker, Vashj and Stormreaver (2014-02-07, 2014-02-12, 2014-02-26 and 2014-03-26)
- Xavius and Skullcrusher (2014-02-26)
- Darksorrow, Genjuros and Neptulon (2014-03-12 and 2014-03-26)
- Drak'thul and Burning Blade (2014-03-26)
- Sporeggar, Scarshield Legion, The Venture Co and Ravenholdt (2013-11-06, 2013-11-27 and 2014-01-22)
- Das Syndikat,Die Arguswacht, Die Todeskrallen and Der Abyssische Rat (2013-12-20, 2014-02-12 and 2014-03-05)
- La Croisade écarlate, Culte de la Rive noire and Conseil Des Ombres(2014-02-12 and 2014-02-26)
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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."
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."
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."
- 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.
- 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.
- Patch 5.4.0 (2013-09-10): Added.
- ^ Patch 5.4 Feature Preview: Connected Realms
- ^ Official Forums: Connected Realms (Updated 25/10)
- ^ Official Forums - A question about connected realms and characters.
- ^ Official Forums - Realm Services and Connected Realms
- ^ Official Forums - Next Connected Realms *Updated 10/24
- ^ a b c Official Forums: Connected Realms (Updated 25/10)
- ^ WowInsider: Patch 5.4 PTR: Virtual Realms announced