World of Warcraft connected realms
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 1 September 2013, 5:37 am
Per reader request, this is the thread in which to discuss World of Warcraft's connected realms. I think pretty much everybody agrees that this is just a minor variation of server mergers, necessitated by WoW's shrinking player numbers. The one thing that appears a bit nebulous in the announcement and FAQ is what exactly happens when there are multiple players or guilds with the same name on the realms connected that way. Because on the one side you could have names marked with the original server name to make the difference, but on the other side Blizzard said the connection would be "seamless".

The connected realms appear to be a better solution than simply closing under-populated servers. We know that WoW subscription numbers have spikes and valleys. While the general trend certainly is one of decline these days, there will be upward spikes from major patches and expansions. Or an eventual Free2Play conversion. So not closing the door permanently makes sense to me.

But ultimately the question is whether the server model for MMORPGs is still the best available technology. In how far is a single-server model like EVE Online possible for other games today? Why do we in 2013 still have games releasing with a lousy launch experience because the servers are full, only to be followed by news of server mergers some time later? If we KNOW that numbers of players of MMORPGs fluctuate a lot, can't we find a more flexible solution?
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