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Ramblings of a Computer Geek, Social Freak, Gamer, WoW Nerd, Hacker, Maker...

How long until realms no longer matter?

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With the latest WoW patch (4.3.2) Blizzard introduced the ability to group up with real ID friends and do any PvE dungeon (Except Dragon Soul) and do Rated Battlegrounds. For some reason they left off the ability to do regular battlegrounds. I was really hoping for that personally. The more I thought about how awesome it would be if realms / servers / shards no longer mattered in MMOs.
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Realms have always been a limited factor for people to come together and play an MMO with their friends. When Blizzard introduced server transfers it was the most amazing thing ever. No longer were you tied to your old server that no one every played on anymore. You were no longer tied down to the same guild selection. You could move to an entirely different community for better, or for worse. I certainly made my share of worse realm transfers.
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The most rewarding server transfer I've done was from Madoran -> Kil'Jaeden. I rolled a DK and joined Legion of Boom. I spent a week over there and realized how much more potential I had there VS my old server. I wrecked a good raid team for KJ, and in the end, it was worth it because nearly everyone came with me to KJ. It's simply an amazing feature for a game to have the ability to pick you up out of your community and drop you into a completey different one, yet it's still so familiar. Kil'Jaeden was culture shock for me, and I wasn't the only one. Vecter didn't leave Dalaran for a week. It was the second time I'd really spent any signifigant time on a PvP server. I had finally shed my carebear attitude.

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Since I've been playing WoW, I've spent a lot of money on character transfers and even faction changes. I'm sure there are people who have spent more than me, and that's great. I think the fact that Blizzard gives us the option to preserve a character we've devoted so many hours to is great. Paying $25 is better than having to reroll. Especially when you have unique gear / titles / achievements on a character.

So what does the future bring?

It seems now there are fewer things you can't do cross realm than you can do. But how long until it doesn't matter? It would be awesome if somehow you could instance entire zones in order to quest with real id friends. I wouldn't get my hopes up too high. I doubt they're going to do anything that would hurt their current income from realm transfers and faction changes.

Maybe we'll see more of these type things in future MMOs. We've already seen well done zone instancing to prevent overcrowding in SW:TOR. In my playtime there I was never adversely affected by the zone instancing. I think if you make anything like that easy enough on your users, you won't be causing them frustration or issues.

It would have been great to have cross realm raiding back when I was interviewing potential raiders. Especially since most of the recruitment I did was off realm. It would have been a lot easier to try out a new recruit before they transfered. Now that you can actually do that it should make recruitment much easier on guild / raid leaders.

Here's to the future, hopefully where realms matter little and more focus is put on who you group with.

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  1. EaTCarbS's Avatar
    I would like it if the game was more like Guild Wars (and some other mmos) where you could change channels, except the servers become channels.