A new feature has been implemented on the live realms that is pure genious. If one would go and check out the official forums right now one would notice a huge amount of threads that praise Blizzard for this latest addition to the game. No one is whining, no one is negative whatsoever. Read on to find out about this fantastic change that will breathe life into World of Warcraft.
So what are Cross-realm zones? This excerpt from the Q & A explains it perfectly:
Q. Why cross-realm zones?
For many years now, the significant majority of the player population online at any given time has consisted mostly of characters at or near the level cap. This has resulted in an environment where characters that are leveling up experience a world that has fewer other players to interact with than what the world was designed for. Cross-realm zones give us the capability to ensure that level-up zones retain a population size that feels more like the high level areas of the game, leading to a more fun play experience for characters of all levels.
Q. How do cross-realm zones work?
When you’re in a zone that is set as a ‘cross-realm zone’ you’ll notice that in addition to the players you’d ordinarily see from your realm, you’ll also see (and be able to play with) players from other realms. This will happen seamlessly, and players will be able to group and quest as they normally would with players from their own realm.
Q. Can I form groups with the people I meet in the zone?
Yes! You can group and talk to others within the cross-server zone normally though trading will be restricted much as it is within raids, dungeons, or battlegrounds.
I tend to take most of these new awesome features for granted but this particular change makes me stop for a moment to appreciate just how far that we have gotten since just a few years ago. Anyone who has played MMORPG’s since the days of Everquest knows how frustrating it can be to make new friends only to find out that you play on completely different servers. Re-rolling used to be the only option and just leaving everything that you have worked for behind and starting anew is not something you do lightly.
That we are able to group up, meet and adventure together no matter the server we are on in such games as World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 is fantastic. Blizzard definitely was the catalyst for this fin de siècle and they have truly changed and improved the social aspects in MMO’s. It started with cross-realm dungeon, battleground and rated battleground parties and raid groups which in itself was quite amazing. It really helped the players on low-population servers to find groups to quest and adventure with. Having always been on a high-population realm (Defias Brotherhood EU) I have not utilised this feature that much.
Cross-realm zones on the other hand is something else. I am not sure if it went live today or if it has been live for a few days but tonight I really noticed it being live for the very first time in a grand way. All over our server of Defias Brotherhood the battles were raging. Zones in Outland, Azeroth and other places were being filled with people. Players from all kinds of servers were showing up. The portal in Blasted Lands that leads to Outland turned into a full on war between the Alliance and the Horde. Hundreds of players were fighting each other and if you wanted to do World PvP then you got your fill of it and more.
It was working flawlessly and it is an extreme breath of fresh air to find new opponents to try and kill instead of the same old pvp veterans that you have encountered so many, many times before.
Here is a screenshot someone took of the immense number of skeletons littering the area around the Dark Portal in Blasted Lands:
If tonight is anything to go by it seems that World PvP has finally been brought back to WoW with a burst of activity. While it is great that one could probably get some action whenever they would want to now I personally find the huge 100 vs 100 battles to get dull quite quick. When there’s too many players it is no longer very personal and you end up being just one among many.
I hope that this will bring some smaller scale PvP (my favorite kind) to some zones as well and not just huge battles everywhere. My favorite wPvP passtime has always been to roam around Tol Barad by myself to gank defenceless PvE players, battle toe to toe with other PvP roamers or try and survive the many gank squads that patrol Tol Barad. It’s a great thrill and the combat is varied and fun and never becomes too big for one person.
This has so far only been possible around Tol Barad on Defias Brotherhood since most other zones are either too quiet or they have too large groups for one lone Beast Master Hunter. If I can get my kind of wPvP in other zones as well now with the cross-realm feature then that would truly make my day. In the end it does not matter that much too me and I am nothing but happy about this update. When Mists of Pandaria is released I will however no longer be interested in wPvP. I favor Arena and Rated Battlegrounds myself since in a game where there are no real consequences to being killed in open world PvP I tend to focus on the competitive PvP that does exist where one can try and work for a high rating.