How did Blizzard handle the TBC and Wotlk launches without layering?

I believe the game had around 5 or 6 million players when TBC launched, and around 11 million when Wotlk launched. Sharding and layering did not exist for the launch of either game.

To hear Blizzard talk now, layering is a neccesity. Yet somehow 11 million players all logged in at once and were able to play in Wotlk. I’m not saying it was a perfect experience, but people logged, dealt with some crowded zones for a little bit and then just played the game.

Is it overly simplistic to just ask for that again? The wide ranging, worldwide problems that layering is causing just does not seem worth the small benefit of less crowded starter zones for a day or two.


There were far more servers, and we had queues longer than the online population of the server.

At the worst, my queue was 5000+ with an ETA of 4 hours.

I would have been happy to accept layering for the first week or two of TBC just to get onto the server.


Not at once and they were spread out over 2 zones that lost their bottlenecks quite quickly.


More servers, more people dedicated to staying (so they didn’t vanish entirely), and in TBC HFP was awful at launch.

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-There were more servers.

-There wasn’t the likelihood of most of the population leaving the game once their nostalgia-b0ner subsided.

-Server stability was abysmal during launch.

During TBC, it was so bad that I jumped off the edge of the world just to see what would happen. The camera didn’t even bother following my character down into the abyss.


The first few weeks, 3-5k queues were quite common. Mainly because we all desperately tried not to log out.


We simply didn’t complain about it we dealt with it and put up with it like a man. Unlike snowflakes of today are.


Yeah but they’re not going to launch anywhere near as many servers as they did and layering hopefully can handle the worst case scenario of alot more than 11 million people.


Except Blizzard would open fewer servers out of necessity and we’d have a much higher count of people rolling (as it takes less to play, since everyone has a sub already) who might not stay past the first week.

Blizzard doesn’t want to have ghost towns this time around, which it will if it doesn’t go with some form of protection. And this also lets people play on a more naturally populated realm with layers.


By TBC there were something like 300+ servers just in the North America region.

They’re saying we’ll have a lean number of servers at launch, which has put forward expectations of anywhere from 10 to 50.

Besides, if they just wanted to avoid queues, they could spin up hundreds of servers for very little cost. The problem is twofold. High burst population, low residual population. Its not the same environment because TBC was still a rapidly growing game.


I think the pservers did a pretty good job with their launches. High population and dynamic respawns.

Population numbers can be weened down over time until it’s at normal population.

No splitting the community, no phasing


Uh… except the massive lag, server crashed, bottle necks, and the like. Plus they’re private servers, they have nowhere near the amount of people on them. I fully understand some got to very high populations but they always had issue with latency and stability.

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I played on a couple at launch. In my experience, in my opinion, It’s the best route.

No to layering. Dynamic respawns with a population cap that drops over time would work.


It is. Except for the friends aspect. If you all say “Roll on Server X” and get caught in different layers, that causes a bad experience for people.


Up to you. I’ve seen what happened on a number of servers. Personally I’ll take the stability and low ping, and the more natural leveling experience. Layering is a necessary evil and it will be temporary.

Not being able to hop between layers makes it harder to play with friends. In reality, you should have a cooldown on layer hopping so you can’t do it regularly. Especially when it comes to node and rare spawns.

But that is almost exactly how it works in reality. When layering will be removed is dependent on population, but no later than P2.

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It’s not actually up to me, but if I had the option to choose that type of server, I would.

Ping, stability. A non issue. I don’t even know why people keep mentioning this. We’re technologically 15 years advanced over the old server blades and slow internet we had.

Dynamic respawns isn’t authentic, and neither is layering. I choose what is, in my opinion, the lesser of the two evils. That would be dynamic respawns.


It’s up to you what you prefer, but up to Blizzard what they prefer.

My server which was a Medium-High population realm (Warsong) had maybe 300-400 player queue that took only 2 or 3 minutes. A 5,000 player queue was more around 40 minutes. The queues only lasted 3 or 4 days until most people hit 70/80. There was no queue at non-peak times. Maybe a full server would have a queue of less than 1,000 that would clear in 7 or 8 minutes.

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I don’t remember any notable queues in TBC. I do remember how amazing the actual Dark Portal opening event was though, the crowds is what made it so fun.


Its a possible solution, but more likely people will complain that they can’t get on the layer their friends are on because a streamer is there.