So now we know…
Classic will have “layering” not “sharding” or “CRZ”.
We knew that cross realm zoning was off the table. That is where a player would be randomly transported to other server shards when moving through the world.
We now know that sharding will not happen. Sharding is shifting from “shard” to “shard” as you move throughout the world. It was speculated that as you moved from zone to zone, area to area, players on the same server would be transfered to various shards of the SAME server.
Instead, we will have “layering”. Layering is sharding…on the whole continent with a larger pool of players (apparently?). There are 2 continents in Classic WoW. So each continent will be sharded into multiple shards on the same server.
- Better opportunity to tag mobs and clear content
- Players looking to “try out” Classic and then quit will not negatively impact the population of a server in the long term
- Que time will be dramatically lowered if not totally eliminated
- Opens the flood gates for abuse (Rare mobs, speed leveling, avoiding PvP, etc)
- Destroys server immersion
- Creates strange gameplay experiences
- Massively modifies the economy
- Allows a small group of players who are smart to gain a significant advantage over the rest of the server
- Many more, literally unknowable how many ways players will conjure up to manipulate this system
Even if this system lasts a couple of weeks it will still have horrifying results on the economy, leveling, and the general atmosphere in game. Players who are not familiar with WoW Classic may not understand why, let me explain…
Players who speed rush to 60 can do so within a week. The intention of Blizzard is to bypass the initial burst of players squashed into the first few zones and testing out the game. This “phase” will no doubt last at least a few weeks to a month.
This means that several players will have multiple weeks in high level zones with MULTIPLE shards to swap between. All a player has to do is abuse party invites to swap between however many shards there are of the continent. This means that a player can perform a farming loop in Un’goro for rich thorium, swap shards, and then do it again with fresh spawns. This is UNBELIEVABLY broken.
If there are 3 shards then you have 3 times as many arcane crystals, devilsaur leather, dreamfoil, black lotus, etc… This is simply a disaster. A small pool of players will be able to DOMINATE the economy and hoard up materials at a rate that the rest of the server will never be able to once the sharding is turned off.
The starter zones will be packed in every shard, let’s face it. After that is another story. For players who get out ahead…flipping over to another “layer” AKA “shard” gain a significant advantage and access another broken element to this horrific system.
Imagine being a mage at a gnoll camp in the mid 20s in Wetlands. You clear that juicy camp and now must wait 5 minutes to do it again or move to a less than perfect camp. BUT WAIT…JUST SHARD OVER VIA PARTY INVITE OR RELOG! With the click of a button that gnoll camp respawns and you have a ridiculously fast aoe grinding method. The ability to exploit this is obvious and the negative effects are unknowable.
The entire leveling process will be a mess of party invite shard hopping trying to get the quest mobs you want. Did you get out tagged by a moonfire druid? Who cares, shard hop and get your named mob. This is incredibly bad for the game and some players will exploit this to gain a significant level advantage over others.
One of the coolest things in Vanilla is leveling up alongside your server. You will see players die to a blackrock orc as a low level warrior later be a fully epic MC tank. Not now. Now you will see a select part of your server as you level inconsistently.
This is just one of many negative effects of “layering” AKA “sharding on a larger scale”. What about chat channels? Will you not be able to talk to 2/3rds of the server? Will you be able to talk to the whole server but only see 1/3rd of it? I mean… There is no good answer to this. What a disaster!
There are SO many other ways to exploit and abuse this system. Rare pet farming on your hunter? Shard over to get brokentooth! Shard over to get Lupos (postnerf still different model)! Shard over to get bangalash! Shard over to get your named! Shard over to get your rare spawn! Shard over to see if the vendor has the rare recipe!
Better yet… gold farmers and keen veterans will know what to shard over and get. Scope recipe at booty bay…shard over a few times (layer over…big difference!? not) and collect 2-3 of them and sell them on the auction house for 2-3x the profit you normally would have gotten.
If you can’t see how this inflates the economy and dramatically effects the game you simply do not understand the game.
Blizzard knows this. This is why they say “only a month” or “only Phase 1” (speculation). They also know that many players won’t wait in que to play, therefore they lose money. They know the inability to tag a mob will discourage some and cause them to quit, therefore they lose money. $$$ is all that matters here folks, they are a business after all.
Any possible solution?
“Layering” aka “nerfed sharding” cannot last long at all. It will be abused and it is an abomination of an addition to this game. If it is to be added at all, it must only last a few days.
For every day this system is in place, a neckbeard is collecting 3x + the materials and destroying the economy.
For every day this system is in place, a neckbeard is leveling an alt by aoe grind shard hopping at 3x + the pace of normal players from thenceforth after.
The more I think about this… the more I cringe. Surely Blizzard knows these things…right?
TLDR: Layering is an abomination, will be abused, and will innevitably destroy the gameplay experience. It is not without its benefits and from a business perspective I can see why they did this. There is a tought decision to be made by Blizzard and I believe this system should only last a few days if that to avoid all of the issues and exploits.