Layering: Few Weeks or Phase 1

And we’ve also proposed fixes to the layering selection and hopping problems, because attempting to stop sharding/layering is a pointless waste of time. Layering is happening whether we want it or not, so better to discuss the solutions for ameliorating the issues, than whining about it.

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As long as the exploits get kinked out, like not being able to layer hop in combat, having a CD on layer hoping, etc… I saw Monkeynews on stream layer hopping via logging out and into alts and back into his 60 to get extra Thorium nodes.

This is the future you chose:


Their servers have vastly improved over the last 15 years, now capable of holding many more thousands of players on one server compared to back then (it’s talked about in the dev interviews).

In Elwynn Forest alone you can easily have 1k players. The reason why they wanna use layering, or similarly use sharding in retail, is so that gameplay goals aka questing can be accomplished and queues are lower during that launch. Which made our modern launches so smooth as you said.

Also unlike back then, they can very quickly open up another server in case of such high demand that it would be necessary to put up more servers to handle the load.
Additionally they can get an idea of how many people they can expect by looking at the name reservations they’ll have up shortly before the release.
Tech really isn’t the issue with the launch. It’s from their PoV the gameplay inconveniences and potential server health issues if players drop off drastically.

Ah. Okay, that makes sense.

My suggestions.

I think layering will stop when it can stop, if it’s tuned right it should go away by default when realms stabilize close to their final populations. That said I don’t see them suddenly adding a huge queue time onto realms or delaying phase 2 if populations are unexpectedly high when phase 2 hits.

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And its these concerns that are leading them to layering. The “tech prep” won’t solve the issues they’re addressing.

I think at that point, worst case scenario, THAT is when they’ll add more realms, offer free transfers to those new realms, and remove layering.

Essentially history repeating itself.

I hope like hell they add more servers during launch because their metrics showed that a server would be overpopulated, not add it when the server is over populated and they’re trying to remove layering.

If they can’t predict this, they’re going to have to do far more cleanup work at the end, almost like if they used more servers and no layering. (clean up work in reverse for dead or dying servers).

So why not put a stamp on your login- something akin to, “By virtue of your login, you belong to X layer” ?? This way hopping on any number of alts you want won’t make a damn bit of difference, as they would all be on the same layer? Is this too hard or something, technically/mechanically (I’m not computer- or server architecture-savvy)?

As it is now, it seems like logging in determines what your place is with regard to layer- almost like a “soft” queue that you don’t actually see. The first 3000 per server go to Layer 1; the next go to Layer 2; etc. This apparently becomes problematic with guild members and friends who logged in earlier/later and wound up on different layers, but want to group with you.

By virtue of invite, one of you gets shunted to the appropriate layer for co-play. This is exploitable, obviously: “I found a Rich Thorium, let me invite you so you shunt over and can mine it.” Etc. So how do you fix the problem of being shunted around by groups split up to farm nodes of resources? Someone above mentioned a time-out period that would make the nodes ungatherable (word?) for a time, akin to Honorless Target debuff on zoning.

These seem to be the biggest concerns. The logout/login thing seems pretty simple to solve, actually, so the questions become 1.) Is Blizzard implementing this apparent “simple” fix of branding you with a layer designation across your whole account so you can’t individually hop layers; and 2.) How does Blizzard plan to address F&F invite exploits for farming and other things like WPvP avoidance?

I took the time to read it, I hope they do limit it if they so intend on using it to minimize abuse / exploits. There are already large discord communities forming with hundreds of people intending on mass hopping / strip mining areas with layer hopping techniques.

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Removing the ability to hop layers entirely would probably be the best solution… not a pleasant one, but the best.


In my first listening to the Dev Interviews, I thought that’s what they were doing. i.e You could group and change layers, but you would always return to the default layer on leaving, and relogging wouldn’t change layers.

That begins to fall down when you need to collapse layers though, because they need to do a lot of work to know how to merge 4 layers into 2 such that both new layers are populated appropriately.

Dynamically assigning layers on login is far simpler to manage collapsing.

Bet, but what about wanting to play with my IRL buddy of years and years and years, who gets off work later and wound up on a different layer? One of us has to shunt, yeah?

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Fair point. I agree, that’s why I said it’s not a pleasant solution.

I just don’t know what else to do. We need to take a hardline stance somewhere.

I dig it, and see the concern. But here’s the really depressing thing: maybe there is no good solution. It seems like at the end we’re left either with layer-hopping exploits, or you make resources universal (which is a smoking hot cloud of crap, for anyone who’s ever had a node disappear right from under them). Back in my Vanilla days (uphill, snow, etc.), part of the fun was contested Rich Thoriums in Burning Steppes. Finding an Arcane Crystal is great; finding an Arcane Crystal after you murdered an opposing factioneer to take the node was even better.

I’m in favor of whatever system lets me have more o’ that.

Strongly-worded letters, scathing Yelp reviews, jaundiced word-of-mouth… The possibilities are endless.

I’m not so sure about that. Here’s why:

If you don’t have a static amount of layers you will need to create layers if too many people want to play. Then you will also need to destroy layers as population dips.

As an example.

Say you have 2 Layers. Layer 1 is full, Layer 2 is losing players (for example during the night) until only 5 players remain online in it. It’s about to be empty.

At this point, Layer 1 would either have to phase over these last 5 players to it’s world, flexibly increasing it’s size to accommodate them, so they don’t end up in an empty place.
Or, those 5 players would remain on Layer 2, staying in an awfully lonely world. (but could also cash in on it because they could help players from Layer 1, by porting them to their layer so quests are easier, gathering resources are ripe for picking, etc. Oh the possibilities. :nerd_face:)

Meaning, with the way they currently work, people will have to be phased in and out if they play during a time where the population is declining, such as evening time.
Or, if on the other hand, it’s increasing by a lot, making the layers adjust dynamically, as they are set out to do, creating a phased moment for players.


There is a solution.

  • Manage the server population and cap the layers at 3. Even the most optimistic estimates of tourist loss are about 60% in the first month.
  • If too many people try to log in, run up extra servers, and then we can deal with merges later.
  • End layering after 4 weeks (generous side of “a few”) and then deal with server populations like they did in Vanilla.

Is it perfect? No. Is it better? Yes.