More than 1 layer? Are there 4+ layers?

I’m not trying to be disingenuous. The problem is everyone imagines an easy right answer.

Oh, just disable this, add population caps, or do this, but none of that was present in original game.

Can you imagine how the no changes crowd would’ve reacted to that?

Classic WoW didn’t have population caps, faction caps, or anything. It let the players chose and drive the realms (much to the detriment of other players). In a way, that’s the same thing we’ve seen happen here.

My point was that someone has to sacrifice, and, invariably, it always happens that the person that’s complaining shouldn’t be the one to sacrifice.

Do I think transfers are the answer? Well, yes and no. I think nudging the player base to transfer (for free) to less popular servers is a good idea, however, I’ve also experienced it first hand how the player base blatantly refuses to transfer.

The alternative? A forced split. Server X is split into two servers, Server Y and Server Z and players are forced to choose which server they end up on. This happens, invariably, until the server is small enough. Do I think this is a good idea? Absolutely not.

Are paid character transfers part of the Classic experience? They absolutely were.

I think my overall point was if you really hate layering that much – at least you have options. One of them being invariably starting over or transferring to a new server. Which, you could do for free, if you feel strongly enough about it.

But I also understand how hard that is because of the network effect. The network effect states that the network has a power of n^2 of its users. Which means that the mega servers invariably attract more attention from users on other servers (especially since there’s no XR play – nor am I advocating for that).

So what happens is you already have a massive player base on server X that attracts players from other servers because they want to play with their friends on server X.

There’s just no easy way to undo that power unless a guild (or guilds) decide to take the first step and xfer off.

Now, an honest question, would you rather have layers or 8 hour queues? Because the majority seemed to vote for layers as a temporary way to ease congestion.


They took layering lying down. This idea that the no changes crowd was catered to or was sold this game also feels like a narrative not based in practice.

This argument is reductive of anyone that is critical of a decision and blankets it as all non-useful, which is more protective of pride in decision then seeking out the best game design decisions.

This argument presumes the outcome to this degree is inevitable, which I’m arguing that given all experiences of this game I’ve had on original Vanilla and Private servers this degree was not inevitable. There were que’s but never 8 hours these were created through the artificial systems of layering and character transfers pre-phase 5.

The options are forced on you by the layering system, whether you transfer to avoid it (losing guild or leaving friends) or live with it, the experience is shaped by it.

Not expecting everyone to agree with my stance on layering just arguing that it’s low effort to tell someone to “just transfer” because the problem is far more complicated. I’ve been playing since vanilla and I played 6 different private servers prior to classic and I raid in 3 guilds in Classic. I don’t know the player that transfers without attachments from where they came, or a feeling not having a home while trying to find a guild. If you think “just transfer” is the solution I have to assume you don’t play enough to be part of the population.

The “just transfer” crowd are retail trolls. Sure it solves your immediate problem, but destroys your connection to the server you have been on since the beginning. If it wasn’t for the people I play with on my server, I would not play this game. It’s simply boring to me without the social connection to other players.

Retail doesn’t have this problem because servers are linked and I’m 95% sure you can party up with a friend even if they are on a totally different realm. Half the fun of classic is the community you are part of building on your realm. Its one of the reasons transfers are also bad for this game.

I was on a nice medium pop server, good faction balance, P2 wasn’t overly brutal for the most part. Then we started getting alliance refugees from stalagg, skeram and thalnos. So those servers became 99% horde, so then we started getting the horde from those realms as well, because they had no alliance to kill anymore. Now my medium pop server is a mega server with layers and I don’t see half the people I used to see for the last 5 months.

We even had guilds transfer here and said they “made the server better” because none of the guilds here were into super parses and min-maxing the game to death. Lotus tripled in price within a week of paid transfers opening, ony buffs are on a schedule and you get angry whispers for just turning in a quest. There are constant people next to the NPCs and if you are 60 and get close to them you get an immediate whisper “Dropping?”.

I do not see how raid logging or not does anything for the realm

Lets be honest, it doens’t really matter how the #nochanges crowd reacts (and it never did matter.)

Neither was layering-- whether its 2, 3, or 4 layers. We also didn’t have 2 hour trade window on loot (leading to another recent uproar, the ZG enchants.)

Everything has been changed, from the fact that my warlock started with talent trees after the re-balance in patch 1.9 (iirc?)… to the 1.12 zergfest AV, to the then “we have to remove numbers on games” to the eventual “oh and we’re also gonna artificially give alliance a queue and also scramble players when they queue in order.”

Its all changed. We still have bugs that were never in Vanilla, but haven’t been fixed or patched out. (druid rage generation, travel form problems, Eye of kilrogg shenanigans,)

We have things that were meant to be scarce and desired (like Devilsaur) changed. We’ve had things that were absolutely 100% working as intended changed (paladin Reck-bombs.)

Well said, for sure.

While true, I think we see evidence that most authentic is not their actual top goal (and never was.) And sadly, time and again they have shown that when they must react if things go off the rails too much they seem to miss the point, and miss the mark. Again and again.

Layering was wrong on day one. Layering is wrong today. There are (and have always been) more choices. Perhaps they weren’t as easy as layering.

I don’t think layering is nearly as much of an issue as you’re making it out to be. You’ve had DME for a while now for thorium farming.

It’s because as someone that actually played Classic and dealt with all these problems that I’m asking you which experience you wanted. So, what is your solution? I proposed examples above and you never stated what yours were.

Personally, I don’t think layering is bad and is probably the least bad thing they could’ve done. While I agree that layering abuse is something that needed to be addressed, I think the exponential cool down should take care of it.

What I mean by this is that if a server is capped at 3500 players and you layer it so now the cap is 7000 players. You’ve effectively doubled the materials but you’ve also doubled consumption. From a mathematical standpoint, it should net back out to 0. Even at 10 layers, it’s a 35,000 population server with 200 raiding guilds, but it’s generating 10x the resources for 10x the population.

The only real problem with this is people that are invested in lower population servers are usually more concerned with economic manipulation. (Fewer people = easier to corner the market.)

What I mean by that is, if a conventional 3500 pop server could handle 20 raiding guilds (I’m using arbitrary numbers here) and a 7000 pop server has 40 raiding guilds, then the end result is everything ends up leveling out.

Yes, someone could theoretically try to farm twice as much lotus/herbs/mines, but that’s just not realistic. Especially now.

[quote=“Baxoj-fairbanks, post:84, topic:503039”]
This argument presumes the outcome to this degree is inevitable, which I’m arguing that given all experiences of this game I’ve had on original Vanilla and Private servers this degree was not inevitable. There were que’s but never 8 hours these were created through the artificial systems of layering and character transfers pre-phase 5.[/quote]

I know that on my server (which was not one of the more popular servers) easily had queues of 2+ hours on prime time. I’ve heard of, but not encountered, queues of 4+ hours when the game came out.

Not to mention a lot of instability in the server that has long since been fixed.

I’d also disagree with paid character transfers being delayed that long.

I’m also more inclined to believe this is inevitable because the behavior of people changed between now and then. The gaming community of 2005 isn’t 2020’s gaming community. The players changed. I’d say this was more obvious from just how min/max and efficiency focused everyone is now.

This is where I’d happen to disagree. The options were forced were the following, having people beg Blizzard to reduce the time to log into the game (6-8 hour queues).

What I’m stating is that you have options. If you absolutely despise layering that much? There are servers without layering right now.

Just like the majority of the player base choose to create mega servers (though, again, I’d state that this is more of a consequence of the network effect).

Also, I never said the choice to transfer or not was easy and I asked you what you’d rather have, 8 hour queues, layering, or transferring. Obviously it doesn’t seem to be transferring, but I was curious enough to ask your opinion.

Personally, I can understand the decision to add layering because Blizzard wasn’t sure how stable the server populations would be.

And layering or not? With paid character transfers, I think we’d see that the majority of the player base would rather coalesce on mega servers for one reason or another.

Current retail doesn’t, but we did have it in the past. I did have people choose to transfer off and had to deal with knowing I just wouldn’t get to game with them anymore. It happens. It doesn’t happen anymore, though (since Cataclysm or Mists of Pandaria, I think?)

Paid character transfers have existed since Mid 2006, which was around Naxx. Due to the accelerated time table, I don’t think it’s a big deal, assuming the PCT still has a cooldown.

While I understand that, the 2h loot trade is just to supress the need for GM support due to loot issues. In Classic, you had to put in a ticket, GMs had to research the issue, and reassign the loot as appropriate, which could take months. I know because our fury warrior got the helm of might by mistake (couldn’t loot it to the MT that needed it) and they put in a ticket. Months later the GM fixed the issue and our MT told us all that he woke up to the helm of might in his mail. Per this video, the reckoning bomb happened in mid 2005 and was hotfixed out, so that'd make it part of 1.12

Would opening up a bunch of servers and watching them slowly die off one by one be any better?

I’m very curious on both of your suggestions on how you would’ve done the server population because I don’t think there’s really a good way to do it.

I honestly think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’ve had 22m people file for unemployment in a month.

No, opening a bunch of servers and watching them all die off wouldn’t be better. At least, if that were literally as far as Blizz would go-- just sit and watch their gaming community burn. (I’d hope not?)

I don’t have a perfect answer to what could have been done with server population. If we know anything from looking at not only the Pserver experience, but also factor that thru the Retail lens that we’ve played with lately, we could discern a few factors:

  • More and more players (especially serious players) prefer being horde to alliance.

  • More players seem to gravitate to whatever perceived advantage they might gain-- however small. (pvp racials etc)

  • Information (tips/tricks/gimmicks/exploits) travels faster than ever before. Between streamers and content creators showing every possible layering exploit, back door jump in AV, speedfarming ZG, solo farming various DMs, the list goes on and on. All of these things become mainstream far quicker than they used to in the old days, and the problems they can create manipulate markets and player behavior more easily.

So yea, I don’t have a perfect answer, and I certainly don’t have an answer as quick and easy as “institute an automated system called layering.”

I can imagine they have metrics that can be tracked regarding minutes played. Heck, we all can see our times with the /played script both at level and total. Perhaps they could have hard capped servers at a certain number of players, then watched the active minutes Horde:Alliance to figure out ways to adjust population balances.

Regarding super-servers like Faerlina etc… Blizz has offered some free transfers like they did in the beginning to new realms like Arcanite Reaper, but they could’ve actually spoken with GMs of large guilds. They could’ve even given 2-3 months free game time for players to move. Of course, that would reduce their profit just a little bit.

If they started a bunch more realms back in the beginning, and some of them died off, then they could come later and combine some of them when needed for the health of the game and playerbase. Again, that’s not a simple automated fix and would require some human thought when analyzing the metrics, and I assume that to be the reason they weren’t going to invest in such a strategy.

Their goal was to give us the closest thing to a Pserver experience they could, while still being built on the retail engine so 90% of any CS questions can be automated. (Instead of always opening a ticket.)

In short, WoW Classic (for Blizz) was always about getting the most dollars with the fewest man-hours. Layering helped tremendously to that extent, and still does.

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Did you take layer sub-sharding into account?

Was this ever looked into further by anyone here? (Sorry can’t read all that atm lol)
Asking because last nite on a non layered server, I was on when Rallying Cry went out & didn’t get it. I’m legit wondering if anyone else has noticed this on non layered servers, bc wondering if it’s a bug on Blizz’s end?

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Oh, Cannibowl. You scamp.

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Blizz already knows how to steal.

If you rely on blizzard’s word, there “should” have never been layers returning to classic. So your mileage will vary, in regard to their integrity.

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This all seems overly complex. Wouldn’t the easiest test of there being more than two layers be to find out which of the 20 guildies you cannot see, and then have them find out if they all see each other without any grouping done to layer hop?

Or, more simply, if three characters are in one place, and the first does not see the second or third, but the second and third do not see each other either, then no amount of absolute statements by Blizzard that there are only two layers can explain that.

I have run into issues with lag on these where it seems to take 10-15 minutes to get the buff. (Last night we were in STV and between the yell announcing the buff and the highlander zap of the buff was some 10 minutes, and Booty Bay had no more than the usual small number of people.

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Yeah, I had stayed on for (at least) 10 minutes, thinking this could be the issue & no dice. If it happens again, I will stay on longer and see how long it takes, because as you said, the area I was in wasn’t very packed either. (Well not for Org anyway haha). There were surprisingly few people on & it’s not layered.

Of course that’s not as far as they’d go. We’ve seen the alternative that happened in retail.

Open up enough servers for peak population > enough of the population dies off > merge servers together? Force transfers off of server X because it’s closing? We’ve seen the results in retail, they merged servers together, and eventually implemented sharding so server population doesn’t matter nearly as much. Zones always look alive.

I’d argue that layering wasn’t a quick and easy solution. I’m confident Blizzard had nuanced discussions about this and someone asked, “What if we had one server that was effectively multiple servers?”

Again, I’d argue layering is much less of a problem than you’re saying as long as they add in the exponential delay between switching layers, like they said they have.

What matters more than the total resources on a server is the balance between resources being created and consumed.

So if a layer allows for twice as many people to play at once, consumption and creation of resources should be balanced.

Assuming layers are normally distributed, you have a 50% chance of being on either layer. The chance of 10 random people being all on the same layer are (1/2)^10 which has a 0.09765625% chance of happening.