My thoughts on the State of TBC Servers

I’m sure I’m missing something obvious, but I don’t see a better way to respond to State of TBC Servers than to just create my own topic (but this time I hope I put it in the correct forum lol).

When the linked topic was created, I was really hopeful. I posted some thoughts on reddit, but figured it might be better to put them here, and revise them a tad.

As I see it, there are 3 main issues with an imbalanced population:

  1. World interactions (farming, PvP, etc.)
  2. Dungeon/Raids
  3. AH

One main theme I see from Blizzard over the years is allowing players to have a choice. Whenever someone brings up a solution, or a problem for a solution (like naming issues when merging servers), I see many argue that ‘no one cares about names’ or the same about wPvP, or whatnot. The truth is, many do care. It is not a good idea to remove the option from those that do care. So the best solution will probably involve the most reasonable amount of freedom/choice for the player. I don’t see a singular solution solving all the issues players are having with the current state of things. So, I have a 3-part solution.

The first part is Free Character Moves (FCM) with little to no limitations. Aggrend mentioned that according to data, moves generally occur with players going to the majority side of a server, not leaving a majority and going to a minority. There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is that free transfers are rare and restricted enough that a player likely won’t risk going to the minority faction. If the FCMs were only limited to a week cooldown, for example, then I imagine you’d see more people willing to give it a shot. Still, not enough to solve the issue in and of itself. In fact, this solution by itself would likely cause servers to become one-sided within a week. But, this solution, along with the next two, allows players an option to try out different environments. Aggrend’s point about the 60%-40% imbalance, allowing the 20% to leave hurts the rest of the server - it’s likely that the 20% will pay to transfer or stop playing, hurting the server anyway. FCM would just make the process faster, but less damaging in that the rest of the server isn’t stuck there either.

The second part is to allow cross server groups in instances only. Full cross servers could be good, but some like quiet servers. Also, FCM allow people to go to a full server if they want it. But even those that like a quiet leveling experience, will generally want to find groups for instances. The LFG tool could have an additional option to list all players, or just those on your server. This way, server communities will be there for those that prefer it (more or less), but those that want to actually do dungeons while leveling can as well. Perhaps summons would be a little wonky, that would be something to figure out.

And the third part is cross server AH. The economy of a server is tied to a number of things, but what if size of a server did not have such a large impact? Smaller servers would become better for farming, larger servers perhaps would be better for GDKP runs (though a good implementation of cross server groups would negate this). A cross server AH could cause issues with farmers invading smaller servers just for farming, which would negatively impact those that choose to reside on small servers. However, with FCMs enabled, server economies could be quite impacted anyway. Better bot detection would be very needed, even more than it is currently.

Every solution will impact these three aspects of the game differently. I feel that having all three of these solutions would eventually result in the best outcome. There will still be some that won’t be satisfied, but I think the increase in satisfaction due to freedom/choice would be more than the dissatisfaction with the changes to server communities (especially since server communities are already being negatively affected due to paid character transfers). I’ve been on two servers that have ‘died’ thus far, having leveled on both during high and low population times. I hope my thoughts are helpful.


The state of the servers benefit Blizzard because of the paid transfers. Once those dry up and a dead server has 50 players that won’t pay, the free transfers open up. They get to blame the whole thing on player choice and all is right with the world.

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Very thought-out post OP. I’ll agree that everything you mentioned would probably help at this point, even though at one point I would have been against some of It.

IMO if people weren’t afraid to spread out more they would be going for the server types they actually want. Mega, large, medium, small. Right now they stack mega because it’s safe. Having a choice would be a good thing for everyone.

I’ve seen that free transfer suggestion before. A common debate is the economy but at this point, I doubt that would even matter that much. We already have a massive amount of easy-to-farm mats being free transferred off dead servers.

It’s always good seeing people think of solutions. The ironic thing is that the same people who have attacked me for “always being negative and not helping” will come in here and say you are wrong for offering any suggestions. I’ve seen it before.

It will be interesting to see what they do for extra income when this transfer money dries. up. I’m in the “they did nothing so they could earn more money to show their shareholders” camp which is a common place to be based on Reddit etc upvotes.

It’ll be quite some time before the transfers end. Servers that were relatively healthy a month or two ago are seeing guilds transfer off. It won’t be over until there are 3 or 4 servers left and by that time, Wrath will be out lol.

You’re probably right, they’ve still got some time to get more money.

People are transferring to the big 3 or 4 every day. Medium servers have to worry about that and the people that just get burnt out and quit. I’ll be curious to see how many active servers there are in 6 months.

Earthfury where this character is getting kind of there, with some guilds transferring off soon, so I totally get what you’re saying.

My guild is not actively discussing transferring (we did discuss it a few weeks back) but decisions could happen quickly. I know the signs. After a lot of thought, I probably won’t transfer my druid unless it’s for free. The only reason I would is out of guild loyalty, not for “fun” reasons. That being said I’ve already paid to transfer two other characters. So I’m as “guilty” as anyone else.

Anyway, I’d love for Blizzard to do something to help the player base but I don’t expect much at all.

I started TBCC on Incendius over the summer and we were never a big server. If those Ironforge numbers are to be believed, maybe 5k strong and 99% of them alliance. The remaining horde “mega” guild called them 1% lol.

But it didn’t take long for that number to go 3k and then 1k and then like 50. Things were so bad that every alliance guild on the server merged. Now of course that didn’t work out as now you’ve got all these different personalities and raid philosophies coming together.

All of that happened from like June to the end of August/September.

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I think the ideas of less restrictive FCMs is an interesting one. It’s sort of a solution to a problem that exists because servers exist the way they do. So rather than saying, Hey maybe servers aren’t working out the way we intended for the 2022 audience, maybe we can redesign this, it’s a sort of easy way to deal with what we have. For that reason, I see it as interesting to try, while maybe not the best solution, but maybe better than what we have.

Cross-server AH, or a unified AH seems reasonable to me, too. The idea that the lower pop servers would become more active for farming is maybe not a bad thing.

Personally, I dislike the idea of cross-realm instances, because I find it to be restrictive and anti-community. Meeting people in dungeons, and leveling up together, then later joining or forming end-game content groups is something I’ve personally done several times throughout the Classic series, and is a large part of community, in my opinion.

Of course, there’s the idea that if you have less restrictive FCMs, then if you regularly run instanced content with people you meet along the way, you may all find yourselves on the same server at some point, so maybe it’s not so bad.

I do sort of think that this all points back to the idea that servers (and characters locked to them) working the way they do now doesn’t feel like the best thing we could have.

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