Players per server in classic?

How many players could each server house in vanilla at a given time? i read 3500? Will the new servers Blizzard have hold more players per server? Will this impact each classic realm for better or worse when it comes to farming and questing if the realms have more than 3500 players? Obviously this could change guild sizes and make grouping more efficient/easier with higher realm pop. Will this result in bigger realms but fewer realms than vanilla offered? I feel that this is an important topic as it could have both negative and positive effects on the vanilla experience as a whole.

Can’t say as I remember the exact number of players for vanilla servers, but I think it’s likely they will be larger than they were, but I doubt this will have a significant negative/positive effect beyond the initial rush on launch.

What you’re asking is pretty general - it’s all context really. A bigger community and server can mean a lot of positives, you are likely to have a bigger AH with larger array of items available, more guilds for a wider variety of players and play-styles, and a more active game world. It will mean there will be more farmers, but it may also mean there’s a bigger market for said materials.

I’m not sure Blizzard has announced anything concrete about the number of realms etc., that is something they will need to look into closer to launch based on metrics they have available regarding interest in WoW Classic.

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The estimated number from 2004-2006 is that each server could hold 2500-3000 players.

Even though the servers can hold more than that, it causes issues. Private servers that have higher caps tend to have to use dynamic respawns, and even then zones can sometimes be impossible to quest in due to the opposite faction camping it.

If they’re going to increase it, they need to be careful about it. The game wasn’t built for servers with 10k people on it.


Do you think it will affect the way people approach World Bosses?..


There are serious implications involved with a far larger player cap.

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The servers could handle about 3.5k-4k players online simultaneously, but Blizzard wanted smaller numbers for community reasons. So they designed the game around a cap that was around 2-3k concurrent players per server.

I’m not sure if there was a limit to how many accounts or characters there could be registered on a server, but it was at least much higher than the concurrent player caps. Bear in mind only a portion of a server’s total population will be online at any given moment.

Also, take into account that just because a server can hold 3500 players, or whatever number you want to plug in, does not mean it can handle all those players on at the same time in the same place. Just look at the horror stories from the opening of AQ. The servers were fine until everyone descended on Silithis as if it were Woodstock.


I see only two “real” options here.

  1. sever caps of 2500~ characters online at a time.

  2. mega servers such as what a lot of private servers use, but incorporated phasing.

Both have their merits of worth imo. I just really disagree with going into mega pop severs with no phasing. It really, really hurts professions (black lotus farming anyone?) and causes issues with world bosses and game crashes (even to this day) when mass amounts of people load into single zones.


Like sharding for one.


There seems to be confusion between concurrent player cap and server population. They are directly related but people see the cap of 2500 and think thats how many players are on that server without realizing thats just how much of the active community can play at one time. The problem with mega servers isnt that its just 10k (example) people on that server in reality for a mega server that sometimes has ques it’s likely 2-3x that many active population… The bigger the server population the less social interactions matter… That’s why close to original concurrent player caps is important.

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Blizzard was asked about this at Blizzcon and was very non-committal about server sizes. We have no idea what they are thinking here.

The current “server” setup they have (which is very different from the one they had in vanilla) doesn’t have the same kind of hard caps like the old servers did, due to sharding technology; but the caveat is that when that technology isn’t used, things can get very unstable when too many people crowd into one place at once. Anyone who was there during the first couple of hours of the launch of Warlords of Draenor has seen that in action.

I kind of wish that Blizzard had gone with something more akin to CCP Games’ time dilation solution (used in EVE Online) rather than sharding to correct this problem, but it is what it is.

thats what sharding is for

No one really knows what kind of setup they will have for wow classic.
Back in 2004 they had realms per server.
Now they are “in the cloud” and use sharding/crz to manage server population and server load.

Sharding is for stability.

More recently, towards the end of Legion, Blizzard allowed sharding to be disabled on roleplaying realms, to a certain extent.

Because of this, certain groups that are excited for Classic got together to run a little Project, where they would try to replicate the levelling experience on a live Retail server.

They didn’t announce ahead of time where they were going to do this, and when they did… well, the server did not like it.

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Around 2500. That’s per John Staats on the ClassiCast podcast. He was a 3d level designer working on WoW during the time of vanilla.

No one knows.

my guess is that they will take advantage of modern servers and have higher capacities than before. i say this because sharding would not be very necessary if they were sticking with 2500

ultimately no one knows right now, and blizzard has not been forth coming in the past with this kind of information .

A server with a cap that is significantly higher than 2500-3000 would need some kind of more permanent solution: Either sharding all the time, or dynamic respawns like private servers use(which has its own issues).

Which Blizzard was very quick to assure is that sharding would NOT be permanent, and that’s even if they use it in the first place. They said they were considering it, not that it was 100% confirmed.

did they actually guarantee it would not be permanent or did they say it would be used as needed?

permanent sharding would be fine with me tbh. they can effectively make it necessary by design if the realms are big enough

Doesn’t need to be confirmed now. It was in the demo and then admitted to by Blizzard and then morphed from “used in the demo” to “maybe used for a few weeks in the initial zones”.

People have 8 months to vent their frustrations and come to terms with it and accept it. Just like the RP realms did.

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The exact comment they made at Blizzcon was:

“The first few weeks when everybody is packed into Valley of Trials, when everybody is packed into Elwynn we think we can use sharding there in a limited, time limited, way to solve the initial launch day load problems while making sure that in the long run as server communities solidify there’s a healthy population and a single world for everybody to live in.”

It was also noted they’re aware of the importance of limited resources in the world and needing to compete with others in the world for said resources. They know that when Lord Kazzak is up, there need to be only one Lord Kazzak.

They pretty much needed to confirm that it would be used in a very limited way and only at the start given all the pushback they got to the comment about it.

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