Realms Expectations for Season of Discovery

Hey everyone. I’m Fwoibles, also known as Tom. I’m a Senior Producer on the World of Warcraft Server and Live Ops team, and I would like to share what we’re preparing for the realms with the upcoming launch of Season of Discovery.

You may have noticed with the launch of Classic Hardcore that there weren’t a lot of realms. Was Hardcore’s launch a small experience? Heck no! Hardcore continues to be experienced by a huge number of players, and we have been thrilled to see so many players, new and old, join in to experience World of Warcraft Classic in a new, exciting way. At the outset of any launch, our goal has always been to create healthy, enduring realms, and behind the scenes, we deployed tech in patch 1.14.4 that allowed us to significantly increase the realm capacity of a single Classic Era realm. With this higher realm capacity and fewer realms, we avoided the need for disruptive character migration options as realm populations ebbed and flowed.

For Season of Discovery, we’re going to repeat this process. We will launch a handful of realms that can support a lot of players, so you can feel confident in your choice of realm. Please note: we will actively manage the realm sizes at launch, so you might see sporadic queues as the populations spread out and we ensure realm sizes remain roughly equal. If Season of Discovery proves hugely popular (as we think it might!), we will of course be ready with additional realms if needed. Please look forward to the announcement of launch realm names and types Soon™!

Another topic that comes up each time we talk about realms is faction balance on PvP realms. We’ve received a lot of feedback on this since 2019. We hear you, and with Season of Discovery, we’re going to try something new: this Season’s PvP realms have been designed to maintain faction balance as they grow. Yes, this is actually happening!
However, there is a potential cost to this faction balance that we want to make sure you’re aware of: if one faction is significantly more dominant on a PvP realm, there is a very real likelihood that faction selection may be temporarily limited on that realm. That said, our overarching goal for Season of Discovery is for it to be a fun and smooth experience, and we are prepared to change course if necessary. Your requests for faction balance have been heard loud and clear. This is a new direction for us, and one that we’re excited to try.

Again, this feature will only be turned on for our Season of Discovery PvP realms. You will always be able to roll either faction as you wish on PvE realms. We encourage everyone who isn’t committed to the challenges and difficulties of PvP to consider a non-PvP realm for Season of Discovery. As an old WoW veteran myself, I can tell you – playing on a balanced-faction PvP realm can be a double-edged sword. There are awesome and fun new challenges that await, but also the potential for hindrances that you may not expect. Your favorite farming spots might be a bit more spicy than you’re used to!

We think this Season is going to be a lot of fun, and these changes will help ensure every realm enjoys a great experience all Season long! And we’re excited and looking forward to adding some extra seasoning to Season of Discovery’s PvP realms.


good to hear. that being said:

i’m hoping you restrict transfers to/from pvp realms in SoD as well (disable incoming or outgoing for whatever faction is highest/lowest)

all the data i’m seeing so far suggests a more balanced faction split anyways in SoD, as they will both perform much closer so hopefully most go on preference alone and not pve performance

edit: let’s bring back the good pvp server names please


let’s get er done


Please can you elaborate on what you define as one faction being significantly more dominant? What ratio is being aimed for?


Overall sounds good, my only comment is that the OCE community is going to end up congregating on the PvP server whether they want PvP or not. It happened in Classic and SoM, it’ll happen again in SoD.

Could the OCE PvE and PvP servers be linked somehow?


Are we going to be able to create characters in advance to the launch?


Please do not forget OCE realms in this :slight_smile:


Any news on an rp pvp realm?


Ty for the update, looking forward to seeing what realms will be available at launch so I can know what servers most of the Horde raiders will be going towards on PVE side.

A bit of a bummer to hear. Hopefully we’re at more than two realms as was HC. Part of the experience (especially for RP) is character name, and consolidated servers make it much harder to grab character names, or even variants. I’m personally more Ok meeting new people and experiencing the game with them as a specific character – name, persona, personality, back story – than worrying about picking any two random words to make sure I’m on a specific realm. In fact my entire classic experience was guided by where I could get specific characters created. Hopefully there will at least be enough servers to meet demand from this aspect.

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How quickly can we expect this faction balancing to take effect after realms come up? If we’re at work for the day are we going to get locked out of our preferred faction?

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Can always roll on a PVE realm if you’re worried about this, but good question! I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

This is a good question, too! Like does it have to do with unique characters created? Characters currently online? Or regularly active however that might be defined?

Not sure how I feel about faction balance restrictions.

I think, if we had like 20+ servers, then those restrictions would be helpful.

If we only have a few servers + layers? Then it seems like overkill. The available servers will end up fairly balanced regardless of what happens.

If you want to balance the factions even more, why not allow Dwarves to be Shaman and Tauren to be Paladins? This would both give totems and pally buffs to the sides instead of forcing extra on classes already existing?

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Could we please confirm / deny if oceanic servers will exist on launch?

Awesome news otherwise

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Probably because after season ends they wouldn’t be able to go to era

OK, but what about Wrath Era servers?


I am concerned that a majority of the PVE server community will be rolling Alliance, as someone who intends to roll Horde. I’m hoping Aggrend’s words about faction balance, and all the various changes coming will sway that, but so far it’s possible we’ll continue seeing history repeat itself. Especially since it sounds like a lot of prominent streamers will be going Alliance. I wonder if they’ll implement the faction caps on PVE servers at any point as well?

Disgusting. So dead out the gate.


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