Small / Dead servers

Totally understand the RP thing - but isn’t that why we have normal servers and RP servers? Could we not just be merging normal ones and leaving RP realms as they are?

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True, and I think we might want to treat them differently in the future if merging/connections become a thing.

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I think if an RP server is truly dead then it should probably be closed down/merged; but I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know if that would be good even. Injecting even 100 active RPers into a new server would probably not be the best thing for either RP community.

There’s a cost/benefit analysis to be had there haha

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In response the original post in this thread!:

I’ve been on a few low-medium populated servers before finally moving to my current realm, Area 52. I found that on the low-medium populated servers that groups took a long time to form compared to Area 52, Which is considered “Full” at this time on the realm selection list.

I also took note that on the lower populated realms that a lot of major raiding guilds left those realms and went for much higher populated realms. This was particularly an issue because if you wanted to get into a guild that did major end-game raiding, You would have to leave the server as well to a higher populated one.

This caused many issues including, But not limited to:

  • Having issues on your low populated realm to finding a good guild that did things constantly!
  • Limited items on the Auction House to purchase - This could also make things on the Auction House rather expensive due to supply and demand compared to higher populated servers.
  • Not many players from the same realm to quest with or do dungeons with! (This was a major issue prior to the dungeon finder being added to the game!)

Once I transferred to Area 52 a couple of years back now - I found it a lot easier to form groups and find an awesome guild that I’m still part of. I also find the stuff I need from the Auction House more readily available at decent prices!

Additionally, I find the community itself a lot more social compared to being on a lower populated realms - Both here on the Forums and in-game! The cities are a lot more active too.

If you check out the lower populated Realm Forums here on this site, You’ll notice there is rarely any posts there compared to “Full” or “High” populated servers.

What can be done to fix this?:

No one will leave a higher populated realm. Mostly due to the reasons stated above. Also, More and more players will likely leave their lower populated servers. This causing them to become even more dead over time.

I feel the time has come to start merging the lower populated realms into (1) single larger one. I understand Blizzard has done Realm Connections in the past. But I don’t see this very helpful from what I’ve seen as many players still choose to leave the Connected Realms for larger ones.

Additionally, I know many players wouldn’t want to see this as I’ve seen posts saying if this were done it would be a sign the game is dying off here on the Forums over the years. But this is pretty much what has to be done at this point.

Also, Another option that may work in regards to the Auction House - Is to connect it to all realms. This would make items more accessible for players that are on lower populated servers.

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From the perspective of my guild we used to be on a very low population realm. In BFA before nyalotha it had less than 10 active raiding groups and 1 in the top 300 US. The economy was awful to the point we had to transfer guild banks with every tab full of materials to supply the necessities for raiding.

While the community of the server was awesome, it was a ghost town. The QoL was like living in a desert. Keep in mind this was after a merge with other low population realms. And sure while a majority of the game is cross realm, there’s still things that are not. We moved right before 8.3 dropped and it was a life changing experience or at least it felt like one. People may think it’s fine being on a low population realm but it actually makes the game feel awful, I’ve known people who have quit due to such poor QoL issues.

Reality is something more drastic needs to be done. Either make it so realms are in name only or be much more aggressive with merges. It took too long after the first round of merges in mop to happen(end of bfa for second round). The players don’t deserve such poor QoL because of what I’d assume could be poor optics or not enough resources or design foresight to fix any technical limitations. WoW is a social experience and after we made the move I realized the negative impact a dead realm has on players enjoyment is massive.

Don’t even get me started on us spending 12-15m total to transfer us and our alts and that wasn’t including the people who paid for themselves. Very disturbing

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There are likely some economy issues with this option; but I’m not too sure how it would play out.

I agree, and I would like to see how it would work. As I mentioned in a follow up post to the original post, there are issues with doing this that would need to be addressed in the short term.

This is what my server feels like.

Honestly, I would rather see Oribos with next to no one in it, but people that I can interact with fully versus it being crowded and never seeing any of those players again.

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I think the only reason my small server is dead is because of mythic raiding. We had a ton of top 50 guilds just leave because server prices alone were insane and while I dont really read much into the PvE side of things it just seems like going to those clogged servers is better for general game stuff but terrible for expansion launches.

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This is a topic that is coming back up in my guild, as I have members talking about transferring characters off and back onto our server to go to Stormrage, Proudmoore, and other big alliance servers to play the auction house for the 9.2 release. Specifically related to legendaries and crafting materials.

This is also still an issue. I have seen the price of 190 ilvl legendary cloaks go from 20g to 10,000g throughout the expansion. 20g doesn’t even cover the cost to make them, and 10,000 is probably excessive seeing as any tailor can make a 190.

Another question I have (though this may be better for another thread) is why did the requirement to make 15 at each ilvl exist to upgrade to the next? To me it just seems overkill. I can understand it being more than 1, but 15 just saturates the market and ruins it in my experience. (Still trying to sell all the cloaks I made to get to 235)

The question I have at the end of the day - because I genuinely don’t know - is if people are willing to transfer back and forth off servers to use another auction house, would it really be the end of the world if the auctions were merged more than they are right now? Would it even be possible to merge auctions for servers that aren’t connected?

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Hey Arkros,

Being on the server team, what is your focus with respect to servers? Overall population? Faction balance? Economy?

Great to see you here!

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I think sharding has ruined all hopes of faction balance regardless of changes from server teams

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Hey Letholas!

The portion of the Server team I lead is responsible for a large portion of the backend software for World of Warcraft. This means we write and maintain many of the software features that put the O in MMO; guilds, the auction house, matchmaking, and the login flow, to name a few. We’re also responsible for all persistent data related to WoW. Meaning, we’re the shepherds of all your characters and items. As a result of that, we work very closely with our partners in Service Technologies & Customer Service to provide tools for helping with all sorts of CS requests.

On top of all that, we’re also big partners to some of the other software teams in understanding backend performance, and making sure that the online player experience stays as reliable as possible.

Hopefully that helps illuminate some of what my team does. Thanks for asking, its a great question!

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That’s super cool!

Some of my comments in this thread have related to the auction house. Playing on a small server has meant that many prices, such as legendary components, crafting materials, and BoE’s are inflated due to lack of supply.

For example, I checked out the Auction on Stormrage yesterday, out of curiousity, and found that prices for BoE s and Legendary components (262 ilvl) were anywhere from 50,000 - 200,000 gold cheaper than on my server. One could argue there is more money to be made on a small server due to these prices, but I’d argue the opposite due to the lack of demand that correlates with fewer players striving to play at high levels. (Someone just questing in Korthia and doing other solo content may be fine with a cheap, 235 legendary versus dishing out 100,000 + gold for a 262 that doesn’t matter to them).

How does your team feel about the overall health of the auction house per realm? Is there a world where multiple realms (not already connected) that have smaller player bases could see combined auctions? Or do you feel there is another solution to this issue?

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I think one way blizzard could help fix this is with a sell directly to the vendors kind of thing make it kind of like WoW tokens where people buy and sell the items directly to the auction house and the price could fluxuate just a little without people undercutting each other

Personally I would disagree with this.

It takes the economy out of the auction. It’s necessary for tokens because of what they are, but there should always be an element of supply and demand in the auction house.

The value of an item is not determined by it’s price. It’s determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.

Having the program determine the cost of any given item completely removes the playability with the auction. My issues are not with the system, they’re with the lack of interaction on small servers. Supply and demand are both low on small servers as fewer players interact with the auction on any given day. Undercutting is part of the economy. It’s a fine line of undercutting enough to get a sale, but not so much that you don’t get a return on your investment.

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While not the best idea it would fix the small server insane costs. Obviously blizzard could workshop it better or make it actually worth the value I just want something to help my dead server peeps as its real cutthroat in low pop

I’ve had some people on my server asking about this again.

Are there any plans going into 10.0 to address server population & overall economy? I think the new work order system in particular could be very cool but I can see some major issues with it on a small server like ours.

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Really glad to see some changes here. This will definitely be a help, although it does not do anything to help the cost of items like legendaries. I understand those won’t be going forward to Dragonflight, as flasks / gathered materials / etc will.

I think that some of the other items that could benefit from this (as it’s not completely clear if they will be included)

  • Vanthus Runes
  • Battle Pets
  • Mounts
  • Enchants
  • Bags

I wonder if we could compromise on the armor, if items from old expansions could be added to the list of region wide for collectors who want their appearances and are able to buy them on the auction.

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With the AH changes coming soon, a lot of players on my small server are very excited to see these items be cheaper and more accessible to us.

I wonder if there are some other things we could do to help small servers, if server merges are being avoided for some reason or another.

Maybe we could have discounted realm transfer prices to small servers? One of the biggest pain points I have as a recruiter is people not wanting to spend their gold or real money to transfer to a small server, only to have to spend it again if it’s not a good fit because there aren’t any other guilds on the server that would be a good fit. Mega-realms like Area 52, Stormrage, Illidan, Proudmoore don’t have this issue like Vek’Nilash does because there are a hundred guilds just like mine on each of those servers.

I think a cost reduction would go a long way to helping small server guilds increase the population of small servers and even out the server disparity.

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Continuing this thought… it doesn’t make a lot of sense to charge someone $25 to move from a small server to a big server (making the problem worse) and $25 to move from a big server to a small server (helping the problem). Free server moves have been given in the past from full servers to low pop servers.
I’m not asking for it to be free, I’m just asking for helping the problem to be made easier instead of the same cost as making the problem worse.

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This is a problem that we have been suffering in Spain for a long time, and the feeling is that we are not being listened to too much.

They recently did a merger that was practically useless as they merged a server with a very small horde population to a medium server with an alliance population, resulting in both servers still having the same issues. In practice, in Spain there is only one functional server, which is the macro server of Sanguino, Zul’jin, Shen’Dralar and Uldum.

It would be wonderful if they merged all the servers on that one, even more so now with the crossfaction. There are English servers that have the same population as all of Spain put together, so please check it out.

Also, I’m sure there are other communities with the same problem. The union of all the servers would make it possible for many people to play many of their characters freely.

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