The Current Situation: A Practical Discussion

I will start by summarizing the current situation:

1. Blizzard completely underestimated the actual popularity that Classic WoW would have at launch time.

Blizzard’s logic of “…if we went out with too many servers, weeks or months down the line we’d have a much tougher problem to solve…” (Medium pop still has login queue - #19 by Watcher) is sound logic in my opinion. However, they have reacted far too slowly with the creation of new realms and have neglected to consider the ability of transferring characters from overpopulated realms to these newly-created ones. Players that were able to get into the realms of their choice have potentially made considerable progress there and do not want to start over on a newly-created realm simply because they may not experience an extensive queue time.

2. Blizzard’s intial algorithm for determining realm population status (i.e. Full, High, Medium, etc.) was misleading at best.

“…the system previously calculated the population labels by comparing all realms to the most-populated realm. This could result in a very crowded realm (with a lengthy queue) showing up as “Medium”, since it was being compared to the realm that had the highest population and a potentially massive queue.” (New Realm Population Label System"). I have seen many violent forum posts about how a realm marked as having a “Medium” population has a queue to enter. Blizzard reacted very well by modifying the algorithm to show the status as compared to the hard server capacity. Servers now labeled as “Full” have queues. Servers now labeled with “Low”, “Medium” or “High” do not have queues.

3. The unknown variable of actual server capacity.

Although we know how many players are in queue ahead of us, we still do not know the actual server capacity and therefore cannot properly put the queue numbers into perspective. We do not know the hard limit that Blizzard has imposed on individual realms. Some have speculated as low as 5,000. Some have speculated as high as 25,000. We simply do not know how many players that Blizzard have designed these servers to host concurrently. That is Blizzard’s fault. We shouldn’t be left guessing if a server is even worth considering. With that said, Blizzard has been very forthcoming when it comes to warning the playerbase which realms will experience extensive queues. Their warnings were valid. However, we have been left with very few choices as far as joining a realm without queues and migrating our existing characters there.

4. The unknown factor on layering’s influcence when it comes to potential server capacity.

There is still a LOT of confusion when it comes to layering. Briefly put, layering creates “copies” of the world and splits the population amongst these layers. Blizzard has confirmed that having too many people congregated in any single area results in massive latency. The goal of layering is to migrate people that occupy the same area into various layers in order to reduce latency and improve the overall experience for the players. The confusion sets in when people think that layering means that servers can hold more people simultaneously, meaning that Blizzard can raise those aforementioned “hard server caps” to something much higher. I don’t believe this to be the case. Layering simply improves the player experience when too many players happen to be in the same area at once. Layering doesn’t have anything to do with how many concurrent players a single realm can accommodate.

5. Estimated queue times.

I do not know the algorithm for this and to my knowledge, Blizzard hasn’t commented on it. Simply put, the estimated queue time is always wrong. I know that the key word is “estimated” but even an estimate should have some degree of accuracy. This number is not even close to being accurate and I urge you NOT to trust it. These estimated queue times have lead to many angry posts on these forums and other outlets. I believe it’s something that Blizzard needs to acknowledge.

6. The uncertainty of server health as population stabilizes.

This is a BIG one and a subject that Blizzard has fortunately kept at the forefront. The reason that Blizzard is only rolling out one to two new realms at a time is because they expect the playerbase to quickly drop off after launch. When video game launch history is factored in, this is very sound judgment. You typically have a massive surge of interest in the beginning which quickly tapers off after a number of weeks. Blizzard’s concern is that after that suspected decline in player count, that numerous realms they created to accommodate the initial surge will become barren wastelands. This has had the unintended consequence of server queues. There have been talks of remedies such as “server merging” but Blizzard has been conscious of that as well and how it may influence the server ecosystems. I wholeheartedly understand Blizzard’s apprehension when it comes to adding ton of new realms without having first calculated the need to do so.

With the current situation established, I’d like to post a few bullets that are my opinion alone. I understand that people are outraged, but decency needs to be upheld and expectations need to be kept reasonable.

  • Blizzard should not compensate with game time, but they should certainly acknowledge exactly what happened, what went wrong, and how things didn’t go as expected.
  • Blizzard should offer free realm transfers. This would greatly benefit people who made considerable progress on a certain server OR allow for an entire community of people to migrate to another server entirely. It’s apparent that the population needs to be spread around.
  • Blizzard should make exact server capacity numbers public. I don’t understand the secrecy behind this and never will.
  • Blizzard has done an amazing thing by bringing Classic back to us and by maintaining it’s genuine gameplay. They should be commended for that and not judged solely on the condition of this particular launch.

Now I encourage you all to reply to this thread with constructive and mature comments. This community is already overflowing with toxicity and I’m hoping that conversations such as this one can allow us all to step back for a moment, take a deep breath, and realize that this isn’t the end of the World.