World of Warcraft has introduced new technology that enables players to form groups with others from different servers in the open world.
These cross-server zones are being implemented on the Mists of Pandaria beta servers soon, aiming to solve issues where low-level zones lack enough players for beginners and those levelling alternate characters to find groups easily.
How Cross-Server Zones Work in WoW?
The technology will generate separate versions of the zones and merge players from various servers into them. Upon entering a cross-server flagged zone, players will transition into the phase without interruption, like moving between story-phased regions elsewhere in the game.
These cross-server phases will be generated dynamically, depending on which zones are considered underpopulated at any given time. To safeguard each server’s unique economy, the loot and trade regulations will follow the same restrictions as when in a dungeon or raid with players from different servers.
Connected Realms and Cross-Realm Zones in WoW
Cross-realm zones (CRZ), a game design tool, were introduced to address the problem of lower-level zones being underpopulated despite a high number of players at the max level. The CRZ feature achieves this by placing players from different realms into the same instance of a particular zone, creating a more active and lively environment.
As of now, cross-realm zoning is only applicable between realms within a time zone difference of +/-3 hours.
It is crucial to avoid mixing Connected Realms with CRZ (Cross-Realm Zones). Joining a guild from a merged server is permissible, but it is not possible to join guilds through CRZ.
To determine which servers are merged with each other, you can search for the list of Connected Realms in WoW. If the desired guild is on a merged server, joining the guild should be hassle-free.
However, if the guild is not on a merged server, joining it is not feasible. The only option would be to create a new character and play on the guild’s server.
Connected Realms in WoW
Following are the connected realms in WoW to make it easier for the players:
- The Scryers and Argent Dawn
- Bronzebeard and Shandris
- Fenris and Dragonblight
- Fizzcrank and Aggramar
- Baelgun and Doomhammer
- Saurfang, Caelestrasz, and Nagrand
- Darrowmere, Windrunner, and Draka
- Stonemaul and Archimonde
- Shadowsong and Aszune
- Varimathras and Elune
- Rexxar and Alleria
- Khadgar and Bloodhoof
Connected Realms in RP, Normal, and Classic Era
- Flamelash, Razorgore, Ten Storms, Judgment, Dreadmist, Shazzrah, Gehennas, and Stonespine
- Firemaw, Skullflame, Noggenfogger, Mograine, Golemagg, Gandling, Earthshaker, Dragonfang, Bloodfang, and Ashbringer
- Pyrewood Village, Mirage Raceway, and Nethergarde Keep
Unaffected Zones by Cross-Realm Zones
There are some zones in WoW that are not affected by this Cross-Realm Zone feature. These zones are:
- Vault of Archavon
- Baradin Hold
- Tol Barad
Important Points to Consider for CRZ
Realms are solely cross-realm zoned with other realms of the same type, whether Normal or RP. Although players are still required to compete for cross-realm for fishing pools, this feature is not designed to impact the winners of fishing tournaments.
Despite initial statements suggesting otherwise, the system currently encompasses low-populated zones, including most of the factions’ primary cities.
Server Types and Cross-Realm Zones
Players will be mixed with others only from a specific group of realms that match their server type by default. Leaving a cross-server zone will not disband your group, but you will only be able to interact with players from your home realm.
This feature also allows players to group with Real ID friends from different servers in the open world. The party leader’s server type will be the one that everyone joins when friends are coming from servers with different rulesets.
Additionally, this technology can create multiple phases of a zone on the same server, something that WoW has not done before.
Blizzard Explaining Cross-Realm Zones
Blizzard’s CM Rygarius has shared a wealth of information on Cross-Realm Zones on the official Blizzard forums. This highly-discussed feature recently became available on EU realms after being live on US realms for a few weeks, and there have been some initial issues that Blizzard is currently working to address.
Rygarius clarified that Blizzard is still resolving problems such as player reporting and ignoring, the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza, chat spam, realm hopping, /who requests, and Tol Barad and Wintergrasp.
It’s reassuring to know that Blizzard is receptive to player feedback, and Rygarius’ post outlines how to report any bugs or issues.
Additionally, Rygarius offers a comprehensive guide on Cross-Realm Zones, explaining how they function, how realms are selected to be joined, and how groups and parties operate.
Rygarius also addresses concerns about realm communities and low-population realm economies and sheds light on how CRZs will work when Mists of Pandaria launches.
Following patch updates have been incorporated in WoW till now:
This update enabled the cross-realm zones for the Draenor Continent on 19-07-2016.
This update enabled cross-realm zones for the Pandaria Continent on 14-10-2014.
In this update, players can no longer assemble other players who have a difference of 3 time zones.
This update was added on 28-08-2012.
How do Cross-Realm Groups Work in WoW?
In World of Warcraft, cross-realm groups typically occupy the same copy of a zone, except for certain never-cross-realm zones like Stormwind and Orgrimmar on RP realms.
The selection process for which copy of the zone the group sees is complex but can be summarized as follows:
- A character’s “home zone” is the copy of the zone they see while ungrouped
- Characters on the same realm or group of connected realms generally share a home zone, but cross-realm zones can cause characters from different, unconnected realms to share a home zone
- A newly-formed group starts in the leader’s home zone, but group leadership no longer affects phasing after that
- Changes in group membership can trigger phasing to a different copy of the zone
- If one group member is at a higher level than the others, the group will phase into their home zone
- If multiple group members with different home zones are tied for the highest level, the copy with the most max-level characters is used
- If there is still a tie, the copy with the most characters of any level (excluding level 1 characters) is used
- The online/offline status of group members does not affect phasing decisions
Following are the frequently asked questions about World of Witchcraft and Cross-Realm Zones:
Q1: What are Cross-Realm Zones in the World of Warcraft?
Ans: Cross-Realm Zones are a feature in World of Warcraft that allows players from different servers to be placed together in the same zone, creating a more active and populated environment for players to explore.
Q2: How do Cross-Realm Zones work?
Ans: Cross-Realm Zones work by dynamically creating phases of low-population zones and adding players from multiple realms to them. Players are seamlessly placed into the phase as they enter a cross-realm zone, just like when moving between story-phased areas in the game.
Q3: Are all zones affected by Cross-Realm Zones?
Ans: Currently, low-population zones are included in the system, including major cities of both factions, despite initial statements suggesting otherwise.
Q4: Are there any restrictions on joining guilds through Cross-Realm Zones?
Ans: You cannot join guilds through Cross-Realm Zones, and it is essential to avoid mixing Connected Realms with CRZ.
Q5: Are there any issues with Cross-Realm Zones?
Ans: There have been some initial problems, including player reporting and ignoring, chat spam, and issues with fishing tournaments. Blizzard is working to address these problems and has posted information on how to report any bugs or issues.
Q6: How will Cross-Realm Zones work when Mists of Pandaria launch?
Ans: Blizzard has clarified that the system will create phased versions of zones dynamically based on which areas are deemed underpopulated at a given time. The rules for looting and trading will be restricted similarly to when players are in dungeons or raids with players from multiple servers to protect each server’s economy.
Cross-Realm Zones are an exciting feature in World of Warcraft that allow players from different realms to come together and experience a more active and populated game world. While the system has had some initial teething problems, Blizzard has shown that they are actively working to address any issues and improve the feature for players.
As the game continues to evolve with the release of Mists of Pandaria, it will be interesting to see how Cross-Realm Zones continue to shape the game’s community and gameplay experience.