Realm Remixes: Mysterious Ways

So some diligent work by some of the other cats paying close attention to the connection process has revealed an interesting detail, but first, a bit of set-up.

The current state of WoW’s realm structure going into this process involved four datacenters where the realm hardware is housed, which are located in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Phoenix. Realms in the same datacenter are the pool of realms that players are usually drawn from for all the cross-realm shenanigans like CRZ, LFD, Battlegrounds, and LFR, but of course if you’re doing premade cross-realm stuff like BattleTag/RealID groups, it doesn’t matter what datacenter your realm is in. Also, all of the datacenters have realms that are in all different time zones, so the location of the datacenter isn’t an indicator of what time zones or regions are served there.

What Weekender and Urashima on the official forums have determined is that the connections being made have certain patterns:

1. Realms in Phoenix are only being connected with realms in LA, while realms in New York are only being connected with realms in Chicago. (There are some connections that are exclusively between LA realms, and some exclusively between Chicago realms, but that’s not the case for Phoenix or New York.)

2. Consequently, once a connection is made in, say, a Phoenix realm, players who log into that realm have their traffic directed to a new address in the LA datacenter. Same goes for New York realms, with their traffic going to Chicago.

3.  As a result, there are some players reporting increased ping times to access their realms, but since there hasn’t been a really dramatic outcry about it on the forums, it doesn’t appear to be something most players have noticed.

The major thing this revelation does is help to narrow down the possibilities for which realms get connected to which, especially once you get into discussing the RP/RP-PVP realms or the non-North American regions served by these datacenters. And while it doesn’t create a universal rule (for example, the Boulderfist/Bloodscalp/Dunemaul/Stonemaul/Maiev CR draws four realms from the same battlegroup, and only draws one realm from the opposing datacenter, and some other connections don’t draw from the opposing datacenter at all) it does create something that can help predict how the rest of this is going to shake out.

It also explains one little mystery: Anvilmar and Undermine were originally announced to get connected to each other back in Round 7. That was put on hold before Round 7 was implemented, and later on, the pairing disappeared completely; not pushed to a subsequent round, but dropped entirely from the list. After comparing all of the existing and proposed connections together, it turns out that Anvilmar/Undermine was the only connection that drew two realms from New York, without connecting first to one in Chicago.

I think it’s still likely that those two realms will ultimately be connected together, but they will likely get connected to a Chicago-side realm first.

So, that being said, what are the rules that seem to govern connections going forward?

    1. Realms in PHX will be connected to realms in LA, and realms in NY will be connected to realms in CHI. Connections may happen in CHI or LA that don’t involve realms in NY or PHX, respectively, but the inverse is not true.
    2. Realms will always be connected along server types (PVE/PVP/RP/RP-PVP).
    3. Only one realm is added to a connection at a time.
    4. Realms will always be connected along region/language barriers. (There’s no evidence to support this aside from the fact that no Oceanic, Brazilian or Latin American realms have been connected yet.)

As for targets, it seems that the existing CRs are topping off between 5-6000 raid-capable characters across both factions. From this, we can infer the following:

    1. Realms that have more characters than the existing CRs will likely not be connected.
    2. Realms that can’t be connected with another eligible realm without going over the limit (and thus threatening to become a high-pop queued realm) will likely not be connected.
    3. Realms that cannot be connected because no eligible realm is available may be left unconnected.

If we look particularly at the three non-North American zones serviced by the NA datacenters, we can actually draw some conclusions:

1. EDITED: Out of the three Latin American realms (Ragnaros, Drakkari, and Quel’thalas), the former two are PVP, while Quel’thalas is PVE.  realms. However, only Drakkari is under the 5-6k threshold, at 3.7k characters. While that’s not an unhealthy population it could certainly be better, but there’s nowhere to go for Drakkari, unless Blizzard opens up some FCMs from Ragnaros. (Thanks to the anon commenter Me for pointing this out.)

2. There are five realms for Brazil, with two PVP and three PVE. Azralon, Goldrinn, and Nemesis are all above the threshold, while Tol Barad (PVP) and Gallywix (PVE) are well below the threshold, and might potentially hit it if they were combined. However, they’re opposing server types, meaning they can’t be combined… which is distressing, given that those are the two worst-progressed Brazilian servers, and are in the middle of many of the other realms that are being connected currently. As with the Latin American realms, FCMs could fix this, but it clearly not a priority.

3. There are twelve Oceanic realms, six PVE and six PVP. Almost all of them are in the 3-4k character range, meaning they can’t be combined with each other without going over the threshold. Out of the whole set, the only viable connections possible involve Gundrak and Dreadmaul, both PVP servers with relatively low populations and middling progression. While they could be combined with each other to possibly compete with the rest of the Oceanic set, they could also be used individually to buff the next two smallest realms (Thaurissan and Jubei’thos). The other two PVP realms are Barthilas, which is already over the threshold, and Frostmourne, which is the #3 server in the NA and DOUBLES the threshold as a super-high-pop realm.

As for the RP/RP-PVP realms and the remaining North American realms, that’ll have to wait for next time.


8 thoughts on “Realm Remixes: Mysterious Ways

  1. I’ve done some initial looking at the RP and RP-PvP figures. Two of the PR realms are miscoded on WoWProgress (Kirin Tor and Shadow Council).

    No realm had more than 5,000 T15 raiding characters, according to WoWProgress. There are 4 High populations according to the Realm Status Page (Earthen Ring, Moon Guard, Wyrmrest Accord and Emerald Dream).

    The first rule of connected realms (about how servers were connected based on where they were) didn’t make complete sense to me).

    For the RP-PvP realms, 4 are in Chicago, 1 in New York and 1 in Phoenix. There are 17 RP realms, 3 in New York, 3 in Chicago, 6 in Phoenix and 5 in Los Angeles. Drop me an email or Twitter if you want me to send you the info.


    • The first rule is probably better explained with examples. If we look at all the connections done so far, realms in the Phoenix datacenter (Maiev and Anub’arak as examples) are ONLY being connected to realms in LA (All four of Maiev’s connections are in LA, as are all three of Anub’arak’s). Realms in LA can be connected to each other without a Phoenix realm, and multiple Phoenix realms can be part of the same connection (Rivendare and Drak’tharon are both connected to Firetree, but notably Rivendare and Firetree were the first connections in that CR), but no connection exists that’s made up ONLY of Phoenix realms. And no connection exists where realms in Phoenix are being connected to Chicago and NY. Does that help at all?

      You raise a good point about Ravenholdt, as it doesn’t have anywhere to go in LA. Either that puts a hole in the theory that Phoenix is getting shut down, or it means that they might do something drastic; either move an RP-PVP realm from Chicago to link with it, or potentially throwing Ravenholdt to Chicago. The one result that we know won’t happen is Blizzard just leaving Ravenholdt alone; with the low numbers of raiders it has, it’s going to need some help, and Blizzard can’t afford to leave anyone behind.

      All of the rules I’ve stated are still conjecture at this point, because while Blizzard has stated they’ll only connect by type I could see them reversing that in particular circumstances, and while the data seems to show they’ll only connect by datacenter there’s no reason they couldn’t throw that out too, and just haven’t done it yet.

      Feel free to post the info here in a comment if you like. I appreciate the help! ^_^

  2. I was looking at the different datacenters as well and what will be interesting is that several of the largest servers are in the datacenters being “closed”. Area 52 for example is in the New York datacenter, which means it could be connected to a realm (perhaps an extremely low pop one) in Chicago.

    • It’s also possible that they’ll just ghost the server from NY to Chicago without connecting it with anything.

      Or, another possibility is that they’re going to connect all of the low-pop realms together so that they have healthy populations, and then figure how to expand the super-high-pop servers (Area 52, Illidan, Stormrage, Sargeras) in order to eliminate queue times. That might be a justification for leaving certain realms where they are.

  3. Amazing blog! im from drakkari and im just crying on the corner hoping for someone at blizzard to notice how bad we are

    i also play on bigger realms like Stormrage/nesignwary transfered away from jaedenar long time ago glad to see it connected

    keep up the good work

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