The other day I was flying on Liouxpold and all of a sudden I noticed his Skill Levels listed themselves in the chat window. I thought it was pretty weird, but didn’t think anything of it. I’ve since learned that’s the tell-tale sign you’ve entered into cross-realm phasing.
I won’t lie, when I first heard the idea I immediately thought “Guild Wars” ripoff. GW 2 basically only requires a server for WvWvW PvP. Otherwise, you can do most things cross-realm. Again that was merely a knee jerk reaction. I followed that up with “hey, I’ll finally see people in the low zones now,” and then “but why don’t they just merge some of the low population servers?” Let’s face it, there’s servers out there where 2-3 of them could be merged and they’d still only be half a population. I’m not knocking them, I’m just making said observation.
Instead Blizzard has taken this phasing route and as I thought about it more it occurred to me this is great for group quests. Then I realized there are barely any low level group quests anymore. Sure, Horde get a series in Tarren Mill but it isn’t long before you can solo them (and still within the frame where it’s a decent xp hunk to do it). Having taken two toons from level one into the 80′s, on both sides, I can’t think of too many cases where you needed a group -especially prior to Outland.
So the more I thought about it, the more I began to realize what a nuisance this could be for folks gathering. Now the flip of that is what mats could start going for due to sparseness. But you know what I never really thought of? Exploitation. I’m not even going to go into great detail on this, because Grumpy Elf covers it incredibly well in his random thoughts for today.
You can’t help but read some of that, and then think of the recent Deathcharger fiasco (which you’ll recall I foolishly learned about only recently). Apparently there’s rumblings of more items appearing in such fashion. Part of me starts to feel a little dirty playing Warcraft. Granted I’m not part of the problem, but the more prominent it becomes the less appealing things are. Between fear of getting a hacked item and having someone griefing you because they can are not reasons to keep returning to Azeroth (and unfortunately some of these situations are unavoidable under the current circumstances). That’s not me crying “the sky is falling” either, just how I feel at the thought of it. My brain tells me it’ll all get sorted out over time. By January I’m sure it’ll be forgotten.
I’m hoping by then cross-realm phasing is smoother as well. To elaborate, I find I have a lower frame rate in a phased zone than I do in a city or raid. That seems backwards. Also, as Grumpy Elf pointed out, we should actually have the option of whether we even want to be part of a mixed zone. Some people actually like, and desire, the peace and quiet of no one being around.
At this stage I don’t know if it was a good idea or a bad one. I stand by my thought that merging some realms would’ve been a more efficient move. In six months, I could be proven wrong. For now though, even Blizzard can’t argue that the system is not without its issues…many of them.