WoW: Wrath Of The Lich King Classic Server Queues Are Only Going To Get Worse, Blizzard Says
"Mega-realms" are pushing Wrath of the Lich King Classic to the breaking point.
Many World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic realms are currently plagued by server login queues of up to six hours or more during peak playtimes, and according to Blizzard, the situation is only going to get worse.
In a detailed forum post explaining the server queue situation and what can be done about it, Blizzard states outright that while they are working on solutions (before later stating there is no technology or hardware solution to the problem), the real answer to the game's current server woes is for players to take advantage of the free server transfers currently being offered to those most affected. The situation will likely only get worse in the weeks ahead, Blizzard notes, as the majority of the game's new Wrath of the Lich King content won't officially arrive until September 26. Considering Wrath of the Lich King is considered one of the game's best and most popular expansions, even more players will no doubt to return to the game in the weeks ahead, making queues even longer.
How did Blizzard and players find themselves in this situation? By Blizzard's own admission, the company didn't want to take a "heavy-handed" approach and prevent new or transferring players from playing on the game's most heavily populated "mega-realms" over the last year, as doing so could potentially restrict players and break up friend groups looking to play together.
"However, the situation on these realms is completely untenable, and even if we can eliminate queues in the short term, this is going to continue to be a problem when new content releases as long as mega-realms exist," Blizzard writes. "As a result, we've made the choice to effectively close US and EU mega-realms to new and additional incoming players indefinitely."
Some players have asked for more server "layers" on highly populated realms to help reduce the queue, but as Blizzard explains in the forum post, adding more layers on mega-realms is not a fix. Layers, which are Blizzard's solution to having a large number of WoW Classic players in a single area, create new copies of the game world in order to spread players out and to prevent "degradation of the entire service/game world."
But that won't fix the server queue problem. The issue at hand is that the servers themselves can not handle any more players without having them "degrade or fail on multiple levels," as layers don't expand the server's maximum player capacity.
"So put as plainly as possible, we cannot increase capacity any more without inviting additional and likely cascading failures to the service," Blizzard writes.
Blizzard spends the rest of the forum post attempting to encourage players on highly populated realms affected by long server queues to transfer to new realms, in the process trying to dispel some myths about server population. Due to the lack of cross-server features in WoW Classic, many players feel pressured to play on higher-population realms in order to receive a positive experience, as more players means more people to do dungeons or raids with, for example. As Blizzard notes, however, WoW Classic player populations on most servers are many times greater than when Wrath of the Lich King originally launched in 2008, and that if everyone waiting in queues transferred to new servers, they would likely fill up those servers as well.
"These realms are not queueing now (many have never queued), have healthy and robust economies, and enjoy hundreds of groups forming for dungeons and raids per day," Blizzard writes. "These realms would be full to bursting based on realm caps that we had in place even as recently as 2014 in modern WoW. The narrative that these huge mega-realms are the only 'viable' place to play is just untrue, and we want to do everything we can to drive home the absolute fact that these are great places to play."
Blizzard will be keeping a close eye on the servers players are transferring to in order to ensure that they don't reach the point where they need login queues, and may lock servers or restrict transfers "with little to no warning" to prevent future mega-realm situations.
The game's server woes come in the wake of the Wrath of the Lich King Classic pre-patch, which added the new Death Knight class, class talent revamps, and a Scourge invasion event that will continue to escalate leading up to the full release of the expansion on September 26.
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