Realm Balance and What we Learned from Live!

Classic Discussion
Hello All:

First, I am very excited for the development of Classic WoW.

Now, I would like to share with you some thoughts on Realm Balance. I have often struggled with finding a well balanced Realm and have moved from Realm to Realm, as many probably have.

Healthy, viable and vibrant communities of both factions enhance the game world. The same people we will be trading with and running instances with will be added to our lists with notes like "Great, friendly tank, also blacksmithing 300". The same people we will be talking to in trade for getting work done, will be the same people we will be meeting in dungeon groups etc. We will have a familiarity that is lacking in many ways in the Live version.

One of the biggest issues facing Live WoW is faction imbalance. I think we can learn from live, and put in some preventative measures in Classic that will ensure long term success of Classic WoW.

I am going to offer a couple of suggestions, but also be open to discussion, because I feel the issue is a hugely important long-term issue. There are cons to every one of my suggestions, but in my opinion, and mine only, the pros heavily outweigh them.

A) - Realm Selection AFTER character selection for your first character on a Realm.
1 - You are greeted upon entering Vanilla WoW in the B Net app with a brief description of Horde and Alliance, and you click a logo. (for my example - Horde)
then
2 - You are greeted with the races with a brief description of each and you click a logo. (for my example - Orc)
then
3 - You are greeted with the classes with a brief description of each and you click a logo. (for my example - Warlock)
then
4 - You are greeted with a brief description of the server types and you click a logo. (for my example - PvP)
5 - You are then greeted with the question "Do you know which server you wish to play on?"
Yes - You go to the drop down menu and select your server.
No - Blizz places you on a server (probably medium population) that would most benefit from having your faction playing there, with the goal being viable faction balance for both factions, always striving to get as close as possible to a 1:1 ratio.

In summary, if you have a preference for a Realm, perhaps where your friends play, nothing happens, but if you have no preference, beyond Realm type, the character, your first, is placed in a Realm that would most benefit from you being there. All subsequent character creation happens as it does now.

B) - Queues not based on Overall Realm Pop, but by Faction type.

I think Blizzard should have a system, much like they have now, but instead of LOW, MED, HIGH, LOCKED, Realm wide, it should be based on Faction. A Realm list would display the Population Status for each Faction, not Realm wide. For example a Realm could be listed as "Horde Queued and Alliance High"

Let's say a Realm could hold 5k players at a time. Let's say 6k Alliance and 24K Horde make this realm their home, a 1:4 ratio. As it stands now, approximately 4K Horde would be logged in and 20K would be in queue. this would allow 1K Alliance to log in, and 5K would be in Queue.
The queue itself is not a problem, but there is now a 4 to 1 ratio on the server. Fine in the short term, but frustrating in the long term.
Now, with my proposal, the info screen would be slightly changed to read by Faction, Low, Med, High, Queued. 2.5k slots for Alliance, and 2.5k slots for Horde.
21.5k Horde characters would be in Queue, and 3.5K Alliance characters would be in Queue, but, the server ratio is 1:1 and the longevity of player enjoyment in the game, with two viable faction populations benefits everyone.

At the beginning, players when selecting a realm, would naturally graduate to Realms with their preferred faction NOT queued, if the don't already have a Realm preference, like on launch day.

In summary, equal slots for characters of each faction should be made available for each faction on a Realm.

These are a couple of suggestions, just here to open discussions. In neither case would a person be prevented from creating a character on a Realm with a Queue, just like now on a queued Realm, they are just made aware that the queue exists.

Your input and ideas are greatly appreciated. I think something like this, not exactly like this, because I'm no game developer or genius when it comes to these issues, would be a discussion worth having.

Thanks,
in your example, the vast majority would just select the realm they want to play. id estimate <60% of the userbase for classic wow already has established guilds and groups of friends.

the only idea in your op i like is letting people know in the client that a faction is overpopped. because there are third party sites that will do it anyways, might as well give that info to all
The only thing in your post that I'm purely against is locks or limits on realms. If a realm has a faction imbalance that should not prevent a player from joining an already stacked faction. I understand your arguments, but you have to realize a large portion of the player base will have friends that have already chosen x server. It would be counter intuitive of blizzard to put a lock on a server that prevents me from joining my friends faction due to population imbalance.

Otherwise solid post, I think for those that dont care what server they play on it would be nice if blizzard had a filter that chose under populated factions for players.
11/26/2017 04:56 PMPosted by Wrain
in your example, the vast majority would just select the realm they want to play. id estimate <60% of the userbase for classic wow already has established guilds and groups of friends.

the only idea in your op i like is letting people know in the client that a faction is overpopped. because there are third party sites that will do it anyways, might as well give that info to all
I would agree with your estimate. That would leave 30-40% that would be placed via the character creation algorithm. That could be enough to keep the ratios fairly even.
Even now there are very few Realms that are hugely dominated, like Illidan.
honestly the 1 change that helped correct faction imbalances more than any other was...

...blood elves :/

rpg's, mmo or not, are about fantasy. More often than not, we humans fantasize about being prettier than we are. Then sometimes, you realize you'll spend the next 60 levels staring at a character's rear end...
11/26/2017 04:57 PMPosted by Hemorrhoidd
The only thing in your post that I'm purely against is locks or limits on realms. If a realm has a faction imbalance that should not prevent a player from joining an already stacked faction. I understand your arguments, but you have to realize a large portion of the player base will have friends that have already chosen x server. It would be counter intuitive of blizzard to put a lock on a server that prevents me from joining my friends faction due to population imbalance.

Otherwise solid post, I think for those that dont care what server they play on it would be nice if blizzard had a filter that chose under populated factions for players.


I was not suggesting a lock on character creation at all. No, I don't think that would be a good idea at all. On that we are agreed.
I think that a better way to do it would be to give you a screen that explains the factions, and shows you the races with class options and racials, then another screen with the realm types. Once you have indicated preferred realm type and faction with a suggested realm at the top based on the population.

And while I think the faction queue is bad. I do like the idea of splitting the high med low, into Ally high med low and horde high med low.

So instead of seeing
Chromie pve high

You would see
Chromie pve A-high H-med

Or if they wanted to give out more info then they prob will put in the faction split instead
Chromie pve high 70/30
Or just have, "Streamers here!" so we all know which one to avoid. :)
11/26/2017 05:41 PMPosted by Kelzar
I think that a better way to do it would be to give you a screen that explains the factions, and shows you the races with class options and racials, then another screen with the realm types. Once you have indicated preferred realm type and faction with a suggested realm at the top based on the population.

And while I think the faction queue is bad. I do like the idea of splitting the high med low, into Ally high med low and horde high med low.

So instead of seeing
Chromie pve high

You would see
Chromie pve A-high H-med

Or if they wanted to give out more info then they prob will put in the faction split instead
Chromie pve high 70/30


A concern of sorts here would be if people use this information to avoid low pop or heavily imbalanced faction realms. I could easily see this happening on PvP realms - who wants to be on the perpetually outnumbered side?
11/26/2017 06:42 PMPosted by Kurogasa

A concern of sorts here would be if people use this information to avoid low pop or heavily imbalanced faction realms. I could easily see this happening on PvP realms - who wants to be on the perpetually outnumbered side?


Well Ideally by having those numbers from the start the factions would be less likely to become horribly unbalanced like current wow servers are.

And if you queue into a BG on the 30% side of that 70/30 split your queue will pop much faster.
I'm thinking more in terms of world PvP rather than instanced PvP.
11/26/2017 05:01 PMPosted by Dracarian
honestly the 1 change that helped correct faction imbalances more than any other was...

...blood elves :/

rpg's, mmo or not, are about fantasy. More often than not, we humans fantasize about being prettier than we are. Then sometimes, you realize you'll spend the next 60 levels staring at a character's rear end...


Not true, Belves sucked ALOT of players away from the alliance.
A lot of the original realms started off relatively balanced to begin with. I know Cenarius was only slightly Alliance heavy when I started but by the time LK came out, a lot of Horde guilds were abandoning the server and restarting on other servers that were already Horde dominated.

Things happen over time and most people will gravitate towards realms where their chosen side dominates. I'm not sure there is a real solution.

I don't know if it's still the pattern these days but most PvE servers tended to be Alliance heavy and most PvP servers tended to be Horde heavy and if that trend holds for Classic, you can't really force a balance even if you just have a megaserver to handle each type.
11/26/2017 07:13 PMPosted by Jindoo
Things happen over time and most people will gravitate towards realms where their chosen side dominates. I'm not sure there is a real solution.

If the above were implemented, wouldn't most players gravitate to a server where their chosen faction was not queued?
If a player were looking for a Horde PvP server and saw:

Spinebreaker: (Alliance - High) (Horde - Queued)
&
Gorefiend: (Alliance - High) (Horde - Medium)

Wouldn't they most likely choose the Gorefiend Realm?

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