So let’s get the initial report out of the way, this is all we have so far:
Virtual Realms are sets of realms that are fused together, and will behave exactly as if they were one cohesive realm. Players on the same Virtual Realm will be able to join guilds, access a single Auction House, join arena teams and raids, as well run dungeons or group up to complete quests. – Source
Now what does that mean?
Theoretically, if I’m on Zangarmarsh I’m also on Elune as well. I picked the names slightly at random (Zangarmarsh is my home server) so as long as Elune there is also a “Normal” server then we’re good to go.
I have mixed feelings about this.
Why? Because Blizzard pulled a little bit of a fast one by offering character services just last week at half off. If you moved from a low population realm to a medium population realm and as of 5.4 you see some of the same people you left behind you’re going to be feeling pretty put out about it.
Here’s my take. This is a large enough change that as of 5.4 they should grant every account and character above level 20 a single free move. Stagger it so as to not overwhelm the requests page to one realm a week until the end of the summer (or however long it would take).
Sure Zangarmarsh would end up alphabetically near the end but once your realm pops for the opportunity give it until the end of the year. Only current characters, not newly made ones, and see where the realm type balance shakes out.
Granted, I’m suggesting this because I feel like normal realms will suddenly be over-populated and want to move to an RP realm but just think of the folks who on PvP realms have been leveling alts, trusting that the lower population at times would protect them. This entire CRZ thing must be driving them nuts.
I don’t know, maybe this will return WoW to a population heyday. I don’t mind CRZ as it stands right now (except for when my rocket passengers fall to their doom) but shocking us all like this after the sale seems a lot less customer centric than Blizzard has been in the past.
I do admit that my suggestion is tainted heavily with the fact that I’ve been wanting to move to a RP realm for a long while but the goodwill bucket that it would generate and the short term resubs as people shuffled and perhaps regained a love for the game wouldn’t hurt.
The other thing I’m worried about are the economies. Right now I make a pretty good return on making flasks and health potions. What will happen when I’m suddenly competing with not my realm but five realms? I wonder how much it will hurt or help me?
Only time will tell if this feature even sticks in 5.4 but I hope it’s a good change. I’m wary of it.