Oh. My. God. Something awful happened today. I was on my little Alliance druid, just minding my own business in Darkshore when I saw something absolutely horrifying. Are you ready?
I saw another player. That player was not from my realm.
I am outraged — outraged I say! — that they think it’s acceptable to put other people in my zone! Quite frankly, it’s disgusting that they think it is appropriate that I be forced to see other people in what is a MMO. How dare you introduce Cross Realm Zones in my game?! Abhorrent.
Sarcasm aside, every time I see a post from people whining about how terrible CRZ is, I want to punch a kitten in the face. Seriously? You’re bitching about seeing other people in “your” zones, stealing “your” nodes and ruining “your” economy? The entitlement, it burns! Come and listen to Aunt Neri, she has a very important message for you. If you love World of Warcraft, you should embrace this feature, and here’s why:
Not Everyone is a Veteran
Once upon a time I played a little game called Rift. I love Rift, and it very nearly got me to throw the towel in on World of Warcraft altogether. When I started playing at launch, the game felt incredibly alive. Fighting rifts was a blast, and I even got to kill a boss type thing that spawned in the world! However, when I came back to the game three months later, the zones I was questing through were dead. Rifts were left unchecked and it sucked to be the only person in a zone. I quit entirely not long after. Now, I understand that World of Warcraft is not Rift, in that places will not become overrun with elementals if we don’t go about killing them, but I also had similar experiences in Star Wars: The Old Republic and TERA. Once the initial leveling rush had overtaken me, I was left all alone in a very big world and I eventually quit. I did not need assistance, but I did need to feel that the world wasn’t dead.
One of the complaints I saw was that with the Cataclysm came the stripping of the elite status that many questers may need help from a fellow player to conquer. Add that to Dungeon Finder, and the need for other people in a zone to help you accomplish things is removed. Your map shows you where quests are, and if you’re an experienced player, you will just blow through a zone quicker than you would make any friends anyhow. Newsflash! Not everyone has been playing World of Warcraft for eight years! New players may not necessarily need help to achieve objectives, but I can attest that it’s not fun leveling in a game where you feel like you’re the only one playing. If Blizzard want new players to turn into established players, they need the world to feel alive.
It Will Not Ruin The Economy
Every time someone complains that they won’t be able to farm as effectively as they did before, I roll my eyes so hard that I’m surprised they don’t fly out of my head. I play on both a high population and a low population server, and farming generally yields me the same output. You see, the more people are farming nodes, the more they will spawn. Fantastic, isn’t it? So it doesn’t matter if Xxbotterbabexx has been flying around for 87 hours straight farming, you will still receive your share of nodes. It may — and I stress the word “may” here, because they way some of these people are carrying on, they’ve never been able to receive a herb node ever because of competition — be harder, but you’re certainly not going home empty handed. I know, because I play on a high population server with a tonne of bots and competition, and yet I still managed to bring home the proverbial bacon.
I will admit though, that while CRZ will not ruin the economy on low population servers, it certainly will not improve it. The problem is not competition for nodes, it’s the lack of buyers and sellers altogether. I cringe every time I try to sell something on the Runetotem Auction House after coming across from Blackrock. The sheer demand for goods on the high population server is just not there on the low population one; hell sometimes the stock is not listed even if there was a demand for it. Sadly, that is the price you pay for rolling on a low population server. Perhaps when new players select your server and aren’t scared off by the distinct lack of people they see in the world, they’ll stick around and help correct the problem.
It’s Okay To Be Mad
I know that what I’m writing will mostly fall on deaf ears or shouted down for being wrong, and that’s okay. If there is one thing that the Warcraft community does well, it’s fixate on a point of view and refuse to see the other side of the coin, myself included. I know that Cross Realm Zones are not perfect; some people experience lag issues, others are having a hard time adapting to a new leveling environment that they feel was forced upon them. I get that it is beyond frustrating dealing with change, but the lag will be fixed and you will adapt. If anything, be mad that they still expect $25 a character to transfer!
The point is that Blizzard are trying to address the issues that are a deterrent to new players – no matter how trivial experienced players feel them to be. The whole purpose of this expansion is to get us back out in the world, and by extension, that means interacting with other players. It is a core part of the MMO experience! Blizzard seem to want to try every avenue possible before resorting to the “WoW is dead!” siren song of server merges, and I for one am encouraging that. I understand that my experiences with CRZ will not be universal, but I do know that I do not want to log on one day to discover that I need to delete characters because my server has been merged. The longer Blizzard stays away from server merges, the better.
Have you stumbled across a Cross Realm Zone yet? Was the experience good, bad or downright ugly? How do you feel Blizzard should tackle the very real issues that lower population servers and zones are dealing with? Have your say in the comments below.