All right, let’s look at one bite-sized morsel of Patch 5.4, shall we?

New Feature: Virtual Realms

  • 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.

  • Players belonging to the same Virtual Realm will have a (#) symbol next to their name. (Source)

Now, I know I’m not going to be the first to think it, but I’m going to say it.

This spells the end of character slot limitations.

As soon as Virtual Realms go live, and we can identify which servers are linked into our Virtual Realm, we’ll be able to use each individual server as a new expansion to our ‘effective’ character slot list.

Already have all your character slots full on your ‘real’ server? No problem!

Just go to a linked server and make new characters! They can then join the same guild, friend all the same friends, group with the same people and act as a true extension of your server presence.

Will we be able to mail Heirloom items to them? That is but one of the questions that we’ll have to test in live, but I think the words ‘behave exactly as‘ would lead me to think so.

So… tired of trying to choose who to delete to make room for a new alt or test a new build idea, because you want to keep all your characters in your guild or on your server?

Rest your weary mind, for your troubles are, well and truly, over.

I for one welcome the end of the “Plz Blizz give me one more character slot plz plz” era.

Well played, Blizzard. Well played.

12 Responses to “Virtual Realms – Ohhhyeaaahhhhhhh”
  1. Kemonojin says:

    The cross-realm zone was a good idea in theory, but horrible in practice… this has the potential to be even worse. If it’s ‘persistent CRZ’, it’s going to be miserable. Lag everywhere… if its one server that’s just got all the characters dumped on it and the names reassigned it might be ok, but will probably be crowded…

  2. Theodoxus says:

    Hopefully they don’t do the entire battlegroup, like with CRZ, but rather have a threshhold – say, 2000 active toons – and add servers until they hit that threshold, and stop. One can hope, at least.

    As a hater of CRZ, this is actually what I’ve been waiting for.

  3. Sprowt says:

    I think the whole “compared to CRZ” is going to be a “suck it and see” moment. Personally I’ve not had any major problems with lag from CRZ. Yes, occasionally when I go from one area to another it glitches slightly .. but I have played games previously where you got a loading screen between areas … so I can cope with a slight glitch :P

    I do wonder how multiple characters with the same names will be dealt with on Virtual Realms. And multiple guilds for that matter. It suggests that the only way to differentiate between people on a different actual realm will be the “#” … so what happens if there are say 4 toons with the same name on each of the realms smooshed together – how do you whisper one and not another, for example?

    I guess we’ll find out soon enough :-)

    • Lazaros of Llane says:

      The only CRZ issue I’ve had (aside from other people stealing my rare spawns, the blighters) is having a rider get knocked off of my Sandstone Drake form. That gets… interesting for the ridee when they’re at a low level and we’re taking the scenic over an area that otherwise means instant death.

  4. Yoco says:

    I’m not so sure yet it will work that way. For sure I hope it does, but there is a catch.

    Look closely at the features listed for virtual realms: guilds, AH, arena teams, raids, groups. Now think closely what is *not* listed there: being able to trade with characters on the other realms, being able to exchange mail with characters on the other realms. There is the AH, but that is not much use if you want to reliably send mats or BoEs to an alt on another realm and no use at all if you want to transfer heirlooms.

    So, there seems to be no way to exchange stuff with your alts on other realms, except AH (which has the same risks as the neutral AH).

  5. Iru says:

    I’m surprised no one is seeing this for what it really is: a means to allow Blizzard to do server consolidation over time without having to force migrate characters. If you now belong to a virtual realm, you don’t notice/care when your physical realm disappears.

    Still a smart idea, though

  6. Nina says:

    I think that people are misreading how they will do the multiple names. If you see a person from a different realm who has a duplicate name, Blizz said that their name would show as “Legolas (#)”. I’m guessing that the first duplicate Legolas would be Legolas (1), the next one would be Legolas (2) and so forth.

    • R says:

      My read on that is it would work like the (*) does in LFx or in CRZ… right now you just see Legolas (*) in the name bar but if you hover it should show you Legolas-Silvermoon. Likewise with this, you’d see Legolas (#) which would again translate to Legolas-Silvermoon but it would indicate that it’s someone on your virtual server vs * which is for CRZ and LFx. I don’t think the # would translate to a number but it’s certainly possible.

      I could also see them getting rid of * entirely and making LFx virtual server only and droping CRZ. Not sure if they CAN do that at this point but you never know.

  7. dubhe says:

    This seems a lot like what they did in Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC). When the population dropped low enough they clustered the servers. I think it was 3 old realms to a new server realm. Identical names were handled with an asterisk for the second name, not sure about a third or more.
    I don’t know how different it will be in WoW, but in DAoC it was almost undetectable except for the names and player housing. Lag was not really any more of an issue than with single servers. Its been a while since I played DAoC though so it may be much different now.
    If you are considering a server transfer now, you may want to wait until you see which servers your current one is grouped with.

  8. Perrin says:

    This is simply leading to the original plan for WoW. Back in the dark ages of 2002, the original plan was for an Eve-like world with simply one realm, but they didn’t have the computing power and complexity available to do it.

    I for one welcome our new clustered realm overlords :-)

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  10. Legolene says:

    This is one feature that I am SO excited about too!!

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