The Reality of Cross-Realm Play

With Cross-Realm Play making its debut in Mists of Pandaria we are left to wonder what implications this new feature could hold for the future of World of Warcraft.

of the biggest problems
World of Warcraft has faced over the years is low-population realms. No
matter if the realm just never managed to take off population wise or
if it died a slow death and players simply moved on to other more
engaging realms, low-population realms are something that Blizzard just
can’t seem to get rid of. To solve the problem of these
low-population realms Blizzard has thrown a variety of solutions in the
mix, even going as far as offering free server transfers. Mists of
Pandaria will offer a brand new solution to this problem that will
change the way we play.

Cross-Realm Play in Mists of

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Zones have the potential to help end the woes of low-population servers.

The new solution to the problem
of low-population realms mentioned above is called Cross-Realm play.
Cross-Realm play will take the idea of Real ID and cross-realm raiding
to the next level and will allow certain low-populated zones to exist
across several realms. Players in these areas can group and trade
freely with players from other realms who are also in these zones.
Cross-Realm Play will not only solve the woes of low-population
servers, but will also answer the prayers of low level players wishing
for a partner in their adventures across Azeroth.

Move Over Cross-Realm Raiding

Now you might be thinking that
Cross-Realm play isn’t that different from cross-realm
raiding and you would be absolutely correct. Cross-realm raiding is
just one of the many innovations in World of Warcraft that has lead us
to this point and the blurring of the lines between realms may not end
here. With Real ID, Battletags, cross-realm raiding and now allowing
zones to stretch over several realms, it leads us to wonder what is

One of the most feasible next
steps if Blizzard further pushes the envelope in the cross-realm
envelope is the implementation of cross-realm guilds. Much like
low-population servers, guilds today are struggling. With players
hesitant to join up and preferring to take on the Dungeon and Raid
Finder rather than spend the cash to transfer, guild leaders are
desperate for fresh meat. What better way to help solve this problem
than to allow players to remain on their current servers, but still
play with a guild on another realm with all the benefits.

Pretty exciting stuff right? No
matter how good Cross-Realm play and all its potential offspring may
sound, remember, there is always some bad that goes along with the good.

Cross-Realm Play Potential

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Cross-Realm Play allow bad apples to go unchecked?

It is easy to focus on only the
good when it comes to something as thrilling as Cross-Realm Play,
especially when considering the potential. However, Cross-Realm Play is
sure to introduce some big headaches for the servers involved. For
example, remember the slew of complaints over the loss of manners and
overall tact we experienced when the Dungeon Finder finally spanned
multiple realms? With Cross-Realm Play in Mists of Pandaria we can
likely expect more of the same. As the number of players increases, the
potential for some seriously bad apples increases with it.

Typically a troublesome player
would be revealed to the community through public chat and or the
servers forums. This player then would find themselves ostracized from
the community at large. As seen when using the Dungeon and Raid Finder,
things don’t work as nicely when presented with a rather
nasty player. In fact in this situation your only option is to either
vote to kick, ignore, or drop the group entirely. Many people have even
resorted to using various mods to extend their ignore lists which of
course only solves half the problem.

With Cross-Realm play being
introduced we once again find ourselves in a setting where there is
little to no recourse for those players determined to ruin the fun of
those around them. Even worse, unlike in the Dungeon and Raid Finder
you will likely see this player over and over again during your journey
through the zone and even if you don’t choose to group with
them you may find yourself subject to some of their unsavory antics.


While cross-realm play has a
few kinks to be worked out, it is certainly a step in the right
direction, especially when it comes to solving the problem of
low-population servers. What cross-realm play will mean for the future
of World of Warcraft remains to be seen, however, after its
introduction in Mists of Pandaria, it is likely we will never think of
realms and servers in the same way again.
Want to know more about
Cross-Realm Play in Mists of Pandaria? Be sure to check out
target="_blank">Blizzard’s FAQ
on the topic! 

do you feel about
Cross-Realm Play in Mists of Pandaria? Is this but a stepping stone
further blurring the lines of realms? What problems could this create?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.

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