Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Connected Realms Update 9/25/2013

In my most recent post, I might have complained a bit about how my realm was relatively dead compared to past expansion ending return of players, but there's been quite a bit of news about connected realms since then, and I figured I'd take some time to update everyone on the current status.

Blizzard Testing the Waters
Now, it seems that Blizzard is finally taking the plunge.  Yesterday Blizzard updated their Connected Realm forum post with the following update from Nethaera:

In order to implement our first Connected Realms, Boulderfist and Bloodscalp will be taken down for an extended maintenance beginning Wednesday, September 25, at 3:00 a.m. PDT until approximately 11:00 a.m. PDT. During this time these realms will be unavailable for play. Additional realm connections are planned for the near future, and we’ll be posting a full list at WorldofWarcraft.com as soon as we’ve finalized the details.

So finally, Blizzard is testing out Connected realms on live servers!  While I'm skeptical about the near future part about the phrase "Additional realm connections are planned for the near future", I'm excited that they've actually taken the plunge to experiment with some live realms.  Of course, I'd like to analyze the two realms based on realmpop and AH size data, so let's have a look.

Boulderfist and Bloodscalp
First I want to note that these are both PvP realms. I'm just going to lead into this with some data, the populations are pulled from realmpop, and the Market Value of the Auction Houses are pulled from Wowuction:

RealmTotal PopAlliance PopHorde PopA/H RatioMV Alliance(Million)MV Horde(Million)
Boulderfist6572821573441550.4890.972.57
Bloodscalp4520213158320440.4110.642.37
TOTALS11093034731761990.4561.614.94

To me this is a pretty interesting move by Blizzard.  I want to start off this segment by saying this could just be something they're doing for testing purposes, and have no impact on how they're going to combine realms in the future, but for right now I'm going to assume it will.

Population Balances
You'll notice that in both these servers the Alliance to Horde ratio is under .5 Alliance for every Horde player, and the connected realm will be no different.  They combined two Horde heavy realms, almost unchanging the overall faction makeup of the realm, which is a bold move.  Now if they stick with this, it will be very interesting to see how people react.  To me, I'd want to play on a balanced server, but the server I play on is 1.015 A/H, and you can't get much closer to balanced than that.

Auction House Implications
Now my realm which I complained about being small and lacking in sales has a market volume of ~1.5 million when I don't post transmog (~2.5 million when I do).  Because of this I think I'd be a bit unhappy if I was on the Alliance side of this connected realm.  On the other hand, they have about double the population as my faction. With the same AH volume as my current server, they have twice the audience.  I'd take it, but it'll be interesting to see how things shake out here, and hopefully we'll hear some results from this initial testing in a week or two, I'm sure there's bound to be posts on the Blizzard forums incoming in massive numbers once it's live at 2pm EDT, 11 am PDT today.

What are your thoughts on the direction they took with these connected realms?


Cheers,

Phat Lewts

If you enjoy my blog follow me on twitter, @PhatLewtsGold!

8 comments:

  1. Excellent post. May I include your information in mine? I plan to delve deep into market predictions for server merges using game theory and information economics. It may take me a while to get that published.

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    1. It's all yours, I just pulled the data from some sources, added it together, and did a little division. Nothing you couldn't do yourself!

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  2. I think the first question is "What kind of servers are these?" If they're PvP servers, as I suspect, Blizzard probably didn't have a lot of choice regarding fixing the faction imbalance.
    What I find interesting is that those two servers appear to be nearly identical in size, balance and (Horde) market values. To me, it says this will have some impact, but not nearly the impact combining a low and medium population would.

    On a slightly different note, you mention wanting to play on a balanced server. I understand how that impacts raiding, PvP and so on, but I'm not sure how that would effect the auction house? Just that the mats are more likely to be evenly represented on both sides? Or is there something I'm missing?

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    1. Hey, thanks for the comment, I edited the post to reflect that they're PvP realms.

      For me the balance wouldn't matter as far as the AH goes except the Alliance AH is far less populous, and I think they'd prefer to at least have an even split of the 110k total than the 20k less than that they have. I know if my server got combined with an Alliance heavy realm (I play Horde), and my AH didn't really grow that much, I'd be miffed.

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  3. The problem that I have with what Blizz is doing is for the side that is the smaller pop side their pop needs to get boosted before the small pop side just disappears. You can look at realmpop for my server and think everything is fine. It says 25k to 20k for Horde to Alliance. The reality is the alliance players have all stopped playing. The guild I am in was typically 10-15th in raiding activity on the server and as a casual guild spending 2-3 hours a week we were fine with that. Before patch 5,4 came out we were guild #2 in kills after finally clearing 10man normal content. Realmpop says there are 3,000 or so lvl 90 players. In stormwind on any given day and your lucky if the number ever hits more than 10. All other cities except the shrine are dead. The first week of Timeless Isle activity I take a tour of the Island.....there were 200-300 horde on the island. There were less than 15 alliance. The alliance side is dead, very dead. We still dont show as a low pop server but alliance people continue to stop playing. I have no desire to move and will likely just cancel my subscription at the rate this is going.

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  4. My server has the same problem as Brent's. The free transfers a few months ago pretty much killed alliance. Can't really complain as it got rid of most of my competition. Over the past 3 weeks, I've seen one celestial group, but at most times there will be a horde group doing it. Not to mention the groups of 20 horde with that stupid blood coin thing. I pretty much don't go to the isle unless I'm in an OQ group. There's only 1 25m guild on alliance, but its full of elitist dbags, which is why I havent joined despite my preference of 25m. My hope is that when my realm gets merged we can get some new people in my guild. The most we've had in flex was 14 and that was the majority of the core raiders.

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  5. Overall, the US region is 52% alliance per realmpop. However, that breaks down as pve - 62%, pvp 39%, rp 57%, and rp-pvp 43%. If it were possible to connect all realms and balance things evenly, those would be the resultant percentages for each game type.

    The two realms they picked are close to the pvp median faction balance. It gets interesting when you consider realms with a ratio far from the region average.

    Consider a realm like Alterac Mountains. It is pvp and 63% alliance, which is far from the pvp norm. In order to move the ratio closer to the pvp region average, it would have to be merged with a realm like Cho'gall (7% alliance), resulting in a realm that is 35% alliance.

    Is it better for Alterac Mountains to stay Alliance dominant, have the populations on both sides roughly double (and merge with a realm like itself, say Mannoroth) or to become a Horde connected realm and have basically no change to the alliance population, while the Horde population almost quadruples? It's not an easy choice, and it depends on if the goal is to enlarge all populations fairly evenly (merge similar realms) or rebalance faction ratios (merge imbalanced realms with their opposites).

    When they said they'd pay attention to faction sizes, they didn't say how, and both approaches are consistent and useful for different goals.

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  6. We will talk about connected realms this week on the your wow money podcast. But just to let you know, we have been talking about this for awhile now.

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