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If you haven't heard yet (and it's pretty hard not to), the 5.4 PTR Patch Notes have been released, and they're causing quite a stir. Today I'm going to be focusing in on the most prolific one, at least for those of us who currently play on low-pop realms:
Cross Realm AH
First of all I believe some apologies are in order. I can't find the post where I ranted about how the rampant speculation about this type of change was premature, and although I still think it was to some extent, it was not as far off as I thought it would be honestly. I truly did not believe that Blizzard would try to integrate this before dropping a new expansion, but it seems I was dead wrong.
That being said, if you didn't transfer your toons last week during the half off sale (and wasn't that just so perfectly timed to end 2 days before this announcement), then I'd suggest waiting to learn about how they'll implement this before you decide to transfer servers at all, especially if the economy is why you'll be moving. What it seems like (at least right now) is that they're going to group a few servers together and combine them into one meta-server ("Virtual Realms"). Honestly, we don't know much yet about how they'll combine servers, I'm hoping they'll join multiple small realms together, but we'll see as they release more info. This is a game changer though. What they're doing is basically combining realms, without having to change the "home realm" you're on, which I think they did so that people did not have to change overlapping guild and player names.
This change, no matter how they implement it, will be a great and welcome change for small realms with struggling economies, and I look forward to having more sales and increased competition. There are very few bad repercussions that could come from this, but the one I think Blizzard will struggle with most is the "smooth transition" phase. They're just not good at that part of things, usually struggling when changes go live. However, this change will give you more ability to sell, and less reliance on being the lowest auction out there. I honestly feel like a kid on Christmas hearing these changes, small realmers rejoice!
Patch 5.4 Goldmaking
I'll probably be posting more about the changes, because these sorts of things get me excited, but there are 2 really good discussion threads you should check out on The Consortium forums in the mean time: Scaling Item Enhancements and Fused Realms, there's already a lot of good discussion going on about these changes there, with no doubt more to come as more info is released.
Additional information!! Blizzard said they will be releasing a blog post Soon™ on these changes:
We're working on an article currently that will explain more about Virtual Realms in detail. We're hoping to have it out to you all soon and will do our best to answer as many questions as you have as possible.
Keep in mind, we've only released the PTR notes at this point and still have testing, refining, more testing, gathering constructive feedback, testing, and then... when we think it's actually ready, releasing this live. While we have an idea of when we think we are going to have the patch go live, it's no guarantee that everything will go as expected (*crosses her fingers*). This isn't something that's going to be out in a week or anything.
I'll post the link to the article when it goes live, but it will most likely be on the front page of the WoW website. It will be interesting to see how Blizzard is currently planning on implementing these changes. Also don't get your hopes up too high because all I keep seeing Blizzard employees saying is "anything can change before live, this is just PTR". Grain of salt.
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