Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Connected Realms: Is Blizzard "Illidan" Prepared?

Yesterday, in a discussion amongst my fellow Feathermooninites about Blizzard's upcoming Connected Realms feature and what it means for our realm, my friend and former raid leader linked to the Realm Pop website that gathers and analyzes data to attempt to create a census of the various different World of Warcraft realms. It's a pretty nifty site, and it starkly shows why a feature such as Connected Realms is so desperately needed when you compare the most character-heavy realm in the North American server set (Tichondrius, which has ~235,000 characters) to the least populated one (Chromaggus, which has only ~16,000 characters).

Judging by population numbers alone, it seems unlikely that my realm of Feathermoon will undergo connection to another realm, since it's solidly a medium-population realm that is within the top 20% of realms in terms of character population. However, realm population isn't necessarily the only consideration for Connected Realms. According to Blizzard's mini-FAQ (underline mine):

Q. Which realms will be connected as Connected Realms?
A. We haven’t decided yet which realms will be made part of a Connected Realm, or which other realms they’ll be connected to, though realms will only be connected to other realms of the same type (e.g. PvE to PvE, PvP to PvP, RP to RP). In the end, we’re considering a number of factors, including Battlegroup, population, and faction balance.

The faction balance portion of that statement is relevant, because it brings up the Illidan problem. Illidan is the second most populous realm with ~213,000 characters, but is also the second most faction-skewed realm with Horde characters comprising a full ~200,000 of that ~213,000 total (a ~15 Horde : 1 Alliance character ratio). So, what does Blizzard do in this case? Does Blizzard decide to ignore Illidan's extreme faction imbalance when it comes to connecting realms, or does Blizzard connect Illidan to one (or, likely, more) Alliance-heavy realms to mitigate the difference?

If Blizzard decides to use this opportunity of creating Connected Realms to try to solve Illidan's faction woes, then I'd expect Blizzard to aim for at least ~350,000 characters or so for Illidan's Connected Realm cluster, which is significantly larger than the previously-mentioned Tichondrius' ~235,000 characters. In such a scenario, this would mean that if Connected Realms are to be made roughly similar in size, then every realm will have to be a part of a Connected Realm.

I'm interested in seeing how Blizzard will decide to handle the Illidan issue - and if Illidan players will bombard Blizzard with "You were not prepared!" memes if Blizzard chooses not to address the faction imbalance with Connected Realms.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: A Little Sugar Goes a Long Way...

This week's Blog Azeroth Shared Topic comes from Mataoka of Sugar & Blood. It prompts:
"[C]onsider the nicest, cutest, sappiest, and sweetest quests in the game; nothing sad or depressing but sweet and light."

Personally my favorite "nice" quest in the game is Orphans Like Cookies Too! in Stormwind City. It's one of the random daily cooking quests and tasks you with searching the various inns and general stores throughout the city to gather bags of confectioners' sugar to help Robby Flay finish a batch of cookies for the city's orphans. It's short, simple, and sweet as a sugar cookie. =P

One of the reasons I like the quest (outside the obvious fact that you're baking cookies for orphans. Cookies. For orphans.) is that it's all the more meaningful if you've paid attention to WarCraft's lore. The cookies aren't just being baked out of the blue, they're being baked at the behest of King Varian Wrynn, who was himself orphaned at the end of the First War. Despite becoming one of the most powerful figures in the Alliance, it seems he's still able to spare some thought towards making the days of his city's most misfortunate a little bit brighter. A little sugar goes a long way, indeed.

PS: I totally didn't realize that the Confectioners' Sugar could be purchased from certain vendors around the city until I looked at the WoWhead comments while writing this post. I thought they were only obtained from looting the Sack of Confectioner's [sic] Sugar objects at the inns and stores. /facepalm