Blizzard locks busy WoW Classic realms, begs players to move servers

Following huge Wrath of the Lich King queues, Blizzard locks MMO’s character creation and transfers for busy WoW Classic realms and begs players to move servers

WoW Classic mega-realms - a female death knight screams

Blizzard has disabled character creation and incoming transfers for busy WoW Classic realms in an attempt to mitigate lengthy WoW Wrath of the Lich King Classic queues, and says that the servers for these US and EU mega-realms “will remain locked indefinitely.” In addition, players lining up for what is often considered one of the best MMORPG expansions are being encouraged to take free character transfers away from the over-populated servers to quieter realms, with Blizzard emphasising that “we need more folks to move.”

“We’ll start with the easiest and most clear-cut statement to make,” WoW Classic game producer Aggrend explains in a lengthy post on the Blizzard forums, “The mega-realms in US and EU that are queueing are completely full.” They continue, stating that “there is no additional capacity we can add to these realms to allow more players on, or to reduce queues.” In addition, Aggrend says that layers – used to create additional instances of a busy zone to mitigate overpopulation – don’t resolve the core issue of realm capacity, which is dictated by how many connections the server can handle at once.

Aggrend states that Blizzard “cannot increase capacity any more without inviting additional and likely cascading failures to the service. At present, the best and only way to resolve this issue for the impacted realms is for people to leave the realm via free transfers.” They emphasise that, if anything, the problem will only get worse when the WoW Wrath of the Lich King Classic release date arrives on September 26.

As such, both new character creation and incoming paid transfers to US and EU mega-realms have been disabled indefinitely. Aggrend explains that “the situation on these realms is completely untenable and, even if we can eliminate queues in the short term, this is going to continue to be a problem when new content releases as long as mega-realms exist.” They add that the team will monitor other realms and will take similar steps if necessary to curb server growth, saying that this may be done “with little to no warning.”

Aggrend thanks users who have taken advantage of free character moves from busy realms to less populated destinations, but says that more players need to move to resolve the current server overloading. They note that Sulfuras-US and Mograine-EU, two realms which recently offered free transfers, have proven very popular among players who chose to move. However, Aggrend says that Blizzard plans to end transfers before the servers reach a point where queues occur, and says that this may happen “suddenly and without warning,” so players should move soon if they wish to do so.

In an attempt to dispel player concerns that they might transfer to a server that feels ‘empty,’ Aggrend displays stats showing that peak concurrent player counts on many of the realms considered for free character moves are around 2-4x the population of a realm that would have been considered ‘completely full’ when Wrath of the Lich King first released in 2008. “These realms would have been full-to-bursting based on realm caps that we had in place even as recently as 2014 in modern WoW.”

Players on the forums seem generally appreciative of the post’s clarity, and some acknowledge that the migration solution is the only viable answer for the short-term. However, some worry what will happen when populations decline after the initial wave of popularity for the new expansion dies down. In a thoughtful response post, user Turbofart asks Blizzard to acknowledge that server merges for WoW The Burning Crusade Classic “came too late,” leaving “players stranded on realms with low populations long after realms like Faerlina or Benedictioni no longer had queues.”

For the time being, if you’ve been subject to these heavy WoW Classic queue times, it seems like a server transfer could be a very viable option – Blizzard would certainly appreciate it, at least. Aggrend closes by saying the team is “very hesitant to take heavy-handed action for fear of breaking up friend groups and restricting player freedom,” but admits that “the time has come to end the concept of a mega-realm.”

The WoW Wrath of the Lich King Classic pre-patch finally sees the release of Naxxramas, along with the introduction of zombies to the fantasy game. Meanwhile, be sure to check out our WoW Dragonflight preview for a look at the future of modern World of Warcraft, and our pick of the best WoW addons to help you make the most of your journey across Azeroth.