One of the most interesting features found in the Mists of Pandaria beta test is a cross-realm function, which allows players from various realms to play alongside one another in lower population zones.
Blizzard officially made the announcement on May 10th on the official World of Warcraft blog.
We're introducing new technology that will enable players to meet up and group with other players in under populated areas of the world such as low level zones, the reveal reads.
The low-population zone restriction may seem like a limitation, but adding the new feature to areas with dense populations could result in sluggish servers.
Just imagine the apocalyptic lag that'd occur if two servers worth of players were crammed into one Stormwind-Deathwig already left the city in enough wreck, writes Katie Williams of Gamespy.
Blizzard explained that the reason for the new zoning function is to keep high-level players in an environment that is engaging and interactive.
Cross-realm zones give us the capability to ensure that level-up zones retain a population size that feels more like high level areas of the game, leading to a more fun play experience for characters of all levels, Blizzard explained.
But this is more than just an enhanced gameplay experience. These new features aim to fix the player density problem that has occurred in many massive multiplayer online games, as Gaming Blend points out. A zone that is dense and overpopulated makes it difficult to complete quests, but an area with too few players proves challenging for group missions.
It doesn't matter how good an MMO's content is if the player population doesn't accommodate it, Pete Haas of Gaming Blend writes. These new additions won't solve all the problems on that front-for example, a low population server will still struggle to field successful raids-but it's a big step in that direction.
World of Warcraft has been seeing successful number as of late, with Blizzard announcing on May 10th that the MMO is stable at 10.2 million subscribers. This was a better than expected turnout for the end of 2012's first financial quarter, and the positive statistics resulted from a number of factors. Battle.net currently has more than 10 million subscribers, 1.2 million players have purchased the WoW Annual Pass, two million gamers have played the open beta for Diablo 3 and preorders for the game have shattered Blizzard and Amazon records.
According to WarpZoned, the upcoming MMO release is on track for a 2012 launch. The WoW expansion was previously given a when it's done time frame, but with the recent Blizzard success the company could push out the game soon. As of now, an end of 2012 release is expected.
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