Worlds of Warcraft: Cross-Realm Dungeons

By Alec Meer on July 15th, 2011 at 4:16 pm.

Go go superfriends!

It would be simply rude to say ‘isn’t this the kind of thing that every MMO in its right mind should have at launch?’, so instead let’s just celebrate that, finally, friends from different World of Warcraft servers can band together to give some sort of huge boss with a repeating attack pattern what’s coming to him/her/it/them.

It’s been mentioned before, and there’s a good chance it’s going to carry some sort of additional fee once it’s ready for full-on primetime, but let’s worry about that later. For now, let’s welcome the free beta, which brings cross-server grouping to 5-player regular or Heroic dungeons. The catch is that you and whoever you want to group with need to have RealID-enabled accounts, as well as being RealID chums.

More details on how to make it all happen here. Oh, how I wish this had been around back when I was sacrificing my every minute to the dark god of Warcraftery. Almost, almost tempts me back, knowing I could have funtimes with scattered chums. Only they’d be 5 levels higher than me and with the kind of loot I’d have to kill kittens to get hold of in a hurry.

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48 Comments »

  1. Mike says:

    Multiplayer game adds multiplayer elements! Playerbasee rejoices.

    Still, good stuff. Between this and the free to play stuff it seems like WoW is willing to change even after all these years.

    • Big Daddy Dugger says:

      All you can do with the free play is literally kill boars and giant spiders because there’s nothing interesting up to level 20, you could pvp but you’d really just be fodder for people who have gear from their higher level characters. But to be fair there hasn’t been a whole lot to do at max level in wow in the past couple of years. I liked the rift free trial and even limited to lvl 15 given so many talent options/abilities i found the pvp quite fun and i wish their trial was unlimited but I’m not really willing to shell out money for rift since I’ve heard it gets stale at max level. I might pay to play some eve for a while but then again the endgame doesn’t look too promising there. Here’s my money BAM TITJOB!

  2. President Weasel says:

    Oh, it’s just for dungeons rather than raid content?

    And resist, Alec Meer, resist! After all is said and done, it’s just WOW again, some more. Deja vu all over again. You’ve levelled, you’ve geared up, you’ve done the high end content, you’ve ground factions and skills and whatever, and got the unusual mount or the magical hat of being the best at fishing. Then there’s an expansion, and you level, you gear up, you do the high end content… Same hamster, very slightly different wheel.

    I wish I could say I have more of a social life now I don’t have a second job WOW raiding, but I’m actually quite an antisocial person. I do have more time to play other games, or read books, or just decide not to switch the PC on one evening.

  3. Wulf says:

    Guild Wars had this sort of thing from launch! Not that it was a real MMORPG, but still, people from any region could join any other region and all group up to run any instance.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Why is it not a ‘real’ mmorpg? I really find that annoying. In my time with both I would say it’s WoW that’s not a real one if any. I spent nearly all my time playing with other people in GW, WoW was mostly running around empty fields on your lonesome.

    • Joof says:

      In the same way that playing Diablo 2 online isn’t a real MMORPG.

    • unlimitedgiants says:

      You mean D2 wasn’t a real MMO because it was actually FUN, and because any random group of people could go down the biggest boss without having to conform to a set raid schedule and perfect group composition?

    • Joof says:

      Nope, that’s not what I mean at all!

    • Telke says:

      Regardless of what everyone’s opinions are on the matter, the GW devs have never referred to their game as an MMO; they’ve even emphasized several times that they don’t consider it an MMO because of the lack of a single overworld.

      They’ve always called it a CRPG, I believe.

    • Thants says:

      D2 wasn’t a real MMO because it wasn’t massively multiplayer.

    • Starky says:

      Which was his point, nor was guild wars massively multiplayer.

      It was standard multiplayer, with a 3d Chatroom/hub. Which wasn’t in any way a bad thing for it to be.

  4. Wodge says:

    This was announced for Rift yesterday… HMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!

  5. INTERNETNERDRAGE says:

    Oh, finally. Not being able to keep friends in a single realm and being forced to choose and switch was one of the reasons I stopped playing WoW. Now I just have to resist the temptation to join again since I bought roughly one thousand games off of Steam from the summer sale.

  6. Vernalagnia says:

    Ew. You’re not supposed to raid with people from the other realm, you’re supposed to kill them. Darkness Falls in DAoC is how you’re supposed to do a multi-realm dungeon. Big bad PVE stuff mixed in with the constant threat of PvP…not hand holding PvE.

    Ew.

    • dethgar says:

      Realms in WoW just means servers. It’s not the opposite faction, alliance and horde don’t group.

    • unlimitedgiants says:

      Don’t confuse yourself here. This isn’t for raids. It’s for small 5 man PVE fights for the same faction (team).

      Oh, and you have to pay for this, and everyone you want to invite to your team across the server list has to pay also, in addition to your normal monthly fee.

    • afarrell says:

      It’s just you (the person doing the invites) that has to pay anything above the sub fee.

  7. CaspianRoach says:

    Sadly it’s still World of Warcraft, almost the same it was on launch six years ago which doesn’t do the game any good.

    • Carra says:

      That’s not true. They’ve added a ton of new features. Dual specs, looking for groups,…

      The newest expansion delivers a lot more fun quests and a lot less kill 10 foozles.

      The new deathknight class they added is awesome and a lot of fun to play.

      The classes are a lot more balanced. I remember a time where only warriors could tank. Now multiple classes can.

      WoW has evolved quite a bit. Maybe not as fast as you’d like but still, it’s moving forward.

    • bleeters says:

      I’d have more confidence if it wasn’t for every feature named there being present and developed during Wrath of the Lich King, well over a year ago.

    • afarrell says:

      The change in quests is actually pretty amazing – the things they can do with the engine have expanded considerably from launch, and the way they’ve completely rewritten a lot of the quests to take advantage of it, giving most zones a solid progressing storyline rather than “thank you for killing 10 squirrels here, now go there and kill 10 squirrels” is very promising. It increased the narrative potential of the engine, meaning that Blizzard can write stuff that’s more to Blizzard’s many strengths, be it atmospheric or tragic or satirical (the quest in Hillsbrad where you get a job as a quest-giver is fantastic).

      Unfortunately, no-one’s going to relevel just to see old Azeroth, and they don’t have a new max-level continent like Outland or Northrend to really show this off with – just five scattered zones, each very different. I suspect the next expansion is going to be really spectacular.

      Other Cataclysm features include the ability to do your ‘daily’ random dungeons (the ones that award currency for the current raid tier) as seven-a-week rather than one-a-day, and a reward system that bribes the tanks/healers to play in random dungeons rather than guild groups.

      Which is kind of a necessary counterpart to bringing back the importance of DPS trapping / sapping / polymorphing and generally acting as environment-aware support classes rather than just getting stabby with everything and assuming the healer/tank will save them if they screw up.

      There’s a lot more reward for sticking with your guild – you gain rep with it, and it levels up, with a long list of little perks that make life easier (but in roughly the same way that being in a big guild made life easier anyway – nothing in there that gives you an edge over anyone else in a fight seems to be the rule). Cynical minds might also suggest that this adds two progress bars to it’s already-extensive list :)

  8. SquareWheel says:

    Wait, a popular MMO like World of Warcraft didn’t already have that?

    Oh dear.

  9. man-eater chimp says:

    Wow news is kinda drying up isn’t it…

    How about some Minecraft posts to take our minds off it all?

  10. Cerzi says:

    Yay.

    Except the cross-realm stuff is the biggest problem with modern MMOs. Instances are another obvious one, but when you think about it, the more cross-realm/server stuff you put in, the more you’re making servers themselves into nothing more than instances, and the persistent world of old crumbles even more.

    I know, I know all the people with their reasons to like instances and cross-realm stuff. But at the end of the day, these two things are the largest reasons the communities in these games are in such terrible states. But of course, rather than fixing the community problems with clever thought-out mechanics, MMO developers just side-step the problems at the continued expense of, and in spite of, the community. When will an MMO developer design a game based on the fact that it is massively multiplayer – incorporating the abundance of recent research on virtual societies cyber psychology/sociology – instead of endlessly making games less and less “massively multiplayer” while refusing to re-classify the product.

    Ok, so I havn’t actually played WoW since around 2006, I’m just butting it with some gratuitous negativity to balance out the all the celebration here.

    tl;dr i demand WoW and its kin be re-classified as Online RPGs so that the MMO industry can take a few giant steps back before moving forward in an interesting direction for the first time in over a decade.

    • Baka says:

      That’s a nice and well known rant, the problem with it only being that this new feature allows you to finally link up with specific cross-realm characters. At least that’s how I understood it.
      The randomjerk-inviter for BGs and instances is running for years now.

    • Joof says:

      You are correct. This is just saying, “Oh, my coworker plays on this other server. I can invite him to a party and we can run dungeons now.” The Random Battlegrounds thing has been around forever, and the random 5 man thing has been around for about a year and a half.

      Of course, anything more hardcore like Raids, Arenas, and rated battlegrounds requires a manually made group.

  11. kornedbeefy says:

    WoW,
    I see your finally going out of style with the changes made over the past few months. Thanks for the years. They only way I’d come back is for $5 a month and even then I’d probably leave once I finish the last expansion. I’ve found single player games more fun since leaving WoW and I have many many…..tons of titles to catch up on….. now back to NWN2 and Oblivion. :)

  12. MCM says:

    “It would be simply rude to say ‘isn’t this the kind of thing that every MMO in its right mind should have at launch?’,”
    It wouldn’t really be rude so much as foolish. We would have little or no concept of “what an MMO should have at launch” if not for WoW. As much as people dislike it – myself included – the impact WoW has had on the genre is incredible.
    The idea that WoW should have had cross-server instances at launch is like saying Everquest should have had instances at launch (it didn’t). In both cases, what we knew about how MMOs scaled and how people would pick servers was utterly different. It’s foolish to look in retrospect and say developments should have been there from the start.

    • Nick says:

      huh? WoW at launch had nothing new to the genre at all. The impact it had was financial, not creative.

    • Rii says:

      @Nick

      Sure it did, the emphasis on solo play being perhaps the most significant.

    • MCM says:

      @Nick: I didn’t say WoW had anything new at launch. But you’re wrong, and the irony is that you even implicitly know what WoW added to MMOs: a sense of accessibility. Could the game have had unprecedented financial success if it weren’t accessible and newbie-friendly? Of course not. Compare EVE Online.

    • Nick says:

      It had a pretty large inbuilt audience from the Warcraft 2/3, Diablo/Battlenet crowd.

      If I’m wrong, tell me what it added, please? Accessability is all? Then what does “We would have little or no concept of “what an MMO should have at launch” if not for WoW.” actually mean?

      And what the irony exactly? I know what it added versus other games because for many years I played pretty much every MMO under the sun, including WoW.

      It wasn’t focused on solo play any more than say Anarchy Online was, or Ultima Online.. or Asheron’s Call even. It had soloable content, the best stuff was group only. Nothing new there.

    • malkav11 says:

      Had nothing new at all? It completely rewrote the playbook for MMOs. Before WoW, there were zones, and in those zones, you found the most profitable enemies to slay, and you killed them over and over again until you could tackle something better or you got the drop you were looking for. Quests existed, but they were obscure and convoluted and were mostly for specific loot. From WoW onwards, the levelling game was about following questlines through regions, killing most everything there at one time or another for specific goals, rewarded by much more substantial bursts of experience, cash, and a steady feed of items. It’s a substantially different paradigm, and one that I for one found vastly more appealing.

    • Starky says:

      Agreed Malk

      People who say that WoW didn’t do anything new/original at launch, simply didn’t play WoW at launch – or didn’t play any MMO’s before WoW.

      WoW was massively original and innovative in thousands of ways (many of them major ways – such as the focus on personal questing, on story based quests, on quest chains, and quest hubs), it was taking massive risks in it’s approach to MMO’s compared to everything else available offering game play more like a single player rpg. With world and art design that nothing at the time could even come close to matching (and honestly nothing has matched – for all it’s flaws WoW is still an amazing example of level design – game architecture and artistic direction).

      Yes many of the individual elements can be found in other games, but it’s how Blizzard put those ingredients together that made them the juggernaut they became.
      Just like you could give me the exact same ingredients as a master chef, and what I cooked wouldn’t be even close.

      It’s easy to bash WoW for what it has become – and I know I do quite a lot. After all no one is as scornful as an ex-addict, but WoW is probably the most important game in the history of gaming so far – for much more than just how much money it made.

      When WoW launched it really was an amazing achievement, a genre breaking and defining master piece.

  13. Juiceman says:

    It always makes me smile when people try to stoically chip away at WoW. They so badly want it to not be the unrivaled success it is.

  14. valru says:

    Once again, Blizzard chips away at what little community remains of the individual servers.

    They also make it clear that profit is above everything, there is no way that such a feature should cost anything additional over the subscription people pay to play the game. Blizzard is really desperate to keep revenue up.

    • bleeters says:

      You may call me suspicious and cynical, but I’m getting a sense of Activision pulling the premium-service-strings a fair amount, too.

    • Starky says:

      This really should be posted as a disclaimer in any Blizzard related topic…

      Anyway – Activision do not own, run or are involved in any way with Blizzard.

      Vivendi own Blizzard.
      Vivendi own Activision.
      Activision do not own Blizzard.

      Vivendi decided to merge the stock portfolio’s of the 2 companies (Activation Blizzard exists only on the stock market) – in real life they are independent and wholly separate subsidiaries of the same perent company (Vivendi).

      Now granted Vivendi *might* be pulling those strings, as in many ways they are worse than Activision could ever be – but you can be sure Activision has nothing to do with anything Blizzard do.

  15. Big Daddy Dugger says:

    This is the most exciting thing some people are saying they’ve seen in wow for over a year. Blizzard’s been slowly dying of AIDS for a while now ever since they sold out to Activision for a boatload of cash and the yacht it came in. I thought SC2 was incredibly boring and outdated for it’s production price and I’m anticipating D3′s gonna turn out the same. The only people who like these are people who played the originals and have REALLY been itching for more LEFT CLICK LEFT CLICK LEFT CLICK! If SC2 was the same exact game with a different name and different developer nobody would have given it more than 10 minutes of their time. This is a ransom if you want your 30 seconds of time you spent reading this back you need to bring 5k in unmarked bills and leave it under the bridge outside the computer repair shop downtown at exactly 12 midnight, come alone and NO COPS or the pizza man gets it!

  16. Big Daddy Dugger says:

    I was always wondering why blizzard charged 30$ for server transfers when they already charge an unnecessary monthly fee and other mmo’s have been letting you choose to switch servers in the blink of an eye for quite a while. This was before they showed their true colors with all the microtransaction pets and “premium” services.
    Wait a second… if they have a free version and a premium version does that make the old premium services super premium? Kind of like a silver membership is free and you can upgrade to the gold for more features but then when you go gold they tell you there’s a platinum version for even more features than gold?

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      The problem is that people pay for it. I had a look at switching factions/servers and renaming back when I was playing and just thought ‘no fuckin’ way’ because of the staggering cost involved with what is probably about 15 to 40 seconds of work moving one database item across to another. Or flagging a boolean for ‘rename’. If zero people took to paying for it, they would have to start offering it at a better price or maybe even free with long running accounts (free x per x months paid).

      But millions of people paid for it. Whoops!

  17. Gundrea says:

    Excuse me if I don’t welcome this.

    Cross-server battlegrounds completely destroyed the battlegrounds for RP servers because they were grouped into clusters with non-RP servers. Overnight what had been careful, thought out games descended into zerg fests with people only capable of talking in insults.

    • Big Daddy Dugger says:

      I never played on rp servers but I did play with my paladin Texasjustice’s abilities macroed to yell things like “And That’s Justice!™” whenever I’d use a finishing move. It would piss off at least one person every single BG so I eventually just started using them to troll because it made the game a lot more fun than if I was to ignore the angry insecure kids saying things like “Quit RPing fag!”. The only thing that kept me playing ’til last year was friends I’d arena with but the community has been stupid and intolerable at least since the end of the first expansion and 15$ a month had gotten to be a little too much to pay for the small amount of ancient pvp content/maps and the literally put me to sleep raids I’d do once and a while.

  18. portchd says:

    Correct me if i’m wrong, but the feature of cross realm instances has been in the game since wrath, this isn’t something new…?

  19. Catastrophe says:

    I was thinking about returning to WoW, but adding this feature for an added cost sickens me. No thanks.

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