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WoW Classic: Update - First Classic server returns to single-layer technology

Update as of May 1, 2020:Community Manager Kaivax recently spoke up and announced that one of the servers listed below will be returning to a single layer technique. This is due to the fact that the number of players on this server has decreased and it is therefore no longer considered necessary to have multiple layers. However, there may still be small wait times during primetime, Kaivax said.

He also points out that the number of players on the servers is being monitored very closely and that they are always trying to see if other servers can return to the single-layer experience they had planned for.

The message in the original English:

A few moments ago, the Earthfury realm was successfully returned to a single layer.

This reflects a recent decrease in peak population on that realm, but may lead to occasional, small queues in the evening on Earthfury.

We continue to monitor realm populations closely, with an eye on opportunities to bring other layered realms back to the intended single-layer experience.

Original newsOn April 16, Content Phase 4 was released in WoW Classic, not only turning Silithus around, but also unlocking Zul'Gurub. However, this once again caused a rush on the Classic servers, and with it, extended wait times, which resulted in a restriction of character creation on full servers shortly after.

Reasons for reintroducing layering in WoW Classic

Community Manager Kaivax spoke out about the motives behind the reintroduction in an official blog post on Friday night. There are several other solutions on the horizon, but due to the current Corona crisis they are not able to test and develop them sufficiently. Therefore one has to work with the tools that are available to the developers.

These other solutions look like this:

  • Free Character Transfer

First of all, they tried to get a grip on the problem by means of free character transfers, according to Kaivax. After all, one could assume that the waiting times would be less if there were fewer players per server. However, the success of this option is not as predictable as the developers would like it to be, so it cannot be relied on alone.

  • Character Creation Restrictions

According to Kaivax, this option, which has already been announced and implemented, has the disadvantage of preventing established players on a server from playing together with their friends. Furthermore, it would not be a solution to the problem, but merely a delay of it. Furthermore, according to internal data, the queues are mainly caused by returning players.

  • New servers

The good news: WoW servers are no longer limited by hardware, so in theory many players can transfer from more populated servers. The bad news: According to internal data, this is simply not the case - according to Kaivax, this is likely due in part to the social construct in which players are embedded on their existing server.

  • Removing restrictions on maximum population density

Another solution would be to simply allow more players on a server. However, Kaivax said that this would be more difficult to implement than initially thought, as it would have a negative impact on technical stability and game design, which is why such restrictions were introduced in the first place.

One problem, for example, is that message traffic would increase exponentially if many players were gathered in one place. According to Kaivax, this is a fundamental problem in computer science, which even today cannot be solved with "simply more hardware".

Design-wise, this would also have a big impact on the market economy of a server. While it's true that there are more players allowed on Classic servers than there were in 2005, this also means that items (like the Black Lotus) are rarer per capita than they were 15 years ago.

Will layering stay?

Community manager Kaivax is convinced that layering is only a temporary solution to cope with the current rush. According to Kaivax, the developers are of the opinion that as many servers as possible should run with only one layer - and they will do everything they can to return to this state as soon as possible, even on the now expanded servers (see table).

They are aware that the return to layering technology is a big step - and it is not taken lightly. The developers are thinking very carefully about how to properly implement this step, based on what they learn from the available data. In any case, the community will be informed about the next steps.

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