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1 month ago (1.13.4)
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I remember there being a lot more horde players in TBC and some very real concerns with faction balance.

Do you think Blizzard will be able to keep it from becoming too bad? From what I've been reading about current faction imbalance in Classic it doesn't seem like they would have many plans in place other that very late server transfers after it's already a problem.

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1 month ago (1.13.4)
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I don't think they will ever achieve real faction balance again unless it's just by pure chance. There are definitely easy tools to promote it like only offering free transfers for the overpopulated faction to an underpopulated server, but I feel like anecdotally 90% of servers have been horde dominated since like mid tbc, so there's only so much balancing you can do when horde are overpopulated everywhere.

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1 month ago (1.13.4)
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Faction balance happens by chance. Even if players were assigned their faction and had no say in the matter, accounts were bound to one faction or the other to create a perfectly balanced server on day 1, it's gonna veer to one side or the other as players drop off. Faction balance is a myth and there is nothing to be done about it. If one is bothered by it, then play on a PVE server where the impact is less noticeable.

   Perdition
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1 month ago (1.13.4)
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Out of interest, does anyone know if any of the original servers were well known for a near-50/50 faction balance? Anecdotally or factually..

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1 month ago (1.13.4)
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I don't remember, but the entire idea of being able to force an even balance is kind of silly. Let's abstract it beyond this video game - take a group of people, give them a new hobby, divide the group in half exactly 50/50. Cool, the group of people is now balanced. How do you guarantee that exactly the same amount of people in both groups still enjoy and participate in their new hobby in six months? We're dealing with humans here, people are going to experience attrition at different rates based on personal interests, tastes, etc.

Nevermind the fact that you're never going to have an even split of people on either side regardless. People are going to play the side they prefer, the class the prefer, and will play with their friends. Something is going to attract specific people to a specific side for whatever reason, be it how the characters look, what the cities are like, how the classes play, whatever.

The only ideas to force a balance boil down to basically 'there are too many people over there, don't let them play'.

This is an MMORPG. People aren't guaranteed the same experience. The majority of the content in the game is user generated in how players interact with each other. On PVP servers, this means that some players are going to outnumber others. Some players are going to be the battering ram, and others are going to be getting crushed. Some players are going to experience a completely different game than others. There are just some things that can't be avoided in a community driven game like this. Even in instanced battlegrounds, where there is literally X numbers of players on one side and X number of players on the other side people still find ways to complain that the matches aren't balanced properly and that they're not getting the experience that they want. Realistically there isn't anything to be done about it either. This isn't a single player game where the content and experience is fed to you on rails.

A few servers will be balanced fairly evenly for brief periods of time by chance. But even balanced servers will unbalance over time as people quit, new people start, players transfer in and out, etc. They're living breathing things that change over time.

PVE servers are really the place for people who are concerned about the negatives of poor faction balance. There isn't much impact to being on the small side of the scale on a PVE server. This really is the solution, play on a PVE server and don't get ganked.

I play on Fairbanks, and I play on the alliance side which is outnumbered something like 2:1 or 3:1. I'm not going anywhere. I have a different experience than the horde guys do on my server. They can AFK outside of dungeon portals and wait for their groups to show up. Even with stealth, I can't do that. Being outside of the capital cities and AFK is a recipe to come back to a grey screen at the spirit rezzer. There's nothing I can do about this though, it's just the reality of my experience on this server. It does lead to some pretty interesting and fun situations however. For example, our guild often teams up with others on the server to escort each other into raids to get in with world buffs intact, etc. We bring 3, 4, sometimes 5 full raid teams to the mountain. We stage things to fight back. We have to stick together and move as a pack outside, something the horde players don't experience. It's pretty cool in that way.

In the end, we can't change the weather and we can't force warcraft servers to have any particular balance. Just the way it goes.

   teebling Perdition
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1 month ago (1.13.4)
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I mean was faction balance ever a thing? The historical norm on PvP and PvE servers alike is lopsided populations. Balanced factions, esp on PvP servers, has been the exception rather than the rule.

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1 month ago (1.13.4)
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teebling wrote:
1 month ago
Out of interest, does anyone know if any of the original servers were well known for a near-50/50 faction balance? Anecdotally or factually..
Grobbulus was 51/49 Alliance to Horde on launch, before they broke the census addon. Idk how much it has drifted since then but it was the most balanced during the first month.

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1 month ago (1.13.4)
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I think if the balance is within 20% it's fine, it's just in the extreme cases we've seen in Classic where there are the issues and Blizzard hasn't done a great job of managing that so far.

   Perdition
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1 month ago (1.13.4)
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There has really been no meaningful effort by Blizzard to encourage faction balance. They could do MANY things to start realms near a 50/50 balance and to encourage balance throughout the lifecycle of a server, but will they??? Probably not. Which is unfortunate, because I think faction imbalance is one of the largest factors to consider when looking at player attrition.

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3 weeks ago (1.13.4)
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I agree alot with Pippina here and think that faction balance is an overblown myth. Way too much emphasis is put on this. It's like looking at one tree in the entire forest, and saying that one tree is responsible for the health of the forest. That simply isn't true and it doesn't work that way. What communities and Blizzard should be looking at is overall community/Realm health. Put simply, you CANNOT have a "healthy" population (especially on a PvP server) when the majority of it is one faction or the other. Now, does that mean a "healthy gap" is="imbalance"? Absolutely not. You can for example, have a 20% difference between factions and still have a healthy server. That's not as big a spread as people make it out to be. That's not a situation where it will be overwhelmingly obvious one faction has more players than the other in World PvP.

I think "faction imbalance" has become a meme of sorts unto itself. It's a widely cirulated phrase, but very few genuinely understand what it means. It doesn't simply mean "more of one faction than the other", which is how i see people using this. The usage has just gone unchecked for that long. It means one outdoes the other SO significantly, it creates a noticable chasm where one faction undeniably has the upper hand; and you notice this in the course of normal gameplay. This *barely* happens. Altho, funny enough, the more this has been perpetuated, the more people end up MAKING it a problem. Stalagg and Skeram i believe, has 90-some% Horde, according to some pop sites; which we know aren't 100% accurate-but THAT is a problem. This is so rare tho.

In this case, Blizzard has failed to do anything about it. While they can't *directly* change this issue, they absolutely can *indirectly* encourage it. First off, they could communicate with their community AT ALL. They haven't even bothered. They can offer faction transfers OFF the servers, TO the ones that could use that faction, and leave them up for a reasonable amount of time. People need to digest FIRST if they even want to transfer off. This could take a couple weeks for some. They could inform the community that certain servers are having issues, and communicate w/them what is needed. Instead, they are left to bicker among themselves. Instead, they've opened up transfers to servers that really didn't need them & refuse to open other Realms, which could reduce populations overall, bring back that Vanilla feel & encourage players to really be proactive in taking community health seriously. Now i have typers cramp so am gonna stop there, but theres alot of things Blizz could and has done in the past, but aren't now. The player mindsets simply do not help, but Blizz could be proactive about addessing misinformation as well.

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3 weeks ago (1.13.4)
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I think we'll unfortunately see the major servers becoming increasingly skewed towards one faction with time. The one-sided realm balance we've seen on the biggest servers on retail is likely going to be the case in Classic and it's future expansions.

If you've paid attention to websites like Ironforge.pro, you'll see a few realms that went from being a bit skewed, to becoming 90%+ favored to one side. Once the other faction starts farming you whenever you dare to leave your main cities (or in some cases, even in cities), it becomes more and more tempting to transfer or start fresh.

With the addition of arenas this might be an even bigger deal. I remember back when I played retail, there was always a "go-to" PvPer realm, where all the biggest PvP:ers would gather on one faction to have an easier time finding arena teams. On top of that, we have the general horde bias for TBC which you've already mentioned.
Nobody wants to feel like they're at a disadvantage, so why would they want to roll on a server with significantly more enemies than allies, if they have that information.

I would agree that something like a 60/40 split isn't particularly devastating to begin with, but I would expect those differences slowly start increasing with time.

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1 week ago (1.13.4)
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Unbalanced servers would have a huge impact on a TBC release I think, consider if Hellfire Peninsula is 90% horde or 90% alliance. The other faction won't be able to even quest without getting killed on sight, would be terrible.

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