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We know they have said Classic will benefit from sharding in the starting areas at release. What do you all think we can we expect from sharding throughout the game, in general? Particularly will we expect sharding to proliferate and become a "way of life" in the Classic Re-release?

Honestly, folks, I don't want to see any sharding if it's possible. I'm just worried game designers will have zero impact on technical decisions. My concern is, if they see successful sharding in noob areas, I personally believe they wont stop there. Sharding will 100% destroy one of the primary reasons anyone here loves Classic to begin with - the social aspect.

Imagine, having to select between "Stormwind 1,2,3,4". Or "Badlands 1,2". This was my main complaint with SWTOR back in 2010.

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I reallyyy hope sharding is minimal. If I was optimistic with a bit of realistic, I'd guess we'd see sharding for starting areas and other very crowded areas at launch and for a (hopefully) short time after. They'll be worried about people being frustrated in these starting areas because of the sheer amount of people and will probably shard this so everyone can get some playtime in with ease.
Business wise, they'll want all players initial experiences with classic to be great so they stay longer and don't quit right away from frustration. They'll especially want launch day to go well and have people be able to complete quests and find the mobs they need without too much competition. Staying with my optimistic pov, I'd say they'd eventually phase sharding out once the playerbase stabilizes / inevitably falls to the "normal" level. After all they won't need sharding later on because there will be far less new characters, everyone will be more spread out in zones, and the player count will be less than the launch month.

With the way Blizzard has been lately, I fear we see much more sharding than what I described, or even permanent sharding. However if the classic team really cares and realizes what people want from classic, then what I wrote above would be my best guess for what we see. After all, sharding is the least classic thing you could do. Players / the community are what made older versions of WoW what they were. But, business wise, you want to make sure that nobody quits in frustration at the initial launch because of the flood of players.

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I'm very worried about Blizzard using sharding even at the games launch. In retail now, even having 80 players in the same zone PvPing causes massive lag. This is something that Blizzard MUST address, the current servers are unable to support 80 players PvPing.. in an MMORPG....

If they use sharding for launch, who's to say they won't decide to use it again? Multiple raids fighting over a world boss causing major lag in that zone? Let's just turn on sharding. World PvP raid lagging up Org? Let's just turn on sharding for a bit. Oh, AQ gate opening event? Time for sharding. Sharding in general runs completely counter to the very idea of Classic and it has absolutely no place in the game during any situation and, honestly, I don't trust Blizzard to ONLY use sharding during launch, it's just too convenient for them.

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To be fair, Elysium had the same nightmare-ish problem at launch. There were over 20k players trying to log on the same server. They introduced a dynamic respawn system - which meant that if there were a certain number of players in a small area, the spawn rates of items and mobs would increase drastically - but even that wasn't enough, so they had to open a second server days later.

If I recall correctly, the dynamic spawn never really affected my gameplay once I was out questing in The Barrens and onwards - and I was sinking many hours like the others. I don't recall the dynamic respawn thing ever triggering on any significant quest, and I did play on the 2nd server which had over 7k players on it.

What I'm saying is that even something that's not Blizzlike / authentic can have a positive experience. People have complained about many things when it came to Elysium (rightfully so) but this non-Blizzlike feature wasn't one of them, everyone knew it was needed.

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centurion wrote:
5 months ago
I reallyyy hope sharding is minimal. If I was optimistic with a bit of realistic, I'd guess we'd see sharding for starting areas and other very crowded areas at launch and for a (hopefully) short time after. They'll be worried about people being frustrated in these starting areas because of the sheer amount of people and will probably shard this so everyone can get some playtime in with ease.
Business wise, they'll want all players initial experiences with classic to be great so they stay longer and don't quit right away from frustration. They'll especially want launch day to go well and have people be able to complete quests and find the mobs they need without too much competition. Staying with my optimistic pov, I'd say they'd eventually phase sharding out once the playerbase stabilizes / inevitably falls to the "normal" level. After all they won't need sharding later on because there will be far less new characters, everyone will be more spread out in zones, and the player count will be less than the launch month.

With the way Blizzard has been lately, I fear we see much more sharding than what I described, or even permanent sharding. However if the classic team really cares and realizes what people want from classic, then what I wrote above would be my best guess for what we see. After all, sharding is the least classic thing you could do. Players / the community are what made older versions of WoW what they were. But, business wise, you want to make sure that nobody quits in frustration at the initial launch because of the flood of players.
I was going to post a reply to this thread saying exactly the same things so thank you for saving me some time Centurion :smile:

It's a necessary evil for launch folks, that's all they have confirmed officially so far. Everything else is speculation.

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I expect blizzard will use it when it's absolutely necessary. And I believe absolutely necessary for them would be when a significant population of the player base are unable to play the game because of technical/mechanical limitations.

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I understand the rationale for using it as outlined by Ion during Blizzcon: stabilize the launch process by supporting a higher number of players in the same areas while also avoiding the need for queues, and phasing it out once the tourist population dwindles and server communities solidify such that we're not stuck with a bunch of chronically underpopulated realms. If Blizzard sticks to this principle, then in my opinion sharding would be tolerable.

However, using sharding beyond the initial launch period would be a serious detriment to the Classic experience, and probably a dealbreaker depending on how aggressively it's implemented. No one wants to travel to Hillsbrad for World PvP action only to see your friends and enemies sharded out of view.

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Is it me, or did the game run much more smoothly pre-sharding? I may be crazy, but it's been a while.

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Noish wrote:
5 months ago
Is it me, or did the game run much more smoothly pre-sharding? I may be crazy, but it's been a while.
It's a complicated subject really. Pre-sharding server resources were generally wasted because they had to have whole server blades running constantly, sometimes doing basically nothing. At the same time though, if you push that blade to its max then nothing can be done to improve performance. With sharding far less resources are used, and it can spin up and shut down instances as needed to get more people into a zone (even if it's not the same zone as everyone else). However if an individual instance is pushed beyond the expected load it has issues. While they could use whole server blades now that would really be a waste of resources. They don't need a whole blade for say Pandaria for a single realm, when they could have say a single blade with a single Pandaria for every realm in a region since so few people are there. That lets them free up those resources for more popular/current areas, or as their cloud works, for other games even (i.e. Overwatch, Hearthstone, etc.).

As for sharding in Classic, I fully believe it's just going to be for a few weeks max early on. I'm not sure if they can limit it per zone, so I wouldn't be surprised if a whole realm is sharded at launch time. Once people spread out in the world and not everybody's trying to play it at once then they'll phase it out. Though technically it'll basically just be like each area has a single shard and isn't allowed to spawn more. For the most part I think their standard shard sizes work just fine for most zones on a regular basis. Though I do expect that they'll monitor their usage and adjust as needed. There's only so much they can do to anticipate what the players will end up doing.

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Personally; I hope sharding is at an all-time low.

Instead I really hope they limit the server choices so that we have a community density that leads to some really cool encounters. PVE/PVP.

Having a "known" community is what made early WoW awesome, you KNEW would the big players were and you knew who would be the risks. I really hope they keep it "same server only" but that is my opinion.

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Hasn't Blizzard not committed to sharding yet? I don't recall it being confirmed. That being said, I do think they will implement it in starting areas, although who knows how that would work.

My expectations are that it would be used for the very starting point of players (1-5), and I would be ok with that extending to starting zones (1-10). Anything other than that, and anything longer than a short time, would be a large disappointment.

I find it incredibly unlikely Blizzard would implement it for anything other than that. Everything they have said seems to be pointing in the right direction.

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Generic_Bad_Guy wrote:
5 months ago
Hasn't Blizzard not committed to sharding yet? I don't recall it being confirmed. That being said, I do think they will implement it in starting areas, although who knows how that would work.
Technically they haven't fully confirmed it yet, but realistically it's the solution they're likely to go for. It's basically free to implement both in monetary costs and dev time, which is really hard for other solutions to compete against.

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Generic_Bad_Guy wrote:
5 months ago
Hasn't Blizzard not committed to sharding yet?
Correct. Ion’s response to sharding in the demo was pretty ambiguous:
 Blizzard Entertainment
First off, the demo is kind of a special case, because it's not an organic world where everyone is spread out. It's literally every single character using a template, being created at the exact same point in the world, in The Barrens or Westfall.

We leverage that tech to make the demo experience run more smoothly.

Now, that said, we recognise that launching WoW Classic poses a couple of meaty challenges.

Unlike launching a traditional game that's brand new, where you can assume that everyone that's jumping in there on launch day has the intent to at least explore playing it long term, we expect that early on with Classic, there are going to be some people who are there die hard, dedicated, they're racing to defeat Ragnaros and Onyxia.

There are going to be others who just want to check it out casually and they just want to see what all the fuss is about, they want to see what they missed.

And, our concern is, I think it's exactly as you suggest, what's that going to look like? What's that going to do to realm communities, as some server populations may dwindle over time?

That is where we are looking at using sharding in a very limited way.

We understand, and I understand completely, that sharding is antithetical to a cohesive Classic community.
Make of that what you will.

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