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3 months ago (Beta)
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Since layering is a hot topic today I can not help but notice that a large portion of the community still has a poor overall understanding of layering. If you want to take a seat with me and read a little, I'd like to cover layering a bit more in-depth... and use this whole debacle as an excuse to get my issues with Blizzard's handling of the situation off my chest.

I'm going to assume you are at least somewhat familiar with layering and not hit you with the cliché of poking a hole through a piece of paper to explain time travel, or in this case drawing a pie chart to explain separate but connected servers.

1) Layering is a rework of the CRZ + Sharding system that exists in retail
Layering is not a brand new technology. Every bug we are seeing would more accurately be described as vestigial CRZ/Sharding or simply the reality of how layering will work. There is a misleading interpretation of layering going around which has people under the impression that you are not supposed to be able to change your layer. If that was the case then that would be functionally the same as having separate servers and there would be no good reason to have layering. There is no getting around the fact that players will need to be able to change layers to engage with friends and guildies. I assume Blizzard is trying to tweak the system enough to make it justifiably different, at which point calling it new wouldn't be as much of a stretch, but currently it doesn't look like they got very far with that plan.

I should note that layering being crz+sharding is technically a theory, as the burden of proof is on me to disprove Blizzard's statement that it is new tech. I would require access to the code for hard evidence; however, the next closest I can get to this code is client throws: "All players in the party must be from the same realm to enter Kalimdor." seems pretty straight forward to me. There are a lot more examples that I'm sure would juxtapose well to retail but I'm not going to bother going full autist looking it all up right now. It also just makes sense that blizzard wouldn't go out of their way to recreate the wheel when layering by definition isn't much different than CRZ in the first place.

Point is, when you think about layering, don't think of it as some new system that just needs to have the wrinkles ironed out. It's an old system that a lot of people don't like, that has a lot of problems, and still needs a lot of work to become layering.

2) There is an alternative to problem that layering was pitched to solve
Layering is supposed to solve the issue of eventual realm mergers after population declines. It's important to remember the alternative sub-realm or multi-realm system to weigh layering against. There's a lot of ways to implement a sub-realm system, but generally anything along the lines of: You pick the server Malygos, you pick sub-realm 1,2, or 3 and each sub-realm functions as a separate realm with name checks run across them with the intent to merge at a later date.
Pros:
* More Vanilla-Like (almost said blizzlike lol)
* Less development time needed
* No resource exploits or funny business
Cons:
* some sub-realms could feel dead at certain times of day when compared to layering keeping things even
* streamer sub-realm(s) will have a massive queue compared to layering

You might notice the cons are not related to the problem that layering was pitched to solve, but I suspect they will ultimately be the reason we see layering anyway.

3) Blizzard used content creators to disseminate information about layering in bad faith
Blizzard knew that changing the original plan of "sharding in starting zones for a bit" to "layering for most of phase 1" was not going to go over well with the community. In order to blunt the blow they used a portion of that community that had gained the trust of some of it's users to pitch this system favorably. All publicly available information about layering is essentially hidden in videos that a lot of people won't ever bother to watch, which means most information is 2nd or even 3rd hand at this point. It's no wonder there so many different interpretations of layering that have fostered a torpid level of debate around the feature to this day.

Something about this whole thing just does not sit well with me. I mean, the actual existence of layering isn't even a big of a deal to me. And no, I don't think the sky is falling or anything excessive like that. I might even enjoy messing around with layering if it's still broken tbh. I just don't like when some company thinks they are slick enough to hoodwink me into buying some bullshit.
Anyway, what are your thoughts?

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I wonder if Blizz is causing more issues by making too many servers to begin with. If they expect to have to merge as early as phase 2, then clearly there's too any servers to start with. Yes, launch will be painful if there isn't a plethora of servers. But in all reality, SO many are going to flock to streamer servers. The other (maybe half or so) who don't care or intentionally avoid streamer servers will be spread out among the rest of servers.

So I see:
1-2 servers being full population immediately from streamer choice.
~7-8 servers hitting high population in phase 1
~5-7 hitting normal
~5-7 staying in low

These are complete guesses as I don't even know that amount of servers there will be. But... I think at these numbers you can expect this kind of result, and just go ahead and trim the fat from the get-go. Eliminate those 5-7 that will be low, now. That alone seems to make sense to me. I never understood the insane amount of servers even now on Retail.

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Spot on. Layering is sharding rebranded. I actually would have preferred temporary sharding confined to starting zones. The impact would have been apparent for the first 2-4 hours of played time in zones that weren't PvP anyways. I also would have been okay with dynamic respawns if they could have improved on it from what we have seen on private servers. The sub server version of layering is a FAR better option that essentially answers to every major issue that layering presents, I have seen this recommended many many times and I'm not sure why they didn't consider this as the best answer.

You make an EXCELLENT point about influencers repacking the information and delivering it to the audience to gain a favorable result. A few months ago these crusaders were going wild at the notion of modern graphics, a modern mailbox or updated auction house features. Any of THESE changes would have made them quit the game forever!!! Today they are pro layering. Nothing is more anti-vanilla than sharding. Sharding is the single worst thing that every happened to WoW. Sharding quite literally drives an invisible barrier between the community and the game. wPvP can not coexist in a meaningful way with sharding. I was never #nochanges. Changes were inevitable. I am shocked that so many people who tote the claim that they are no changes accept layering with open arms. It makes me question their experience with the game.

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Falcon wrote:
3 months ago
I wonder if Blizz is causing more issues by making too many servers to begin with. If they expect to have to merge as early as phase 2, then clearly there's too any servers to start with. Yes, launch will be painful if there isn't a plethora of servers. But in all reality, SO many are going to flock to streamer servers. The other (maybe half or so) who don't care or intentionally avoid streamer servers will be spread out among the rest of servers.

So I see:
1-2 servers being full population immediately from streamer choice.
~7-8 servers hitting high population in phase 1
~5-7 hitting normal
~5-7 staying in low

These are complete guesses as I don't even know that amount of servers there will be. But... I think at these numbers you can expect this kind of result, and just go ahead and trim the fat from the get-go. Eliminate those 5-7 that will be low, now. That alone seems to make sense to me. I never understood the insane amount of servers even now on Retail.
So what do you expect the overall population for the game to launch with? From your server count, youre estimating 20-25 servers to launch? Lets assume the game launches with 2 million players. Remember that this is an inclusive sub and there will be a lot of tourists, this number will probably be WAY higher. Lets then assume that each layer is around 3k players, as was mentioned as a preliminary estimate by Blizz. Lets go on a stretch and assume they cap layering to 5 layers per server (I REALLY hope they dont go this far, but lets take a look for affect).

2 million players divided into groups of 15,000 per server at 5 layers per server is approx 133 servers. This is assuming that they are running with as many as 5 layers per server at their estimate of 3k players per layer. Also realize that there will be a TON of tourists on launch so the player count will likely be much higher. By my estimate, launching with 133 servers is a very low estimate unless they are willing to surpass 5 layers, which could have drastic implications on the impact of layering AND the collapsing phase of layers.

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Honestly, I think the launch is going to be an unmitigated disaster, regardless of layering/sharing/dynamic respawns/huge server list. I don't think there is any good way to have a successful launch, without having some other ongoing issues created by the methodology they implement.

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A side of me thinks/hopes that they are "experimenting" with different sorts of layering, so by the time Beta is over things would be better; so no "layer hopping" etc.

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Selexin wrote:
3 months ago
Honestly, I think the launch is going to be an unmitigated disaster, regardless of layering/sharing/dynamic respawns/huge server list. I don't think there is any good way to have a successful launch, without having some other ongoing issues created by the methodology they implement.
Thats pretty pessimistic. Doom and gloom. I think the goal of these threads is to try and discuss the BEST solution. Everyone acknowledges that launch will be an issue, but these sorts of conversations are designed to explore the best way to mitigate damage to the game and play experience. I actually sit on the opposite side of the fence. Whatever they release, launch is going to be HYPE! They could take a poop in a box and write "ClazzZIK" on the front with a permanent marker and I'd preorder the digital deluxe edition. This kind of attitude isn't really productive when people are trying to find the BEST solution and explore potential options.

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Stfuppercut wrote:
3 months ago
This kind of attitude isn't really productive when people are trying to find the BEST solution and explore potential options.
My hope is that Blizzard are trying to find the best solution and explore options, which I am sure they are doing. What I am saying isn't doom and gloom dude, don't fret, it's ok - we are all hyped, we are all playing, we are here chatting on a Classic WoW forum. But what I am saying is, if you try to jam 5million players into a handful of servers, regardless of what method, the launch will be a shitfight. I didn't say it wouldn't be fun or hyped, but it will be near impossible to provide a smooth launch or smooth transition in the future. Is that wrong?

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Selexin wrote:
3 months ago
What I am saying isn't doom and gloom dude, don't fret...

Honestly, I think the launch is going to be an unmitigated disaster, regardless of layering/sharing/dynamic respawns/huge server list. I don't think there is any good way to have a successful launch, without having some other ongoing issues created by the methodology they implement.
Doom and gloom = A feeling of pessimism and despondency.
Despondency = a state of low spirits caused by loss of hope or courage.

You're the doom and gloom guy! By definition. I think that having a general sense of pessimism can be valuable until it derails the conversation. "Whatever they do doesnt matter because at the end of the day the launch will be an unmitigated disaster..." So then do nothing? Whatever they do wont help?" Ehhhh, thats just not productive.

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@Stfuppercut thanks for the emotional assessment, once I am finished going through my goth music playlist I'll write you a poem :wink: I was being pretty emotional, but that is my honest (if not a little dramatic) appraisal.

How often does a hugely hyped MMO launch smoothly - not only does Classic WoW suffer from this, but it is being put on a pedestal and compared to Vanilla (With rose tinted glasses no doubt). People don't want them to deviate from Vanilla, so if they do the community will have the shits. If they don't deviate from Vanilla the launch will be a mess, if they do deviate and use layering/sharding it will no longer reflect Vanilla WoW and can also be exploited, which will cause a shitshow of backlash.

Do you disagree?

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Selexin wrote:
3 months ago
@Stfuppercut thanks for the emotional assessment, once I am finished going through my goth music playlist I'll write you a poem :wink: I was being pretty emotional, but that is my honest (if not a little dramatic) appraisal.

How often does a hugely hyped MMO launch smoothly - not only does Classic WoW suffer from this, but it is being put on a pedestal and compared to Vanilla (With rose tinted glasses no doubt). People don't want them to deviate from Vanilla, so if they do the community will have the shits. If they don't deviate from Vanilla the launch will be a mess, if they do deviate and use layering/sharding it will no longer reflect Vanilla WoW and can also be exploited, which will cause a shitshow of backlash.

Do you disagree?
I agree that launches are often shaky. I don't believe that "launch is going to be an unmitigated disaster" regardless of what Blizzard does. There is a big difference between acknowledging that there will be issues and discussing potential ways to mitigate those issues and just throwing in the towel and derailing the topic.

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@Stfuppercut I honestly don't expect any of our threads to be monitored by Blizzard, so enacting change from here is probably not overly effective, plus if anything my post didn't derail the thread, it just prompted further discussions. Like you say, that's what we are here for after all is to talk about Classic WoW.

Some of these topics tend to just tread the same old ground and they do tend to lead to tedium and boring back and forth discussions of the same things. That might just be because I am checking the forums and reading/posting regularly like yourself. This thread is a recurring thread that has been gone over to death, I don't think layering has seen any changes from our first post to now, at least not from a technical standpoint. I am still waiting for an official update from Blizzard on the approach on layering and any possible changes, and if you or anyone else comes across something I would love it to be shared as I don't trawl many other Classic WoW forums, as they are typically sub-par compared to barrens.chat.

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Selexin wrote:
3 months ago
Some of these topics tend to just tread the same old ground and they do tend to lead to tedium and boring back and forth discussions of the same things. That might just be because I am checking the forums and reading/posting regularly like yourself.
If you feel that way, you aren't obligated to post on those sorts of topics. I agree that there are a ton of repetitive threads, but I personally am not done the discussion on layering, hence why I posted here. I want to participate in the conversation. I want to hear everyone's opinions and have a better understanding of what we are in for or what other options we could pursue. If you feel these conversations are tedious, you don't have to step in and say "it doesn't matter anyways". That isn't good for anyone. Dont be that guy. I feel that OP had a really valuable post that stimulated some conversation.

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Stfuppercut wrote:
3 months ago
That isn't good for anyone. Dont be that guy. I feel that OP had a really valuable post that stimulated some conversation.
I'll probably be me, if that guy is me, so be it, I'm not going to change for you and I am sorry if I don't live up to your expectations. My post promoted more discussions, it lead us to discussing why I think launch will be messy, and why you think it wouldn't be so messy - even if indirect, my post and most posts on the forum will lend to the discussion unless they are literally just troll posts or saying something completely irrelevant. My post was intended to spark debate, as it was bold statement on my current thoughts on launch environment. It worked, did it not? It forced you to further divulge your opinions and discuss layering/sharing/blizzard further. That is why we are here, are we not? To discuss Classic WoW?

Not every post will be a boring post, sometimes they will be emotional, aggressive, defensive, dramatic, or personal - or heck even something in jest (god forbid). All posts will lead to further discussion, just as my post did. It's ok for me to post, I don't think @teebling minds. I'm sure some people get sick of reading all of our posts @Stfuppercut, but ultimately that's why these forums are here - to share our opinions, our thoughts and our predictions. Sometimes you are wrong, sometimes I am wrong, but most of the time it is all a matter of perspective. People are allowed to show emotion in their posts also, as a lot of people were emotionally and still are attached to WoW.

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I have a dream, that one day we will rise up and live out the true meaning of this game: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all characters are created in the same layer."

I have a dream that one day on the Redridge Mountains of Azeroth the sons of former players from layer_1 and the sons of former players from layer_2 will be able to sit down together at the inn of Lakeshire.

I have a dream that one day even Deadwind Pass, a zone sweltering with uselesness, missing any kind of point of interest, will be transformed into an oasis world pvp, on the same layer.

I have a dream that my four alts will one day live in a server where they will not be judged by the layer they were born but by the interactions of their character.

I have a dream today.

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fendor wrote:
3 months ago
I have a dream
Post of the month? :biggrin:

   Selexin
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Stfuppercut wrote:
3 months ago

So what do you expect the overall population for the game to launch with? From your server count, youre estimating 20-25 servers to launch? Lets assume the game launches with 2 million players. Remember that this is an inclusive sub and there will be a lot of tourists, this number will probably be WAY higher. Lets then assume that each layer is around 3k players, as was mentioned as a preliminary estimate by Blizz. Lets go on a stretch and assume they cap layering to 5 layers per server (I REALLY hope they dont go this far, but lets take a look for affect).

2 million players divided into groups of 15,000 per server at 5 layers per server is approx 133 servers. This is assuming that they are running with as many as 5 layers per server at their estimate of 3k players per layer. Also realize that there will be a TON of tourists on launch so the player count will likely be much higher. By my estimate, launching with 133 servers is a very low estimate unless they are willing to surpass 5 layers, which could have drastic implications on the impact of layering AND the collapsing phase of layers.
Fair point. I didn't stop to take math in to account. Take my low server guess and add zeros behind them and the same logic still applies.

I'm just trying to say that creating a (possibly) lasting system with negative repercussions for a temporary problem, seems wrong.

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Looks like all of the big content creators are finally starting to realize that layering might be bad news?!?!



TLDW; Tips insinuates that he likely wouldnt have gone with layering but that is what Blizz will be going with. He doesn't really add any meaningful discussion to the topic and says that any option Blizz would have went with would be terrible. While he is not wrong, that isn't really the point. The goal was always to choose the BEST decision and maintain a healthy amount of optimism for the project. If we arent aiming to choose the BEST solution, why even try to modify launch day? Just dont implement anything and start a dumster fire.

Video shows STV arena chest being abused with layer hopping and players avoiding ganks by jumping layers.

Who could have POSSIBLY guessed that layering would be abused or manipulated...???? Gosh! Its like you would have needed a crystal ball or have deduced the probable outcomes with critical thinking /s
:lol:

Temporary sharding confined to zones from level 1-10 would have been active for the first 2 hours of your play experience. The shittiest option, but also the option that impacted your gameplay for the shortest period of time. You wont be making meaningful relationships with people who you are racing against for mob tags anyhow.

Layers in the form of their own servers that were merged at a later date would have been truly persistent and players would not have been able to manipulate layer hops. They would have TRULY been on a server full of people, experiencing the actual game and then would have been merged at a later date.

Dynamic respawns would have kept 1 cohesive world. WHY in the world wouldn't we consider this option? Because private servers did it poorly? They do A LOT of things poorly! A proper version of dynamic respawns implemented by professionals would have been a lot smoother than what we have become accustomed to on private.

Bare minimum, dont let players switch layers outside of rested areas. For the love of god. This advice has been echoed since the dawn of layerings announcement and I really hope the final rendition of layering will at least include this. It will still be abused, but at least the abuse can be contained to some extent...

How are people surprised with the outcome of layering in its current state...? It honestly blows my mind. The issue with a lot of these nochanges guys is that they are incapable of picking their battles. They took a blanket stance on issues and stifled productive conversations with walls of NO. Do you think developers are interested in their feedback? No. We have now surpassed the point where we have a say in the development of the game or the outcome of some MAJOR implementations. I cant say that I blame Blizz, they had to do something and this is the solution they chose. I can say that I am disappointed with the lack of foresight that these content creators had. I really hope Blizz has a creative way to negate some of the impact that layering will have. We have limited details thus far, but as more and more information surfaces, layering keeps looking worse and worse. 62 days remaining... I'm holding out to see realm pop caps! Please be low... Please be low... Max 2 layers... please please please hahahahaha! This can still turn out good! Not much time left though.

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The first thing I noticed from the layering was that Monkeynews was farming a spawn point of ore in his stream. He had just logged out and logged back in and the ore was back.

I guess that had something to do with Layering. And from that moment on I was against the system. But let's see how it develops, until release there are still a few days.

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aeh wrote:
2 months ago
The first thing I noticed from the layering was that Monkeynews was farming a spawn point of ore in his stream. He had just logged out and logged back in and the ore was back.

I guess that had something to do with Layering. And from that moment on I was against the system. But let's see how it develops, until release there are still a few days.
As soon as I heard it was one gigantic shard, I knew they had just rebranded sharding. When the dev interview during the announcement confirmed that players would be able to hop layers with group invites, I immediately knew it would be a poor design choice. The devious part of me immediately started to search for ways to abuse the system and within a few minutes I had already considered most of what we are seeing now. It doesnt take a very creative individual to see the major vulnerabilities this sort of system has.

   aeh
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Stfuppercut wrote:
2 months ago
Not much time left though.
Still got two months boys, it's all good! Looks like changes are being made (things that I had predicted/hoped they would implement in the other layering topic).
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Here in this layering thread I proposed some solutions to prevent obvious exploits, hopefully this is the beginning of a big change to layering to make it much more appropriate to manage high population F R E S H classic WoW.
Selexin wrote:
4 months ago
Also, you are making assumptions that they aren't intending to put restrictions on movement in switching layers. Will there be an internal cooldown to changing layers?

I think one of the easiest ways to stop people abusing the system, like you are intending to do, is to prevent switching layers during combat, and even for X time after leaving combat to prevent abuse during PvP/PvE encounters to escape/re-enter fights. The other thing is maybe resource nodes should have an ID that is the same across all layers, if you pick a herb on layer 1 with ID#102938, you cannot loot ID#102938 for minimum 5 minutes (or whatever is appropriate) to stop you switching layers to farm resources/chests/objects.

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Selexin wrote:
2 months ago
Stfuppercut wrote:
2 months ago
Not much time left though.
Still got two months boys, it's all good! Looks like changes are being made (things that I had predicted/hoped they would implement in the other layering topic).
Selexin actually had some of the most grave viewpoints on layering initially. His actual prediction was...
Selexin wrote:
2 months ago
I am happy to concede that layer hopping will be instant, easy, abusable and rampantly destroying the vanilla feel (which is a shame). So much of the layering argument has been conjecture and assumptions, so with sources we can actually accept things and move forward.
I had to talk Selexin down a bit after he had made these posts. Initially he had NO concerns about layering and even thought it was a valuable implementation. After taking the time to actually read the content that Blizz had put out he switched 180 and had the most bleak opinion of layering that I seen on this forum. Lets not rewrite history Selexin... Lets also not get too confident because Tipsout made a most that Blizz will be changing things. Realize that in its current state, players in the beta are on servers with hundreds of people, yet players are experiencing layers with 1-3 players in Orgrimmar. The layering issues are not confined to abuse. There are MANY MANY layers to this conversation... Hahaha.

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Hi @Stfuppercut, yes you did paint an incredibly bleak picture of layering, and the concern that if it didn't change it would be easy abused and rampantly destroying the vanilla feel (which would still be a shame).

Now that we can see that they are actively make changes and adjustments to layering to make it more functional and less exploitable, we don't have to run with the bleak picture you had nurtured.

Can you be optimistic about this change? Or is it all doom and gloom?

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Selexin wrote:
2 months ago
Hi @Stfuppercut, yes you did paint an incredibly bleak picture of layering, and the concern that if it didn't change it would be easy abused and rampantly destroying the vanilla feel (which would still be a shame).

Now that we can see that they are actively make changes and adjustments to layering to make it more functional and less exploitable, we don't have to run with the bleak picture you had nurtured.

Can you be optimistic about this change? Or is it all doom and gloom?
I will maintain a level head and outline potential issues that are glaringly obvious. I dont let my emotions sway me to extremes like other users here... This is how we get meaningful change. Plugging your ears, closing your eyes and humming loudly will not make layering workout. I'm glad that Blizzard also seem to be taking a level headed approach. My concern now is the timeline they have to make impactful changes... 60 days. I am not familiar with their development process, but 60 days until launch does not give them 60 days to make mass development changes. I would assume they have a few weeks remaining. I would be less interested in salvaging layering (which still has SEVERAL major issues) than I would be in seeing them use an alternate solution.

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Stfuppercut wrote:
2 months ago
Selexin wrote:
2 months ago
Hi @Stfuppercut, yes you did paint an incredibly bleak picture of layering, and the concern that if it didn't change it would be easy abused and rampantly destroying the vanilla feel (which would still be a shame).

Now that we can see that they are actively make changes and adjustments to layering to make it more functional and less exploitable, we don't have to run with the bleak picture you had nurtured.

Can you be optimistic about this change? Or is it all doom and gloom?
I will maintain a level head and outline potential issues that are glaringly obvious. I dont let my emotions sway me to extremes like other users here... This is how we get meaningful change. Plugging your ears, closing your eyes and humming loudly will not make layering workout. I'm glad that Blizzard also seem to be taking a level headed approach. My concern now is the timeline they have to make impactful changes... 60 days. I am not familiar with their development process, but 60 days until launch does not give them 60 days to make mass development changes. I would assume they have a few weeks remaining. I would be less interested in salvaging layering (which still has SEVERAL major issues) than I would be in seeing them use an alternate solution.
I wonder how much the retail code base helps them in tweaking the 'rules' of layering to help patch it up? If it was all from scratch I think you're right, they would be running out of time. But if the code is solid and based off retail sharding, it may be easier for them to change some variables, add some functions and implement good changes to layering in time for launch. Fingers crossed.

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