Mug’thol: Cataclysm leveling worries

I’ve actually been thinking about this since June, but haven’t gotten my thoughts down on paper.  This isn’t intended as a rant of any kind, just a simple explanation of my situation, and how I’d fix it if I had the power.

I’m really excited about leveling to 85.  While I admit that I’ve enjoyed working on some achievements that require a lot of time (mainly Loremaster) and worked on grinding out some goals of mine (Rivendare’s Deathcharger), I’m glad to know that new fresh content will be on the way in the near future.  However, there’s one thing that really worries me, and that’s server imbalance.

On Mug’thol US (PvP), according to WoW census data, there are less Alliance characters at level 80 than there are Blood Elves.  Now, I’m aware that the data isn’t completely reliable, but it’s not off by enough to make that statistic irrelevant.  The real ratio is probably somewhere between 2.5:1 and 4:1  Horde to Alliance.  Regardless of the actual number, the Alliance is significantly outnumbered.  I’m certainly no slouch in PvP, and I do enjoy a good battle with someone from the other faction.  However, I’m not big fan of being constantly dominated by a numerically superior force on a daily basis.  I think that might be the case trying to level in Cataclysm, and that makes me a bit uneasy.

I’m sure a few people who’ve read the comments above are thinking, “just transfer Sam!”  I really don’t see that as a viable option for a two reasons:

1.)  I’m the guild leader of a large guild, with players that have a considerable amount of alts.  It would take thousands, not hundreds of dollars for our guild to transfer our mains off the server.

2.)  I don’t want to make the imbalance worse by leaving.  Mug’thol’s been a good server to me, and only recently has this problem become so severe.

I’d much rather the problem be fixed, and am willing to do what I can to see that goal met.  The first step is to find the root of the problem.  In this case, the actual  problem has been around for years, and that is that Blizzard doesn’t intervene in server population imbalances often.  Mug’thol has been a Horde dominated server since I started playing, and I was and still am ok with that.   I’m not frustrated because there are 20,000 Alliance Level 80’s and 21,000 Horde level 80’s.  I’m upset because there are closer to 3,000 Alliance, and 20,000 Horde.  The main cause of this extreme imbalance:  Faction Transfers.

Faction Transfers are a great idea, and if implemented well, are good for the game.  However, on some PvP servers, it’s a nightmare, because as I alluded to, the implementation was poor.  The servers that were hit the hardest from this problem are those that were already imbalanced at the time that Faction Transfers were introduced.  Now those servers generally have a strong faction, and a skeleton of the opposing faction.  While I don’t see any quick fixes to the damage that has been done, I do have some ideas on how to fix the issues over time.

First, Blizzard could restrict transfers to the dominant faction on any server where one faction has 130% or greater players of the opposing faction.  This shouldn’t be too hard to track, and honestly, it would be nice for Blizzard to show the population balance on the Realm Select and Character select screens so that players would have an idea of what they’re getting into when they transfer or roll a toon.

Second, Blizzard could offer free faction/realm transfers a few realms at a time for the overpopulated side of a server to one underpopulated side of another server.  I know that this won’t bring in the revenue that paid transfers will, but it might go a long way toward retaining your player base.  For every player that keeps playing another two months, you’ve covered the cost of a transfer.

Both of those are very simple changes, and while Blizzard could continue their current policy, I believe in the long run, it makes more sense to implement some changes.  Either way, I’ll happily be leveling when Cataclysm hits, and loving it, even though I’ll likely be gang tackled by groups of Horde running around just to kill Alliance players.  Hopefully my PvP gear will work sufficiently up to 85.  I just hope at some point, Blizzard admits that there’s a problem and does something about it.  I’m not sure that any of you have the same imbalance on your server, but if you did, how would you solve the problem if you were given the power to do so?

– Sam

6 Responses to Mug’thol: Cataclysm leveling worries

  1. Bee says:

    The only other option I could think of is that they would make many of the new zones sanctuaries. Honestly, I would not prefer that. I look forward to the battles that will ensue in the new areas with everyone being there at the same time.

    I would just recommend rolling with your guild. Strength in numbers and experience. I would assume that a lot of the horde side will be PVEr’s for the most part. They are never really prepared for real world PVP and can usually be easy targets for a well oiled guild machine of PVPers. Maybe look at it as a positive thing. I’m sure that it’s possible that you could get ganked all the time, but just think of all of the bodies you have to gank.

  2. Mrman says:

    The best option would be to restrict access to the server for the abundant faction unless the faction ratio was under 125% or so. They restrict access on high pop servers during peak periods, it should be no problem to do the same for unbalanced servers. If horde and alliance toons (on the same account) were not allowed on the same server as before the problem of faction transfers would not be an issue. Blizz has never in the past let sound game decisions get in the way of them making money, so I am not holding my breath for them to change to restore balance.

  3. Youshouldrun says:

    I ran into thesameissue on Xavius EU. Damn it’s nearly impossible to get some fight there. I was tryingo find some alliance toons to give them good fight and to get some fun from that back for myself. Ahh.. with the exception of “storming Stormwind” co s I am no addept of

  4. Youshouldrun says:

    suiciding myself many times in a row (hate corpse runs anyway) I was not able to find ANY alliance player. Damn… for hours. Looks like all blues are sitting in Dala. Nobody outside. That server is dead one. Atleast for PvP. Soz for my splitted post. GL to all PvP players worldwide. Forsaken rogue from Xavius EU.

  5. Fangtastic says:

    I have a few ideas that could help balance:

    1) realm merges of lopsided realms of opposite imbalances. Unlikely due to load and size constraints and possible PR reasons.

    2) better rewards in the form of faster guild leveling, extra justice/whatever points, more gold from quests, more xp, more honor for playing on a realm where the ratio is more than 1.5:1 against you.

    3) free transfers though these don’t seem to help much as I don’t know why someone would want to transfer to a minority faction without some long term rewards.

    Combining the rewards with free faction changes (one way, dominant to low) may help realm balance out and work to the benefit of all involved.

  6. Fangtastic says:

    Your post made me think about this a bit more and post it on the Blizzard suggestions forum.


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