World of Warcraft saves an in-game tournament by disabling phasing

Oh dear.

Players on Moon Guard have long hosted a week-long tournament event for all World of Warcraft roleplayers called the Tournament of Ages. It’s filled with races, jousts, card battles, D20 battles, and all of the things you’d expect from the phrase “week-long roleplaying tournament.” The problem is that it’s also filled with players, and given the phasing shard technology that Blizzard’s servers have been using for some time, that’s the game’s cue to split people off into small groups so that everyone has equal access to a zone. A fine theory for current expansion content, but less fine when players are trying to host a large-scale RP event.

Surprising everyone within World of Warcraft’s beleaguered RP community, the developers pushed forward a hotfix to disable sharding in Northrend for RP realms, thereby saving Christmas the community’s ability to hold and enjoy this tournament. It’s a nice push to allow players to enjoy some time together for something other than progression content, so one may wonder if similar changes are coming to more of the game beyond the areas where sharding is vital to handle expansion launches.

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Rolan Storm

And that’s the reason we call Blizzard one of us. :D Good job, man. *thumbs up*

No, seriously. Good to hear they are still doing it. I remember that story about a guy addressing customer support in RP form and Bliz emloyee answering back in kind. Was much fun to read.


Perhaps if they enabled auto-dismount around all major quest-givers (as opposed to just Khadgar in the Blasted Lands and, bizarrely, the PvP gear vendors in Draenor) then they’d be able to cut back on the sharding anyway. After all, most mobs are set to respawn more quickly based on number of players killing them, the graphics engine can hold up to high numbers of players these days quite comfortably, and Blizzard’s servers are generally rock solid. I know cross-server was originally introduced to boost player numbers but it seems to be serving the opposite purpose these days.

Still, if not, I can always look forward to another Christmas with at least two giant mounts parked directly on top of the presents in Ironforge…

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Wish they would make all RP + RPPVP servers shardless in all zones except the current expansion quest zones.

Or just shardless period. I’d be totally OK with WoW ditching cross-server everything.

It’s really awesome that Blizz would and can do that for RPers though.

Kickstarter Donor

whoa, awesome! well done, blizzard <3 this gives me some hope for the future. the sharding really killed my buzz in wow – and continues to kill my buzz in some others games. it's a ray of hope to see them go back on that even if only in one zone for now, especially for RPers! good to see them take RP matters seriously :)


Wow, that’s surprisingly great of them, I wouldn’t have expected even a small studio to go to that trouble for roleplayers, much less the biggest dog in the industry. Good on them.


Title is wrong:

“World of Warcraft briefly remembers what game it used to be.”

Dragon Whimsy

Wow, I’m honestly impressed they would do that. Good for them. *thumbs up!*


This phasing and similar mechanisms show how far WoW and many other MMO’s have distanced themselves from what MUD and MMORPG originally meant.

Still, disabling the functionality for this event is a very fine move from Blizzard.

Chris Mc

Well that’s considerate of them.