WoW Classic dev explains sharding and layering strategies for Season of Discovery


As WoW Classic left #NoChanges abandoned on the side of the road hundreds of miles ago, the legacy server trekked on to forge its own path with the current Season of Discovery servers. With all of the players jostling for space, mobs, and quest objectives, how is Blizzard handling the balance between supply and demand?

That’s where sharding and layering comes into play. WoW Classic developer Tom Ellis posted a fascinating essay this week on how the studio is using these systems between retail and Classic, and how Blizzard is trying to fix some ongoing issues that have cropped up in the legacy version of the game.

Calling layering “just sharding with a lot of sticky tape,” Ellis explained how the evolving tech handled the wildly fluctuating load of players and demands on the servers. “From [The Burning Crusade] onwards we had to embraced layering as an evergreen thing, the realms were just too big and demand was too high to think about single-layering anymore,” he said.

“With [Season of Discovery], we for the first time enabled the tech that collapses layers as load falls so it tries to keep every layer significantly populated, that change has been mostly successful, it does have some behavior we’d like to change (moving you multiple times, potentially splitting up groups, etc.),” Ellis said. “But as a result you’re now seeing yourselves layering more often.”

Source: Wowhead
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