Virtual realm combinations and questions

When SWTOR merged realms, we ended up with super-realms.  It was partly the loss of population, but also the new tech meant they could just merge all the realms.  What we ended up with in Europe was one realm of each type per language group.  There has been some speculation that they might do this for WoW.  Probably not.

PvP RP Sum of Alliance Sum of Horde
PvE Normal 1764878 956016
RP 235311 136817
PvP Normal 1447948 1981173
RP 92041 83933
Grand Total 3540178 3157939

Figures taken from Realm Pop on 1/7/2013 for English speaking realms only.

Who sees what I see?

On PvP realms, there are more Horde than Alliance.  On PvE realms there are more Alliance than Horde.  I can see the RP realms being consolidated into one, perhaps, but the difference of 700,000 between Alliance and Horde will cause a significant imbalance, as would the difference of 500,000 on PvP realms.  Of course, this isn’t the whole picture, and the Realm Pop survey has its own issues to address (as do all informal sources of data – only Blizzard know the real numbers).  I just thought it was and interesting split.

What this suggests, however, is that people might find their realm population, and therefore their gaming experience, changes with 5.4.  Darksorrow, for example, as nearly twice as many Alliance as Horde on it.  I am used to being in the ascendant.  If everything is suddenly more even, I’ll have to share my world bosses and engage in world PvP!  Thats not a complaint, necessarily, but it will be a change and I’m not sure its one everyone has thought about.  For some realms, the change will be even more extreme.  Ravencrest, for example, has a 5:1 ratio of Alliance to Horde.  Twisting Nether has a 10:1 ratio of Horde to Alliance!

Ultimately what these numbers tell us, however, is it will be impossible to make all Virtual Realms even in terms of Horde and Alliance population if they maintain the PvP/PvE split.  Which raises a few questions:

  • Will they combine PvE with PvP in a search for equality?
  • Will they join Alliance and Horde in different groups (seems unlikely)?
  • Will they just accept the imbalance and if so, how will they distribute it?
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