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When it comes to Classic, Blizzard's goal is to provide an authentic Vanilla experience, but they also needed to come up with technology to handle many players at launch, which is similar to sharding. While the use of this technology will be limited to the first month following launch, many players are questioning this decision and wouldn't like to see layering in the game at all.
Before we talk about layering, it's important to talk about the sharding technology used in modern-day World of Warcraft. When a zone in the game becomes overpopulated, players will be seamlessly moved onto a different shard, which is essentially another instance of the same zone. It is important to note that you will still be able to play with your friends, because you are moved to the same shard when you create a party.
Sharding should not be confused with phasing, where a zone gets substantially altered due to in-game changes (think talking to Zidormi to visit various zones before and prior to these kind of changes), like Tirisfal Glades or Darkshore.
Advantages of Sharding
Sharding eliminates server load and realm stability. Cross-realm sharding is here so that players are evenly distributed across realms and helps combat underpopulation. Sharding at launch is vital to ensure a stable launch of an expansion. Starting zones would be filled with millions of people and that would turn even accepting a quest into a nightmare. Disadvantages of Sharding
Sharding causes a lot of problems, especially in Battle for Azeroth with War Mode on and when players join parties to take down world bosses. There are multiple reports of entire raids sharding away. Blizzard's Stance on Sharding in Classic WOW
Community Manager Lore talked about sharding in the Classic Demo back at last year's BlizzCon, where they believe some form of sharding may be helpful at launch.
As you've noticed, the Classic Demo does have realm sharding. This is to let as many people as possible experience it without technical issues such as server capacity or spawn density getting in the way.
Longer term, we know how crucial it is to the Classic experience for you to see your friends when you walk into Stormwind or when you’re helping them on a quest you’ve already completed. And there should only ever be one Kazzak on a realm, no matter how many people are waiting for him to spawn.
We’re still looking at how we can best deliver an authentic Classic experience at launch, and in the weeks and months that follow - both in terms of gameplay and community. You won’t see phasing (which is tied to specific quests that don't exist in Classic) or cross-realm zones (which combine multiple realms together) in Classic. However, realm sharding is one of the best tools we have to keep realms stable when hundreds of players are swarming the same initial few zones and killing the same few mobs (like they will be at the launch of Classic). To that end, we do believe that some form of sharding may be helpful, especially in those early days. But we recognize that a cohesive world is critical to WoW Classic and are committed to bringing that to you. Layering in Classic WoW
Recently, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas talked about layering in Classic WoW. This is a limited form of sharding, invented specifically for the launch of Classic.
Instead of sharding the zones, their plan is to shard the entire continent at launch. In Classic WoW, there are no dynamic spawns and questing in starting zones would quickly become annoying, so it's understandable that the game is all but fun when there are no mobs to kill, but layering will also cause you to see new players, every time you sign in to the game, which is a clear downside of the tech.
There will be multiple layers of the same continent at Classic WoW launch, but Ion said the technology is going to collapse few weeks after launch, eventually merging all layers into a single unibody realm.
Layering for How Long?
The technology is there only for launch and will fade away in about a month, albeit it's still hard to determine if this is true, but it should definitely be gone before Phase 2 and world bosses become available in Classic.
Advantages of Layering
As mentioned before, Vanilla had no dynamic spawns, so people would need to wait for mobs to respawn at Classic launch, which could lead to frustration and an overall unpleasant gameplay experience. Layering will be gone in a few weeks after launch, merging all layers of the same continents into a single realm. Disadvantages of Layering
You will be assigned a layer at random upon logging in to the game, so before the tech is gone, chances are you won't be able to see the opposing faction's guild which ganked your guildie. It's too early to predict, but we don't know what effect layering is going to have on Classic economy. Sharding Versus Layering
Redditor Salvage_di_macaroni came up with an image, where he highlighted the differences between sharding and layering.
What do you think about layering? Do you not mind at all or would you rather not see it in Classic, because you think it strays away from the authentic Vanilla experience?
Layering is limited scope sharding invented for Classic WoW. Read on for more details!
Keys to the Model W is a new mount coming in Patch, rewarded from the Mechagon meta achievement (Mecha-Done).
This tme around, the achievement shouldn't be too hard to complete, because Mechagon is enabled for flying and Blizzard is adding Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part Two in Rise of Azshara.
Mechacycle Model W
The rapid technological evolution of the descendents of Mimiron began with the introduction of a new gear, leading to such wonders as the tragically under-produced Model W.
Animations (Run / Mount Special)
Do you like the mount?
Players are currently reporting instances of sharding on Classic Beta. Blizzard confirmed this to be a bug, as they're not planning to use sharding in Classic and they came up with a completely new technology to ensure a smooth launch and an authentic Vanilla experience.
Seen a couple instances of sharding happening since the last server restart about an hour ago. Blizz, what did you do?
This is a known issue that we are actively investigating. Please continue to report these types of mob-behavior if they are happening in other locations.
They just said it was a bug tho, it’s a beta, this is what we test in a beta.
This is definitely why we do a beta test. We can also do things like reset the realm at a busy time like 4:30pm PDT to try and find the source of a certain issue where a crocolisk is losing it’s brain due to how multiple processes are interacting and mirroring code to form a cohesive world. There were similar types of issues like this back in 2004 but we wanted to try and resolve this one before the weekend for the folks who are testing.
It seems some Vanilla features that weren't that logical but were kept in for Classic are confusing some beta players, as there's a whole lot of issues being reported that aren't actually bugs or issues at all!
Things like Tauren melee reach being bigger, which is something I experienced going away live during Black Temple Illidan progression (at least for that particular encounter), is confusing to players as it's a significant advantage over other races in some instances. No quest tracking is another apparently confusing issue, as many Mankirk's WIfe seekers well know, and there's a whole lot more where that came from:
Not Bugs (source)
As we’ve discussed before, the nature of WoW Classic sometimes invokes different memories for different players, and this leads to certain misconceptions for some about what is or isn’t working as intended.
The following is a list of commonly-reported gameplay in WoW Classic that is not actually a bug, and is working as we expect it to:
Tauren’s hitboxes and their melee reach is slightly larger than other races. Being critically struck while using /sit to sit does not cause abilities like Enrage, Blood Craze, and Reckoning to activate. Using the “Automatic Quest Tracking” option does not auto-track newly accepted quests. (It instead will start to track an existing quest once progress towards an objective is started.) Warrior health Regeneration is working at the expected rate. Quests objectives and points of interests are not tracked on the map or minimap. Completed quests are marked on the minimap with a dot. (and not a “?”) Feared players and NPCs run fast. Standing on top of other players while facing away allows spells and attacks to be used. Creature respawn rates are much slower than in Battle for Azeroth. NPCs which offer multiple quests may inconsistently display them as a dot or a “!” on the available quests list. They were inconsistent in 1.12, and we’ve reproduced the exact inconsistency they had back then. Quests that are too low level for do not show up as a “!” in the game world. Available quests do not display a “!” on the minimap. On level up, the message: “Your skill in Protection increased to 15” was added in 1.12.1, and we’re intending to keep that. We appreciate all of your feedback!
With Classic Beta live, Blizzard posted a list of known issues that are present in the first build of the game.
If you're participating in the testing and notice a bug that isn't listed below, make sure to report it through the new Bug Reporter, bound to "F6" by default.
Greetings and welcome to the WoW Classic Beta Test!
Below is a list of known issues for the initial WoW Classic Beta release. Please note that this list is not a complete depiction of what we’re aware of, but a sampling of issues we believe players may encounter with some regularity. We’ll try to keep this updated with trending issues when possible.
Classes and Combat:
Activating Raptor Strike while Auto Shot is toggled on does not cause the hunter to begin to Auto Attack in melee Hunter pets do not auto-cast Dash or Dive when engaging their targets Hunter pets may not immediately return to your side upon entering passive mode Many talents are currently missing their requirements text User Interface:
Attempting to sign into twitter through the interface option crashes the client World map path indicators during transport loading screens may be inaccurate Items with randomly generated stats will display the <Random Enchantment> tag in the loot window and chat tooltips when being looted Creatures and NPCs:
Some creatures in the game world are missing textures Environments:
There is a strip of missing water in the Mosshide Fen area of the Wetlands Dungeons:
There is no water present in the Ironclad Cove area of the Deadmines dungeon If you find any other bugs in-game, we’d like to encourage you to use the in-game bug reporter to send those bug reports off to us before posting bug reports on these forums. For more information about the in-game bug reporter, please see this post:
PTR Bug Report Update
Thank you for playing the WoW Classic Beta!