Blizzard have finally provided an update to what must be among the most complained-about feature to launch in WoW’s recent history, with the possible exception of the Raid Finder.
Blizzard Community Manager Rygarius deals with a few key issues players have been discussing in his forum post today:
“As promised, we wanted to give you all an update on what we’ve been working on with regards to the cross-realm zone feature…
“This is an update on the technical issues we’ve been working on and some of the progress we’ve made.
“Time Zone Jumps
“Right now we have a three-hour time zone differential limit on which realms can be mixed together. This is intended to reduce day/night jumps from occurring when crossing CRZ zones, as well as time zone jumps that may cause world events to end earlier than intended. We agree that the day/night jump can be jarring, and planning for last minute turn-ins for events can be difficult and frustrating.
“We’re still discussing how to best approach this situation. One of the ideas being floated around is potentially changing how regional time zones work on a very fundamental level. It’s a change we’ve been discussing for quite a while, and perhaps the CRZ system provides the catalyst to go ahead and make it. We’ll keep you updated as we consider the best solution.
While it’s great to hear from Blizzard on this issue, they haven’t really addressed many of players’ key concerns. The Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza remains closed: Stranglethorn’s troubles centered around the CRZ feature’s timezone grouping, where realms have to be within 3 hours to be grouped together. This meant that players were able to realm-hop to get a 3 hour head-start on the Fishing Extravaganza, and could be in Dalaran to hand in the quest the very second it began. Blizzard lean towards addressing this here, but it seems that the message is “We don’t know how to fix this yet, but we’re working on it”. Should they have ironed out such issues before sending this to live servers? How could they have tested it in Beta where most players are focused on max-level content?
“CRZ Transition Lag and Performance
“There are still some tech-related quirks that are being hashed out, including framerate hitching when crossing into a CRZ zone, reports of performance issues, and resource nodes/NPCs/players disappearing. We’re still investigating each specific cause and working to smooth these types of issues out.
“We also continue to see some reports that people are being dismounted when crossing borders. Single-player mounts should not being doing this, so please post any details in the Bug Report forum if it continues happening. There are technical limitations preventing multi-passenger mounts from holding separate characters when crossing a zone boundary. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that we can quickly or easily fix.
“Despite a few lingering technical issues, we’re happy with how CRZ is populating the leveling areas with other players, and helping to once again foster MMO social experiences in the 1-85 content. The process for tuning CRZ is of course one that’s ongoing, and we’re committed to continuing to work on it and iron out any remaining issues as quickly as possible. If you do have bugs to report, please provide details and the reproduction steps (if possible) on the Bug Report forum. Providing detailed information helps tremendously, and when possible, add your report to a relevant thread before creating your own.“
The technical limitations on multi-passenger mounts are, again, surely something that could have been foreseen. As before, it doesn’t seem like Blizzard has any fixes in the pipeline for these issues just yet, so ensure you’re flying low when crossing zone borders until further news is received.
Rygarius’ post also neglects to deal with issues like players being unable to report those from other servers, the spawn rate of nodes and rares in areas where CRZ are active, and the difficulties encountered by those players who are struggling to quest. Their silence on an opt-out feature implies that no such thing is likely to appear. If it did, would our GAMEBREAKER audience opt out, or keep CRZ?