Say goodbye to sharding: WoW Classic will use a new “Layering” system to manage server population
Called “Layering,” the new system will help reduce queue times and improve server stability for the launch of WoW Classic. Layering is tough to explain without a metaphor, and thankfully Blizzard came up with a good one while explaining it to press and content creators recently.
Imagine a tray with an empty glass. The tray is a single server in WoW Classic. The empty glass is a layer. When you log into the game on launch day, you’ll be with a flood other players: the water that we’re going to pour into the glass. Once the glass is full, we add another empty glass and start filling it up with water, or players, too. Each new glass is a new layer that consists of two to three thousand players — which means any single server could handle tens of thousands of players at the same time but without all of them being crowded into the same place in-game. The only way to see players from another layer is to group up with them —otherwise they don’t interact.
That means that, unlike the current sharding tech, you’ll never see players disappear in front of you. You’ll also have a set population of players that you’ll run into from time to time throughout the world. It’s essentially a mini server inside of a larger one and the best part is that it’ll only last for the first phase for WoW Classic. After that, your server’s population will be combined, which will give you an authentic vanilla experience on world boss encounters.
There’s mixed reports on whether or not layering will come to the current game, but it could be a possibility. It solves a lot of the problems of sharding while also letting players grow communities. WoW Classic might serve as a way to test it before Blizzard drops it into the regular game.
WoW Classic launches on August 26 in North America, with a closed beta starting this week.
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