WoW Classic servers are on fire

World of Warcraft Classic is overflowing in the weeks leading up to the launch of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion (opens in new window).

Blizzard is working to reduce the hours-long wait times for WoW Classic's most important expansion, WoW Classic. Players won't be able create new characters or transfer their existing characters to the most crowded servers, also known as "megaservers" in the community, until the population decreases.

"We've been hesitant [to do] this because it really dislikes restricting player movement and potentially breaking up social networks, but that philosophy is no longer compatible to the reality we find ourselves within," Aggrend, the game's producer wrote in a thread by players complaining about the server's state.

Blizzard also offers free character transfers to servers which haven't reached their maximum capacity yet. Aggrend explained in a series forum posts why it is the most disruptive solution to the problem. However, he said that Blizzard is looking at other incentives to keep players evenly distributed.

Strong player communities are what make WoW Classic so much more successful than standard WoW. It was designed to mimic the old definition of an MMO (before cross server technology existed), where a healthy server community significantly affects your ability participate in raids and PvP, guilds or roleplay, as well as other social aspects of the game. High-population servers are where players will feel most comfortable.

Long queue times and faction population differences shattered the idealistic image that WoW Classic aims for. This has forced Blizzard into trying to rein it in before the expansion arrives.

Aggrend posts compare lower-population servers to the 2008 version of MMO to dispel players' beliefs that they are not worth transferring. Their data, which isn't attributed any specific dates, shows that many servers have between two and four times as many concurrent players than the old game.

WoW Classic players have the advantage of history to guide their quests and activities. They often work faster and more efficiently because they have access to historical information. Aggrend's comparison does not necessarily prove that these servers are worth playing on by the most dedicated players, who require large numbers to reduce the time required to find groups and fuel an in-game economy. However, it makes sense for casual players.

Aggrend explained that server capacity cannot be increased by adding hardware. He also reiterated that people who want to avoid waiting in line should use the free transfers. They stated that we cannot increase the capacity without causing additional and likely cascading problems to the service. "There is no technical solution. This problem cannot be solved with hardware. This situation will not improve with Wrath of the Lich King Classic's launch on September 26th. It will only get worse."

WoW Classic is not the only MMO that has struggled with server capacity in the more than two-year-old pandemic. New World had to shut down character creation within its first days of launch in 2021 to clear overloaded login queues. The same thing was done by Final Fantasy 14 later in the year.