Blizzard announced last week that some of its lower-population World of Warcraft realms will be merged with other existing realms in the coming two to three months. This decision comes after completing a comprehensive study of populations for every realm.
The developer hasn’t stated which realms will be connected yet. But Blizzard will post weekly notices in advance of the connections that will be made during that week’s maintenance. From the post on its forums:
We’ve now completed a comprehensive study of realm populations for every realm in the world. Over the next 2-3 months, we’re going to connect the low-population realms to other existing realms. This process will take place during scheduled maintenance, connecting a few realms each week, until we’ve connected every low-population realm in every region to a substantially larger population of players.
As this project unfolds, we will post notices in advance of each week’s connections in the appropriate regions and languages. During each maintenance period, everything will be automatically combined for the affected realms. When maintenance is complete, players on affected realms will log into Battle for Azeroth and find that they’re now part of a larger connected-realm community. At the same time, we’ll merge the appropriate realm discussion forums.
Moving in progress
Tools like cross-realm play and add-ons like Group Finder have made it easier than ever before to find a party. However, the game can still feel rather empty and lonely in realms with sparser populations. At the moment, transferring a character to another realm costs $25 USD.
The price may be worth it for one character. But trying to move multiple alts could quickly cost far more than most players can afford. Naturally, this means those with a lot of high-level characters in low-population realms can be made to feel stuck with a dead auction house and inactive guilds. Hopefully, once realms are merged in World of Warcraft, players in these lower-population realms feel less lonely, just in time for Shadowlands.