Season of Discovery Will Bring Forced Faction Balance

barrens ashenvale ramparts
  • Author: Passion
  • Date: November 21, 2023
  • Updated: November 21, 2023
  • Expansion: WoW Classic

A recent bluepost has given us more information on the plans for Season of Discovery servers, and more specifically, how they intend to maintain balanced factions.

Faction balance has been an issue throughout the entirety of Classic, and by now most Classic Era and Wrath Classic servers are almost entirely one-sided, effectively removing open-world PvP from the equation entirely. This has been a concern for Season of Discovery, as Ashenvale is becoming a more significant PvP zone, as well as the world PvP always having been important to the Classic experience.

The plan so far is for PvP realms to limit the creation of characters for the dominant faction, essentially requiring that players either pick the less popular faction, or another realm entirely. In addition to this, we are expecting fewer, but bigger realms. Effectively mega servers with forced faction balance. Of course, this opens up the risk of obscene queue times, as we have previously seen during every Classic launch.

Forced faction balance will only be a feature in Season of Discovery, and will not impact Classic Era or Wrath Classic servers. This may also be subject to change, with nothing being set in stone currently.

The full blue post can be found below.

GarnetHound – (Source)

Hey everyone. I’m Fwoibles, also known as Tom. I’m a Senior Producer on the World of Warcraft Server and Live Ops team, and I would like to share what we’re preparing for the realms with the upcoming launch of Season of Discovery.

You may have noticed with the launch of Classic Hardcore that there weren’t a lot of realms. Was Hardcore’s launch a small experience? Heck no! Hardcore continues to be experienced by a huge number of players, and we have been thrilled to see so many players, new and old, join in to experience World of Warcraft Classic in a new, exciting way. At the outset of any launch, our goal has always been to create healthy, enduring realms, and behind the scenes, we deployed tech in patch 1.14.4 that allowed us to significantly increase the realm capacity of a single Classic Era realm. With this higher realm capacity and fewer realms, we avoided the need for disruptive character migration options as realm populations ebbed and flowed.

For Season of Discovery, we’re going to repeat this process. We will launch a handful of realms that can support a lot of players, so you can feel confident in your choice of realm. Please note: we will actively manage the realm sizes at launch, so you might see sporadic queues as the populations spread out and we ensure realm sizes remain roughly equal. If Season of Discovery proves hugely popular (as we think it might!), we will of course be ready with additional realms if needed. Please look forward to the announcement of launch realm names and types Soon™!

Another topic that comes up each time we talk about realms is faction balance on PvP realms. We’ve received a lot of feedback on this since 2019. We hear you, and with Season of Discovery, we’re going to try something new: this Season’s PvP realms have been designed to maintain faction balance as they grow. Yes, this is actually happening!
However, there is a potential cost to this faction balance that we want to make sure you’re aware of: if one faction is significantly more dominant on a PvP realm, there is a very real likelihood that faction selection may be temporarily limited on that realm. That said, our overarching goal for Season of Discovery is for it to be a fun and smooth experience, and we are prepared to change course if necessary. Your requests for faction balance have been heard loud and clear. This is a new direction for us, and one that we’re excited to try.

Again, this feature will only be turned on for our Season of Discovery PvP realms. You will always be able to roll either faction as you wish on PvE realms. We encourage everyone who isn’t committed to the challenges and difficulties of PvP to consider a non-PvP realm for Season of Discovery. As an old WoW veteran myself, I can tell you – playing on a balanced-faction PvP realm can be a double-edged sword. There are awesome and fun new challenges that await, but also the potential for hindrances that you may not expect. Your favorite farming spots might be a bit more spicy than you’re used to!

We think this Season is going to be a lot of fun, and these changes will help ensure every realm enjoys a great experience all Season long! And we’re excited and looking forward to adding some extra seasoning to Season of Discovery’s PvP realms.

About the Author


I love MMOs of all shades, especially the nitty gritty numbers parts of them. You might recognize me from the Shadow Priest discord, otherwise I play a little bit of everything, especially games with support roles available.

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Allan Solomon
Allan Solomon
5 months ago

Literally every single pvp server for SOD only allows you to make a horde character. Why wasn’t this advertised when I purchased game time to play SOD? This is completely ridiculous. If only half the factions are available to play, why do I have to pay full price for the game? I can’t even run dungeons or quests with my friends. You are forcing people into playing the game the way you think is best, you have taken away the freedom to just play an MMO. You’re forcing it to be an isolated experience where people can’t play with their friends.

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