World of Warcraft artwork for Thrall

As the whole "massively multiplayer online RPG" thing would imply, World of Warcraft works best when there's a vibrant community of players roaming around. Unfortunately, over the years quite a few servers have ended up in a situation where their population is so remarkably low that the high-level raiding scene is nonexistent, their auction house permanently half-empty, and the moment-to-moment interactions somewhat limited.

After allowing this problem to fester for quite a few years, I'm very happy to say that Blizzard is now finally looking to address it. According to the latest developer update, they will be connecting every single low-population server to a substantially larger one until there is no longer a 'bad' server choice to make.

"We’ve now completed a comprehensive study of realm populations for every realm in the world," reads the announcement. "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."

I can only hope this whole process goes without a hitch, because having an active community really does make the whole game significantly better - and I know this from personal experience. I went from one of the lowest populated servers to one of the highest, and the difference in end-game activity alone was astonishing, especially when it comes to the sheer number of guilds looking for new members.

My little musings aside, you can keep an eye on Blizzard's progress over at the official website. Have fun, and good luck with the server 'merges!'