Welcome to the second of my series of posts about MMO design. I‘m experimenting with a different format so feedback is welcome, but don‘t forget to also discuss the topic of today. TL;DR: Cross-realm features. To start, cross-realm matchmaking: Good or bad? Was the sacrifice of community building worth the convenience? Cross-realm functionality. It‘s a tricky bugger and comes in many forms. They‘re most popularly seen as a matchmaking system for certain types of content in a game (Dungeon Finder and Battleground queueing in WoW, f.x.) It can also come in the form of bridging together players from different servers (Guesting in GW2, cross-realm zones and grouping via RealID in WoW.) It has its pros and cons which I would like to discuss. This time I wish to bring up different aspects of these systems one at a time. Let‘s start off with cross-realm matchmaking. It‘s one solution to the age-old question of “I want to do this now but there are not enough players on my server at this time. “ In WoW, it did a great job of removing the wait for getting a party together and with you being teleported to the dungeon wherever in the world and right back when you‘re done. A lot of hassle saved, right? There are thousands, if not millions, of people who like this, and that’s okay. Now for what I see as cons: It helped create a barrier to social interaction and building a server community. Due to the large pool of players you’re likely to be matched with, a huge sense of anonymity and lack of consequences is created. This was already apparent and reported on when people kept just rolling and taking loot that they in no way needed, because there was no consequence. They wouldn’t be remembered, they weren’t even on the same server. This aspect of “community reputation” was destroyed. Also, because of the convenience this system provided, finding a group via the older methods were abandoned as it wasn’t as quick or simple. The system also encouraged you to use the dungeon finder because you even got a buff from it. What happened is that an aspect of social interaction was sacrificed for convenience with nothing to counter it. The MMO lost a lot of its MMO, in my eyes, and became a lot closer to a lobby-based game, akin to LoL or TF2. Do tell your thoughts on this. Give your experience of how this has been handled in other games that you might have played (I know Rift uses this, f.x.) and how this has affected you. Do you believe that the sacrifice was worth it? Could it be done different? Am I just completely wrong? I’d love to know! There is no wrong answer or opinion, just different ones and I, personally, would love to see it.