Layering. Worlds. Phasing. These are all terms that MMO players now know inside out, and some of them have been extremely influenced by the technical achievements of the WoW development team over the years. Among other things, World of Warcraft was one of the first online role-playing games to divide an entire zone into various phases in order to simulate a dynamic world.

Phasing: development dream - and absolute horror

The best example of the advantages and disadvantages of phasing was the Icecrown zone in Wrath of the Lich King. Phasing allowed the developers to design a zone that changed as the player progressed. In a way, this technique is a marvel of immersion. The downside, however, was that if multiple heroes wanted to play together who were in different stages, then socializing became almost an impossibility.

Most players eventually gave up trying to meet up again at some stage, and preferred to play a dungeon together or squat with each other in some other Northrend region. It took months, even years, for phasing to mature to the point where Blizzard developers could reliably use the technique in many extremely regionally limited places in the game world.
Leveling with several people in Icecrown: fun! Source: buffed
But let's keep it simple: The WoW makers have dared to do something and have consistently held on to the technology, bringing it out of its infancy and perfecting it as far as possible.

Layering: developers' nightmare?

Layering, on the other hand, usually refers to opening up multiple instances of a game area. Think of it this way: You have two groups of five characters each who want to visit Tazavesh. Each group has its own instance of that game area. You can also call this a layer; one layer belongs to group 1, the other belongs to group 2.

Now, layering is mostly the technique of opening multiple instances in the open game world. If the number of players in layer 1 exceeds X, layer 2 is opened. All following players are distributed between layer 1 and layer 2, depending on how many players are in which layer. If the number of players exceeds the upper limit of both layers, layer 3 is opened. And in the same way, these layers "collapse" again when they are no longer at capacity.

Layers are used in almost every MMO, often they are called channels or worlds. And now we finally come to the feature that almost every MMO offers: Layerhopping. TESO allows this. Lost Ark. In almost every modern online role-playing game, it is possible to hop worlds without any problems. All you have to do is select the layer you want to check out from a dropdown menu and poof, there you are. But why does this work so smoothly in Runescape.... but not in WoW?

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Layerhopping? Unwanted.

You'll say, "Suse, don't talk such nonsense, of course you can layer hop in WoW!" And I'll say, "Yeah, you're right." But: layer hopping is only possible in World of Warcraft (buy now ) when you open a party with another character, and then you are automatically "hopped" into the other's layer. This is the case, for example, when you join a raid for the current world boss via the group search. You will be teleported to another copy of the zone after joining, and will leave it when you go out of the group.

A dropdown menu for layer hopping? Missing.

Instead, the developers of WoW Classic have even added a mechanism to the servers in 2019 that delays layer hopping if a player changes game worlds too quickly in succession. The reason behind this is simple: when vanilla WoW with its limited spawning resource codes was current, there was no such thing as layering. This means that at the time of vanilla WoW, no player had the idea to use layer hopping to farm resource nodes and earn a fortune with coveted and rare materials like Arcane Crystals and Black Lotus. Of course, 15 years later, with WoW Classic, things looked a bit different ...

But why stick to this awkwardness in a modern WoW, where players share resource and rare spawns as much as possible?

Maybe with Dragonflight everything will be different!

The WoW makers want to offer us a new maximum of comfort with Dragonflight, namely by allowing us to push all user interface elements to places that were previously impossible without WoW addons. Maybe it would also be the right moment to officially allow layer hopping on the live servers and offer it comfortably. Or am I not considering something? Am I overlooking something?

In most WoW regions there is currently only one layer anyway, because there is nothing else going on there. I don't know if that would make it easier to farm rare enemies for even rarer mounts and pets for bots or hardcore farmers. But if you wanted to put a stop to that, then the WoW developers could just make the drops soulbound.

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