World Of Warcraft Is Getting Local Servers In Australia -- UPDATE

We've been informed that Blizzard, after almost 10 years, is finally creating local Australian servers for World of Warcraft.

The news was formally announced at a Blizzard event in Sydney this evening.

We spoke to Ion Hazzikostas and asked the obvious question: why now?

"Because we could make it happen, it's something we've been wanting to do for a long time, since the game first launched," There was just a lot of complex logistics behind it all. But we finally made it all work, we dealt with those issues and we feel like we can finally do it in the right way for our players. It's great to be able to make the announcement and do the right thing by the fans."

We'll have more details on the whens and hows of the new local servers soon.

UPDATE: Blizzard has released a full Q&A regarding the servers, which you can read in full below.

World of Warcraft ANZ server FAQ Q: What benefits will local game servers have for Australian and New Zealand World of Warcraft players? A: The introduction of World of Warcraft game servers hosted in Australia, which will support the Oceanic realms, should provide local Australian and New Zealand players with reduced latency, which should provide an improved gameplay experience as a result.

Q: Where will the servers be physically located? A: The game servers will be hosted within an Australian data centre, ensuring Australian and New Zealand players receive the best possible latency.

Q: Will I still be able to play with my friends who are on U.S. servers? A: Yes! Because the new Australian World of Warcraft game servers will continue to communicate with the existing North American hardware, players will still be able to play with friends on U.S game servers, just as they can today. They’ll still be able to use their Battle.net friends list to easily group up and chat, regardless of where they are playing.

Q: Will the new game servers have any impact on my current characters? A: No! Because the local World of Warcraft game servers will replace the existing U.S.-based hardware which currently hosts the Oceanic realms, all individual characters, gold, and guilds already on an Oceanic realm will be unaffected. The introduction of Australian game servers will be completely invisible to players in the region, with the immediate benefit of providing greatly reduced latency; resulting in a smoother, more responsive gameplay experience.

Q: When will local game servers be available? A: We’re aiming to have the new local World of Warcraft game servers available ahead of the release of the upcoming expansion, Warlords of Draenor, which will go on sale in Australia and New Zealand on November 13, 2014. An extended maintenance to the current Oceanic realms will be required in order to migrate player data to the new hardware. Servers will be taken offline on Tuesday October 28 with normal scheduled maintenance and we will have the new game servers online as soon as possible.

Q: Will the new local game servers only be available to players who purchase World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, or will they also work for players without the expansion? A: While we’re excited for players to take on the Iron Horde and help repel the invasion of Azeroth in World of Warcraft’s next expansion, Warlords of Draenor, all players will be able to take advantage of the introduction of the new local game servers straight away. Optional character transfers will be made available for a limited time for those players who wish to play on the new Australian game servers, but who are not currently part of an Oceanic realm.

Q: How will the character transfer process work? A: Once the new regional hardware comes online, players who are already on an Oceanic realm will not be required to take any action to move to an Australian server. Players who are currently on a North American realm will be offered a two-week window to transfer their characters to one of the existing Oceanic realms. While players will be required to purchase a paid Character Transfer service for each character they wish to relocate, full refunds for each toon moved will be automatically processed and returned within 72 hours. Free transfers will begin from 6:01PM AEDT Oct 29, 2014 and end at 6:59PM AEDT Nov 13, 2014. Players will still be able to transfer characters to Oceanic realms after this time, but associated server transfer costs will not be reimbursed. Please note that while Character Transfers and Guild Master Realm Transfers will be offered without charge, bundling additional services, such as a Faction Change to a Character Transfer or Guild Master Realm Transfer will mean the bundle is no longer eligible for refund. To ensure the cost of your Character Transfer service is returned, first move your character to an Oceanic realm and then initiate a separate faction, race or name change as desired.

Q: Will I still be able to do cross-realm dungeons and raids with my friends who stay on North American servers? A: Yes, players will still be able to group up and tackle dungeons, raids, Challenge Modes, and other instanced content by inviting people from their Battle.net friends list. Please note that Mythic raids in all global territories will not offer cross-realm functionality until later in the expansion.

Q: Will I have to wait longer when attempting to find dungeons, raids and PvP? A: When using “Looking For Raid” and “Looking For Dungeon”, players on Oceanic realms will remain in the same pools as players from North American realms, which should result in minimal changes to current wait times. For PvP, the game will first try to match players on Oceanic realms for Unrated Battlegrounds with other players from their battlegroup. If successful, these groups should be placed on Australian servers. If two teams from within the battlegroup cannot be found, the groups are then made from the broader player pool and are likely to be placed on game servers located on the U.S. West Coast. For Arena teams and Rated Battlegrounds, Oceanic versus Oceanic matches should take place on Australian servers. Oceanic versus North American matches may take place on servers located on the U.S. West Coast. Whether a team is designated Oceanic or North American is determined by the group leader’s realm.

Q: Latency doesn’t bother me, can I stay with my friends and my current guild on a North American server? A: Absolutely. While the current Oceanic realms – Barthilas, Frostmourne, Thaurissan, Saurfang, Caelestrasz, Jubei'Thos, Khaz'goroth, Aman'Thul, Nagrand, Dath'Remar, Dreadmaul, and Gundrak – should switch seamlessly to the improved latency offered by the new local game servers, players who currently have characters on North American realms can take advantage of optional, free character transfers. While no players will be required to move off their current realm, Australian and New Zealand players who opt not to play on Oceanic realms will not receive the same latency benefits as those on regional game servers hosted in the ANZ data centre. Please note that due to its high player population, Frostmourne will not be an eligible transfer destination. Players currently on Frostmourne will be able to initiate optional, free character transfers to other Oceanic realms at no cost if they wish to relocate.

Q: Will local game servers change the way I activate World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor at launch, or any other Blizzard Entertainment games? A: No. The introduction of local game servers for World of Warcraft will have no impact on the way players activate physical copies of Blizzard Entertainment games, or the unlock timing or process for digital copies of Warlords of Draenor. While local game servers should provide improved latency, game activation and authentication will continue to be handled by the North American Battle.net servers. Players in Australia and New Zealand will be able to begin their adventures in Draenor from 7 p.m. AEDT on launch day, November 13, 2014.

Q: Does this mean other Blizzard games will also be getting local servers? A: While we don’t have any other server-related plans to announce at this time, we are committed to providing all of our players around the world with the best possible experiences. Earlier this year we introduced local game servers to support Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, while Technical Alpha testers of our upcoming team brawler, Heroes of the Storm are already taking advantage of dedicated local infrastructure.


Comments

    TEN YEARS TOO LATE!!

    Wait, it never did?

      Nope, never. This might be incentive enough for me to jump back in, playing with people that understand me words right.

      nope, just US servers marked as oceanic, with maintenance times set to suit Aussies.

        Maintenance times are the same as the US times. I don't call 6pm on a Tuesday 'suitable' for Aussies ;)

        maintenance times were not set to suit Australia, 6 or 7 at night for 9 hours hardly optimal.

        Maint was not set to suit australia... haha it went down tuesday night during peak hour for aussies.

      No it only had US servers that ran to our time zone, this was the "Oceania" servers

    So excited about this, just did 2 backflips. Time to get back into PVP.

    I literally just started playing a couple of weeks ago after like a 2 year break and now this happens. Man, thank god Uni is almost over.

    Servers go live after maintenance on October 28th

      Where did you hear this?

        http://www.gameplanet.com.au/pc/news/g5448a7d98dd1b/WoWs-Oceanic-servers-to-be-migrated-to-Australia-next-week/

    I am honestly shocked. Never expected it to happen, much less after 10 years. Good on Blizzard.

    Should be interesting to see whether this negatively affects queue times though.

      During peak i don't think it will affect lfr/lfg at all. Off peak times it might but all the CRZ stuff i've seen at 4 - 5am is still pretty active (CRZ has been locked to oceanic for some time now). It's not really the number of ppl queuing but the ratio once you reach a certain saturation point.

      If they're smart it'll give u the option to queue for the US lfr/lfg.

        LFR/LFG isn't oceanic only, it has preference, but not only.

        It's the pvp that is mainly prioritized if you read the information above.

          Yer i wrote my comment b4 the faq came out. Looks like it's just US only for lfr/lfg - guess i'll be trying to avoid that completely and only do guild runs.

            To be fair, your latency probably matters a lot less in the dungeon/raid finder difficulties.

            Last edited 24/10/14 9:08 am

              Yup but chopping between low latency and high latency, it's gonna be frustrating. It's subjective but im pretty sensitive to responsiveness, granted some people are not but i was brought up on twitch shooters (quake) and any difference in latency is noticeable (can't play on d3 us servers with friends for example - and i fuckin hate that hots auto pairs w/ US at times it's extremely annoying)

              I'd much rather just stick to one and it appears in wod lfr/lfd will have less emphasis than it has in the past. Meaning i can skip it entirely.

    While great to finally get, I can't help but wonder if

    A) Australian servers will be separated from the US servers, like the split between US and EU servers? I've got characters and friends on both server types, will not be impressed if I have to pick and choose.
    B) Will they change payments to take AUD, including the Australia Tax?

      A) I expect it'll be like what they're doing with Diablo III and Heroes of the Storm already - the servers are hosted in Sydney but run as if they're in US (it's even still counted as US region for login and everything). I haven't seen anything official to confirm this though.

      B) They switched their online store over to AUD for Aussies a while ago so I doubt this will change anything. As for the aussie tax, we have been hit with it on some things (Naxx adventure for Hearthstone cost us $25 instead of $20 USD) but for the most part it's about the same.

      A) they explain this in the article.

        B) The original article didn't. If you look up top, the first paragraph announcing them was all that was there originally. Then I made my post, and then Blizzard later released their FAQ which answered them.

    WoW can suck my left nut... stopped playing before cata, never looked back.

      post fail.

      Last edited 23/10/14 9:49 pm

      This community is so mature and judgemental >< Reminds me of the nerd kid in school who never got jokes...

        Yeah mature conversations are horrible compared to nerd rages... amirite...

          I dunno, gave me a laugh. Nothing wrong with getting fired up and having an opinion. It's not even the most offensive response on this article.

    Damn it all my toons are on us servers (yes before there were oceanic servers)

      The post was updated, free transfers will be available :D

        To clarify, you still need to pay for the transfers but you will be refunded the money within 72 hours, I'm assuming it's so they can make sure that people who are actually transferring are actual Australians.

        Last edited 24/10/14 1:39 am

    Seems pretty crappy that if a single player for an LF activity from the US is required the whole activity gets moved to their servers, make US players suffer dog shit latency for once.

    Same s#%t, different textures. Get over it already. Their is more to the world than WOW. Blizz had 10 years to make it better and failed, now they are scrambling to keep people prepared to cough up $$ every month to do the same thing over and over again.

    This could be the game changer that would let me start WoW. Really wanted to try Wildstar, but the game is kinda going downhill quick. Can't wait to start wow.

      Forget Wildstar. If you're going to play an MMO, you play WoW.

      Enjoy!

        Ah, Wildstar's got some charm. Prettier graphics and a few quality-of-life improvements. And even though the lore isn't as established as Warcraft's, by now the World of Warcraft is a very different world to a new player might remember from how it was after the Frozen Throne.

        That said… It's survived 10yrs of western-sub-MMO primacy for a reason. It's some high-quality shit that never stops improving itself.

        (And it has improved significantly, borrowing/stealing the best user-created UI mods and other MMO's quality-of-life features. @bravotwo, you can safely ignore the nay-sayers who say it's been 'dumbed down'. It's provably false in almost every way. You can pretty much guarantee any 'it's been dumbed down' complainer doesn't have the hardest-mode achievements. What they usually mean by that idiotic/false complaint is, there are more options and activities for more people at more skill levels, and thus is more welcoming and accessible. And/or that they feel the game is much easier today than it was when they first started because that's what happens when you do something consistently for ten years - you get kind of good at it.)

        I wouldn't rule out Wildstar, there's some real enjoyment to be had there. But now is a pretty good time to be getting into WoW.

          I played Wildstar on release and while it's a decent game, it's/it was plagued with horrible optimization, bugs and the entire game feels cluttered.

          When you play it you just cant help thinking "this is good, but I may as well play WOW"

            I feel like wildstar was built for a gaming audience that existed back 5 years ago, one that doesn't really exist anymore.

            I've been trying to get into WoW after playing a whole bunch of Wildstar (Guild Wars 2 was my first MMO, then I moved onto Wildstar)..and..idk. I just..can't get into it as much as I did Wildstar.

            It's weird 'cause they feel pretty much the same to me, game play wise, but the old crappy graphics of WoW (please don't hurt me WoW fans..but the UI design is just...terrible) just feel so 5-10 years ago compared to Wildstar that I just haven't been able to get into it.

            I know graphics aren't everything, but I feel like I could get the same game play from Wildstar + better graphics + it's set in SPACE.

            ..So it makes me sad that Wildstar is dying a bit, and makes me sad that WoW's graphics are kind of dated. :(

    Hey, been waiting ages for this to come, me and my friend are gonna go big in WoD so this is a very welcome change.

    Any news if maintenance will be set for our Timezone? Or will it continue to kill all prime time game play on Tuesday or Wednesday each week?

      Since they're still connected, my guess would be they'd still synchronise em to US times.

      Could be worse, if they had it staggered, I could see the AUS servers being flooded with US players while their are offline, so be stuck in a queue for hours.

        I dont think they will change maintaince times tbh, would be nice.

        Last edited 24/10/14 7:53 am

    People still play this?

    Finally. This is great news. I was enormously disappointed when TOR shut down its oceanic servers. Playing an MMO without lag for once (well, twice, since there was also Warhammer Online) was great, and I look forward to doing it again.

      I (and probably many others) didn't realise just how bad it was til we played TOR/WAR. You get a hell of a lot more "spell not ready" spam until you adjust to it

    It took them way too long. I mean sure yay it's here but really.

      Supposedly they did try and have Aussie servers after launch, but Telstra was the company you dealt with for anything big internet-wise back then, and tried to screw Blizzard.

    10 years too late.

    10 years. Enough said. I dont play WOW, but I sympathise with those who do.

    OMG... i was pissed at first cause i just spend a month building a mythic team on Frostmourne then they announced AU server... but ALL Oceanic realms will be located in AU this is fucking amazing!!!!

    TLDR;

    9 years too late

      i like how people keep saying its too little too late... haha just because you don't play anymore doesn't mean the millions that still do aren't happy about this.

    SWTOR did this then they realised that like always that there wasnt a population for it.....

    WoW should be different though... It made a great difference to Diablo 3.

      WoW has had multiple oceanic flagged servers for years, including some extremely high pop ones. Moving their physical locations to Australia is just some good fan service I guess!

        yep pretty much, I think that TOR should really have waited for their oceanic servers too. There might be a little bit of "It's about bloody time" going on and it is a fair point, but if they had done it too early in the games life-cycle then it would have gone the way of TOR and crashed and burned due to costing and not enough population. This does however set a precedent and Blizzard basically just took the monopoly on MMOs for our region because it is unlikely that any other contender has the fiscal weight to throw in Australian servers at launch resulting in an attitude of "well, I get no latency on WoW servers, I might as well keep playing that instead".

      Last 2 xpac launches for the first few weeks, both the oceanic relams I play on have have queues to get in, so it shouldn't be an issue.

    Wonder if it has something to do with Azure DC opening in Melbourne and Sydney.

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