|This article or section is likely to dramatically change once Battle of Azeroth begins.
A realm is an instance of the World of Warcraft () game world. Realms are hosted on physical devices called servers (for this reason, the terms "realm" and "server" are often used interchangeably).
To play , you must first choose a server (realm) to play on. You then connect to this realm over the Internet. Blizzard has servers in the US, Australia, Europe, China, Brazil and Korea (see Localization).
Why have realms?
The game world is duplicated (mirrored) across multiple realms to prevent any one realm from becoming too crowded (and thus overwhelming the server), to provide for better connection times (by having players connect to local servers), to allow for localized communities based on language (for example, French speakers on realms in France), and to appeal to different play-styles for different users.
To allow for different play-styles, realms come in four types:
- PvE (a.k.a. Normal) - Player vs. Environment.
- PvP - Player vs. Player. Automatic PvP flagging while in contested zones with 5 min. expiration timer when leaving those zones.
- RP - Roleplaying Realm with PvE (a.k.a. Normal) rules. Additional behavior and naming rules apply.
- RP-PvP - Roleplaying Realm with PVP flagging rules while in contested zones. Additional behavior and naming rules apply.
In addition to falling within one of those four categories, a realm could also have either of these properties:
- Coalesced - Not a real type, but limited interaction provided by Cross-realm technology.
- Connected - Introduced with Patch 5.4. Like a advanced version of Cross-realm where players from 2 or more realms can interact as if they were on the same realm.
For the adventurous, there is also a Test Realm that is periodically available in which players can try experimental features in development before they get released as general patches. Test realms often exist in both PvE and PvP varieties.
Also, usually before an expansion is released there are Beta realms which function similarly to test realms.
According to the North American realm status page, there are 241 total NA realms. Of these 113 are Normal (PvE) servers, 105 are PvP, 17 are RP, and 6 are RPPvP.
For Europe, there are 109 English speaking realms, 87 German, 37 French, 11 Spanish, and 19 Russian, for a total of 263 realms. This breaks down into 99 Normal (PvE), 129 PvP, 20 RP, and 15 RPPvP servers.
Realms are divided up into major regions (known as "Locales" on Realm Status; possibly based on geographical locations of major data centers).
- US locales
- United States
- Latin America
These were announced on to be coming online in late October or early November 2014 at the Sydney, Australia Warlords of Draenor expansion pre-launch event and Twitter on October 23, 2014. It is not yet clear whether these new servers will appear as part of the Oceanic locale or will become their own separate locale.
So far, the EU region has one Portuguese (Português) realm (Aggra EU) that appears under the English locale.
- Beta test realm
- Coalesced Realms
- Connected Realms
- Cross-realm zones
- Test realm
- For a WoWWiki list of realms by region, language, timezone, and type, see the realms list.
- For a list of articles about realms, see Category:Servers.
- For the pros and cons of PvE (normal) realms, see Player vs Environment → Pros and Cons of PvE realms.
- For the pros and cons of PvP realms, see Player vs. Player → Pros and Cons of PvP realms.
- For information related to roleplaying, see Roleplaying.
- RP realms
- WarcraftRealms.com Useful realm info, based on user submitted data
- RealmWatcher.com Free realm status email alerts (with customizable alert criteria, e.g. "alert when <realm> is Queued for at least 5 minutes") and RSS feeds
- Realm Status Firefox Microsummary tool European Realms and Firefox 2.0 or later required
- Realm Status Firefox Add-On US realms and Firefox 1.5 or later required
- WarcraftUpdate.net Get text messages through Twitter when realms come online or when a world event is happening.
- Wowrecord.com Realm information and statistics mined from the armory.