Realms, What Are They? – The Starting Zone

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Realms… What are they? Today we discuss them on The Starting Zone.

Hello, students. If you all would kindly take a seat we shall commence today’s lesson. Today, we will discuss realms.  A realm is basically a server onto which your character is born.  This becomes your character’s home, and you will be there with other people who are also on the same realm or a realm connected with your own.  There are many types of realms and many things to consider when deciding which realm to create your character.  First off, let’s discuss the types of realms you can choose from.


Types of realms

If you look through the list of realms you will notice different information is given for each one.  While all the information is important, the information that will greatly change your experience within the game is what kind of realm you play on.  Let’s take a look at these types:

  • Normal – Realms labeled as “Normal” mean they are PVE. PVE stands for “Player versus Environment” and is the most friendly type of realm for new players.  On these realms you don’t have to worry about being attacked by other players while you are exploring the world.  This can be changed if you choose to make yourself vulnerable to attack by turning on the option for “Player versus Player” combat, also known as PVP.  While you can turn this option on at any time you are never required to.  This gives new players and veteran players who are not interested in PVP combat a more peaceful environment to enjoy the game. There are designated areas such as battlegrounds and arenas where you can participate in PVP combat at any time, but PVE realms make questing in the open world safer by not letting other players attack you without your permission.
  • PVP – PVP, or “Player versus Player”, realms keep each player where they are constantly in danger of being attacked by other players of the opposing faction. When you are out in the world your character will stay flagged for PVP.  This means your PVP option will be turned on and will remain that way.  This is can be much more stressful for new players since enemy players of any level can attack you, including those who have already reached the maximum level cap.
  • RP – RP stands for “role playing”. These realms are PVE with one major difference. Instead of playing your character as you, you are also pretending to be that character.  A character who’s story you create and mold however you please.  Want to be Knight Faltor from Goldshire searching for his missing jewels?  How about Groktol from the Northern Barrens who’s family was taken by flamboyant gnolls?  It’s whomever’s story you wish to create.  The main thing to remember is while playing on role play realms you are expected to remain in character whenever you have contact with other players.
  • RPPVP – RPPVP stands for “Role Played Player versus Player”. The same rules apply here as on the role play realms, but this time you add the always on PVP option to the mix.


The realm selection screen on world of warcraft


Another thing to look at from the information on the realm selection list is the population data.  Each realm is marked as “Low“, “Medium”, or “High”.  There may also be realms which say “New Players”.  A realm’s population mainly affects new players in a few ways.  Realms with high populations may sometimes have a queue in which players have to wait to login and play.  This is mainly an issue when new content is released and more of the population tries to login.  Another disadvantage of the high population realms is you may find more competition for quest objectives, resources such as stone and herbs, and rare Non-Player Characters also known as “NPCs”.  Low population realms come with their own concerns such as the realm’s economy.  Each realm has its own auction house which people of the realm use.  When there are less people who use the auction house, prices for items may vary greatly when compared to realms with a higher population.


Playing With Friends

A major factor for many people in Azeroth is the ability to play with their friends.  If you are joining Azeroth to play with your friends please remember to ask them which realm they are currently playing and make your character on the same realm.  Thanks to cross realm parties and raids you will be able to play with your friends if you are not on the same realm.  However, certain actions will still be unavailable such as trading and joining guilds.


Two female gnome friends from warcraft


Time Zones

Warcraft in game clock showing the local time and realm time Another overlooked detail of realms is that they are not all on the same time zone.  While this most likely will not affect a new player immediately, it can be a factor later in the game if your schedule conflicts with the schedule of people you play with.  Let me give you an example.  Your guild raids at 7:00 PM on a realm that is located in the Eastern Time zone.  If you are located in the Pacific Time zone, that will be 4:00 PM your time.  While the rest of your guild has had time to come home; have supper; and login to prepare for the raid, you may find yourself still at work; at school; or dealing with other daily activities.  While the realm selections screen does not tell you what time zone each realm is in, you can easily check by looking at the in game clock or by checking the realm statistics at


While all this may seem complicated for you new students, I can assure you understanding realms is easy after spending a little time in Azeroth.  There are more advanced topics we could get into, but I see that today we are out of time!  I do hope you have enjoyed today’s lecture.  Class dismissed.



Professor Thaddeus Paleo profile picture

Professor Thaddeus Paleo has been the Darkmoon Card deck trader for what he deems as "Since the sands of time have flowed through the talons of Nozdormu." Before serving the Darkmoon Faire, the Professor taught students at the School of Advanced Learning and Etiquette in Lorderon and takes credit for teaching Jaina Proudmoore the phrase "Knowledge is Power." Cards and decks aren't just a job for him, in his free time he enjoys a nice glass of wine while trying to advance in the Hearthstone ladder. He currently plays a murloc deck.

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