So Blizzard recently posted their plans for European Classic realms and their plan seems to be to only have International (English) realms which has made several people rather upset—it feels like a third or more of the comments on the English forum are in other European languages complaining about this decision—and while I can see where this decision is coming from it still to me too seems like the wrong one.

As we get closer to WoW Classic’s release, we thought now would be a good time to talk about our plans for Classic realms here in Europe.
We’ve prepared several realms, which will include Player vs Player, Player vs Environment, and Role-playing realms.
For Classic, we’re planning on not splitting up realms by language. This has its advantages and disadvantages, but overall, we think that it’s the best starting point for WoW Classic. An exception will be made for the Russian language, which will have separate realms due to its reliance on the Cyrillic Alphabet. For technical reasons this will also mean Russian is going to have its own separate game client, similar to what happened in The Burning Crusade.
We think this approach will give players more freedom to move around to where they want, and find guilds and friends that best match their interests.

Taepsilum – Community Manager

Now, my mothertongue never had language specific realms so I started out playing on English realms and ended up on one where the inofficial language at least was my second language and this is probably what is going to happen on these realms as well—inofficial language servers or a mixing pot of several languages on the same server being spoken in the public channels—and I don’t quite see how that will be beneficial in the long run since there will still in effect be language specific server they will just be harder to find like it was for me back in the day.

It will also be a bigger problem in Classic than it would be in today’s game, since in Classic you are locked into the server you start on and can’t really transfer away or do anything cross-realm, so if you unknowingly roll on a server where the inofficial language is one you don’t speak you might be in for a somewhat bad time since communication will be considerably more difficult. In general, this decision seems to poorly take into account the diverse language landscape present in Europe and even in the case that it goes as Blizzard fears—namely there simply not being enough players on single language realms—it feels like the more sane option would be to then merge realms instead of creating a solution for a problem that might not even present itself. Alternatively, if merging realms is considered a bad thing by Blizzard—understandably so, since it does present problems with names and who gets to keep theirs—they have since Classic already developed the technology allowing multiple realms to be in the same pool and share guilds, auction house and so on completely separate from the other cross-realm features impelemented since. This would still allow for that server community feel that several people think is important since you would still have a limited pool of people you play with but would mean that you don’t get the naming problems you would get with merging realms.

At the same time, part of the beauty of the European community is exactly the diversity of language and being able to overcome the challenges the game presents despite that extra difficulty in communication and it does keep the opportunity open for people to enter into communities which don’t have their mothertongue as the primary language—exactly this happened to me on live, have been playing on German servers and learning the langauge for over two years now and without the exposure that cross-realm gave me to those German servers this would never had happened. So there could potentially be a big positive in a small amount of cases as a consequence of this decision, so maybe it will all end up good in the end.

All in all, I guess my feelings on this decision are rather mixed. It won’t overly affect me personally since I have already been in the position of playing on a realm where my language isn’t the primary language at a time where I barely knew any English so I know the situation will be manageable. Simultaneously, I can understand that people don’t necessarily want to have the extra stress of learning or using a new language while doing an activity that is supposed to be relaxing or fun. In the end, I think people will find ways and means around that if they are truly interested in playing Classic be that through inofficial language servers or in-game chat channels for specific languages and this will all be a smaller issue than the forums currently make it seem.