Well at least we should all hope so.
Mentioned by myself and others recently, me here, by Cynwise here, and by Fannon here, what World of Warcraft and actually all the current generation of MMOs need to do is Converge/Merge their servers in to Environment Settings and not as individual shards.
What this means and why we need it sooner than later.
Take the list of realms for World of Warcraft at the very least all of the PvE servers that are EST should be one logical server, ideally all PvE servers within a region should be 1 super server but to allow for latency issues if the company does have multiple timezone data centers then I could understand grouping only the ones in a particular physical location. So at the very least all PvE, PvP, RP-PvE and RP-PvP servers should be grouped with like setting servers within a specific data center so that each grouped server would act like what Elune, Sentinels, Cenarion Circle, Farstriders, Proudmore are today.
Why do we need this now or very very “soon” since soon for Blizzard still equals about 6-12 months, and has not actual relation to the meaning of the word soon. Because if we do not get this or something like it every system in the game will need to be Battle.net centric and add layers of complexity for no good reason.
What systems am I referring, since the LFG, LFR, and BG queuing are already mostly that way, and when we get the gamer tag real id then mostly everything will be that way already. Well yes that is correct and exactly the reason we just need to move to the next paradigm and not screw around. There are 2 other major systems that will not be this way one really important to the solo/casual players especially the market oriented players, the Auction House for one. A multi-realm AH would be fascinating and would help resolve availability issues of resources and crafted items for both high and low population servers.
The real 1000kg gorilla standing in the corner and is the corner stone for the in game social environment Guilds would sill be server specific unless they are completely changed as well. If Guilds do not get the Battle.net make over like LFR,LFG,BGs then it really going to continue to be painful for guilds of any size to recruit. Ideally membership to a guild should actually be at the Battle.net level and not the character level. Then you also set it up such that it is a many to many relationship between Players and guilds so that the Battle.net account is not limited to one guild. And then with the guilds and the players being cross realm enabled through real id the next logical step is server unification around environment.
I would rather see the server unification first than all of the halfway steps but I know that realistically what we have here is a 18-24 month development cycle on just these features alone.
Oh and by the way yes the same thing could be done for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Rift, LotRO, DDO any other MMO still using the EQ and earlier server design. I am interested in seeing what Guild Wars 2 will do with these issues.