World of Warcraft went live on November 23, 2004. That, for those of you who don't happen to have a calendar handy, is a month shy of ten years ago. Ten years. And as that tenth anniversary approaches, Blizzard has announced that local servers in Australia are just about ready to go.
"We are pleased to announce the upcoming deployment of Australian World of Warcraft game servers ahead of the game's next expansion, Warlords of Draenor," Blizzard announced today. "This new infrastructure will support Australia and New Zealand and should provide a significant[ly] smoother gameplay experience for players in the region."
Players on an Oceanic realm—those being Barthilas, Frostmourne, Thaurissan, Saurfang, Caelestrasz, Jubei'Thos, Khaz'goroth, Aman'Thul, Nagrand, Dath'Remar, Dreadmaul, and Gundrak—should see their latency improve once the new servers are live. To accommodate Australians playing on North American realms, free character and guild master realm transfers will be offered for a limited time. Characters, gold, and guilds will not be affected by the change, and players on the the new Australian servers will still be able to play with friends in North America.
"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," Blizzard explained in the Australian Servers FAQ. "They’ll still be able to use their Battle.net friends list to easily group up and chat, regardless of where they are playing."
Blizzard is "aiming to" have the new servers online in advance of the November 13 release of the Warlords of Draenor expansion, but migrating the player data is a major undertaking. The plan is to take the servers currently hosting Oceanic realms offline on October 28 on the normal maintenance schedule, then make the switch and get the new servers up as quickly as possible.
Ten years is a long time to wait for your own local servers (although Australia is actually pretty huge, so "local" in this case is relative), but the response from players has nonetheless been very positive. Better late than never, right?