Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

It's me! With Walks! Neither of us are actually blood elves, but we do a good job of pretending.

You may have heard that Blizzard planned to roll out some changes to the Real ID system to allow you to group with your friends from other servers. Ignoring the whole debate about whether this should be a paid service or not – I am so freaking happy about these changes! I can’t even tell you.

Since beginning to blog in late 2009, I’ve met a number of folks I’d love to play with – always on other servers, of course. Sometimes I even went so far as to roll alts on their servers to hang out, and I’ve moved characters too (especially Horde). In the time that I’ve been playing, I:

-Made my draenei shaman a troll shaman
-Moved her to a friend’s server
-Made my troll shaman a draenei again
-Moved her back to my server
-Leveled a troll mage on a friend’s server
-Made my troll mage a draenei
-Moved her to another friend’s server
-Took a spare Horde shaman I had and made her a draenei
-Moved her to a friend’s server

Do you see a trend here? By the way, if anyone adds up the total cost of those transfers and changes and posts it in the comments I will be miffed at you. I live in a blissfully happy world where I don’t think about how much money I’ve spent on this kind of thing. La la la la I can’t hear you…

Actually, no. Let’s do it. Let’s face that number. That’s nine changes, I think they all cost $25 USD. That’s two hundred and twenty-five dollars I have basically wasted with my indecisive attempts to spend time with friends. It’s a lot of money! But let’s take a closer look at my reasons for doing it. I wanted to have a Horde character. I wanted to have a Horde character on a friend’s server (two different friends, one of whom stopped playing, thus the extra transfer). Then I wanted to have an Alliance character to help out some other friends, on another server. That’s a pretty strong trend here. I wasn’t just doing this on a whim, it was because I wanted to hang out with people who don’t live on my server.

The problems I encountered while leveling alts on other servers are numerous. When my friends weren’t around I was bored or lonely because I didn’t know enough people there. LFD was demoralizing. I couldn’t manage to make money (some servers have an odd economy). I didn’t have access to the resources I ordinarily would and so everything was a struggle. Sometimes that kind of adversity can be fun, but mostly it’s frustrating to me. I don’t want to make a huge venture out of becoming self-sufficient on a secondary server when I spend plenty of time playing and working on my main characters already. We all have a limited amount of WoW time.

So I look at it this way. Should the Real ID grouping feature be a premium, paid service? Obviously, I’d like it if it wasn’t. It’d be nice if it was just included with your subscription. But even if it costs $5 a month (and I think they’re talking about more $3-$4), it would take 45 months of paying for it before I’d equal the amount I’ve spent on server and faction changes. That’s almost four years worth of premium subscription. What is my time worth to me? Because this way, to hang out with Horde friends and run a dungeon, I can level a character on my home server. With access to heirloom items from head-to-toe, the time commitment is much less. I can run a leisurely dungeon with my Horde friends if I feel like doing that.

Or like we did last night, I can invite a friend from another server to finish off a five-man. That screenshot above is from a ZG I ran with three guildies and my good paladin friend, Walks. I know he thinks I’m crazy because I kept enthusing the whole time. “I’m so happy about doing this! I’m so happy you’re here!” I’m serious, too! It’s as if we were “meeting” for the first time. We’ve chatted and been friends for ages but we’ve never once been able to do anything together other than chat. This new feature changes that completely. It basically means the end of LFD for me if I can help it. All of the awesome WoW folks I’ve gotten to know can now get together and do a dungeon together! (If they happen to be playing the right faction, anyhow, but “cross faction Real ID grouping” is a whole other can of worms).

This basically makes it so that all of our guilds suddenly got a bit larger, a bit more flexible. Server-transferring to join another guild? You can still hang out with your friends from your old guild and run a five-man from time-to-time and keep in touch. Don’t want to deal with LFD? Perhaps you have a friend on another server who is just farming herbs and would love to join you and your guildies. Or maybe they need one more person for their own run! Whichever way you look at it, if you use Real ID and have any friends on your list, the Warcraft universe just got a bit smaller (or larger). In case this wasn’t clear, I’m thrilled about it, and it’s a fantastic change for me. Being in a smaller guild, there aren’t always a ton of people online depending on the day and time of day. Sometimes I play at odd hours and would still like to run a dungeon. This is going to be game-changing as far as I’m concerned. I’m also of the opinion that Real ID raid grouping isn’t too far behind, but I could be wrong, hopefully BGs too! If the social aspect of Warcraft is what keeps you playing, make no mistake – this is huge for you.

It’s a feature that is worth its weight in gold to me, too. I’ll happily pay $5 a month to spend time with my friends from different servers. It’s much better than $225, and getting to play with folks I’ve never been able to really play with before? You can’t put a price on that as far as I’m concerned!

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Comments on: "How Real ID Grouping is Going To Save Me Time and Money" (41)

  1. Enthused is about right; you were ecstatic! Only drawback is no BGs. (Yet.)

    (Good thing you didn’t ask me if Tom wanted to do a Troll instance. Even with his PvP gear, he doesn’t qualify….)

    • I have a wide variety of characters and gear levels, you know. I’d happily run a normal with you. My druid, Shae, is heroic geared but not by very much (by which I mean normal heroic). I think she could qualify for a troll heroic but I certainly wouldn’t heal one with her yet.

      I imagine this post captures the boundlessness of my enthusiasm. When they first mentioned this I didn’t imagine it would be so soon!

  2. Yes very promising indeed! I recently caused the guild i was in to slowly break apart… By finally deciding to /gquit. Though they assure me (well the people that left anyways) that it wasn’t me. Raids just weren’t fun anymore under THE NEW MANAGEMENT. Thus this change in the Real ID comes out at a rather convenient time for me. When guildies are moving cross realms to find better raiding guilds… That means i can still stay in contact and do an instance together. :D

    • Exactly, it’s perfect! I’m sorry to hear about the dissolution of your guild, but it seems inaccurate of me to say that you caused it. Give other factors a little credit and yourself a break, huh? ;)

      • Yeah your right! I just feel guilty or was feeling guilty about it. Also spent 2 days feeling like crap over it. Only one person wished me goodluck and all. Everyone else stopped talking to me cuz i wasnt wearing the guild tag. Their loss i suppose!

  3. My thoughts on how it will end up go something like this.

    5 mans, both normal and heroic, as well as regular battlegrounds will be free.

    Raiding, rated battlegrounds, and arena will be the paid part of the service.

    And for what it’s worth, I think this feature is like a giant cupcake made of awesome, covered in epic sprinkles.

  4. Vosskah said:

    I’m also extremely happy about this new change. As some people may know, I hate alting. I really truly and utterly hate it. Why waste my time on another character when I already play perfection made class, a warrior (technically I also have a gathering slave DK at 85).

    In order for me to go and help that friend out on the alliance world, Vid gave me her parked at 80 warrior alt which I sent on his way with a bunch of crafted gear and finished levelling there. He looks like Voss, has the same name and plays the same way (tank/tank). But he’s not the real thing. This allows me to finally hang out with some friends I too have online but with the real greatness that is my fully raid geared 100% pure awesome warrior.

    As for the second warrior (Voss2), I might bring him back to Moonrunner for a bit of gear overhaul before sending him horde side. He might not be the real thing, but he’ll still be able to show those Hordie punk friends I seem to attract for some reason (confused…) how real tanking is done. :)

    • but he’ll still be able to show those Hordie punk friends I seem to attract for some reason (confused…) how real tanking is done.

      You may play a Draenei, but you’ve got Horde attitude all the way.

    • Moonrunner is a poor, poor choice to go horde on.

      • At least it’s PvE. My Hordies are on Area 52, which is the inverse of Moonrunner (Horde heavy).

      • Vosskah said:

        It’s not about actually playing a horde character, it’s moving him back to the server (alliance side) so I can gear him up and then move to horde, only to do some instancing. I’m never going to play horde. I just can’t stand that side.

        But having him on Moonrunner, I can send him heirlooms, money, etc.

  5. Vosskah said:

    Actually, on another note, if they ever allow for raid Real ID, it could really change the cross server recruitment process.

    • I think it already has. I would expect running 5-mans with applicants as part of the process to become the norm.

    • As soon as I initially heard about this upcoming feature, I instantly though of how awesome it would be if it worked for raids. Just think how great it would be if you were down a raid member and could borrow a friend from another server! Sure, running Heroics with other-server friends is nice, and very fun! But being able to ask friends to fill in needed raid spots? That’s AMAZING.

      Of course, the other, less joyful side of me also worries that such application would then open the gates for an entirely new meta-economy, where geared/talented raiders “rent” themselves out to fill spots…

      • I suspect that this is one more step toward breaking down all the walls between servers, but I’m sure that Blizz is keeping an eye on the bottom line as always.

    • I think you should link to a certain post of mine regarding your one Troll mage…not because I’m trying for site hits, but because I think EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW what you DID once joining the Horde… ;)

      As soon as I initially heard about this upcoming feature, I instantly though of how awesome it would be if it worked for raids. Just think how great it would be if you were down a raid member and could borrow a friend from another server! Sure, running Heroics with other-server friends is nice, and very fun! But being able to ask friends to fill in needed raid spots? That’s AMAZING.

      Of course, the other, less joyful side of me also worries that such application would then open the gates for an entirely new meta-economy, where geared/talented raiders “rent” themselves out to fill spots…

  6. The realId party feature is gimped. Its for same faction only.

  7. It was definitely a warm, fuzzy feeling when my friend invited my Earthen Ring character to a group with his Proudmoore character, then passed me leader to invite an Earthen Ring friend that he didn’t know to join us. It’s a great way to introduce people to each other and make your friends into “our” friends!

  8. I will be happily in the same position of saving money from server transfers. My total is a little higher (13 transfers, $325 total). The one downside is no cross-server raids yet, but the ability to trial without transferring is already a great boon in that direction.

  9. I’m just as excited as you Vid! :D If you or Mr. Voss ever need a healer, hit me up! (Or a sad, sad melee war-hero… but only if Voss promises not to cry too loudly ;D) (Or a way undergeared Disc priest who likes to heal regular dungeons hehe)

  10. I think this is great for those who want to use RealID for such purposes, or who use RealID for things in general.

    I have five people on my RealID. I’ve met three of them in person, been online friends with one of them for like, five years and another is my GM in my other raiding guild, in case I have some kind of Apotheosis-related emergency and I can let her know what’s going on without alting to that server. (assuming it conflicts with raiding there)

    I would never want to give my RealID info out to an applicant. I’d never want to be that accessible and that “naked”, if you’ll pardon the term. I’m glad that others have that option, but until they unlink the real name part of RealID, I probably won’t use those tools very much except on the rare occasion that one of my five friends is on and wants to run something appropriate to my level.

    I do think it’s super awesome that you and Walks ran a dungeon together, though and I think it’s a great idea in general. It does, however, bring back all kinds of hesitations and concerns I have regarding privacy.

    • I think cross-server grouping is a good idea. I just wish it didn’t use ReadID. Like Kurn I’d never give mine out to an applicant. Even among my guild and RL friends who play WoW I only have one person on RealID, because I can’t turn it off in case I don’t feel like chatting when I log in. And sometimes, particularly if I’m stressed about guild management stuff, I might burn off steam by playing on another server and I’d hate to be tracked by guildies who might not understand my need for quiet time.

    • Ditto, Kurn. I really don’t like RealID using your real name, so I have it disabled. If RealID used some other kind of moniker, I definitely would be on board with this system. I suppose it would also be neat to do something like this without RealID, like a cross-realm friends list, but it seems that they prefer to use the RealID system for these things.

      Still pretty neat to see it in action though.

  11. Yes! I saw your note and got excited! Then sad that I was already in a dungeon.

    This will be a fun way to play with people on distant realms!

  12. You know, I’d never really thought about the money-saving aspect of this feature. What a good point! I haven’t perhaps done quite as many transfers as you have, but I’m still a fairly prolific contributor to the coffers at Blizzard HQ.

    I still don’t like the way they did Real ID, though. :(

    • I still don’t like the way they did Real ID, though.

      Agreed. That still makes me nervous, given the stigma that game playing (MMOs and other video games, RPGs, board games, etc.) has among the mass population.

  13. …How have I not asked if I can RealID friend you? This seems like a huge oversight on my part…

  14. [...] I’m sure it wasn’t easy or cheap even with LFD and RealID already in place. If it were, Blizzard wouldn’t charge us for it. But a small fee per month to group with our friends is worth it. [...]

  15. The only real drawback I have is that, like you, I want to group with some people I’ve never had the chance to group with before. But RealID still causes me to take a couple of deep breaths. All of the people I currently have as RealID friends are exactly that, irl friends.

    I should branch out. I think I’d get to group with more people and have more fun running those dungeons every week. Cause lemme tell you, they’re getting to be a big pain in the ass.

  16. I don’t think they will but imagine if they let you group with RealID friends from the other faction? Don’t have time to roll a Horde/Alliance toon and don’t want to bounce to another server just in case you friend quit/reroll/whatever? How many more people would be willing to pay a fee to do 5-mans and raids cross-faction?

    • I would have loved this, too. I have a Horde character I can use to do this with my friends, but of course she will never have the gear of either of my “primary” Alliance characters!

  17. [...] Manalicious has figured out how Real ID Grouping, even as a premium feature, is going to save both time and money. [...]

  18. Darkfriend337 said:

    This is an asinine argument to advocate the permissibility of REALID being a premium service. Stating that it will save money as your augment is fallacious. It assumes that a majority of people who will use this service would have server changed to play with realID friends. It also assumes that Blizzard should charge for this service as a premise for the thesis, which I reject as illogical in a subscription based MMO. Although the author may save money, most people are not so desperate to LFD only with friends that they will server xfer if this service were not offered. Essentially, advocating LFD RealID being a paid service could easily be equated with Blizzard charging for use of the in game AH. The argument that “we need to charge because it takes time to develop” is asinine as well, as Blizzard already has income off their normal subscriptions. The premium service in MMO subscription games is a poor business strategy.

    • Actually, I think if you read the article at all, you might note this: “So I look at it this way. Should the Real ID grouping feature be a premium, paid service? Obviously, I’d like it if it wasn’t. It’d be nice if it was just included with your subscription. But even if it costs $5 a month (and I think they’re talking about more $3-$4), it would take 45 months of paying for it before I’d equal the amount I’ve spent on server and faction changes.”

      You’ll also notice I didn’t title it, “How Real ID is going to save YOU time and money.” Because I don’t really care whether it does or not. It’s something I’d be willing to pay for. If it’s not something you’d be willing to pay for – don’t pay for it.

    • Your “argument” is laughable. The title of this post clearly states “How Real ID Grouping is Going To Save ME Time and Money.” Not other players, not you, not the community – one person. Vidyala. You even acknowledge this when you say “Although the author may save money”, so you obviously read the post, but somehow missed how Vidyala has defined how these changes will affect HER finances, and isn’t a blanket statement about the merits or flaws of this new tool as a whole.

      Also, I don’t think illogical means quite what you think it means, when you “reject” the idea that Blizzard might charge for one of their services as being illogical. (Sidenote, Blizzard must be thrilled to have such an omniscient authority on all things MMO-related on hand to tell them when they’ve made a mistake.) It’s actually 100% logical to charge for a product or service in a business venture when people are willing to pay for it. It’s called MAKING MONEY. What would be illogical would be giving away something for free when they could make money from it, unless the positive social affect on the WoW community outweighed the potential financial gain.

      Perhaps you are thinking of a different word or phrasing? UNETHICAL, UNHEARD OF, IMMORAL, DESPICABLE, DEPLORABLE, NOT VERY COOL. All of these would work and many would agree with your stance. But it’s not illogical.

      Finally, your closing sentence is bizarrely phrased and doesn’t make sense. The premium service (singular) in MMO subscription games (plural) is a poor business strategy (singular)? Do you mean premium services in general? Or do you mean this specific premium service? Also, this is a declarative statement with no actual facts or logic behind it. “They already make enough money” is not a legitimate reason to declare this new service a poor business strategy, at least not without some supporting evidence or historical examples that support your statement.

      Now THAT’S illogical.

      • Not only do they have every right (even if we don’t like it) to charge for an add-on service, it costs them money to develop it. Sure, their programmers are probably, mostly, salaried but every bit of time they spend building a new, free, service is time they’re not spending on something they can charge for, whether it be Titan or something else.

        Ultimately, Blizzard is accountable to their stockholders, not to their customers. They don’t *have* to listen to us even though losing customers is a good way to upset your stockholders.

    • Beep boop, Blizzard charging for products or services is clearly illogical.

      Helpful hint: if this premium service cost $3 per month, people paying for it would finally be paying Blizzard the same amount we did back in 2004 just for a regular subscription. $15 a month in 2004-dollars is worth $18 now. Other major MMOs raised their fees in the past for inflation, wow does not. They could (and probably should) just up the subscription fee to account for inflation, but instead they want to give us cool new features for that money instead, then actually give us the option whether to pay for those new features or not. Damn them.

    • Don’t like it?

      Don’t pay for it. Simple.

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