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

Posts tagged ‘cross-faction’

How Real ID Grouping is Going To Save Me Time and Money

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!

Random Acts of Kindness: Cross-Faction Edition

My druid, Shae, and her original Teldrassil Sproutling! He seems to have fallen asleep. He's so lazy. He'd usually find a spot to snooze smack in the middle of the raid, preferably in fire.

I’ve been working on my various collections lately. Due to my history with changing mains, my achievement hunting has been hindered in some regards. For example, I started collecting pets with my druid and more or less had to start from scratch with Millya’s collection. This is the background story behind why I was seeking the Argent Tournament pets, so long after the Argent Tournament’s conclusion.

It happens that I think the AT pets (all of them) are some of the neatest pets in the game. My Teldrassil Sproutling was my constant companion for druid healing. It was pretty easy to just quest until I had enough Champion’s Seals to get the Alliance ones for Millya! Where I ran into some trouble was trying to get the Horde ones. Back on my old server, I’d just spent a bit of gold to buy them for my druid. This was when the Argent Tournament came out, most people were doing it every day, and that server had a healthy Horde population to match the number of people playing Alliance. My current server doesn’t have that. There aren’t very many Horde players there, period. Some of these pets are up for sale on the neutral AH (or people transfer them over) but for exorbitant prices. And why not? They do take some time and effort to obtain, and the low population keeps them fairly exclusive.

I could probably have afforded to buy them all. But I thought, there has to be a pet collector on the Horde side who also doesn’t want to spend 6000 gold per pet to get the Alliance version. I made a post on my realm forums to the effect of, “Looking for Horde to trade AT pets with.” They cost 40 Champion’s Seals each, so we could just straight up trade. Alliance pets for Horde pets!

After about five days and no replies to my thread, it wasn’t looking good. I thought I’d been too ambitious. Maybe Moonrunner’s Horde players aren’t pet collectors, or else it was so easy to obtain the pets that they’d all collected them ages ago. Then Fsob mentioned to me, “Hey, did you see someone responded to your thread?” I’d stopped checking it! A Tauren warrior had replied saying he thought he had some seals left over.

I sent him an in-game mail (Horde-side) to ask him which Alliance pets he most wanted. I didn’t think I had enough seals for all five, but I definitely could get three right away. We played a bit of message tag until Sunday, I logged in and found a message from an Alliance character of his, and the character was online. We started talking, he was mostly asking how he could get the pets to me. It was the next part that flabbergasted me.

“I don’t collect pets,” he told me, “So I don’t need them, but I have all five for you. I made a lot of money selling them before so I figure this is karma. I thought when I first replied that I could get maybe two, but it turned out I had a lot of seals on different alts.”

He wouldn’t hear of taking anything for them. His Alliance character didn’t need anything. He suggested we make the switch then, if I had time. I made my way to his character in Orgrimmar, still completely floored. There they were in the trade window, all five of the pets.

I thanked him repeatedly and told him that if nothing else he’d made a friend Alliance side and if he ever needed anything at all, I wanted to help him.

A little bit of Mulgore wildlife. Hey, Draenei can appreciate creatures from all over Azeroth, right?

This is undoubtedly the kindest thing a complete stranger has ever done for me in WoW. He suggested that if I wanted to ‘repay’ him I could just pay it forward and do the same thing for someone else Horde-side. It’ll take me a bit of time to get all the Seals and find the right person, and I just might do that, or think of something equally momentous to do. Best of all, I will not be able to take out any of the new pets without thinking of this generous Tauren and his completely unexpected gift. I think it will always make me smile, and so not only do I have new pets, they also mean something.

Has a stranger in WoW ever done something really nice and totally unexpected for you? Did you do something nice for someone else in return, or maybe even without the initial catalyst? If you find yourself inspired yourself, let me know, I’d love to read about your experiences. I like to generally believe that all people are basically good, I love when the universe tries to prove me right!

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