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This week’s Blog Azeroth’s shared topic post comes from Frinka from Warcraft Street:

Have you ever tried to introduce real life friends to WoW? If yes, how did it go? If you never have, why not?

I think I might be the worst WoW ambassador ever. Any time I’ve attempted to get someone to play the game with me, it’s been a complete failure. I’m going to do the honorable thing and not  blame myself. Clearly it was the fault of the terrible starting experience prior to Cataclysm. I’ve tried to recruit my brother, mom, and a couple of friends, none of which made it past level ten. I might give my mom another shot in Mists though because I think she would find pet battles amusing. But the story of my biggest failure comes from the first one I tried to convince to play.

The first person I attempted to recruit was my husband, though at the time he was my fiancé. I thought for sure this would be a fun way for us to spend time together. I pestered him nonstop to download the trial and try out the game and after a few months, he finally decided to give it a shot.

“I’m downloading WoW,” he texted me one Tuesday night before I left work. “It’s taking forever.”

“You don’t have to download the entire thing,” I wrote back. “Just get the trial. And use one of the Recruit a Friend codes that I left sitting on your desk with stars and the server name and horde and sparkles!”

“No, I’d rather have the full game,” he said. He’s stubborn like that.

As I was taking the train home from work, I got updates from him on how the process was going, mostly consisting of “WTF why is this taking so long?” or “How big is this stupid game?” or “What’s an RP server? Can’t we play on a PvP server? That sounds like more fun.” I was still quite excited about the idea of playing with him, so when my train got in, I sped home on my bike and excitedly ran into my apartment and the office where our computers were. I loaded up WoW and was a little confused when I saw a download start to take place.

I did a little looking to discover that apparently that day was something called a “patch day.” I had no idea what that was, having only been playing for a couple of months, but I didn’t really care. My fiancé was going to play WoW with me. It was going to be awesome!

Except…we couldn’t seem to get into the game. And when we finally did, it crashed. And then when we finally got into it again…It crashed. He generally doesn’t have too much  patience for this sort of thing, and he was decidedly frustrated by the time he hit the character selection screen.

“What should I make?” he asked, clicking randomly on races.

“Make a forsaken,” I said. “You’ll like that. They’re creepy zombie people.”

“Sounds like fun,” he agreed. He chose forsaken, looked blankly at the screen. “Okay, so what class do I choose?”

I paused. I’d only really played my druid, paladin, and rogue at that point. Forsaken couldn’t be two of those classes. “Be a rogue,” I said. “They’re sneaky and nefarious, and you’ll probably like playing one.”

“A rogue?”

“Yeah. Like a thief from D&D. Come on, I know you played that when you were a kid.”

“Lies,” my husband replied as he calmly chose a warlock and started flipping through the character customizations. I was busy logging into the orc shaman I had barely played. I’d recently finished reading Lord of the Clans, and the idea of an orc shaman was just too awesome for me. Not that I’d really figured out how to play her yet. And she kind of sounded like a pig getting slaughtered every time an enemy hit her, so I wasn’t sure how much I liked her. But it was better than being one of those forsaken things, so I logged in and started making my way to Tirisfal from Durotar. At level 3 without a mount.

“Wait, did you actually choose the guy who’s missing his jaw?” I asked, glancing over at my husband’s screen. Really? The tongue hanging down out of the face guy?

“Yeah, it’s awesome.”

“Okay……” I replied, running away from a scorpid. After a few minutes, I managed to get to the zeppelin tower and boarded the ship to Eastern Kingdoms. Then the game crashed and I had to log back in.

“What am I doing?” my husband asked over the intro to the forsaken starting zone.

“Just…listen to what the guy is saying, he’s telling you a story.”

“The graphics on this game are terrible,” he observed. “My computer can play Crysis. This is an insult to my video card.”

“Just shut up and listen!” I growled, furiously trying to log back on. Argent Dawn is full, you are the 200th person in queue.

“Okay, now what?” he asked.

“Go talk to the guy with the exclamation point over his head,” I said, climbing down the tower in Tirisfal glades. It was then that I realized I’d never started a forsaken character and didn’t really know where to go. I shrugged and started running in what looked like the right direction.

“I’m supposed to kill 6 skeletons.”

“Okay, so kill them.”

“How?”

“Are you being stupid on purpose?” I asked. “You know how to play video games. Your computer can play Crysis, remember? Are you really telling me that you can’t figure out how to kill something?”

“This game is stupid,” he replied.

“Just hit your spells!” I exclaimed, running away from a plaguehound. I glanced over at him. “No, not with your mouse, with the numbers on your keyboard! No, stop hitting him with the staff, you’re a freaking warlock, cast a spell!” I’d gotten myself all turned around by that point but kept on running as I looked at the screen. “You have to stand still while you’re casting or your cast gets interrupted,” I added, finally just hitting autorun and going over to his computer.

“They’re hitting me though. I’m trying to dodge them.”

“You can’t,” I said helpfully. “Just stand there and let it hit you and hopefully you’ll finish it off first.”

“This game is stupid,” he said.

“No it’s not, it’s awesome,” I replied, going to sit at my desk again. My brows furrowed as I stared at the screen, trying to figure out where I was. Wait, why was there a bear chasing towards me. And what the hell was wrong with that bear?? He looked like a zombie!!!

Once at the spirit healer, I looked at my map and realized somewhere between yelling at my fiancé to cast spells and running from plaguehounds, I’d gotten myself completely turned around and ran into the welcome bears of the Western Plaguelands. I sighed, took the spirit rez, then started running back in the direction of the forsaken starting area.

“What the hell??” exclaimed my fiancé. A few seconds later, I was booted from the game. I tried logging back in, but it appeared the server had crashed. The general cursing I heard coming from my fiancé’s side of the room confirmed that he was experiencing the same thing.

“It’s a patch day,” I said through gritted teeth. “Things are going to be buggy.” I had no idea what that meant, but I’d just read it on WoW Insider, so it seemed like a good explanation.

Eventually we both made it back into the game, and I remembered that he could summon me using the RAF perks. “What’s your character’s name?” I asked.

“Lucifrluvsu,” he answered, hitting a skeleton with his staff.

I stared over at him. “Seriously?” I asked. “This is an RP server! You have to have an RP name!”

“What the hell does that mean?” he asked.

“It means it should sound like a real name!”

“A real name for a zombie. Okay,” he said, rolling his eyes. I glared at him, then invited him to a group. “It says that Kynsaia wants to invite me to a group,” he said.

“Accept. That’s me.” A few moments later, we were in a group together. I gave up on trying to explain what to do, and just went over to his computer and summoned myself. A few seconds later my orc lady appeared next to his hideous zombie guy.

“Is that you?” he asked. “Why are you so ugly? Why do you look like a dude with boobs?”

“Let’s just quest,” I said, picking up the quest he was on. “Wait, look at this,” I said, sending a /kiss his way.

“Look at what?” he asked.

“Look in your text box!” I said, sending him a /flirt.

“Oh,” he said. “How did you do that?”

“You can target me and type /kiss,” I explained. Finally, we were getting somewhere.

A few seconds later I saw “Lucfrluvsu brushes up against you and farts loudly.”

“You’re disgusting,” I muttered, sending a bolt of lightening at a skeleton. A few seconds later, the server crashed again.

“This game is stupid,” my fiancé said, getting up and going out to the living room to watch Law and Order reruns.

Needless to say, he never tried to play again.

Read more stories of getting friends to play!

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This week’s Blog Azeroth’s shared topic post comes from Frinka from Warcraft Street:

If it were possible, would you want Blizzard to put all characters in a single realm/game world by realm type — PvP vs PvE vs RP? Why or why not?

This was an interesting one to answer, especially considering I’ve definitely said on more than one occasion, “I wish there were just one big RP realm for us all to go to!” When I finally had to consider how having only mega realms would actually turn out, I began to realize that I didn’t actually think it would work, and for more reasons than just roleplay. Mega realms would affect everything, from PvE competition to the AH to keeping sane in a PvP world. I’m not convinced that the benefits would outweigh the costs.

All the RPs in one place!

So many times during my WoW career, my guildies and I have discussed how we would love it if there were only one RP realm, a halcyon place where there would be not a single character whose name references a bodily function or any variation on PwnsU. A place where people actually care about the lore! A place where we can RP out in the open, without worrying about someone taking off all their armor then jumping around our RP events naked! IT WOULD BE GLORIOUS!

Maybe.

My main server is one of the original RP servers. Perhaps there was a time when RP was rampant on the server, but that time is long since passed. Nowadays, Argent Dawn feels more like a PvE server with slightly better names. I know more non-RP people than not, and even my guild hasn’t done any serious RP in months. It’s sad. I think that a lot of the older RP servers are in the same boat. People join the server because they have friends there, not because they’re interested in roleplay. Slowly the balance starts to shift. Best case scenario is that RP just isn’t that common anymore. Worst case is that it’s actively griefed to the point where those who are interested in roleplay head to a new realm. And so it continues.

That’s why my friends and I have often said we wish there was just one realm for RP, so all of us who are interested in it are in the same place. But unlike PvP or PvE rules, it’s not really possible to enforce RP, not even with things like name reporting. You can’t exactly force a person who’s not interested in that sort of thing to do it. And eventually I suspect the same thing would happen on that single RP realm. People would come there to play with their friends, and slowly it would just morph into a normal PvE realm.

To be honest, this is why the cross server zones have me concerned as well. I will occasionally go play on other RP servers, just to see what things are like on them. Wyrmrest Accord in particular is one of my favorite places to go level up a random toon because there is just so much RP going on there, especially as compared to AD. I constantly see people sitting around in random taverns out in the world, having awesome in character conversations. Trade chat has a ton of RP guild ads in it. People will randomly start roleplaying with me while I’m out questing. It’s awesome!

Then I think about Mists and how people from that server are going to be forced to be out there with people from mine, and other RP servers where people don’t care about RP. And it makes me sad. There’s something really special going on there, and I would hate to see it lost.

When I spoke to my friend Bim, about this topic, she brought up another good point:

If there was only one place to RP in WoW, one might expect for everyone’s RP to be interconnected or at least have acknowledgment of one-anothers’ storylines.  But in reality, most attempts for realm-wide, centralized RP would be too unwieldy to go anywhere because of the sheer population.  There have been realm-wide RP events before but they were limited to the pop of one realm.
This is an interesting concern, and one that I think has merit. It kind of reminds me of whenever there is some sort of neat free event that happens in NYC that becomes completely unfun because of the sheer amount of people there. You wanted to watch the Halloween parade? Okay, but I hope you got there six hours early because they’re blocking off the roads and sidewalks after that. Oh, you thought it would be cool to go to the free Robot Chicken Rollerskating party? You’ll be waiting three years for skates and you’re only going to get about ten minutes in them. Having an entire mega realm full of people to RP with would be amazing, but I can’t even imagine how going to Stormwind or Silvermoon would be. Just /say chat alone would be chaos. People would be forced to do most of their RP in whispers or party chat just to avoid getting confused. And that would defeat the whole purpose of having a realm where you can RP out in the open.

One single RP (well, and RP-PvP) realm would be amazing if everyone really did want to RP. There would be enough people around that no matter what kind of RP you were looking for, you could probably find it. You could find guilds that wanted to both RP and raid. Or RP and PvP. Or just RP and RP. That part of it would be awesome. But those other parts? I’m just not sure it would work.

More like Lagrimmar.

One of the things I love about WoW is that I can play it on my aging iMac. Sure, I have to have my graphics set to low and my computer tends to freak out if I try to do something crazy like heal an LFR. But I can still play. Even with there being less people on RP realms than other realms, I cannot fathom what it would do to my computer. Actually, I think I have an idea. I’d get 1 frame per 12 seconds and then the entire thing would quit.

I think the technological accessibility of WoW is a big part of its success. I would have never played it if Blizzard didn’t offer the game for both Mac and PC. Eventually I realized that if I wanted to keep playing I’d have to install more RAM and actually update my OS, but since I already bought into the game, those decisions were much easier to make. If I thought I had to have a whole new rig just to get the game running when I first started playing? Forget about it. I would have gone and found myself some other hobby.

I don’t think there would be enough baby spice in the world to shrink all the idiots who would be sitting on mailboxes with their giant mounts. I fear the thought of trying to get a quest specific mob when competing with so many others. I have seen over a million WoW players jammed into one spot. It was called the Pandaren starting zone on the Beta. It was not a pretty thing. I eventually got so fed up with it that I logged off, and haven’t really done much with the beta since (though there are more reasons for that then just the terrible lag).

Even if Blizzard has the technology to make four realms per region work, I doubt that many of the players can do the same. With such a wide audience, it’s just not realistic to expect players to have cutting edge rigs that are capable of showing that many players all at once. Or you know. Letting you heal an LFR without slowing to molasses.

/eyes Newegg cart longingly and contemplates hitting the “order” button.

Where everybody knows your name

There are notorious folks on my realm. The trade chat idiots. The people who are getting the server firsts. That person that always hangs out by the same mailbox as you and keeps throwing a heavy leather ball at you while you’re not looking, leaving you wondering why your bags are full when you go out later to solo some old content. There’s a niceness about familiarity, both in WoW and not. Would it be possible to have a level of familiarity  on a huge mega realm? Well, sure, but it would be more along the lines of celebrity than community.

I think a lot of realms are definitely suffering from the opposite right now, mine included. It used to be whenever anyone went to my server forum and asked how it was, someone would immediately respond with “Argent Dawn is full, go away.” Now? AD is definitely not full. Horde side it’s actually a bit like a ghost town. Do I miss having tons of people around? Absolutely. And I actually think that you could probably get away with having a lot more people playing per realm than is allowed now. I used to live in a pretty well populated part of Brooklyn, but it was still a cozy enough community that the pizza place knew who I was and the guy who ran the bodega I went to knew the name of my dog. I knew a lot of people just by passing them on the streets every day.  But millions of people? At that point, you’re cramming the population of a city into a very small space, and I don’t want my play experience to feel like going to Times Square filled with tons of people I don’t know and who I will likely never see again. And I can’t even imagine the nightmare that it would be on PvP realms. While it would be great for them (I guess) to have more open world PvP, stuffing multiple millions of people into one place just seems like a constant gankfest. Barrens chat would never be clear of “The Crossroads are under attack!”

I think the idea of having four realms per region is an interesting one. It would definitely make the world feel more “real.” But I’m not really sure that’s what the game needs. I’m not sure if I want to deal with real world levels of competition in a game I use as a break from reality. I’m not sure if I want to deal with an auction house with that many people using it.  I’m not sure I want to see only four guilds in a region getting server firsts. I’m not sure I would want to deal with not being able to get away from people who piss me off because the only other choice is to play on a realm type that I don’t enjoy. I wish my realm had more RP and had some more  stuff going on with my faction, but not at the cost of those other things.

Check out some of the other responses to this topic from around the community!

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This week’s  Blog Azeroth’s shared topic post from  comes from Dragonray of Azerothian Life:

Are you starstruck by anyone? Does someone in the community respond to a post or a tweet and get you all speechless because they actually responded? Is there anyone you are waiting to have respond directly to you? Is there someone that you would like to chat to, but are too chicken? Am I the only one who puts other bloggers on a pedestal?

I’m having a bit of trouble answering this one, mostly because I don’t really blog or tweet enough to be noticed too often. Also, I feel slightly creepy admitting my fangirl moments over bloggers because well…I don’t want them to think I’m going to come and stalk them. I’m not! I swear! I just like your writing a lot.

That said, I actually did have a fangirl moment one day on Twitter. Allison Robert, the druid writer from WoW Insider, tweeted about something. I responded, and low and behold, she actually tweeted back! We then had a little conversation about tanking and how I shouldn’t be afraid of it, and I promised her I would attempt tanking that week (I didn’t).

It was a cool moment. I’ve long admired her writing on WI, and her articles usually cause me to crack up laughing at least a few times while I read them. She was the one who made me aware of the beauty of feral staves and got me attempting to collect them long before transmogrification became a thing. I probably have her to thank for love of druid T6 as well.

It’s interesting to think that getting a tweet from her caused a little fangirl moment for me. I feel like most bloggers are pretty normal people, probably not all that different than me. Okay, some of the awesome class bloggers are definitely better at math than I am, but for the most part we’re all just regular people who like to geek out about WoW enough write about it. I’ve always found the real life/internet life dichotomy to be an interesting one, and I think it’s fascinating to see what people both present with their online persona and what others may take away from it. There are people whose writings I read or podcasts I listen to that I think “I bet we could be friends if we knew each other in real life.” And then I feel creepy. ;)

Bloggers and podcasters tend to be an interesting kind of “celebrity” because through their writing and shows, it’s very easy to feel like you know them on a personal level. But there’s a weird disconnect there because they don’t know you. And I think that’s where this feeling of being a little starstruck can come from, regardless of the fact that these  people are probably for the most part normal with very normal lives.

In the end, people you admire tend to go onto pedestals, regardless of whether you know them or not. One of the guys I work with is an incredible leader and inspires people every day. He’s absolutely on a pedestal for me, and getting good feedback from him can lead to just as much of a starstruck moment as getting a comment from a blogger I admire, even though I know the guy. Maybe being starstruck is more about recognition from people you admire, rather that just being about people who are famous. Maybe it should be called Admirestruck. ;)

Anyway, on the off chance that Allison reads this, seriously.  Not creepy. I just really like your writing. You don’t have to worry about me showing up holding a boombox over my head or anything. ;)

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This week’s  Blog Azeroth’s shared topic post from  comes from Frinka of warcraftstreet.com:

What is the nicest thing another player has ever done for you in-game?

Oddly, I can sum up this question with an object from the real world. It’s a replica of the leaves of the Callery pear tree that survived the 9/11 attack in New York. I have this ornament hanging right next to the computer that I game on, and it symbolizes pretty much why I love WoW.

When this topic was posted, I tried to distill which moment in WoW that I’ve experienced was the “nicest.” The one that made my day or just gave me a smile when I needed one. And then I realized…I can’t just boil it down to one moment. The nicest thing that anyone has done for me is bigger than a moment.

I was very lucky to land in the right guild for me on the first try. When I see people talking about bouncing around guilds or having trouble finding the right one, I have trouble relating. I’ve been in only one guild since I joined WoW, and unless something really drastic happens, I can’t imagine leaving. The reason for that is the amazing friends I’ve made there, friends that I consider every bit as “real” as the best friend I’ve had for for 17 years. These are people who see me as a real person, not just a badly pixelated giant cow woman that is healing their face off during a raid.

They’ve done amazing things for me that are game related. They helped fund my epic flight when I was struggling to scrape the gold together to do it. They helped me get the freaking School of Hard Knocks achievement when I suck terribly at PvP and was tearing my hair out over getting that horrible thing done. They’ve mailed me the gold to get a mechano-hog, and come with me on runs through old content in search of that damn piece of transmog gear that won’t drop. They have written epic stories with me and been nice enough to draw me amazing pictures of my toons.  They are, in short, amazing guildies.

But that’s not what makes them so special.

What makes them special is that in addition to being great guildies, they are absolutely true friends as well.  They’ve stayed up late with me at night to talk about issues in my personal life that I haven’t really been able to discuss with “real world” friends. They send me texts to make sure I’m doing okay when they know I’m going through a rough bit. They helped to kickstart my creativity after it had been largely smushed by the stresses of becoming and adult after graduating college. Even after one of them quit the game (and broke my poor goblin’s heart!) he still checks up with me, even signing into Diablo after he heard that I had to put my dog to sleep to make sure I was doing okay. These people aren’t just guildies. They are friends. And that’s the nicest thing anyone has done in game. Being a true friend, when it’s so much easier to pretend that there isn’t a real person behind the computer. I think that’s the most that anyone could ask for from anyone else in WoW.

Koloma, with her “eat your damn food” face, drawn by Torolf

And then there’s that ornament up there. Over the winter, I had the chance to meet one of my fellow officers when she came to visit New York with her husband. We had a fun day of walking around NYC, doing the tourist thing, and finishing out the day with a visit to the 9/11 memorial. At dinner afterwards, she passed something wrapped in tissue paper across the table to me, and I was rather shocked to see that ornament within. She explained that it was a thank you for showing them around, and it meant she noticed as I was looking at it at the gift shop. I might have teared up a little, and whenever I see it, I smile. And it reminds me of just how lucky I am to have met such an amazing group of people through this silly video game.

But that’s just how my WoW friends are. They listen, they notice, and they act any other friend that I would have in the real world. And that honestly is the best thing in the world.

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