Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: When Worlds Collide

This weeks Blog Azeroth shared topic is:

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

Sometimes even talking to real life friends about WoW seems impossible, even if they are into video games in general.  There seems like a huge barrier of information and jargon that is impossible to explain efficiently enough to support the anecdote you want to inject into an otherwise non-WoW related conversation.

I’ve actually introduced real life friends to WoW twice.  The first time was back just before The Burning Crusade was launched.  This first friend jumped right in and got hooked on the game.  He eventually was the person who introduced me to raiding and gold earning.  He’s not playing anymore but I’d have to say that introduction went extremely successfully.

Then just recently another friend got a trial account.  The difference is striking — my second friend has played one character of every race, alliance and horde, to level 20 and then stopped.  So, he played a lot, but hasn’t so far decided to take the plunge to a full account.  There are three factors that seem like impediments to him.  First, his account was hacked and that was an unpleasant experience.  Second, he is afraid it might become too time consuming.  And last but not least, there is just so much to learn now — the game has stretched out so far compared to vanilla.  It must feel impossible to a truly new player that they can ever catch up.  Basics that veteran players take for granted are hard to explain, like addons, duel-specs, glyphs, mail, the auction house, etc etc etc…  The trial account restrictions didn’t help much either.

I suppose many factors influence whether a new player ends up playing in the long term, but my general feeling is it’s harder now than it used to be.


Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: One Realm to Rule Them All

This week’s Blog Azeroth shared topic was suggested by me:

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?

The short answer for me is yes, but.  Yes, but if that were to happen a lot of other things would have to change.  If Blizzard left the world largely as it is and combined us all onto one realm by rule set, the world would break quickly.  Chaos would ensue.  Apocalypse!  (ooooh, possible expansion title?)

Tokyo Subway

Just imagine your capital city, physically the same as it is now, with 100 times or more people in it.  Even at the lowest usage times, this would be unworkable.  It would be like the Tokyo subway at rush hour, or worse.

One solution of course would be to leave the zones as they are and make multiple copies of them, sort of instances.  I think other games that do this give you ways to switch your automatic assignment to one of these instances in case you need to interact with someone in another instance.  This just seems clunky to me, and counter to the whole point of one game world.

If it had been possible to have a single realm design in the beginning of WoW, the whole geography of the game would just be bigger.  Like in the real world, there would be more cities, and there would be no single city where you had to be ever.  No “single city bottle necks” to capacity.  It’s funny that now, Blizzard purposely makes some services only available in capital cities so that they don’t become ghost towns.  A single realm design would flip that script.  Also like in the real world, expansion of the game world would be required as population grew.

So however much a single realm seems good in theory, it’s not only difficult technically but impractical to do retrospectively.  However that doesn’t mean Blizzard could not consider more changes in that general direction.  Remember the world before battlegroups, or cross-realm lfd?  I think more features like these, including the a possible cross-realm auction house, can and should be considered.


Blog Azeroth Shared Topic Links: Starstruck!

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for July 9 – July 15 was suggested by Dragonray from 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 posted mine here on Monday — since then many many more excellent submissions (14!!) rolled in.  Please take a moment to enjoy each of them.


Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Acuzod Sat Next to Me!

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for July 9 – July 15 was suggested by Dragonray from 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?

There are many people in the WoW community that impress me with their wit, ingenuity and friendly nature.  I’ve had virtual brushes with a few — Matticus from World of Matticus responded to one of my tweets, Robin Torres from WoW Insider acutally linked to my blog, and very early on one of my true heroes, El from El’s Extreme Anglin’, followed me on twitter.  When El followed me I remember thinking “gotta make my tweets good now.”

But however flattering it is to have a virtual brush with fame, nothing beats an in person brush.

Acuzod, founder of Overly Dramatic News, totally sat right next to me for like 5 minutes at Nerdtacular 2012!

I really was excited.  This was my first year attending Nerdtacular, or for that matter, my first time at any in person, WoW-related gathering.  For those who don’t know, Nerdtacular is a gathering of Frogpants community folks, who include listeners of Frogpants studios podcasts like The Instance and members of the large AIE guild on Earthen Ring.  Here’s the one blurry picture I took on my phone to prove I was there.

Nerdtacular 2012

I really like Frogpants founder Scott Johnson and I’ve been a long time listener to The Instance.  I have an alt in AIE, but I’m extremely inactive there, so I knew no one at this event, and I went alone.  I’m not shy — anyone who knows me will tell you that, trust me.  But despite Scott Johnson’s and Turpster’s and Dill’s statements that everyone should just “walk up and say hi” I found it difficult to do so.  They are running the event and signing autographs, and I just really didn’t know what to say.  I wanted to introduce Warcraft Street to that community, but I felt weird advertising.  So mostly I just sat and enjoyed the panels and laughed and had a good time.

When I saw his nametag and he sat next to me, I had to say something to Acuzod.  I introduced myself and when he responded I said “the famous Acuzod!”.  He replied, “Infamous maybe.”  That was it.  Brush over.

Acuzod is the founder of Overly Dramatic News. Here’s how they describe it on their site:

Overly Dramatic News is collection of parody news stories made to reflect how World of Warcraft characters would affect or be affected by Real Life. It’s World of Warcraft meets The Onion Radio News. Originally the brainchild of Acuzod, the network anchor seat was passed on to HuntsTheWind in early 2012.

Even before I totally became friends with Acuzod (sarcasm) I greatly admired the creativity it required to come up with the idea for ODN.  In addition I admire the professionalism with which it is acted and engineered.  It’s just plain good, so if you haven’t heard it, you should check it out.


Blog Azeroth Shared Topic Links: Nice Things

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for July 2 – July 8 is:

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

I posted my response Monday.  Here are links to the other responses — they will make you smile.



Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: The Nicest Thing Another Player Has Done For Me

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for July 2 – July 8 is:

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

This was another of my topic ideas and unlike last week’s topic I had something in mind before I suggested it.

I played WoW for a long time as a solo player.  I had three characters capped at 60 when Burning Crusade came out, but I’d never even ran an instance, much less done a raid.  Famously, I had no idea my first character, a human paladin, had a “bubble” — the spell seemed useless to me because it only lasted a few seconds.  It was a real life friend that I’d introduced to the game who actually told me what I needed to do if I wanted to experience more.

I re-rolled and prepared a new character (the shadow priest who remains my main today) for raiding.  During that process, I just luckily joined a very large social guild and actually made friends.  I met people I would have never ran across in real life from all over the globe.  And we raided Karazhan — I thought I was a real player then.

One of the people we raided with was a prot warrior with a gruff exterior.  Turns out he had a heart of gold.  As the expansion progressed I went back to my older characters to level them to 70, and decided to try tanking on my warrior.  My prot warrior guild friend crafted me gear, got into vent to help me set my UI and rotation, quite literally held my clueless hand through the process of what to do.

Turns out I’m not cut out to tank, not by a mile.  And honestly, I can’t explain why the kindness of this guild-mate struck me so, but it did.  After playing solo for so long he opened my eyes to the fact that we can do more together than alone.  And that insight has far outlasted anytime I spent tanking.


Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Renaming WoW

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for June 25 – July 1 is:

Knowing what you know now about the game, what name other than World of Warcraft would you give it? Why?

This topic is completely my fault — I suggested it.  And I have no idea how to answer!  I won’t make this mistake again.

I thought of the question because I’ve often felt World of Warcraft is a pretty generic name in some respects.  I never played the prior Warcraft games — I can’t honestly say I even knew they existed.  So the word “warcraft” didn’t have any meaning attached to it for me.  Only after I started playing did I understand that World of Warcraft was actually very accurately, if not creatively, named.  “World” implied the persistent, MMO aspect and “warcraft” told blizzard fans at least what the setting would be.  So WoW is accurately, but generically, named. I wonder if they considered calling it Warcraft World?

I don’t play first person shooters, but I think Call of Duty is a fantastic name.  It implies the style of game and also conveys a seriousness and tone that seems perfect.  At least, it sets the tone game developers want — teenage gamer culture not withstanding.  In fact, Call of Duty would not be a bad alternative name for WoW.  Come fight honorably; “For the Horde!”; “For the Alliance”.  Other games franchises I think got the name game right include Doom, Civilization, and Sim City.

What do we know now that the game designers didn’t know when they had to file trademark paperwork?  By far the biggest thing we know is just how monumentally successful WoW has become.  Blizzard executives may have dreamed about it, hoped for it, but I doubt they honestly predicted over 10 million subscribers.  Given that perspective a name that implies enormous size, influence and market domination seems appropriate.

Enormous size, influence, market domination and honorable duty.  The name also should convey that it’s a persistent MMO.  Finally the name has to work from a marketing perspective — shortening nicely (like WoW) and maybe fitting into a catchy catch phrase.  This is such a cop-out on my part but I’ll have to mull it over and maybe see some other people’s answers.  If I think of a real answer, I’ll comment below.


Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Desire

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for June 18 – June 24 is:

What is in game that you want, but you can’t have? Is there an animal you want to tame, a critter you want to collect, a tabard that has the perfect design for a transmog set etc etc.

I thought of three things, all seeming unobtainable for different reasons.

  1. The Salty title — “Salty Frinka” would be the title awarded if I could ever get the accomplished angler achievement.  I’m embarrassed to say I have 8 alts with maxed fishing but I simply can’t win a fishing tournament to save my bacon.  The master angler of azeroth requirement is the only one I’m missing.  I’ll keep trying, but it feels hopeless.
  2. The Fox KitThe fox kit is described by some as the toughest farm item in the game, and I just have had no luck.  For the time being I’ve taken a break from trying.  I did the same thing (taking a break) when I was going for the sea turtle mount, but I eventually buckled down and got it.
  3. The forty person raiding experience — This is probably the only item on my list that I can truly never have.  Although I had three 60s I didn’t raid in vanilla.  My social guild did clear Karazahn in BC but we only dabbled into Gruul’s Lair with barely 25 mostly under-geared characters.  My experience with 25s in WotLK was unpleasant, it felt like herding rats, but that was when we were trying to do both 10s and 25s in the same week.  My guess is I’d hate even semi-serious 40-person raiding over the long term, but I’d really like to try it once with a good group at the level and gear that it was designed for.



Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Frinka’s Exotic Auctions

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for June 11 – 17 is:

If Blizzard added your main as an NPC in WoW, where would they be located and what would be their function? Give us a shot illustrating the fact.

Frinka is a crafty gold earner, so were an NPC added for her it would only be fitting for her to run a special, advanced auction house for alliance players named Frinka’s Exotic Auctions.  I can’t decide where she’d be best located.  Perhaps in the Exodar, to lure characters into that beautiful city.

Or alternatively she could befriend the consortium ethereals who run other advanced service businesses like reforging and void storage.

Frinka’s Exotic Auctions would, similar to the new black market auction house expected in MoP, offer exotic goods, difficult or even impossible to find elsewhere, to characters who’ve earned vast wealth.  In addition, Frinka would allow characters to register offers, or “bounties”, for items they’d like to buy, so other characters could fill those orders.  And Frinka would allow characters to post auctions for bundles of goods, like complete crafting kits or multiple stacks of trade goods.

As a member of the Stormwind/Ironforge/Darnassus/Exodar Better Business Bureau, Frinka would not only be an ethical trader/broker but she would make efforts to give back to the community.  From the fees she collects for auction activities, randomly selected characters low on gold would find she offers them a quest that rewards 1000g!

Thanks for reading my first Blog Azeroth Shared Topic post.  I hope it becomes the first of many.