Why Can’t WoW Let Us Raid Cross-Server?

It’s been a dream for a long while – since WoW was launched, in fact. That one day, some how, there would be a way that we could raid with our friends, no matter what server they were on.

Now, with cross-realm raiding a reality, it seems that day could be here – if Blizzard were to choose to make it so.

The reason they’re not? They’re worried about the effect on guilds.

Today, we’ve got two bloggers arguing that’s not a killer problem – and indeed, that Blizzard should let us raid current content cross-realm, already!

First up, Shy takes a wider look at the entire problem, and asks why realms matter at all

“But would the player base not find another way to measure how they are doing in the competition? Would in the end it not be better actually that you’re not measuring apples against pears?

There is no possible way that FP can compete with Dream Paragon for example. And doing so is only leading to disappointment in the end.

And even comparing ourselves against the number 1 on our own server is not a fair comparison. We raid 10s, they raid 25s. We raid only 8 hours per week, casually. They raid for 16+ hours.

Yet, these sort of sites compare the two guilds together and say how much better one is above the other.

I believe that if it would actually become possible to compare experience with experience, and time invested with same time invested with each other, it would become a lot more satisfactory, for a lot of players. It would feel good to be the best in your own league, the best in what you do. The best when all is set to even footing.”

Shy’s got a good point here, and overall I agree with her. It’d be great to have more sophisticated way to compare apples against apples in WoW.

Meanwhile, Big Bear Butt writes a beast of a post on the subject of cross-realm raiding, starting from Ghostcrawler’s point about worrying about guilds, and then thinking of the ramifications of that – and the solutions to that problem, and the ramifications of them, and so on

“I’ve heard that a big problem with cross-server guilds would be guild bank access shared across servers, places with different economies. I believe the argument is that would allow guilds to have the potential to become the East India Trading Company, doing triangle trade deals across servers, and placing ‘normal’ players at a competitive pricing disadvantage.

Imagine for a moment the rise of mercantile guilds, guilds of auction house traders purchasing cloth cheap on Azuremyst, selling it at higher prices on Kael’thas, using the profit to buy cheap Darkmoon Cards on Kael’thas and flipping them high on Vol’jin, and then buying cheap ore on Vol’jin to sell at a profit on Azuremyst.

Umm…. SO WHAT?!?!

Shit man, go for it. I’d love to see another, deeper aspect to the game economy emerge.

If you’re upset because you like the status quo, you’ve got a good thing going and this would make your gold-making system fail, well, I have no sympathy for you. You want to rule the auction house in a changing economy, adapt or die. Don’t try to throw up roadblocks to change to protect your own interests… or at least, acknowledge that you’re basically mirroring the real world business model by trying to stem the tides of change when that change isn’t in your favor.”

This is a lovely piece of MMORPG futurism, and I highly recommend it. If you want to see what WoW might look like in 5 years’ time – give it a read.

What do you think of all this? Could current-content cross-server raids work?

Read more →

WoW: The Non-Grind Edition

You’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d stumbled on a coffee blog if you’re reading about WoW at the moment – everyone’s talking about the grind. But fear not – there’s much more to WoW than just dailies, as these bloggers pointed out this weekend:

  • Evlyxx is looking for co-consipirators for a very cool cross-realm raiding project: getting the “Herald of the Titans” title, only possible at level 80 with appropriate gear“In reality this means that your armour items must be ilvl 226 (or less) and weapons/off hands must be ilvl 232 (or less). They don’t need to be from Ulduar, although to max the stats Ulduar 25 is the best place to farm gear. “
  • The Ancient Gaming Noob reports that Blizzard have just changed their stance on charging payments after Annual Pass expiry“I went to check my WoW account yesterday, just to make sure that the times and dates hadn’t altered for whatever reason. Everything seemed about the same. However, the cancel button was no longer grayed out. So I clicked it. “
  • Green Armadillo considers his Annual Pass too – was it actually good value, and will Blizzard further innovate with it in the future?” I speculated whether Blizzard would be doing anything to make the base price of the WoW subscription more palatable to people like myself who are open to paying a bit more for uninterrupted access, but not $150/year. Despite the success of the program – over 1.2 million customers took Blizzard up on it – the answer is apparently not. “
  • Tobold is looking at the reputation grind from a slightly different direction – a just-dinged 90 who can’t even spend his Justice Points“I don’t mind there being daily quests in the game, there are probably a lot of people who like them as an endgame activity. But why not make the rewards for dailies to be pets and mounts and other stuff you don’t need to run heroics and raids?”
  • And lastly, Mister Adequate writes a fun post looking at the WoW races that should totally, totally be playable“Naga. The quests in Vash’jir where you are a Naga Battlemaiden are great, because you get to see how cool as heck Naga are. Turns out they’re refined, treat their underlings reasonably, and act with respect and decorum! Also they have that crazy spinny-blade blender move that minces everything.”

How’s your WoWing been this weekend?

Read more →

The AARGH TOO MUCH GOOD STUFF weekend roundup

And here’s our regular Monday evening roundup of the rest of the great blog posts from the weekend. Except it’s not, quite.

See, this weekend has been particularly fruitful in the blogosphere – to the point that even with three multi-link posts, we’ve not been able to fit everything in without firing a “MoP announcement roundup”-sized link post at you! So, instead, I’m going to be running a couple of the really great posts from the weekend later in the week.

So, that means you get a mere seven great links today:

  • Peregrina at Piercing Shots writes a superb post on just why you shouldn’t be worried to report or ticket offensive behaviour“All we’re doing when we put in a ticket is bringing something to their attention. Nothing more than a “hey, you should take a look at this.””
  • Thinking of starting EVE? Cyndre at Kill Ten Rats explains why his experiences, as a self-confessed MMO masochist, may not be the norm“Please be excited about Eve, and keep following my adventures if they interest you, but be careful not to ruin your own experience by following in the footsteps of a jaded old MMO vet hell-bent on breaking every last ship that can be flown in New Eden.”
  • The Ancient Gaming Noob writes a great post about the MMO features he’d like all MMOs to steal from their originators“For those who haven’t played Rift, there is a little button at the bottom of the vendor tab that allows to sell all your gray named drops, stuff that is clearly trash, in one fell swoop. And once you have this button, not having it in another game feels like a huge burden. “
  • Tales of the Rampant Coyote offers a detailed and very readable summary of what’s going on with the games industry, Kickstarter, and the role of publishers“Publishers can still dominate on the mass-market front… that’s what they are built for. But these other aspects of their business, especially on smaller scales, are no longer so easy to dominate.”
  • Gordon at We Fly Spitfires writes an insightful piece on Blizzard’s WoW strategy and how it means they keep more players“I think the real key to holding onto players is in giving them a variety of compelling, by otherwise rather inconsequential, sub-games to occupy themselves with. This is something Blizzard does very, very well and, if the feature list in Mists of Pandaria is anything to go by, they’ve certainly come to realise the power it holds.”
  • Syl at Raging Monkeys brings up a feature request I’d never thought of – the ability to turn targeting highlights off in MMOs“What is it with the white frame all around my target? I have eyes and a target window popping up – I can already see what I got targeted! It doesn’t matter if they are white, green or any other shade; full-body target highlights are obtrusive, ugly and unnecessary!”
  • And Are We New At This spotlights a fantastic-sounding new cross-realm raiding community – OpenRaiding“It is an invaluable tool, one that already has over 20,000+ users, and you should get on board while you can!”

Enjoyed these posts? Please consider sharing the word!

Read more →

Cross-Realm Raiding – WHy To Do It And What To Do It With

The advent of cross-realm raiding in WoW – essentially allowing us to raid with anyone, anywhere, at least if they’re in the US or EU with us – looks to provoke a huge change in the culture of WoW. It’s only just starting, but we’ve already seen entire sites springing up to support finding groups to play with, integrating with social media, and other Cool Stuff.

Poneria has a great writeup today on joining a group of fellow WoW twitterers and bloggers to PUG Firelands. There’s everything in here from experience, to practical tips, to lists of useful sites – have a look

“I felt very social at the end of the night. I didn’t realize it was 4am (Firelands ended for me at 1am) until Jed mentioned he was logging off. I’d had a blast and my mood had turned a complete 180 from before. That’s a rare occurrence for me, to feel totally happy & not want to go off recharge by myself, since I struggle with social anxiety that affects things from going out to eat to blogging to even raiding.

Sometimes raiding (even with guildies) breaks my entire world, but I’ve learned far too much about myself while raiding to leave it alone. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to mesh with the great social environment that is TLR, since I tend toward the shy & quiet, especially on voice chat. But it worked out well, and I think I’ll try it many more times. 😀 “

Poneria’s written a great guide for anyone who wants to consider jumping into cross-realm raiding here. I’d be considering trying it out myself, if only it weren’t for that damn US/EU split… (I assume cross-realm can’t get past that?)

Meanwhile, another fantastic service has launched for anyone who’s thinking of doing some cross-realm raiding. Sleepy Hams aims to solve one of the remaining tricky problems for a non-established raid – voice chat:

“Initially, this project is aimed at supporting World of Warcraft Cross-Realm Raids, but the server can just as easily be used for voice chat in other online games, or even just as a voice-chat chatroom. The information can be publicly given to pick-up groups and friends alike.

The server will be moderated – hate speech and harassment will not be tolerated, and will be dealt with swiftly. Being ignorant of this rule of expected human decency will not be accepted as an excuse to break it – if you’re on the server, regardless of how you came by the information, you will be held accountable to the best of the server administrator’s ability.”

Sleepy Hams is the brainchild of @vitaemachina on Twitter, and I suspect it’s going to see a lot of use in this brave new “hey, we can actually raid with friends!” era. Also, as far as I can tell it’s entirely a charitable endeavour – nice one!

Have you tried cross-realm raiding yet?

Read more →

In which WoW gets cross-realm raiding, Markco gets banned, and Johnnie gets drunk with power

That’s right, people, there’s a new sheriff in town!

Actually, there’s only a temporary stand-in sheriff, and your original favourite sheriff will be back in a few days. Hugh is taking a well-deserved break and spending a few days in Paris, the lucky so-and-so. That means the Pot is in the temporarily-empowered hands of yer uncle Johnnie.

So. Let’s see what’s happening out there in MMO-land … oh, look! A patch!

WoW Patch 4.3.2 is live, and has brought with it the possibility of (admittedly limited) cross-realm raiding, and the blogosphere has stepped up to the plate to provide a couple of really great tools to help with organising cross-realm raids. First up is LFRaid.com, a brand new site from Reliq of Azeroth Observer. Signing up to the site will allow you to create a profile, find a raid, or recruit additional players for your own raid. It’s early days yet (the site is still very firmly in Beta) but Reliq tells us that new features are planned for the very near future, including advice on sharing RealID and the ability to manage teams and send out your own invites. This looks like it could become a great tool for finding an LFR raid that doesn’t make you want to get a PhD in Advanced Theoretical Computing so that you can find a way to entirely digitize yourself, then transfer yourself to an electronic medium so that you can fly down your ethernet cable right into the homes of every one of those twenty-four idiots and beat them about the head until they learn to stop using the phrase “ffs tnak sux”.

Ahem. Apologies. I may be projecting there, every so slightly.

Along similar lines to LFRaid.com, a few prominent WoW twitterers have set up Twitterland, a dedicated portal for WoW-playing Twitter users to come together and organise raids. They’re using the Enjin guild website portal, which Rebecca reviewed in early 2011 and it looks like it’s perfectly suited to the task. They’re a friendly group, so pop by and say hi.

The Diablo 3 Beta team, it seems, are distinctly less friendly. Markco (a well-known and sometimes controversial WoW gold blogger, who Hugh interviewed last year) has now moved onto the Diablo 3 Beta, and is blogging gold-making strategies over at the Diablo 3 Gold Guide. Of course, Diablo 3 will feature real-world money trading, which makes Markco’s skills potentially very profitable. Perhaps too profitable: Markco was banned from the D3 beta test , seemingly for the crime of just being too darned good at what he does.

Today I received confirmation that my use of the tools Blizzard provides every player were considered exploitative of the Diablo 3 Beta economy. I have been asked to tell customer support about my ideas for making gold or real money BEFORE trying them in the retail version of the game.

Blizzard, and this goes for whoever makes the policy over there for banning accounts, are you kidding me? Because I used my brain and got materials from salvaging vendor items and gimped my character’s survivability with 145% gold find gear I should be banned?

This is distressing stuff, because it could potentially lead to accounts being banned in retail simply because they are better at the economic game than 99% of the player-base. Now I will have to be careful not to make “too much” gold while playing.

It’s perhaps inevitable that Blizzard would need to iron out some wrinkles from the trading and gold-making aspects of Diablo 3 – that’s what a Beta is for, after all – but if Markco has indeed been banned for simply making too much gold too quickly, it’s a bit disappointing. Blizzard knew what a can of worms they were opening in allowing real-world money to enter the D3 economy. They must have known, also, that it would attract a lot of skilled WoW auctioneers looking to turn their skills into a real-life income stream. Imposing an arbitrary limit on the amount of money that can be made goes against the spirit of that intent.

Read more →

2 Views On The Future Of WoW Raiding

It’s safe to say that, particularly at the moment, there’s more negativity than enthusiasm going around about World of Warcraft. Some of that’s a result of what does seem like a decline, some of it’s because people in general tend to write about what angers them, and some of it’s just a result of the old newspaper adage “if it bleeds, it leads”. Bad Stuff makes good blog content.

Thus, it’s very nice today to be able to feature two very optimistic views on the future of raiding in WoW – two posts that genuinely think the future’s bright.

First up – LFR! The incredibly brave and controversial new feature from Blizzard has attracted a fair bit of criticism, but today Big Bear Butt’s coming out swinging in LFR’s corner, as he argues that the people LFR enables today will be the WoW bloggers and hardcore raiders of tomorrow

“What I hope to see are people who used to hold raiders in awe stepping into LFR themselves, getting their raid on and seeing what it’s like, finding out how good they really are once they have the opportunity to try and apply themselves, gaining confidence and coming out with their own blogs to share how much fun they’re having and how they made it work.

When Mists of Pandaria does come out, we are going to see the largest community of seasoned and experienced 25 person raiders WoW has ever witnessed come together, all having had their taste of raiding and wanting more. Here’s hoping Blizzard understands what they’ve set in motion, and bring the raiding goodness.”

BBB makes a good case, and I really hope that his optimism plays out in reality. I’m not at all sure that it will, because my own experience of LFR has been that it’s such a poisonous environment I can’t imagine anyone who isn’t already pretty confident about raiding not being scared off. But it may well be that he’s right, and he certainly makes a passionate and convincing case, as well as offering some solid food for thought to those of us who are lucky enough to already have a stable raiding team and raiding experience.

Meanwhile, Dwarven Battle Medic’s Fannon has been considering the cross-realm raid option that Blizzard recently announced, and whilst not wild about its existing limitations, is very excited about where it might lead WoW in future

“Once cross-realm raiding of current content goes live, how long until we have cross-realm mail? Cross-realm chat channels? Cross-realm universal auction houses? And eventually, are cross-realm guilds possible?

I am just indulging in some wild and completely unsupported speculation here, as Cross-Realm Guilds are certainly not a feature that anyone has even hinted at being on the horizon, but it seems as if it would be the next logical step in the direction that Blizzard is taking us. It would pretty much remove all the remaining barriers between the various different Realms and create a single cohesive WoW population.

If this truly is the direction that Blizzard is moving, it may serve to be a very clever way to prolong the games life.”

Fannon’s spot-on about the current limitations of cross-realm raiding, but also spot-on about the possibilities for the future. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has long been frustrated by the arbitrary walls that realms place between players. If we’re looking at a future where Blizzard knocks them down, that’s a very exciting possibility indeed, and this post does a great job of articulating the potential there.

Do you think LFR will usher in a new generation of raiders? Are you excited by WoW’s cross-realm possibilities?

Read more →