As many of you probably know by now, this new fangled "cross-realm raiding" feature is pretty neat. It's been something that I myself have dived head first into, going so far as to even creating what is essentially a whole guild-like webpage dedicated to the feature, aka Twitterland Raiding. Over the course of the past month or two, I've had the pleasure of grouping with people from all sorts of servers, all who have either found their way over to Twitterland Raiding through podcasts, WoW Insider posts, through friends, or from Twitter itself. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would ever have the privilege of chatting, not to mention raiding, with some of the blogosphere's and general WoW community's bigger hitters.
Despite my excitement over how well the Twitterland Raiding events have been going and over how much enthusiasm is expressed over both the site itself and how much fun people seem to be having, I find myself still wanting more from this cross-realm feature.
"But Saz," you say "isn't running instances and raids with your cross-realm mates enough?"
No dear reader, it is not. I have had a taste of what could be, and it is glorious. I for once will play the greedy WoW player and (almost, kind of) demand that I want more. You see, for as fantastic as cross-realm grouping is right now, it still leaves a lot to be desired. Let me list out my would-be demands, if I were the demanding type.
1) As of right now, we are missing out on a lot of personalities since many folks in the general WoW community do not feel comfortable with giving out their Real IDs, which is completely understandable. This should in theory be an issue that will be fixed come Battle Tags, but who knows when that feature will officially go live. I suspect it will come once Diablo III is released, but that could be ages away for all we know. In other words, NOT SOON ENOUGH, EXECUTUS!
I'm impatient sometimes, it can't be helped.
2) Cross-realm raiding doesn't mean cross-faction raiding. One of the biggest factors I forgot about when cross-realm raiding went live was the fact that I still couldn't group with my Horde buddies of either real life or from Twitter/blogging associations. There I was, adding Real IDs to my list left and right, only to realize that several of my new friends were strictly Horde only, which is problematic since I'm strictly Alliance only. From a story stand point in the game, I get why we're not supposed to be friends. Horde thinks the Alliance are a bunch of snobby scumbags, Alliance think that the Horde are a smelly bunch of violent heathens, blah blah. That's besides the point though.
This desire kind of mine tears me in two ways: I get why Blizzard would want to keep the "animosity" alive between the Alliance and the Horde, thus disallowing them to run raids together, but at the same time...did the Alliance and Horde not storm Icecrown Citadel side by side? Did they not reluctantly work together to best Deathwing, work to restore the World Tree, fight against the titan creations stored away in Ulduar to save Azeroth? While on many story point levels, yes, we're a bunch of warring brutes who want to annihilate the other faction, we are capable of putting on our big kid pants and banding together to defend our sandbox from a bigger bully.
While I'm sure there may also be some technological issues at hand stopping the two factions from joining up through this new feature, I don't think it's completely out of the realm of possibilities for Blizzard to pull off.
My Draenei loves to flirt with giant cow people; let her slay baddies along side her Horde peeps!
3) Another huge disappointment with cross-realm raiding is that it doesn't allow us to raid cross-region. US and EU regions are still separate, likewise these two monster regions are severed from many of the newer foreign realms. This I know is probably a huge technology issue for Blizzard, but even if they decide to officially use that word "never" for cross-faction raiding, I do sincerely hope that they eventually allow us to run cross-region. I know far too many EU bloggers and Tweeters, and I'd jump at the opportunity to run with them in a heartbeat.
You see, a lot of the desire for these added features steams from running Twitterland Raiding. As of right now we have some pretty big faction and region unbalances. If I had to take a guess, I'd have to say our population rates US Alliance > EU Alliance - US Horde > EU Horde, with US Alliance being the most populated and active currently. I hate seeing threads/events pop up where only a small handful of people are able to attend, restricted by faction and region. I hate seeing "Why can't we run more raids for x faction in y region?" and being unable to say anything other than "I'm sorry, I don't have any Horde characters" or "I don't have an EU account, please set something up yourself!"
You see, I have this exceptionally strong desire to include everyone. While I know this is on many levels unrealistic, I like to do my damndest to try and make sure no one is left out. Not being able to scoup three of our EU Horde members into a US Alliance run that they'd love to attend breaks my heart a little.
To me Twitterland Raiding has essentially become a way to PuG, but at the same time has this very homey, extended guild-like feel. Everyone is there because they're like-minded in the fact that they desire to run old raids, and their current guild/server can't offer them that. They come for the achievements, the transmog gear, and the mounts, but stay because the company is pretty awesome. Twitter Mumble thankfully doesn't divide up the EU and US folks, nor does it discriminate between the Horde or Alliance. We chat, giggle, complain about how our various guilds are struggling against such and such boss in Dragon Soul; we share war stories, read cooking recipes to each other in sassy ways, bare ourselves in ways we didn't think possible. We group up when we can, forming both large and small groups, depending on who is available. However, there always seems to be one or two people in the Mumble channel who is unable to attend whatever throw together event crops up, all because region and/or faction prevents them from doing so. Off the group goes into another Mumble channel, so as to not disturb any conversations in the main channel with their group chatter, leaving those who cannot participate in the fun to their own devices.
Not cool batman.
So it is in my deepest wishes that Blizzard continues to expand on the cross-realm feature. I love what they've done with it so far, I eagerly await the implementation of Battle Tags (please come soon!), and I really do hope that they are considering the option of expanding our grouping capabilities even further. If this is the type community that comes along with restricted features, I cannot even begin to fathom how epically awesome it would be if we were able to include even more in this loosely associated cross-realm "guild" family of ours.
If we could do this, it would be legen -
...wait for it...
What? I said that my Draenei wanted to destroy raid bosses with Tauren and friends. Legen-dairy, geddit? Well, I thought it was almost knee slap worthy.