Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cross-Realm Raiding Wishlist

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...



- dairy.

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.


  1. My ideas for cross-faction raiding:

    1) If a cross-faction group wants to queue/insta-port, they shouldn't be able to take in random players. They should form a full group/raid themselves*. This way random players are not suddenly grouped up with opposite-faction players and possibly ruining the experience for them.

    *This isn't restricted to just Real ID/BattleTags - you can still spam Trade to fill slots. If there are Real ID players from three different realms, that's three different Trade Chat pools to recruit from.

    2) Many existing dungeons/raids feature faction-specific content, like the Heroic-only boss from Nexus, TotChampion/Crusader, and all ICC dungeons + raid. Cross-faction grouping could determine which faction is used via majority, or random if there are equal number Alliance/Horde.

    1. 1) Love that idea.

      2) That would be wonderful. I read in a comment somewhere how they already have phasing tech in place for Horde to see Horde NPCs and Alliance the Alliance NPCs (Dalaran mount vendor was given as an example). While cross factioning some of these instances would possibly be slightly confusing due to NPCs, it would potentially be physically possible to swing. Lore and cross-faction tech is really what would hold us back, I think.

  2. *disclaimer*
    Diablo already has the tags for their Beta and it will be in full launch when the game goes live. However, that's just for Diablo. Both StarCraft and WoW have received the "sometime in the future" treatment and my gut has told me since day one to expect that (unfortunately) with the Mists Beta and launch.

    I would like cross faction raiding as well. However, I can REALLY see this not happening with the lore and story emphasis coming in Mists. The factions are at war more than ever by the sounds of it. Do I agree with it? No...but c'est la vie I suppose.

    I'm hoping to get involved more and bring a few people with me to twitterland (even though I don't have "the tweet), spring is just always hectic for me. I'm happy you want to include everyone as that's the kind of mentality I always have when I try to run things as well. I'm hoping to get my Tauradin to 85 so that I can help out Horde or Alliance side when possible. I also want to try and get a regular Transmog run system set up for those who want to do raids or even just 5-man stuff where more than one person might be looking for boss loot (let's face it, company is always nice!).

    As for cross region, I imagine this is a big headache, but I would also KILL to have this opportunity. Two completely separate clients makes me think the chances of that are unfortunately rather slim...

    1. Yeah, I knew that Diablo was going to be more or less the first game with Battle Tags, I'm just horribly antsy for it to be implemented in WoW. The sooner, the better, but we shall see when it becomes live.

      Lore is a wonderful part of the game, don't get me wrong. It's the drive that keeps us going in the game, propelling the story, so on and so forth. However, it's definitely stunting the "social networking" aspect that Blizz seems to be going for. Granted, we can talk cross realm and of course there's always Mumble, but it would still be nice to have everyone hook up and have a good time.

      Join in with us when you can! The door is always open, to you and everyone else. Alliance, Horde, full-time, once in a blue's there to participate in whenever you have some down time ^_^

      It probably would be a headache, but it would be an AMAZING thing to be able to do. Maybe some day in the far off future when servers in general no longer matter...

  3. I'm pretty sure I hacked the horde's attempt to climb ICC to pieces, shot down their boat, and then left King Wyrnn to deal with the fallout of me sticking my sword into Saurfang's son's corpse. And all this was after I massacred the best the horde had to offer just to get the privilege of going to ICC.

    From a canon perspective, I don't think the Horde and Alliance really worked together since AQ40. Everything before and since has either been handled by a third party, such as the Argent Crusade or the SSO, or was handled by one faction without the aid of the other, like Ony, Nef, and NorthNaxx.

    Considering the direction they're taking the story, it'd be a huge break in immersion to suddenly be in an instance with an orc riding around on his roach mount.

    1. I must admit, I'm not the best at recalling lore and remembering what is and isn't canon. I do seemingly recall a few Horde members scattered here and there throughout various instances, even if they weren't an actual representation of the Horde, just individuals doing what they do.

      I get that story-wise the Alliance and the Horde are about to burst out in an all out brawl. That would be the heavy hitters, the overall faction itself, not necessarily the lone adventurer (aka the player) whose favorite pastime is picking herbs instead of slaying members of the opposing faction.

      Could cross-faction raiding break immersion? Quite possibly. At the same time though I'd like to think that my shaman isn't a war slave to the Alliance and is capable of choosing her allies on her own accord, not hindered by the race of her acquaintances.

      Thin, tricky line to walk as far as lore is concerned? Oh yes, I have no delusions about that. I can easily see how it may make or break the story for those who are very heavy into lore and/or RP. However, it remains to be a wish of mine to run with real people regardless of the faction they choose.

  4. I was ready to have someone from my blog join a raid of ours... when we realized that well, we are alliance :( That was sad... but it is the game.

    1. Aww : ( I hate when you finally do remember that so-and-so is a member of the opposite faction. I was extremely heartbroken the first time I realized that myself.