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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions

[1.Local]: What alliances we have

Reader comments -- ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

Tomorrow's the Big Day for one of WoW.com's own. Join us in congratulating Michael Gray and his bride Katherine on their marriage. It seems that this couple has been treading on geeky ground from the very start. Now, Michael has given us permission to share excerpts from the ceremony with the gang at [1.Local] here today. We've tucked in the wedding benediction at the end of this week's column ... Best wishes to the happy couple!

And now, on to the week's comment highlights.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Humor, [1.Local], Warcraft Movie

Drama Mamas: Spoilsport speed demons

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

What happens when the Dungeon Finder matches up a group of players with the right mix of roles but the wrong mix of goals? Who "wins" when veteran players want to speed-run a lower-level instance, while the new players want to savor every surprise and puzzle over every trick? Lisa and Robin are on different sides of the fence this week. No matter which philosophy rings true for you, it's something worth agreeing on with the rest of the group at the beginning of the run.

Dear Drama Mamas: Having played a mage for the last 18 months, I decided to level my first alt, a priest. I ran into unexpected drama problems running my priest in the entry level instances using the random Dungeon Finder. You've offered excellent commentary on issues arising in endgame instances. I am soliciting your insight on conflict unique to the low-end random instances.

In contrast to endgame instances, where gear issues arise, random entry-level instances are mixing highly experienced players with people who are new to World of Warcraft. The principal conflict that arises is the first group wants to get geared and leveled as quickly as possible. The new players are there to experience what the instance offers. The first wants to run the instance quickly, the second need time. Regards, Anonymous

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Instances, Features, Leveling, Drama Mamas

15 Minutes of Fame: Philosophically speaking

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, from the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Whoa ... Was that a book on WoW and philosophy on that display rack? Why yes, it was. World of Warcraft and Philosophy, edited by Luke Cuddy and John Nordlinger, has been attracting double-takes in bookstores since last fall. With selections by philosophers from all over the globe, the book covers issues topics such as ethics, economics, gender identity and metaphysics through WoW-tinted lenses. But this is no dusty, academic tome. Roleplaying, cybersex and the infamous Corrupted Blood plague are all on the menu in this lively, readable tome targeted at fans of WoW.

Editor John Nordlinger is just the sort of guy you'd expect to find behind such an eclectic project. The former senior research program manager at Microsoft is California-bound, moving from work in high-tech education to studying film production at USC. We visited with John while he was in transition about some of the realities behind World of Warcraft and Philosophy.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Drama Mamas: Dungeon Finder loot advice

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Yes, we're going to go on about the Dungeon Finder again this week. This time it isn't about Gearscore or DPS, but about the loot issues that have cropped up. The thing about cross-realm PuGs is that you may never see your fellow dungeon runners again. Or when you do, you may forget that you have -- unless you meticulously document all ne'er-do-wells by hand. Blizzard attempted to mitigate some of the issues they knew would arise by changing the Need Before Greed loot rules and requiring it for random dungeon rewards. But you're still going to get players working the system in order to line their pockets as well as upgrade their gear. And they aren't worried about their reputations Battlegroup-wide. At the same time, many people are expecting their fellow PuGgers to abide by loot rules designed to better a guild as a whole rather than a random crew of strangers.

This week we are tackling two letters as well as concerns from other sources in an effort to provide a solution for the Dungeon Finder loot drama:

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Instances, Features, Drama Mamas

Drama Mamas: Mismatched ambitions in the Dungeon Finder

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Last week's discussion on how (and how not) to offer advice to underperforming Dungeon Finder groupmates garnered hundreds of comments and reader e-mails. Whether you choose to kick underperformers or to press on, it's how you handle the situation that makes the group (and you) worth being around. We aren't alone in feeling that softening the barrage of criticism that seems to be going around is the real matter at hand.

"I was so pleased to read your last column about PUG drama with the new Dungeon Finder," wrote in reader Necrodancer of EU Terokkar, "but I was really disappointed to see that most of the commenters were discussing what DPS and gear requirements are required for this or that Heroic, rather than how we behave towards casual or less experienced players in PUGs. DPS and gear requirements may well be up for debate, but what isn't up for debate is that we should be treating each other in a friendly and respectful manner.

"The reason I'm writing is this: please, please stick with this issue for just a little longer. A worrying attitude is spreading through the community that it's perfectly ok to be rude, abusive and cruel to players whose only crime is playing WoW less frequently than the hardcore set. A good hardcore player should recognise that not everyone is going to play the game the same way they do. They can't expect every PUG to be full of power-players decked out in Tier Bazillion gear and pumping out 5K DPS in every fight. To them I say have patience, be nice and above all, remember that it's all for fun."

And so we come to this week's question from a Dungeon Finder fan who's feeling a bit "Abused and Confused."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Features, Drama Mamas

15 Minutes of Fame: Retirement home

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Is there such a thing as retirement guilds for burned-out players? When Sharaya and Boltac of Vanguard of Norrath spotted that innocuous question on the Blackwater Raiders realm forums, they recognized a familiar face: their very own guild. A collection of former hardcore gamers from the EverQuest era, VoN has become home base for a more casual approach. "We've all done the hardcore raiding thing, which comes with wanting to see everything and do everything in a high-content mass online game," explains VoN officer Sharaya. "We all have had our stints with guilds sporting the usual raid schedules, leveling needs, gear requirements and members constantly preening about scores from tertiary web sites with convoluted ranking systems. In the beginning, we all did this as a choice. It let us see everything, and let's face it -- it was fun.

"But as in most games with such demands, many good players get burnout," he continues. "They don't tire of the game; they tire of the routine. They tire of 'having' to log in to make events or risk /gkick. They tire of the constant fighting over drops and arguing about who gets invited to what. The game ceases to be a game and becomes a chore. It truly is a 'daily.' What we realized is this is not a fault of the game; it's a fault of the guild you're in."

So they created Vanguard of Norrath to offer a refuge from the grind, a place to indulge what Sharaya calls "the ability and know-how to blitz most anything we wanted but ... on our schedule, at our pace and without any pressure." The big surprise? How many other players have been attracted to VoN for exactly the same reasons.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Drama Mamas: Dungeon Finder advice

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Most of us have been having a great time with the new Dungeon Finder. (And if you haven't, then you really, really should. It's a gamechanger.) We have our good PuG stories and, of course, the bad PuGs. My first experience was in a dungeon where all but the main boss had been downed. I got in because the rogue whose place my mage was taking had quit in order to turn in a quest. None of us could figure out why he didn't want to wait the three minutes, get the random dungeon rewards and then turn in the quest. But his loss was my gain. He was a bad PuGger (PuGgie? PuGinator?) because he left his team hanging and waiting to pick up a 5th person before they could finish their dungeon and move onto the next one.

Here are some more examples of bad PuGgers that I think most of us can agree on:
  • The player who puts the tank on follow and doesn't participate.
  • The tanks who don't pay attention to healer mana and then complain when they die.
  • The players who don't manage their aggro, regardless of role.
  • Rude and/or spammy chatters.
  • Players who make careless mistakes and repeatedly wipe the group. (One mistake does not a bad PuGger make.)
But what about the player in blues and greens who doesn't make mistakes, is perfectly pleasant and cooperative, but isn't putting out the numbers you think he or she should?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Instances, Features, Drama Mamas

Facebook vs. World of Warcraft

They both have millions of users across the world. They both have made and broken friendships and relationships, and they both have raised millions if not billions of dollars for their respective companies. And chances are that they're both so popular even your grandma knows about them. Gamasutra has written an interesting post comparing both World of Warcraft and Facebook of all things, and they say that the two are more alike than you might think: both enable you to create an identity, and use that identity to interact with others, and both give you a wide variety of options to do so (in WoW, you can slay dragons together, and on Facebook, you can tag pictures or post on walls). Gamasutra wants to get to the center of where exactly the interactivity lies, and in doing so, figure out what makes Warcraft a game, and Facebook a network.

One major difference is in the interface -- obviously, WoW is wrapped in a fantasy world, so that in between all of the socializing, you're also fighting the Scourge or the Burning Crusade. Facebook has games, but it doesn't have that overarching narrative. WoW also rewards group teamwork and coordination, while Facebook leaves collaboration to its own rewards. And of course the cost is another big difference: WoW is still a subscription game, while Facebook pays in other ways. But the amount of similarities between the two are pretty fascinating. And comparing the two, as Gamasutra does, really makes you think about just what interactivity means, and how two apparently very different types of interactive media aren't that far apart after all.

Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Forums

Drama Mamas: A moment of silence, please

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Been devouring all the articles at WoW.com designed to help you dig into this week's new content patch? Obviously, we have too -- but not everyone feels that way. There are quite a few players out there who'd like nothing more than to work their own way through the new content in a little peace and quiet.

Dear Drama Mamas: I've been really enjoying the new content that came out a few days ago, now that instances are actually available to run. But I've encountered a problem that has bothered me ever since WoW started releasing patches. One of my favorite things about WoW is the story and the discovery of an unfolding plot. This new expansion has great story elements, from the raid to the new five-mans. Having been a member of my guild from patch 1.5 or so, I've been through thick and thin with the group. I am a regular guy with a standard job and normal demands of a social life. So perhaps I can't play quite as much as some others, which leads me to hit content hours to days later than some of my guildmates.

Just like watching a movie, I enjoy watching the plot develop and discovering my own strategies to boss fights. But I seem to not be able to convey this to guildmates, and any attempts to insulate myself from unsolicited advice and "helpful guildmates" is met with confusion and astonishment. I have very clearly stated how I like to enjoy new content and have asked for people to respect my wishes. I certainly understand I can't prevent giddiness in guild chat or chatting over Vent.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Features, Drama Mamas

All the World's a Stage: Anonymosity

All the World's a Stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players. They have their stories and their characters; and one player in his time plays many roles.

Roleplaying is a journey of trust you take with strangers. You may now and then start out with a group of people you know in real life, but for the most part, the people you roleplay with have no idea who you really are, or why you are sitting here at the computer. You can tell them if you want to, but most people don't ask. Roleplayers tend to keep personal details private, and don't intrude on one another's space.

Besides, other roleplayers don't necessarily care that much about who you "really are" either. They're there to get to know your character, not you as a person, unless your character first makes a very good impression and they decide that they actually want to be friends as real people. Even though you respect each other as people who share the same interest, there's still a distance between you which either (or both) of you may wish to maintain.

And yet, the relationship you have is one of trust. It's not at all at the same level as a best friend of course, but you still have to trust one another in a very creative sense -- you rely on each other to create interesting things for your characters to share with one another. You're not just buying a shirt from a salesperson or holding the door for a passerby -- you're exchanging behavior and language in an unpredictable and totally interconnected way. Any little surprise a stranger brings to an interaction may completely alter the whole game session and stick in your mind as one of your most memorable gaming experiences. Roleplayers have to trust other roleplayers to help make those experiences positive, even without knowing anything at all about one another. Sometimes two characters can even become very close friends, even though the real people behind them do not.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Drama Mamas: That Guy

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

We all come across That Guy both in-game and in person. That Guy is a bit overzealous while watching sports, picks fights at parties and/or verbally abuses people when things go wrong in a raid. That Guy is the one who thinks emulating Tokyo Rose during Alterac Valley games is a good thing. In general, That Guy can be avoided or ignored, but what if your Significant Other turns into That Guy whenever he ventures into Azeroth? Feels Single In Game writes in about this very phenomenon.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Drama Mamas

15 Minutes of Fame: Amazon grace, how sweet these guilds

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Why would players want to play only with others just like themselves? Members of special interest guilds tell us their groups allow them to play away from others who either inadvertently or purposely seek to harass or offend. GLBT guilds, Christian guilds (scroll down to Recruiting) and similar groups offer a haven for players seeking a peaceful place to hang out with like-minded souls. This week, we look at a new group that offers not one, not two, but three special interest guilds. The Goddess guilds of Nesingwary and Winterhoof, along with a brother guild also on Nesingwary, welcomes females - actual, physical females, not female characters - with a friendly, events-focused environment. We visited with long-time gamer and Goddess guilds founder Myredd to find out why so many women appreciate playing in a females-only environment.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Guilds, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

IgroMir 2009: Goblin gameplay footage


More Cataclysm footage is trickling onto the internet from IgroMir 2009, Russia's huge gaming convention, and there was a beautifully clear (well, compared to what we usually see) video of early Goblin gameplay that merited some attention here. I have to confess; I wasn't initially enthusiastic about Blizzard's choice for a new Horde race, even if Goblins do make sense from a lore perspective. But after trawling through so many videos of their early questing experience in the Lost Isles, I'm sold. Female Goblins still aren't playable yet, but their male counterparts have some awesome casting animations and an incredibly endearing sort of waddly run. They just look so interesting and dynamic doing anything that now I'm torn over which class to roll, although I can't really take their 2H special attack seriously, so it'll probably be a caster-class of some sort. I enjoyed Necrolord_Bob's answer to our poll on which Goblin class to roll: "Priest! Priest of the Holy Temple of BOOM!"

We didn't think that Blizzard would tolerate any Cataclysm footage floating around YouTube for long, but it looks like the earlier Worgen video we posted is still up. That said, don't bank on these (or the related videos) being around for long.


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Horde, Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, WoW Social Conventions, Expansions, Goblin

Drama Mamas: Time to man up

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we pretend to be a gender we're not. When we discussed boys playing girl characters before, we all pretty much agreed that it was cool as long as there was no deception involved. Roleplaying = yay. Experimentation = good. Hiding your true identity in a non-roleplaying environment = uh oh. Unfortunately, for One Big Liar, what began as experimentation and a wee bit of roleplaying evolved into a full-scale reputation for being a "real girl." Uh oh, indeed.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Drama Mamas

Drama Mamas: Wife aggro

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Wife aggro (GF aggro, SO aggro -- whatever you call it at your place) isn't about WoW. Let's get that misconception out of the way right now. Wife aggro is about balancing a relationship with a hobby that tantalizingly dangles one person physically in front of yet emotionally light years beyond the reach of the other partner. Wife aggro is about attention – who's giving it where, who's not getting enough. Wife aggro is about what happens when couples lose their grip on how to separate "me" time from "us" time, on how "being at home" is different than "being available." Wife aggro is about what happens when the wires of "my" time, "your" time and "our" time become crossed and start arcing angry, white-hot sparks. And left unchecked, wife aggro is about demands that cast one partner as the shrill arbiter of what the other partner is "allowed" to do and be.

Dear Mamas: I started WoW this year after many years of patient waiting until all the planets and resources aligned for me, and I was completely rewarded. During those times I was able to play 3-4 hours (at least) almost daily, having no personal issues because of the game (I'd still go to work, the gym, dancing classes, read, watch TV, out with friends, and last but not least, my girlfriend), and started getting invited to my Horde guild's raids.

But then I got married. In spite of having talked about it with my fiancé before the big step and agreeing I'd still play it casually, the first weeks were hell ... Every time I'd even try to look at my computer, she would invent something for us or me to do, and my gaming "time" was pushed back and back. Finally the bubble popped and we had a huge argument, and the best I could get from her was one
WoW day a week.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Drama Mamas

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