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Posts with tag Server-Community

What does community mean in World of Warcraft?

What does community mean in World of Warcraft
When I first started playing World of Warcraft, in late 2004 on the server Azjol-Nerub, I knew the people in the guild my wife introduced me to and that was about it. Via that guild, I eventually met people who brought me to another guild, one that raided fairly heavily. That guild moved to Norgannon, becoming one of its top raiding guilds up until the end of Wrath of the Lich King when it moved servers and factions, and I didn't go along for the ride. I instead moved to Cenarion Circle, then Sisters of Elune. In all of this, my sense of community in the game has always been very heavily guild focused.

This means that when people talk about having developed a sense of server community via pugging Stratholme or Shadow Labyrinth back in the day, they're talking about a game I never played. When I was pugging in early BC, before I started raiding again, I was miserable dealing with non-guildmates who often wouldn't listen, demanded a tank with more AoE than a warrior, refused to CC or refused to do so on the targets I asked, and were otherwise often awful. This isn't to say I didn't have any good pick up groups in those days, but if I wanted to get anything done I often had to wait for guild groups. One of the reasons I heralded the advent of the Dungeon Finder was that instead of bothering my guildies so I could get some runs in, I just queued up. No more "LF Tank and 2 CC for Shattered Halls, Paladin tank preferred" or whatever the flavor of the month is. Not that we were running Shattered Halls anymore by that point, of course.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Is choosing a server becoming obsolete?

Let's hop in the wayback machine for a minute, because I enjoy doing that. Once upon a time in the days of vanilla WoW, players who had just purchased the game were faced with a choice upon logging in for the first time: What server would they call home? There were three different server types, each with their own flavor: PvP, for those that wanted to log in and have the opportunity to whale on the opposing faction at any given opportunity; PvE for those who would rather avoid fighting with other players and simply enjoy the content; and RP, for those who wanted to create character stories and roleplay with other characters. Later, the RP-PvP realm was introduced for roleplayers who really wanted to whale on the opposing faction as well as roleplay.

But the choice went beyond a simple matter of what type of game you wanted to play. Each server had its own cast of characters, and as the years went by, these players turned into friends and foes alike. Servers weren't just about how you wanted to play; they were a collection of people you interacted with on a daily basis. Guilds were composed of people with the same ideas in mind, but those guilds weren't the be all and end- all of your interaction with people in the game. Every server had that one guy who was always cracking jokes in trade chat. Every server always had a ninja or two. And of course, there was always the guy who didn't seem to get what social interaction was all about.

These days, we have cross-realm grouping via Real ID, the Raid Finder for those who don't want to bother with joining a raid guild, and now we've got the up-and-coming feature that will allow us to group with players cross-realm for raiding old content as well as the new stuff. So the big question is this: Do servers even have a purpose anymore?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

15 Minutes of Fame: Cory Doctorow on gold farming

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

A conversation with Cory Doctorow plunges into the matter at hand so quickly that it's almost impossible not to imagine yourself falling through an internet-era rabbit hole of pop culture and technology. Doctorow is all about synthesizing ideas and spitting them out in as accessible a fashion as possible, and the ground he manages to cover in a single stride can be mind-boggling; he's a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger, father, gamer ... A former WoW player and husband of gaming standout Alice Taylor (also previously profiled here in 15 Minutes of Fame), he's widely known as the co-editor of Boing Boing and author of the bestselling young adult novel Little Brother.

Doctorow's latest young adult novel, For the Win, pries open the seams of the shady scene behind MMO gold farming. Its young protagonists are gold farmers and gamers themselves. Doctorow has woven his own experience and sensibilities with focused research to outline a world of gold farming that sprawls far beyond the lines of cartoon-image gold farmers that most of us have painted in our heads. We chatted by phone with Doctorow for this lengthy conversation on gold farming and game economies, plus a companion piece at our sister publication Massively.com on gaming culture and his recent fiction.

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Filed under: Economy, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

What effect does the Dungeon Finder have on smaller servers?

For a few days now, I've been mulling over a point raised by Spinksville in a blog post concerning the Dungeon Finder's impact on smaller servers. It was her contention that, although the Dungeon Finder makes getting 5-man runs faster and easier for people on underpopulated realms, the new tool was contributing (or likely to contribute) to the depopulation of realms without a lot of options for raiding. It's never been easier to gear up a character, she observed, and someone with a geared character is increasingly likely to want that toon raiding. However, smaller servers rarely field the array and depth of PuG raiding opportunities offered by larger realms. Her conclusion? "Being on a smaller server has never been less attractive for a casual player."

While I go back and forth on that point -- lots of people will just gear a toon for its own sake without necessarily planning to raid on it -- I don't think she's entirely wrong, and I also think the larger point concerning the Dungeon Finder's potential impact on server communities is probably accurate.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

Ready Check: Is Transfering the solution?


Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Kara or BT, everyone can get in on the action and down them some bosses. Hong is still recovering from a vicious rabid koala attack, so you'll have to put up with me this week. We both feel sorry for you.

When you're in a raiding guild there is a natural attrition that happens at a slow but constant pace. A mage here will have to start classes, a priest there gets transferred to night shift. Your best rogue suddenly isn't feeling the game anymore and wants to take a break. A couple of friends decide that a more casual guild is better for them... I could spend all day listing the reasons why people take off and leave you hanging.

If you're on a high population server with a good chunk of your faction representin' in raid instances, then the normal course of action is to hit up your realm forums with a post containing who you're looking for and what your guild is like. You bump it every couple of days and wait for people to contact you. You can also spread the word over the guild recruitment channel or even have your guildmates ask around.

But what if you're not on that kind of server? What if you're on a medium population server where the closest guild progressing in your faction is a whole tier behind you?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

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