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Posts with tag real-ID

Social features added to Battle.net desktop client

Our friends over at Adriacraft have had the chance to test a newly datamined version of the battle.net desktop client. They have various in-depth screenshots on their article, but it looks like the current friends list has undergone a needed overhaul. You can now add and remove friends, report other players, accept and decline friend requests, and see recommended friends, which are friends of friends.

Although you can't see an actual chat window in any of Adriacraft's screenshots, you can see that there are the options to edit "toast" settings, including messages, which implies that chat, or at least notifications of messages received, could be coming soon to the desktop client.

There is also the option to remember status, but before we get excited about offline mode finally arriving, remember that there are already statuses in battle.net -- away, busy, etc. There is, however, an image of the user being offline, but this could just be because he wasn't logged in when it was taken.

If you are concerned by any of this, or feel that you would not want the friends of friends option, setting up parental controls on your account can be an excellent way to tailor battle.net communications to your personal preference. You can disable it, or even selectively disable various elements, including parental controls.

Filed under: Blizzard, Account Security

Patch 5.3 and more with Ghostcrawler

Patch 53 and more with Ghostcrawler
In case you hadn't heard the news, patch 5.3 is set to hit live servers tomorrow. While 5.3 doesn't include a new raid, there are a host of different new activities, including four new scenarios, heroic scenarios, a ton of pet battle changes, and of course the advancement of Mists of Pandaria's storyline as the heat ramps up between Alliance, Horde, and an outlier faction of Horde rebels. It's back to the Barrens again -- and this time, Crossroads isn't the area of contention.

But on top of all of the new content comes a ton of different class and content changes as well. We sat down to chat with Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street about patch 5.3's changes, as well as some upcoming changes for patch 5.4, response to subscription losses, Vengeance changes, that big unannounced feature we've all been dying to hear more about, and much more.

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Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Why do we still have servers?

Why do we still have servers
I was wondering about it all day yesterday, considering the existence of cross-realm play, CRZ, that PvP, dungeon finder and LFR all pull across multiple servers why do we still have those servers at all? Are they a relic of the original game's design? Are they still physically necessary or could we simply have all these different servers exist as one large super-server that everyone in a region plays on? It certainly feels to me that, for better and for worse server communities are a thing of the past - I know a lot of people who play WoW, my friend's list is relatively hopping and my twitter feed even more so, but I haven't run a dungeon with random people on my realm since mid-Wrath and even then I didn't do it very often. Before the rise of dungeon finder groups, I either ran with a guild group or I didn't run, having soured on the experience after tanking BC heroics.

The way I currently play, I raid with my guild, run LFR occasionally (not very often) or queue for some dungeons either solo or with some Real ID/Battletag friends, do some retro raiding in the same fashion, and in general to me my server is almost completely meaningless. I play with and chat with people from all over the place, from Sisters of Elune to Norgannon to Malfurion to Kilrogg. If I could add EU players and chat with them, I'd have an even bigger friend's list. The people I know in game are people I've played with, people I've chatted with online for a while, but in very few cases are they people I've actually met here on my current server outside of guilds I've joined.

Of course, as I've argued before, personal experience isn't universal and anecdotal data isn't conclusive. I'm just one player. So the question becomes, what about you reading this now? How important is your server to you? It's very possible there are thriving server communities out there that would be damaged by a change that reduces server identity further and if so I think it would be useful to find out. If a single mega-server per region would be detrimental to people's playstyles, let us hear you. Positive or negative, your feedback is desired.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

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

Blizzard releases parental control video

Parental controls are of paramount importance in games such as WoW, which appeal to a wide audience of young and old, and are sufficiently immersive to permit lengthy sessions. Blizzard has long advocated responsible gaming, and WoW Insider is no different. To this end, Blizzard has released a video clearly and carefully laying out all the Parental Control options available to the WoW-playing family.

These include:
  • Limited hours' play per day or per week
  • Scheduled playtimes and preset schedules
  • Limiting of the use of RealID and in-game voice chat
  • Preventing use of Diablo III's Real Money Auction House
  • Automatically generated weekly playtime reports.
These features may be useful for more than just parents. Students wishing to ensure they aren't distracted by WoW could have their own parents set up controls for them, or players who wish to limit themselves for any other reason could do the same. Additionally, any player might appreciate weekly reports of their playtime!

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: News items

Now approaching two years of Real ID -- did it work?

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It's been just about two years since the Real ID feature was introduced to World of Warcraft. This feature unintentionally created some of the hottest debates when it was introduced, largely because it meant the friends you chatted with on Real ID would be able to see your first and last name. The topic became even more heated when it was announced that player's real names would be automatically shown on Blizzard's forums, something that went over like a lead balloon.

I mentioned from the beginning, on a quiet post on my old blog (Warning: language) that while I thought the feature was interesting enough, it wasn't interesting enough for me to use it. So where do I stand, two years later? I have exactly five people on my Real ID, and they're all coworkers with one exception, a friend I wanted to help out on a cross-server raid. I still don't care for Real ID, but it does come in handy every now and again. I'm still not going to use it widely.

So two years after all the roaring, screeching, and general madness ... how did Real ID go over? Was it a success?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Do you use Real ID?

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I do use Real ID. Wait, that's not accurate. I do have Real ID enabled on my account and I do have a friends list, but I rarely use it. Because of It came from the Blog, my real name is known in game. So that kind of privacy is not as much of a problem for me as it is for most players. Still, my friends list is exclusive -- I don't friend everyone and his brother like I do on Facebook.

The Drama Mamas recently covered the problem that arises when you want to have some alone time, but your friends keep inviting you to do things with them. It's hard to say no without feeling like you're hurting their feelings. If Real ID had an invisible mode, this wouldn't be a problem. Captain Obvious has been tapping his foot about that one ever since this feature first came out.

So all of your friends can see your real name and they can chat at you whenever they want. In Diablo III, they can even hop into your game if you don't have that function disabled. But at the same time, you can play on an alt while waiting for your friends to get online to get a group together. They can contact you easily cross-server and cross-faction -- even cross-game. The online privacy issues are huge if you aren't careful, but the convenience of chatting with friends from all over the region is also huge.

Do you have Real ID enabled? If so, do you invite people you don't know in the physical world or do you restrict it to friends who already knew your email address and real name? If you don't use it, why not?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Drama Mamas: How to spend time in WoW alone

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

With Real ID and Battle Tags, solo time while playing any Blizzard game is more difficult than ever. But can playing alone still be accomplished?
I get that WoW is an MMO, and that many games are multiplayer or have multiplayer opportunities. Most of the time, I don't mind playing with other people. I like dungeons and raids and grouping for battlegrounds.

But sometimes, I want to play alone. I don't like to quest with other people because I have a certain way of doing things, and I don't like to be redirected or slowed down. Likewise, when I'm learning a new class/game/spell/mechanic, I want time to flounder on my own (or in random groups) to figure out how things are going to work for me before I jump into a group with my friends, where I feel the stakes of my failure are a little higher.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Breakfast Topic: Further discussion of cross-faction raiding

Matthew Rossi recently discussed the possibility of cross-faction raiding. Those ideas always generate heat worthy of further discussion, so that's exactly what we'll do this morning.

With Real ID, the impending BattleTag system, and the increasing prevalence of social media usage in the World of Warcraft community, it's highly unlikely that all of your friends are on the same faction. In both the real world and the virtual, it has become easier and easier to meet people on the other side of faction lines. Even if all of your friends are on the same faction right now, who knows if that will remain true? You meet new people every day. It doesn't feel good to meet a new coworker, find out they play WoW, only to learn they're on the opposite faction. You'll never be able to play together. Well, you can, but you sure need to jump through a lot of hoops to do it ... like ditching your main character.

The social landscape of the game has evolved, but the binary faction lines remain static. Why not allow cross-faction raiding? I'm not calling for the abolition of a two-faction system entirely. Two independent stories for each faction still makes sense. The conflict between the Alliance and the Horde is still a part of the world we play in. However, if players are on our Real ID or BattleTag friends list, we must know them well enough that those faction lines don't matter. Why continue to use those faction lines in content where they are unnecessary?

Some raids do have unique content based on faction, that's true. It would be weird to fight for the Alliance as a Horde player in a raid such as the Argent Tournament, wouldn't it? I'm sure some creative Orb of Deception kludge could overcome that obstacle.

What say you, WoW Insider?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Should there be a hide option for RealID?

No matter how much we may love playing with our guilds and friends, sometimes we just want to take some time off and play in single-player mode. However, with the pervasiveness of the RealID system, is it truly feasible to go off the grid to do this? Syl over at Raging Monkeys attempts to tackle this very problem, arguing enthusiastically that we should be allowed this option, that it would not only be convenient but also would benefit those relationships we have built both in-game and out.

Personally, I'm a bit torn on the issue. On the one hand, I can identify with this situation, as I have been there many times before. My own friends would always want to level alts together, but our goals for those characters never quite lined up. I'd find myself creating secret alts on another faction, sometimes on another server -- not only to experience more of the story and lore than I had before, but to just be alone. Of course, this was all before the RealID system was implemented, because after its debut, I was not able to start a new draenei paladin or blood elf rogue without being flooded with questions and, admittedly, a little guilt.

On the other hand, there is a very simple solution to all of this: Put your foot down. If someone asks why you're on Area 52 rolling a worgen warlock (or why you're even rolling a warlock in the first place, yuck), I think we all can agree that the best solution would be to honestly and delicately state that you need some time off, away from all of your in-game obligations -- including those inquiring minds. But is confronting your pursuers really that easy? For some, this type of thing comes naturally, and I for one am extremely envious of these people. For others, confrontation of this sort is not something we want to deal with, and the option to hide from RealID becomes a safe, albeit passive-aggressive, option.

What do you think? Is this a feature that Blizzard should be working on, or should these players find other means of enjoying the game in solitary peace?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Cross-realm raids coming in patch 4.3.2

Since the introduction of cross-realm dungeons via Real ID, countless players have been clamoring for the feature to be extended to raids, too. Well, countless players, you don't need to wait much longer. Cross-realm raids will be coming in patch 4.3.2. So sayeth Blizzard:

Coming in Patch 4.3.2 -- Cross-Realm Raids
We previously introduced the ability to form cross-realm parties with Real ID friends, and now with Patch 4.3.2, we're adding the ability for players to use that same functionality to form raids to run older normal or heroic raids, or participate in Battlegrounds!

This will allow you to join up with your Real ID friends from other realms and:
  • Form a cross-realm raid and use Raid Finder
  • Jump in to any classic dungeon or raid and be automatically placed in the same instance
  • Join forces and dominate the Battlegrounds
Please note, you will not yet be able to run normal or Heroic Dragon Soul with cross-realm Real ID raids.

As we look forward to the BattleTag system, it's a very exciting time for World of Warcraft. No matter what realm you and your friends are on you'll be able to team up and take on group content throughout the game.



Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: News items

Blizzard announces new Battle.net BattleTags

Blizzard has just announced and posted a FAQ about its upcoming Battle.net feature BattleTag, a feature separate from Real ID that connects players across all of Blizzard's games with a screen name rather than your own full name. BattleTags seems to be Blizzard's response to the community's privacy issues with Real ID, in which many players want to make new connections with people they meet in game but are not willing to share so much personal information. BattleTag will eventually have access to all of the grouping and queuing features that Real ID users currently have access to.

Not only will your BattleTag be your identifier across Blizzard games, but it will also be used as your forum handle on the community websites. These handles are not unique, so you could potentially have the same name as someone else, but you'll have an identification number that appears after your name in your profile so that people can find you and send you messages. BattleTags do not interrupt your Real ID friends or any other feature. Again, BattleTags are optional, and you are still able to post on the forums using your World of Warcraft characters or StarCraft II account. BattleTags are rolling out soon in the Diablo III beta and will be available for everyone at a later date.

Personally, this is exactly what I wanted from Real ID, now pared down to a manageable, private screen name. My real friends can stay on my Real ID list, and my online friends, guildmates, and other people can use my BattleTag. This new feature is a great response to players' concerns, and I cannot wait to try it. Hit the jump for the full FAQ and learn all about BattleTags.

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Filed under: Blizzard

Real ID grouping feature out of beta, remains free

The Real ID party grouping feature, which allows players across realms to group up and run dungeons through the Dungeon Finder with same-faction Real ID friends, is officially out of beta and remains a free service.

When the service was first announced, a premium price was going to be attached to the service, but since launching, Real ID grouping is not part of the premium package -- it's free for everyone. Blizzard reserved the right to add features to the premium suite of WoW services, but this one is here to stay for free.

I was skeptical about the costs associated with the service in the beginning, but after trying out the service with fellow WoW Insider editors, I was hooked. Paying for the service, however, was not something I would have done. Players have a certain expectation about what they get with their monthly subscriptions, and in a world where free-to-play MMOs and games charge small amounts all over the place for items and boosts, a subscription game in the vein of World of Warcraft has a harder time justifying the extra costs because of the nature of the monthly subscription beast. It is nice to see that Blizzard is adding this feature for all players, no cost attached. Hit the jump for the full announcement and FAQ.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

WRUP: The hottest rhyme 1988 has to offer

Every week, just at the start of the weekend, we catch up with the WoW Insider staff and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" -- otherwise known as WRUP. Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game, and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!

Yo, my name is Fox
I'm a real big deal
I write What U Playin'
I got sex appeal

You think you cool
think you so damn great
But you rappin like it
nineteen eighty-eight

Steal your rhymes
from LFO
Talk about Abercrombie
then you good to go

This week I'm gonna
totally phone it in
Put a video up
then go for a swim

So later suckers
I'm outta here
Got a bonus question
Here it is real clear:

Cross-realm groups
the service is go
When it costs money
will you pay the dough?

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Filed under: WoW Insider Business

A parent's guide to World of Warcraft for kids

Is WoW appropriate for children? While we're sure the inevitable trolls out there are already clicking straight to the comments to revile the very idea of allowing children into Azeroth, the fact is that with preparation and consistent parent moderation, WoW can be a fine fit for kids -- especially for families with parents who already spend time in Azeroth. It's definitely one of those cases in which your mileage may vary; parents who don't already play or who take a more hands-off approach to gaming will probably want to wait until their little goblins- or worgen-to-be are well into their teen years.

For players whose kids are itching to join in the family fun, though, there are plenty of ways to make World of Warcraft a productive, happy experience for kids, parents, and fellow players alike. Here's the thing: There's more to think about and more ways to throttle age-related issues than simply turning off trade chat and forbidding PUGs before walking into the other room to watch TV. We'll show you how to find the best fit for WoW with kids, teens, and even parents themselves.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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