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Posts with tag social

The WoW Headhunter helps with guild recruiting

Last week we were kindly invited on the PixelatedGeek podcast (thanks, Erin and Nelson, for having me!) and while there, we heard from Darren of WoW Headhunter, a brand new site that wants to get you or your guild hooked up with some new guildies. The site is pretty barebones: you can look through available guilds or enter your own. But they do add a little something new: whenever you enter a guild into the site, you can create application questions and even run through a survey that charts your guild along four lines: between Reckless and Deliberate, Social and Competitive, Fun and Serious, and Learner and Veteran. So you can choose between the Reckless Competitive Veterans and the Deliberate Social Learners.

Kind of a fun idea. Unfortunately, the site isn't too populated yet (I couldn't find recruiting guilds on either of the servers I frequent), but it did just go live today, so it may take some time for recruiting guilds to find their way over there. And unfortunately, while there is an option to put an Armory link in your profile, the site itself doesn't tie in to the Armory directly, so you still have to go searching for metrics when players apply (would be nice to see a list of what achievements have been done by the player, as well as some common stats to compare).

But it will be nice to have a list of guilds to browse, along with a little more info about them, all in one place. If you've been looking for a guild for a while with no luck, there's one more option.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, Raiding

What to do when a player dies

This AP story is making its way around the community -- Jerald Spangleberg's daughter was faced with a growing problem when he passed a way: figuring out how to notify the guy's in-game friends. As online relationships grow more and more prevalent, relatives of those who pass away are often having trouble notifying some of the deceased closest friends. Even Blizzard can't help in this situation, apparently -- they have no policy or rules to deal with players who have died, and no way for relatives to log in to the game without the password to let guilds know what has happened.

You might suggest that these relationships aren't that big a deal, but when you think that guildies are encountered almost nightly, while real-life friends connect only when schedules allow (maybe once or twice a week), you can see why it might be important to let the ingame associates know what has happened. Unfortunately, all of the solutions so far are pretty morbid -- there are sites that will send email for you, or some players have left lists of contacts to reach when they move on.

The importance of online relationships is likely to increase in the future if the past few years are any indication. And given that the average player is getting older even as they're making more and stronger friends online, it might not be long until we've got a much better solution to deal with this problem.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

WoW is the new "third place"

This is interesting -- a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (just up the road from me here in Chicago) says that World of Warcraft is an emerging new "third place." That is, it's a place in between your work and home where you make friends and otherwise interact with new people. Starbucks has even used the term in their actual marketing (to try to make their coffee shops a hangout more than just a place that you stop by and grab a cuppa joe), and WoW isn't even the first videogame to fit the critera -- Sony advertised the Playstation 2 as a "third place" in Europe.

But even though Blizzard has never actually marketed the game as a "third place," it almost fits the definition most. Sure, it's not actually a different place -- most people do play at home, I'd imagine -- but in terms of having a different crowd of people that you interact with outside your home or work, that is often exactly what WoW is for us. As Professor Constance Steinkuehler (who has a pretty wild website for a college professor) says, "most people go for the game and stay for the people."

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Will the economic downturn hurt WoW?

GamePolitcs had an interesting news brief about Michael Pachter, a financial analyst with Wedbush-Morgan, who contends that MMOs will not be impacted in the current economic downturn because the majority of people who play them are "addicts."

The full interview with Pachter is available from Reuters.

Besides the negative stereotypes and sweeping generalizations that come with statements like "people who play [MMOs] are addicts," Pachter does make a good point. He notes that "Losing their jobs makes them more likely to play because they have more time to play."

I thought about this for a minute. If I were to lose my job here at WoW Insider, I would no doubt start looking for new employment almost immediately. I would scale back my expenses – probably get rid of cable TV (Hulu is my TV now anyways), I'd eat out less, I'd use the library more and Barnes & Noble less, and I would generally be more frugal with my spending.

But I don't think I would cancel my WoW subscription.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy

All the World's a Stage: Hallow's End and you



This week on All the World's a Stage, Michael Gray fills in to talk about how you can use Hallow's End specifically for your character. David Bower will be back next week to tackle "So you want to be a Blood Elf."


Maybe more than any other Azeroth holiday, Hallow's End celebrates a significant event in the history of our characters. According to the offical community site, Hallow's End is Azeroth's celebration of the Forsaken's break from the Scourge. (Personally, this makes me even more happy that we got the new model for Sylvanas in the recent content patch.)

The story of how the Forsaken broke free is certainly significant. But the fact alone that both the Horde and Alliance do celebrate this break is even more meaningful. Let's take a look at some of the impacts it can have for classes and races ... behind the cut.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Guildwatch: It's not me, it must be you


I don't think I've ever seen the fall of a guild as documented as Underscore is in Guildwatch this week -- someone has been taking screenshots aplenty of all the whispers going back and forth, and surprisingly, most of them have actually come from the guildleader of the guild in question. If you've ever wanted to see how a guild can fall apart from tell to tell, here's your chance.

That and lots more (including some actual good news) in Guildwatch this week, which starts right after the link below. Guild news is slowing down for Wrath, so please help us fill our inbox: send your downed, drama, and recruiting tips to wowguildwatch@gmail.com if you have them, so we can make sure the column is nice and packed next week. Thanks!

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Humor, Raiding, Guildwatch, Bosses

Australian TV covers World of Warcraft


Fortunately, this "mY Generation" show from Australian TV is a little more fair with WoW than the last bit we saw. Though the stereotyping of an entire generation and the video effects grate after a while, it's a generally better look at what it's like to be a World of Warcraft player. It would be nice to see, for example, these kids going out to a movie occasionally or interacting with other people (since most of WoW's population actually does that), and it would have been good to hear from more than just that scientific woman talking about the average playtime -- why all the focus on how many hours /played these people have and not what it feels like to play during those hours? But as far as mainstream reporting goes, it starts out as a pretty good description of what it's like to be a WoW player.

Part 2 and part 3 start to fall down, though, and by the time an intervention rolls around, the show gets a little more biased. I have to say, it would be fun to see a documentary done in this way for someone who watches TV 20 hours a week -- "We wanted to hang out with her, but she said the season finale of Top Model was on. She's a completely different person now!" Somehow, staring at a screen and doing nothing is still socially acceptable, but according to television itself, staring at a screen and interacting with other human beings isn't.

Thanks, Luke S.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items

Breakfast Topic: Convention chaos

We are just about to hit full steam on the convention season, and Blizzard isn't taking any time off this year. Not only did we hear about BlizzCon on Monday, but we already knew that WWI was going to happen in Paris, and then learned that Rob Pardo would be visiting the Paris GDC. And while Blizzard may not be officially a presence at other cons this summer, their presence is going to be felt for sure -- PAX, GenCon, or DragonCon, whereever there are gamers together, there is WoW.

So where are you going to be? Planning on visiting any cons this year? I won't say it's hassle-free -- the crowds, lines, and just plain costs of these things tend to make me avoid them, especially right after I've been to visit one. But then again, every year around this time I start to get excited about maybe going to them again, and while I have no idea what my plans are right now, I can tell you for sure that WoW Insider will have a presence at all kinds of conventions this year.

What about you?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Breakfast Topics, BlizzCon

A formal pronouncement of (ingame) marriage

Rezist has an interesting idea on the forums. We've already seen lots of ingame marriages happen, just for fun, but what if the marriage process ingame was formalized? Right now, you can buy a tux and a dress and pretend to get married, but what if the tabard vendor also sold a marriage license, so that you could formally connect two characters in marriage? Of course, it would have to actually mean something-- maybe the two characters could share a bank, or even get some kind of combat bonus when they were grouped up or near each other. With a Valentine's Day patch coming up in a few months, it might be a fun twist to put in there.

On the other hand, marriage itself brings up its own set of problems. Would marriage between people of the same sex be OK? Odds are that's a bomb that Blizzard doesn't want to deal with. And how would divorce work? A formalized ingame marriage could be as messy as marriage in real life if not dealt with properly.

Later in the thread, Nethaera shows up to turn the conversation from RPing in general, and I agree with her-- we're already playing characters here, and there's nothing wrong with doing something cute like this to let two people playing the game show a little affection for one another. But unfortunately, odds are that this is a little too messy an issue for Blizzard to put much work into.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Do you have roots in World of WarCraft?

The first MMO I got hooked on was EverQuest. The harsh nature of the game forced you to bond with other people. Some of those bonds have lasted longer than I played the game. I started EQ seven years ago, and while it's been at least a year since I've logged in, I still chat with people I met in-game even though they've quit as well.

Because WoW is an easier game than EQ (we can debate whether WoW is a training wheel game about as long as we can debate casual vs. hardcore), I'm concerned it might not have a long-lasting social fabric. In many ways my EQ guild was like family: we loved and fought (usually amongst ourselves) as much as most families. A guild alliance that lasted not even a year still has people stopping by to say "hi" six years after it disbanded. People stop by their old EQ guilds all the time. A lot of the time it's like old soldiers getting together to talk about a bad situation. "Say, Gan, remember that time it took us ten hours to almost clear Fear, and we wiped near the end and it and it took another ten to get our corpses? Was that a pain or what?" Shared misery can make for some long-lasting friendships.

In my EverQuest guild, I had over 2,000 posts on our guild's message boards. In my various WoW guilds I'm lucky if I have 50 over the last two years. One-third of my AIM list is people I met in EQ; zero are from WoW. How about you? How often do you talk out-of-game with other players, and will you keep in touch after you've quit the game? Is it because WoW doesn't have the hardships of other games, or am I just and old fogey remembering the good old days?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Humor

Cyberpsychologists study WoW social behavior

When this article was first submitted as a tip to WoW Insider, we laughed at it because of its cheesy headline: "1 in 3 World of Warcraft Players Attracted to One Another." People can form personal connections on the internet? Paging the obvious police! Or, as one blogger wrote, "Coming up, Channel 13 takes you inside the APA -- and what you find there might startle you: up to 75% of all Americans say that they prefer grape jelly to accompany peanut butter on their sandwich."

But when I actually read the article, I found that it wasn't all torrid e-romances and "ZOMG, don't people know that WoW isn't real?" There were some pretty interesting facts there, all taken from a UK study of 912 self-selected MMORPG players. Notable tidbits:

  • Forty percent of respondents said that they had talked to people in MMOs about personal issues that they wouldn't discuss with people they knew offline.
  • Forty-three percent of respondents had met with online friends in offline situations.
  • Twenty percent of players said that their gaming had a negative impact on their relationships with non-gamers.
  • Yep, "one in three" players found themselves attracted to another player. And it might surprise you that this was much more common among female players (42 percent) than male players (26 percent.) And what really surprised me is that ten percent of players said they had developed a physical relationship with someone they met in-game! Wow.
  • The average respondent played online games 23 hours a week.

So what conclusions did the researchers draw from this study? A lot of gamers -- particularly women -- use online games as a way to socialize and meet people in a non-judgmental environment. And if over forty percent of gamers have met their guildmates in real life, and ten percent have actually gotten into a live, flesh-and-blood relationship because of gaming, we can't all be maladjusted, antisocial rejects.

What do you think of this study? Has WoW helped or hindered your social life?

Filed under: Virtual selves, News items

Study says social games make people more social

Our good friends at Joystiq reported on a study earlier from Nottingham Trent University (it's in England) about MMO gamers and their social behaviors. And supposedly-- are you sitting for this one?-- massively multiplayer online games actually help people meet others and make friends. Go figure!

They surveyed 1,000 gamers (which is not a huge sample, actually), and found that almost half had actually met another player in real life, and one in ten developed "physical relationships" with someone they'd met in a game. 40% of people discussed sensitive issues with online friends rather than real-life ones, and 30% of players were attracted to another player. 80% of players also played not only with online friends, but with real-life friends and family as well. And according to the study, women were more likely to both be attracted to other players, and to eventually date them, and while women play for "therapeutic refreshment," men play for "curiosity, astonishment, and interest."

50% of respondents said World of Warcraft was their game of choice, so while the study was actually about MMO players, it's not a stretch to say it's just about WoW players (and pretty hardcore players, too-- average play time per week was 22.85 hours!). Like I said, 1,000 people is a pretty small sample, but apparently a journal approved it-- the study will be published in CyberPsychology and Behavior.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

Breakfast Topic: What if WoW were more interactively social and lifelike?

Yesterday we talked about all those things we that strike us as unrealistic or odd in World of Warcraft. Your discussion of these different things got me thinking: what if Blizzard decided to make the game more interactively social? After all, players have often said that they want guild and player housing -- why stop there? Why have a house if you couldn't have more interactivity with your friends' characters, such as cooking various meals together, talking, hugging, playing music, or even playing a Warcraft version of chess or something -- all with new animations that looked right? Honestly, the way things look in WoW now, social interaction mostly involves standing there, repeating the same "talk" animation over and over as you chat. Imagine if there were a great deal more variety in what your characters could do together, just like -- and bear with me on this -- certain elements of The Sims.

Some of you hate The Sims with a passion, and I respect that. And to be clear, I'm not really talking about making WoW into a "people simulator" like The Sims is. You and I both would play The Sims if we wanted to simulate people -- we play WoW for adventure! No, I'm talking about adding some optional elements to WoW, similar to roleplaying, which would add a sense of life and actual living to the game and don't get the way of your killing things at the same time, so that it doesn't feel like killing computer-generated mobs is all there is.

If you do support adding more non-combative, socializing elements to the game, what sort of elements do you think would work? Mini-games such as WoW Chess, perhaps? Additional interactive animations, such as hugging, handshaking or even kissing? Perhaps even the ability to pick up objects and move them to a different location, such as moving chairs about or kicking a ball around? Would you even go to the extreme of including things like toilets, basic hunger and thirst needs, or other elements that we have in real life? Where would you draw the line where the similarity to real life should stop?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics, RP

Forming a solo guild, or teaming up with a microguild

Chailya on WoW Ladies did something cool that I'd bet quite a few players have done-- she formed what you might call a "microguild." In her case, it's just a guild with all of her alts in it, but there are all kinds of tiny little guilds for all different reasons-- in Guildwatch the other week, we featured a guild that had only three 60s in it, that were running around doing all the old content. And in the comments of Chailya's post, there are all kinds of fun stories-- people who formed a guild with just them and their significant other, solo roleplaying guilds, and even guilds created just for comedy value (one guy called his solo guild "Attorney at Law").

My story's a little stranger-- one day I randomly got invited to a guild on one of my alts, a gnome mage. Just to see what the deal was, I accepted the invite, and the guy who invited me /gquit immediately, leaving me as the only person in the guild. For a few days, I thought it was funny, having a guild all to myself. But eventually I passed it on to another person, and I don't know what happened to it after that. I'd look it up on the Armory, but to tell the truth I don't even remember the name.

Have you ever started up or been a part of a micro- or sologuild? It can be a lonely experience, I'm sure, but being in a guild is a huge part of identity in the game, and people who do this (as I said, there are probably more than you think) are simply choosing their own identity rather than joining in with a big group. As a guy who likes bigger guilds, I'd think you're missing out on a lot by staying in a tiny guild or a guild with just yourself. But there are probably plenty of benefits to doing it as well.

Filed under: Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends

The odd couple, playing together

Playing with friends is probably the most fun you can have in WoW-- while it's fun to solo, a good group is where it's at, and there's no better group then playing with people you know. Unfortunately, because even people who have a lot in common hardly ever level at the same rate, level differences grow quicker than expected, and pretty soon it's just not possible to play with friends without someone wasting their time.

Until friendship shows up anyway. Lev over at WoW Ladies writes about an interesting duo she made with another player-- after joining up for a quest in Winterspring, they've rolled 10 levels together, and even played on their alts. And the weirdest thing is, she's 22 and he's 14, so you don't think they'd have a lot in common, but she says they play together great (she has a younger brother, and she compares their relationship to that). In the comments, someone about her age confesses to being grouping buddies with an 80-year-old person, and someone else tells a story of leveling up 40 levels with someone they met in game.

Makes me kind of jealous, actually-- I've played a long time with the same people at 60 (and now 70), but leveling, I was never at the right rhythm to really grow with anyone else, either in common or otherwise. On my very first character, I played a night elf hunter (duh), and got some help from a night elf priest on how to start playing the game. I still have that guy on my friends list on that realm, and still see him play online, but he outstripped me in terms of levels a long, long time ago (he's 70, and my hunter is stuck in the late 50s). Now, it'd be nice to somehow technically be always able to play with friends (you could have instances that averaged your levels, or just play with premades, which is what I think Guild Wars does), but I think that's just one of the drawbacks of having a leveling system-- unless you only play those characters together, someone will always fall ahead or drop back.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Quests, Leveling

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