Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Alternate Realities

I log out of Twitter for a few hours this afternoon and miss the breaking news. /huff

What? You haven't heard about the new cross-realm dungeon finder premium service that Blizzard is working on??
Well, then, my friends, let me be the first to tell you that the Gnome and Goblin Engineers of Azeroth have been working overtime on a cross-faction project that will Blow Your Mind! The Elite Engineers of Azeroth (EEA) are proud to present: New and Improved Reality Transporters! That's right, friend! Soon you'll be able to step into a Transporter and visit those long lost friends in an alternate reality for an hour or two and then return home to your own reality in time for supper. No, no. They're perfectly safe I assure you. Not like the early generation Reality Transporters that disappeared countless foolish /ahem brave test subjects. These Transporters are New and Improved! (As based on our previous string theory experiments.) That old friend or lover who stepped into a Transporter and never returned isn't dead or lost in the Twisting Nether as you thought. No, Sir! Your buddies are living it up in an alternate universe very similar to our own and very soon you'll be able to visit them at will. Well, for a fee of course. Time is money friend. And this sort of Engineering takes a lot of time....

Yeah. I know. Craaazy! It's like LFD met Sliders.

Enough with the silliness. I don't do humor well. (Or poetry.) My apologies.

I have mixed feelings about this new premium service.

 1. "Premium Service." Yeah, that caught my eye right away too. Meaning yet another extra we have to pay for. It left a bad taste in my mouth until I read World of Matticus' take on premium services. I gotta admit, Matt has a very good point. I'd much rather keep my $15/month fee and have the option to pay for extras than have Blizzard up my subscription to $20/month and include services I could care less about.

2. And, when I look at it that way... well, it seems pretty cool. I'd certainly be more willing to pay for the option of grouping with friends from different realms than for guild chat on my phone. ((Seriously Blizzard? Guild chat?? That's what twitter and guildsite forums are for. And they're free! As for the AH... I'll admit I've been tempted; I just don't do enough auctioneering for the monthly fee to be worth it to me.)) But I've got a few RL friends on other servers. It would be cool to group up and run an instance every now and again. Chatting over Real ID is great, but it can't match actually playing together. And there's all the new, amazingly fun WoW players I've met on twitter. How awesome would it be to hook up with them in game? And then there's the rare special case where you could use some assistance on a specific instance or boss. It's one thing to have a friend look over your armory and give you recommendations on gear/reforging/gemming/enchanting or say this is the rotation you want to use for that. It's another thing when you just can't get that one encounter down no matter how many guides you read or vid clips you watch. Sometimes you just need someone to say, "Ok, come stand here. No. Here. Right on top of me. Now look 45 degrees to your right. You see how the light makes a little dagger on the floor? So, when the mob gets to the tip of that dagger and does X, you're gonna do Y...." And suddenly it all just clicks into place and you get it. I know! I'm excited too. =D This has to be the coolest feature Blizz has ever invented!! All you have to do is give your Real ID info to....

3. Yeah. Give your Real ID info to that person who seems pretty cool most of the time on twitter. I mean. I've "known" her for... a couple weeks now. I think she's a her. Um, and yeah. S/he seems pretty cool. I'm sure s/he isn't a stalker or mentally imbalanced or an identity thief or.... Yeah. Wow. This rather brings us full circle doesn't it? Right back to gripes about Real ID. Some folks have no problem handing out their Real ID info left, right and center. I'm not one of them. I have a number of gripes with Real ID that I won't go into. It's old news, right? The WoW community hashed out the pros and cons of it long ago. Real ID has been around for... what? Almost a year? By now, you're either firmly in one camp or the other and I'm not likely to change your mind. Not that I'd want to. In my not so humble opinion (at least on this subject), Blizzard did the right thing when they made Real ID opt in. If I want to give out my info, it's my choice of when and who gets it. Of course, that means that if I'm not comfortable giving a quasi-anonymous internet persona my email and real name... well then, I just miss out on some stuff. Like the new nifty cross-realm LFD service.

Dear Blizzard: I will forever resent you for associating billing names with Real ID instead of a player-chosen account Username. I hold out hope that you will come to see the error of your ways and correct this horrid misstep. Soon. I'm just not going to hold my breath waiting for it.


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  2. Blizzard has just announced a premium cross-realm Dungeon Finder feature, allowing players from the same faction...

    That's where they lost me. I only have one Real ID friend not on my current server and he's Alliance (dirty Alliance ruffian), so boo on that. And although I do have a 71 Alliance priest, I'm not paying five extra bucks a month for the privilege of doing a dungeon with someone once in a rare while.

    And anyway, it's not the "real" friends I want to do dungeons with. It's the Twitter friends, because let's be honest, those are the cool random people you meet and want to go play WoW with. But you're right, although I personally wouldn't mind giving my RealID info to someone like you that I trust, you should darn sure be skeptical about giving your RealID info to me.

    ...wait...that makes me sound like a stalker. Where was I going with this?

  3. "Dear Blizzard: I will forever resent you for associating billing names with Real ID instead of a player-chosen account Username."

    This is the real breaker for me :( I have a really unique name and a very real RL personal safety reason for needing to remain anonymous on the net. If Blizz had carried out their ambition to force the use Real ID names I would have had to quit the game. To this day I still can't imagine what they were thinking. Frankly - stuff like this give me the chills.