Warcraft Real ID grouping is the latest thing to come out of Blizzards think tank for ‘subscriber squeezing’. It is the ability for you to form groups with people on your Real-ID friends list. So, rather than using the LFG tool, and risking having to group with a pleb or two, for a small fee per month you can carefully select the right people from your Real-ID list.
The thing that puzzles me, is just how this is the game defining move that people are bigging it up (or breaking it down) to be.
Firstly, there’s already several methods of keeping an eye on or communicating with people; standard friend list and Guild chat/rosters etc
Secondly, I would also make the assumption that the only absolute need for Real-ID was the ability to know when characters external to the server or players not currently playing wow (but still playing other certain Blizzard games) were online, and to be able to communicate to those people.
With that out of the way, I would expect that most people on people’s Real-ID list will fit into one of two categories.
1.) People you knew outside of wow. People that you would socialise with on a non-game related level, as well as meeting up in Wow.
2.) People you met in-game, and have decided that they are nice or skilled enough for you to want to group with them again.
When would a Real-ID invite be the only option you had for group creation? Or to put it another way, when would the standard way of creating groups (manually or LFG tool) by so insufficient as to call for your usage of Real-ID.
Specifically in the case of the category 2’s, you will only know that character and their skills and would more often than not want that person for those skills. So you group with a brilliant tank, and put him on your Real ID friends list. If you then see him on another server, as a dps you wouldn’t want to invite him to your group then as, you need him for his tanking skills not for DPS. In which case, you could simply message him and ask if he or she wants to join, then wait for them to log in and send a standard group invite their way.
The even more puzzling aspect (if that’s possible) is that they are calling this a ‘Premium Service’, in other words they’re charging for it. Now, knowing Blizzard they won’t charge that much. I suspect only £2-3 but from Blizzards’ point of view a couple of quid on even a small portion of subscribers can equal several hundred thousand pounds of extra revenue each month.
So what is it for, and I am fundamentally missing something?
On a similar topic Trion games, the creators of Rift have implemented a free server swap system. Once per week, if you don’t like the server you’re on, you can move your characters (and even your whole guild if you’re a guild owner).
Although there still seems to be far more utility and practically in this free service, then Blizzard are managing with their Real-ID grouping nonsense. There’s no end-time on this yet, but Rift is still a relatively new game. I suspect, that as the game subscriber base grows they may add a charge for this service.