Friends and Raiders: The Social Aspect of Warcraft

Friends and Raiders: The Social Aspect of Warcraft

social-network

Someone once said “Hey it’s no big deal, it’s just a game right?”. As a kid, those games of jacks or playing war were always competitive but the statement held true. At the end of the day it was just a game and you could walk away and go back to being friends with your nemesis of twenty minutes prior. The games we play evolved over time and became not only part of daily life for a lot of people, but a part of culture for us. Take a look at the Nintendo Entertainment System, even if you never owned one you know about it. Products bearing it’s symbol are still present.

Fast forward to the discovery of the MMORPG. I played Ultima Online for a good long while as a teen, and then moved away for other endeavors (see trying to be a rock-star). I came back to the MMO scene with City of Heroes and of course World of Warcraft. What stands out about these games is not just the amazing content they can provide and the hours(years) of enjoyment they bring you, but you get to talk and do things with friends and other people. Working towards a common goal whether it is downing a boss or capturing the opposing factions flag still feels great at the end of the night no matter what if you can do it with your friends. It’s that aspect of the game more then anything else that draws me into Warcraft.

Warcraft is a rare  and unique snowflake. Not only has it set the bar unbelievably high for game content and playability,but the community that has sprung up around it has gone beyond the normal social aspects of any other MMO. There is a feeling of comradeship and competition that spans millions upon millions of people. The first time the true scope of the community hit me was when I read the story of Ezra Chatterton, otherwise known as EPhoenix. He passed away October of 2008, but before that touched so many of our hearts with his visit to Blizzard’s HQ as part of a make a wish deal. Hunter season 2 crossbow? That was his idea. It was also a wonderful way for the company to give back to a kid who found true joy playing their game with his father. When his ailment was reported, the outcry and comments from thousands upon thousands of people wishing him well, making characters on his server just to say hi and see how he was doing and even digging in their own pockets to donate funds was overwhelming. It was one of the largest showings of concern and care I’d seen in a long long while. When he passed millions of players mourned together. We has lost one of us, and we grieved as one. That was just one life, one player, one character.

Think back on your own travels through WoW. Have you ever had a friend you made in game that turned out to have a large impact on your life? Did you meet your potential love in real life while running an instance? Do you find yourself making friends in game and then moving those relationships outside of the game? I’m guessing more then a few of you do. I know I do. Lets look at some of the social parts of the game.

Guild

The guild is the family unit of the game. You play together,craft together, and more often then not raid together. You share your victories and your defeats with them. You spend the majority of your time in a guild. Think about it, You spend your time with these people like a family or coworkers, and over time you develop strong bonds with some of them. Take a moment and look back on it. I’m sure you can think of a few people who you met through your guild that you considered a close friend or confidant. Like families your guild will also interact with other guilds on your server who are of a like minded direction. They tend to flock together. Top end raiding guilds all know each other, the “brass” so to speak knows each other and interact on a regular basis much like families in the same neighborhood would. I’m sure you know more then a few people from other guilds around the same tier as yours pretty well. Your guild also more then likely has some form of website or forum that lets you keep in touch, even with those who leave the game.

WoW Websites / Blogs

I’m a recent addition to this world in many ways, but it’s still amazing to me the sense of community you get when you browse private blogs and websites dedicated to the game. I have met so many people through these sites, not just as a writter here at World of Matticus but through reading other’s blogs, following them on twitter and even randomly finding them on facebook. Talking about the game has bled over into talking about real life. Sure there will always be exceptions but I find more often then not bloggers and people who put their WoW ways up on the Internet are a friendly bunch (in my case the term jovial has been applied). You yourself probably have had interaction with a blogger that has grown to what you would call friendship. Communities like Plusheal are great examples. So many people from all different servers sharing ideas, helping each other out with tips, strategies, loot ideas. You can even find WoW Twitters like Mine and Matt’s and in fact using such a site further highlights the sense of community. These sites bring us news of events like Ezra and highlight the triumphs and hardships of our gaming community. If not for websites like Plusheal I never would have met Matt, Syd and Wyn and lets face it, those three are pretty alright =D

The Friends list

Throughout your travels you’ve more then likely gathered a few friends that you’ve tossed on your list. Occasionally those friends are Real Life friends who happen to be in another guild, or sometimes ex guildies. Sometimes the game can cause a divide in a friendship and cause people to no longer speak out of game let alone in game. I’d like to share a bit about my friends that I’ve acquired through the game.

One of my best friends is a raiding warlock in my guild. We met through the game and found out we lived in the same city, all of 10 minutes away from each other. He has become one of my closest companions and is like a brother to me (talking about you Tim!). But I probably wouldn’t have met him if not for the game. In fact the vast majority of my guild. I talk to them outside of the game and look forward to events like Blizzcon as excuses to meet up with them have a few beers and share in a solid friendship that has be cultivated over the course of years. I miss some that have left the game to pursue other endeavors but I do try to keep in touch. And occasionally I’ll get a surprise like last night where friends of old that fell off all radars years ago pop back in the game with a fresh game card and their old level 60 toons.

One of my longest in-game friends left my guild a long time ago, but I always kept in contact. We talk whenever possible and its nice to catch up. She also listens to my rants which is a bonus and she helped me understand a lot about paladin healing when I switched over to healing lead and before I stumbled upon the websites here and Plusheal for information.

I met my girlfriend through the community as well. We started talking about being healers and the game and found out we had so much more in common. I recently made a toon on her server and was invited into the guild she is part of. Within minutes I was welcomed warmly and sincerely and was made to feel a part of the guild immediately. They are a great bunch of folk, and I never would have met her or them if not for the community surrounding WoW. I’m very glad to have met them and look forward to spending more time with them.

I lost a friend because of the game too. There was a disagreement over specs and honestly rather silly things. When the dust settled whether it was pride or whatever, I lost a real life friend that I had for years prior. It hurt but it’s just the nature of the game.

I’m in awe daily by the amount of people I get to talk to and interact with through twitter, this website and the game in general. That’s the part that really draws me to World of Warcraft, I love interacting with people. I find it so much more gratifying then say, just stomping goombas (although mario time will always be a treasured event). I think it’s safe to say that WoW has moved beyond being “just a game”.

So how about you? Have any stories of friendship gained or lost to share? Do you think the social aspect of WoW is what makes it such a powerhouse?

Until Next time, Happy Healing,

sig5

Image courtesy of www.yourmwr.com

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About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.

Comments

  1. I’ve actually been talking a good bit about topics like this. My guildmates and I often describe our guild as a family. We talk almost every day either through vent or in-game; we’ve had our share of ups and downs; and these are the sort of people who would help each other out at a drop of a hat, without even being asked. We may be spread out across the continent but we are the tightest group of friends that I have ever been a part of.

    I’ve also recently discovered that a member of one of our allianced guilds lives in the same city as myself. Over the past couple weeks, we’ve met several times to hang out and have fun. It’s just great to have someone else local who shares my interests, especially since none of my RL friends play WoW.

    This is a very social game. Before I used to play because I just really liked the game, but now I have even more of a reason to log on…to hang out with my friends. And they’re the type of people that I don’t see myself saying goodbye to for a long long time.

    Faeldrays last blog post..How to waste time at work

  2. The social aspect of WoW is the number one reason I still play, after four years. I play with my husband, with one of my children sometimes, with friends I knew before I ever started playing, and with friends made through the game. As someone who is often ill and doesn’t often get out of the house, WoW is more than just a game to me. And I’m grateful for the incredible people I’ve met through it,

  3. I met someone from the UK on WOW and we have become good friends. We don’t hang out as much in WOW because my wireless connection is hit or miss (I wish I would have kept the hardwire connection). When I first started playing I was looking at it more as a video game but now it’s more like a social club within a game. Or something.

  4. My wife and I play together in a guild that has a large number of married couples, BF/GF, and brothers and sisters (and a couple of parent/child combos, too). It’s a pretty tight-knit guild. We recently had one of our guildies over for a weekend, and it was a great experience that will be nice to do again.

    It’s funny, the social aspect of the game was one of the things that most intimidated me about WoW at first. I was very reluctant to join groups and engage in conversation initially (though I frequently delivered the ‘anonymous buff’). Now it’s probably the highlight of the game for me, trade chat notwithstanding!

  5. @jeffo well… I think we can all agree that trade chat is a special special place….

  6. I’ve just done an article over at http://leadingaguild.blogspot.com/2009/05/coping-with-raiders.html about how people deal with raider psyche as guild leaders, but you do right with this article to say how raiders form the base of a friend/family unit in WoW. The social dynamics of people in ANY MMO is different to real life, but to what extent? Maybe if we thought raiders more of friends and family and not just ‘people to grind/get gear with’, then we’d find ourselves thinking in a more positive and productive manner.

    Pierre Goldblooms last blog post..Coping With Raiders

  7. Lodur says “I think we can all agree that trade chat is a special special place….”

    Heh, last night it was the Anal link game, today it was the Murloc game — time to move to the suburbs!

    jeffos last blog post..Old Tools, New Tools: Changing with the Times

  8. I met my hubby via wow 🙂 made lots of friends that I have kept up with and even gone to a bbq to meet a few 🙂

    Lenelies last blog post..3 years today!

  9. Great post, Lodur, thanks for bringing this up. I’m a raider and a guild leader, but this game is about the social aspect, for me. It’s why I put up with the personalities, the responsibilities, the stress of raiding, because otherwise the fun I have wouldn’t invest me so heavily into it all. I’ve rediscovered people I knew from real life in Warcraft (thanks to Facebook Warcraft apps links) and have developed some outstanding friendships in my home town, and spread out all over my home country, some even in other parts of the world. It’s fabulous. I also met my boyfriend in wow, and even though he’s moved on, he can understand my heavy involvement more so than non-players would.

  10. Holycorpse says:

    One of my best friends in reality is an extremely gifted Tai Kwon Do and Ju Jitsu practitioner. Turns out his main in WoW is a PvP Frost Mage. He just loves dishing damage, in real life and in game! 🙂

  11. I’ve been unlucky (I guess) in the fact that I’ve only met a handful of people in WoW that I’d be willing to hang out with in real life. I think that I’m in a very unique position though, that I expect high quality from fellow raiders even though I’m not willing to commit to more than about 20 hours of raiding per week.

    The social-ness of the game has actually deterred me from playing as much as I would, because I haven’t been able to find my spot in the world. . . of Warcraft.

    Sorry, that was a terrible joke. I just couldn’t resist.

    But honestly, my perfect game would be WoW without the required dependence on people I don’t know.

    Naelerons last blog post..User-Created Content: Yea or Nea?

  12. In my old guild I became good friends with the guild master, and still talk to her despite having left the guild (though she isn’t on much due to RL) my best friend met a girl on WoW and is now emigrating to live with her. So yeah, WoW’s social aspect can be damn strong!

  13. Ditto on the social aspect of WoW. One thing I wish for in the game social wise is the block list, and thats to have the same ability as the friends list i.e. to enable descriptions on the toons names, so as to know just why they’re on the ban list in the first place. At times I find myself staring at the ban list and wonder if so-and-so really was an asshole and deserved to stay on the list, or if it was just some annoying kid who was asking for gold a tad bit too much. Granted anyone who ends up on the ban list probably deserved it, but still, I wish there was a way to remind me of why they’re there in the first place ><

    kaoskongos last blog post..Slang of the Week – Heavy

  14. One of the things that keeps me playing WoW is friendships. How many hours I’ve spend just sitting in Dalaran having fun on vent/guildchat. I think one of the big aspects which makes WoW a good game is the social part. Though, I haven’t met a lot of people in real life. Only 1 person, which is kinda sad because I wish I’ve had met more people, or be able to meet more people.

    SuicidalPriests last blog post..Dear Popcap games…

  15. I played UO and Star Wars Galaxies hardcore before I came to WoW, and there are pros and cons for each. I guess I got harder into Warcraft than I did the others because despite the fact that I always said it was the community that kept me playing, I never met IRL with friends from a game before WoW. I never had anyone travel from Michigan to Tennessee just to see me and my friends to hang out.

    There is something to be said of the community in these games, and I wish that it were possible to keep up with more people in-game and develop these bonds without having to schedule times to raid. That was how I built those friendships, but without the time these days, I feel them disintegrating. Even with friending each other on Facebook and phone numbers for periodic texts and phone calls, those friendships dwindle (like RL friendships do) without constant cultivation from what started them in the first place.

    Beejs last blog post..Does College Stifle Academic Creativity?

  16. if you have played this game as long as most of us have then we all have a good heart warming story to share. most of my guild ans friends i play with have followed many paths. most of us started on diablo then went on to diable 2 LOD, to finally WOW. from horde pvp server to an alliance server. and yes just like family i have lost some great friends along the way too. guild drama is just like family drama.
    but that what makes WOW so much of our daily life, it can be an outlet from your life.
    it can a social network too. WOW is what you make of it. so lets keep the good times rolling.

  17. Allindra says:

    I’ve developed many friendships with guildies on WoW that I would love to meet some day. We sometimes muse about how fun it would be to have everyone meet up somewhere for a “WoW guild get-together” so we could meet everyone in person.

    I also met my fiance in the game…he was in the same guild and after a few nights talking, the world was a different place. It can be hard to maintain a long distance relationship but the social aspect of WoW kept our relationship anchored in place until I was able to move 600 miles to live with him, and now we still raid and play together.

  18. I really liked the article, have alot of thoughts on it, and added my own spin to it on my blog. Feel free to check it out.

    Xylchs last blog post..The Paladin

  19. interesting comment 🙂

  20. I got to be really close friends with my rogue arena partner in season 3 (we were friends in a prior guild but more in a GL/member sort of way). When he decided to quit playing I cried. Not just a little sad tear, I really cried. We actually still e-mail each other, which has been great, but I still miss my arena partner. It’s got to be hard for non-gamers to understand, but it’s not just a bunch of pixels that come and go.

    Zulwigas last blog post..Awesomesauce

  21. The people truly are the + and the – of the game…
    😉

    Funny how sometimes the RL friends who play are not the ones you end up closest to ingame, and how those ingame friendships can blossom into friendships with a broader span than inside the confines of the game.

    *cheers*

  22. I’ve come across some amazing people who I try to keep in touch with now and then. 🙂 And my bf and I met a longtime friend just last year – and I’m pretty sure it was through WC3 that they met originally. It was so long ago haha 😀

    Definitely some awesome people who play the game ^^

    Antimonis last blog post..DK Addons: Rune Displays

  23. I’ve come across some amazing people who I try to keep in touch with now and then. And my bf and I met a longtime friend just last year – and I’m pretty sure it was through WC3 that they met originally. It was so long ago haha

  24. I’ve come across some amazing people who I try to keep in touch with now and then. And my bf and I met a longtime friend just last year – and I’m pretty sure it was through WC3 that they met originally. It was so long ago haha
    .-= haber´s last blog ..Ba?kanlardan Ankara ç?karmas? =-.

  25. I’ve come across some amazing people who I try to keep in touch with now and then. And my bf and I met a longtime friend just last year – and I’m pretty sure it was through WC3 that they met originally. It was so long ago haha

  26. interesting comment

  27. I got to be really close friends with my rogue arena partner in season 3 (we were friends in a prior guild but more in a GL/member sort of way). When he decided to quit playing I cried. Not just a little sad tear, I really cried. We actually still e-mail each other, which has been great, but I still miss my arena partner. It’s got to be hard for non-gamers to understand, but it’s not just a bunch of pixels that come and go.

  28. I got to be really close friends with my rogue arena partner in season 3 (we were friends in a prior guild but more in a GL/member sort of way). When he decided to quit playing I cried. Not just a little sad tear, I really cried. We actually still e-mail each other, which has been great, but I still miss my arena partner. It’s got to be hard for non-gamers to understand, but it’s not just a bunch of pixels that come and go.

  29. I got to be really close friends with my rogue arena partner in season 3 (we were friends in a prior guild but more in a GL/member sort of way). When he decided to quit playing I cried. Not just a little sad tear, I really cried. We actually still e-mail each other, which has been great, but I still miss my arena partner. It’s got to be hard for non-gamers to understand, but it’s not just a bunch of pixels that come and go……

  30. friends in a prior guild but more in a GL/member sort of way). When he decided to quit playing I cried. Not just a little sad tear, I really cried. We actually still e-mail each other, which has been great, but I still miss my arena partner. It’s got to be hard for non-gamers to understand, but it’s not just a bunch of pixels that come and go……

  31. friends in a prior guild but more in a GL/member sort of way). When he decided to quit playing I cried. Not just a little sad tear, I really cried. We actually still e-mail each other, which has been great, but I still miss my arena partner. It’s got to be hard for non-gamers to understand, but it’s not just a bunch of pixels that come and go……………………

  32. very nice thanks.

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  37. very nice thanks admin…

  38. But do not you Do not cry. Nobody is not worth your tears

  39. thaanks for this a post.

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  41. very nice thanks admin

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