Saturday night, I tried something out. I’d tried it out previously on a whim, and ended up stressed out due to being incredibly anxious over my performance, but this time around, I was prepared to not agonize over it. It was a very cool experience and I hope to do it again.
Twitter & Those Who Play WoW
The blogging WoW community that has built up over the years has bled over into Twitter. If you’re not familiar with Twitter, think of it as a ridiculously huge chatroom, where everyone has their own special tag (account), and you can even have private conversation through Direct Messages (DMs) if you want. Within the recent base UI, you can see threads of conversations between people.
It gets unwieldy and confusing if you try to keep up with everything. It’s been called the water cooler of the WoW blogosphere a couple of times. Just remember that, like Real Life water coolers, you’re not there to drink the entire keg of water, just to have a few cups and some social time. So just hop on when you’re on, enjoy your time while there, and hop off when you’re off again.
Conversations range from blogstorming to the inane what I had for lunch to political discussions (Ack! don’t! Twitter is not a good format for that!). There have been alts saved through Twitter intervention and there have been alts numbered for death through Twitter. Though I have things like the MMO Melting Pot in my feed reader, I’ve probably found far more interesting blogs I didn’t originally follow through Twitter.
Just like in an IM client, you can group people how you like into public or private groups. I have a guildies list. I have a WoW list. I have a list of warlocks. I have a list of Blizzard blues. There’s a Blog Azeroth list. Psynister has a list. Lists particularly come in handy if you use an app to read Twitter in a columns format, so you can have one list per column.
Of course, in all the chatter that’s there, Twitter is home to many many horror stories as various bloggers and commenters cry over how terrible another LFR/dungeon run was. So we all tend to have this respect of one another. If we know you, you’ll never be That Guy who can’t seem to tell fire from floor, right?
Twitter LF Raid
In Patch 4.3.2, players gained the ability to form cross-realm raids with RealID friends, further breaking down the walls of server isolation.
The WoW-Twitter community hopped up on this opportunity like a meercat on the flag.
Saz started up a forums for this new cross-realm-based raiding community, named Twitterland Raiding. Both US & EU players can create and sign up for events, and the events are colored by Alliance and Horde. There’s everything from Blackwing Lair (classic Nefarian!) to ICC 25m achievement runs to Dragon Soul LFR. I hear that Rated Battlegrounds are beginning to take form, too.
How to use? It’s simple. Register on the forums, maybe introduce yourself, but you can really jump right into signing up for an event. There’s a bit of an issue with picking a character that is not your main to sign up with, since Saz would have to register every realm ever (both US & EU!) to cover everyone. But if you mark the role you want or post in the comments for an event, people are generally really accommodating about it.
The next thing you might want to do is install Mumble (if you don’t have it) & get into the Twitter Mumble. You’re placed into a Holding Pen that doesn’t allow you to move until a mod approves you, so getting that worked out before raid is a plus. Instructions are listed in the TLR Handbook.
Once you’ve signed on to an event, there’s an important step to take: sharing your RealID. Of course, it’s impossible to raid cross-realm with anyone without sharing your RealID. Some people are naturally cautious about this; we hope Blizzard will break out the BattleTags soon to alleviate some of the concerns. But, one cool thing is you can chain together a raid with RealID; i.e., you don’t have to have one person with all the Real IDs, you can have multiple people who also know other people due to how anyone with Assist in a raid can invite.
For example, Saturday, I think Oestrus created the Firelands event I went to, but since Jed was marked as raid lead, I’d sent my RealID to him. Oestrus started the raid group, but Jed was the one who invited me. Oestrus had already invited other people cross-realm into the group when I accepted my invite.
Another hidden bonus is that you don’t need to share your Real ID if someone on your server is in a group and invites you. I did an all druid raid (with a wolf druid) with the Team Waffle Podcast in Naxxramas. I got in it not because I’m RealID friends with anyone in the group, but because Lissanna is on my server (& put out a call for Moar Durids in guild chat), and she invited me into the group. My Firelands group last night even used this to fill some last-minute spots, by picking up guildies of those in the raid.
Saturday night, I joined a Firelands 10man on my bear with Oestrus, Jed, Hestiah, and Rilandune, among others. I’d had a crap day and was especially anxious about tanking for 9 strangers in an instance I hadn’t tanked in a while. I’m also one of those shy people on Vent, and as Hestiah found out, I’m not that great at initially picking up sarcasm of people I don’t know.
My fears ended up being stupid & insubstantial. I was nervous as I screwed up Beth’tilac up top early on, but soon my anxiety just vanished as we killed more things and chatted. I even think I began to come out of my shy shell, which is Totally Weird for me since it usually takes me a month or more to warm up to chatting with new people on Vent. I even laughed at O’s threat that she’d tell Lissanna I’d shown up to a Firelands raid with an insufficient number of fish feasts.
We went 6/7 and spent some quality time with Rag since some of the raid had never been there before. Staghelm was a bastard to me, as usual, and didn’t drop the fire kitty staff. Regardless of loot, I had a blast. Afterward, I ran LFR with Jed, Hestia, & Ekinara, and we had fun with DK tanks who didn’t want me to taunt off their stacks or hunters who bitched about the healing on the Blackhorn wipe.
Struggle vs. Solace
I felt very social at the end of the night. I didn’t realize it was 4am (Firelands ended for me at 1am) until Jed mentioned he was logging off. I’d had a blast and my mood had turned a complete 180 from before. That’s a rare occurrence for me, to feel totally happy & not want to go off recharge by myself, since I struggle with social anxiety that affects things from going out to eat to blogging to even raiding.
Raiding? What, come on, Pon, no way! Nope, I have to have a certain number of mental spoons by the end of the evening to deal with my performance screw-ups in order to stay Jekyll throughout the raid. I have a tight error margin for myself, which comes with severe self-hate if I manage to not make my mental cut (often!). Now mix that with my seeming inability to gauge what people like or don’t like about me. It’s a struggle, but the personal triumphs I’ve found — leading an alt raid was a big one — have outweighed the negatives by far. Strangers tend to make the negatives worse, hence why you don’t really find my alts out there solo in groups.
Sometimes raiding (even with guildies) breaks my entire world, but I’ve learned far too much about myself while raiding to leave it alone. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to mesh with the great social environment that is TLR, since I tend toward the shy & quiet, especially on voice chat. But it worked out well, and I think I’ll try it many more times.
So, this is my recommendation to try out Twitterland Raiding, if you’re interested at all in playing with people outside your guild & server.