With the continued popularity of the Dungeon Finder, many players have been asking for a way to group up with real-life friends who play on other realms to take on instances together. Today, we wanted to give you a heads up about a new feature currently in development that will allow players to invite Real ID friends of the same faction to a party regardless of the realm they play on, and then queue up for a 5-player regular or Heroic dungeon.
As this is a fairly complex service to develop, we don’t have a release date to share quite yet. It’s important to note that as with some of the other convenience- and connectivity-oriented features we offer, certain elements of the cross-realm Real ID party system will be premium-based, though only the player sending the invitations will need to have access to the premium service. We'll have more details to share with you as development progresses -- in the meantime, you may begin to see elements of the feature appear on the World of Warcraft PTR.
Those of you who've read by blog for a long time may remember that I'm not against Micro Transactions and Premium Services as a general rule, but I do think there is a line that shouldn't be crossed.
- Micro Transactions: Being able to purchase pets and mounts doesn't bother me because they have no game impact.
- Mobile Services: The Mobile Auction House and Guild Chat don't bother me because they extend the game to device beyond your computer and they are fairly small aspects of the game.
- Premium Services: Fee's for server transfers and race changes also make sense to me because they are a bit of an extraordinary situation. Plus you want some disincentive to prevent people from using them frequently and fees are good at that.
On one hand this really doesn't have any impact on how we play the game. If you don't buy the service nothing changes for you. Nothing is preventing us from starting a toon on a new server or transferring a toon to play with friends. It's also worth remembering that this is a bit of functionality that players have been requesting since Real ID and the LFD tool were created. Creating it costs money and without the fees it might have not been a priority for Blizzard to create it now.
On the other hand, it really feels like a fee to play with my friends. I've played this game for a very long time and have friends from almost every guild I've played with on several different servers. It is literally impossible for me to be on the same server as all of my friends because they are on multiple servers. The only other solution would be for me to level multiple toons on the different serves which I feels is both an unfair and impractical solution. The Real ID service was designed so that players could more easily stay in touch with their friends. It doesn't feel right to monetize it by charging people to be able to group with people on their friends list.