To put it simply, World of Warcraft is a game that thrives on relationships. If you go through the game completely ignoring all forms of communication with other players (I honestly don’t think this is possible), you’re basically missing out on 90% of the game. Through this blog post I’ll attempt to explain some of the social aspects of the World of Warcraft.
Chat Channels: Ah, the chat channels. These are probably where your first experiences with other players will occur. In the screenshot to the right, the chat channels are shown in the bottom right corner: General, Trade, and Local Defense. All players automatically enter into the General channel upon login and Trade/Local Defense when they enter a major city. This is where you can ask questions to other players, answer other’s questions, get a group together, warn players of certain dangers, etc. The fourth channel listed in blue, timmytimmy, is a custom channel that my friends back home and I created that we just know about. We mostly use it for chatter and small talk because we live so far away from each other. Conversation is the key mechanism for chat channels. They are generally meant to be informative (when you ignore all the flame wars going on) and go a long way to facilitating you in keeping in touch with others.
Guild Chat/Raid Chat/Party Chat: Guild chat, raid chat, and party chat are more exclusive forms of the chat channels above. Only people in the same guild as you can read guild chat and only other people in your raid (limit of 40 people) or your party (limit of 5 people) can read those respective chats. These are the channels where coordination comes into play. Guild chat can be used to set times and dates for people to get together to complete a 25 player dungeon, gather people for smaller group tasks, and act in all the same ways that other chat channels do. Raid chat is used to issue commands to your group of 40, 25, or 10 people as a whole. Everyone in the raid is allowed to speak in raid chat, but it is generally set aside (at least in my experiences) as a means to get orders across. Party chat is used alongside raid chat to issue more specific commands. Raid groups are divided into groups of 5 (parties). Within these party chats, group members talk about which person is casting spells on which parties, where certain people will be during certain fights, etc. All three of these chats are invaluable tools to any player.
Battlegrounds and PVP: As mentioned in class, battlegrounds and PVP are great ways to form (or sever) relationships with other players. In battlegrounds and PVP, you join a group of 10, 15, 20, or 40 players to try and overcome another equally sized group of players. Battlegrounds chat can become pretty heated when a group isn’t doing so well or certain people aren’t performing as well as others would like. Coordination and awareness are very important here. At all times you need to know where other players are, what tactics are being followed, and how close you are to winning or losing.
Overall, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the social aspects of the World of Warcraft. Without coordination between you and other players, there really isn’t much to the game. It thrives on players helping each other out, forming bonds, and working together. If you don’t understand and pay attention to this, there’s no way to succeed.