World of Warcraft celebrated its 7th Anniversary this past November, Facebook will turn eight this February and Twitter will hit the big six in the Spring of 2012. While you would never think Warcraft and Social Media would have much in common it is really quite funny how many striking similarities exist. Being engaged with social media and having a love for Blizzard games for almost twenty years, I chose to highlight my favorites. “For the Alliance!”
Social Media and Warcraft are obviously widely popular. Social media is a bit more accessible and most accounts are free while Warcraft charges 14.95 USD per month. Facebook has over 800 million registered users. Blizzard’s online masterpiece claims over 12 million paid accounts.
2. Social Good
Blizzard is a very generous company that’s involved with Make-A-Wish Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Social media groups like the weekly #DadChat on Twitter (Thursdays 8pm CST) hosted by Bruce Sallan (@BruceSallan) have incorporated online charity auctions to raise money for causes.
This graphic says it all and highlights the convergence of social media and Warcraft for social good.
As soon as someone develops a “killer” application or game such as Twitter or Warcraft other developers create useful programs to hook in to these applications that are intended to make life easier and make a buck. These programs are called addons. One of my favorite for social media is Buffer (by Leo Widrich aka @Leowid) while in Warcraft you cannot live without Atlas Loot or Deadly Boss Mods. Hats off to all the addon developers out there!
4. Online Communities
Online communities have been huge in Warcraft. Players flock to helpful community sites such as Tankspot, Elitist Jerks and Blizzard’s Battle.net forums. In the social media world we now have Google Circles, Facebook groups and collaborative blogging communities such as 12Most.com.
5. Mega Conferences
Blizzard hosts the widely anticipated and popular BlizzCon every Fall while social media boasts huge tweet ups at BlogWorld Expo and SXSW Interactive. All are fantastic opportunities to engage with other passionate people.
Who doesn’t like getting rewarded and acknowledged for achievements in life? Social Media’s Klout revamped their achievements late in 2011 while Blizzard added individual achievements to the game with the 2008 Wrath of the Lich King expansion and guild achievements in the 2010 Cataclysm release. I do like my Gaudy Winter Veil Sweater better than any Klout achievement.
7. Self Proclaimed Gurus/Elites
We all know about the Twitter account descriptions claiming guru status for all things social media. In Warcraft there are those annoying players who claim to be elite at the game and know all things Warcraft. Another term for them is “Leets.”
I prefer to live by the words of Socrates. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
For bloggers Tribber offers the ability for people with the same subject matter focus to group up in tribes to share each others blog posts. In Warcraft you have guilds that exist for the same purpose except the focus is on leveling, raiding, player vs. player (PvP) combat, or all of the above. Would you believe that some guilds are actually sponsored and paid in real life to play Warcraft?
That is right “tweeple.” Spam is everywhere, not just on Twitter via #TeamFollowBack or auto Direct Messages (DM’s). In Warcraft you have Trade Chat and the spammers clutter the chat waves with offers to sell WoW gold or in game goods for real life dollars (for real). Spam everywhere is a huge problem and big business.
Those actively involved in social media AND having a solid Klout ranking (as we all know those don’t go hand in hand) get offers for perks. Perks are products and services from companies wishing to expose the Klout community to their brands.
In Warcraft you don’t just get perks randomly and the primary perk is referred to as loot. In other words, level up your account, take out bad guys and take their loot. No random algorithm.
The Urban Dictionary defines a Troll as “one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.” Yep. That about sums it and trolls exist (as you may know) in social media and Warcraft (via in game chat and forums).
Note that Trolls are also a character race in Warcraft and are part of the Horde faction. No relation to the annoying angry online people with a chip on their shoulders and upside down smiles. “For the Horde!”
Core Hound Pup
12. Account Hackers
If an account with passwords exists so will hackers. There have been many social media friends and Warcraft friends who have had their accounts hacked. Identity theft is a common danger. In Warcraft the hackers break into accounts to steal gold and items to sell in the real world for money. Either way the end result is a hassle and it stinks.
The good news for Warcraft players is that Blizzard offers hardware (token keys) as well as iPhone application authenticators that must be used when logging on. Those attaching an authenticator to their account are gifted a cute little Core Hound Pup vanity pet (love mine) to follow their character around in game.
Perhaps Twitter and other social media providers will learn from this and offer an authenticator option of their own (and give away free puppies).
Hope you enjoyed a slightly different take on social media and gaming. Please let me know any additional similarities between social media and Warcraft I may have left out and of course “Remember the Sunwell!”
This post originally ran on 12 Most January 13th, 2012.