Sometimes having so many appealing playstyles to choose from makes deciding how to settle in to play WoW more difficult, not less. That's certainly the case when you're trying to enjoy the game with multiple sets of groups and partners -- for example, guild raiding twice a week, leveling and exploring with a significant other, and battling the enemy in battlegrounds now and again with a crew of longstanding gaming friends. Is it even possible to connect all those threads into an enjoyable gaming week without blowing every last minute of free time (and then some)?
Fortunately, you can learn to combine different playstyles and groups. The trick is learning how to adjust your expectations and approach from group to group and partner to partner. Never assume that everyone "needs" or wants to cover the same content or achieve the same type of goals in the game. With a little time management and a lot of clarity among gaming partners, you can enjoyably indulge in WoW on multiple levels without the time crunch and without any drama.
First Up: Time management
Before you even think about carving up your week into WoW sessions with separate groups of people, be certain that you have time management firmly under your belt.
Prerequisite: Does the time you'll spend with other groups impinge on your responsibilities and relationships with work, family, or significant others? If all signs point to smooth coexistence, you're ready to move on to making sure your play time fits into the stream of the rest of your life. Read the video gamer's guide to time management for tips and advice.
Are we having fun yet?
The next step is to decide who you want to have fun with and identify what each of you thinks would be fun to do in game –- and therein lies your greatest challenge. Let's look at some common scenarios and then flip back to some classic Drama Mamas resource links to help you work through your plan.
- Is the thing that you typically end up doing in WoW what you actually enjoy doing in WoW? Do you harbor any assumptions about game goals -– for example, "To fully enjoy WoW, one must raid"?
- If you and a gaming partner or group have different ideas of in-game fun, could a compromise or an entirely new playstyle bridge the gap?
- Is there a right way and a wrong way to bring a brand new player into the game?
- How can you divide up different characters on different realms to fit with various groups of friends -– say, family members and college buddies?
- What are you looking for in a guild? What sort of group will help you enjoy playing World of Warcraft? Let's figure it out -- and if you're looking for a particularly specialized type of guild, we've included a few niche group suggestions to kickstart your research.
- It's not just about content and playstyle; sometimes it's our attitudes about how to approach grouping and other players that cements or sunders a partnership.
- Don't forget that any adjustments you make to your availability and character choice carries ramifications for others who play with you. Don't neglect their needs.
Combine ingredients, mix until smooth
Despite your best efforts, trying to juggle too many WoW groups could bring the whole thing crashing down on your head. The more you divide your attention, the more opportunities there are to trip up –- or you could simply find yourself overbooked. Some of the best-laid plans will simply fail to rise, leaving you with a doughy partnership that nobody's especially keen to bite into.
Don't be afraid to say no or to stop doing something that isn't fun any more. Leaving a guild or regular gaming group doesn't mean goodbye forever. You can still keep in contact with friends you don't play with regularly.
Talk, talk, talk to your WoWmates, and try again. Or try something different. Or try something that's not WoW. Sometimes, the best solution is stepping away for a change of pace. Ever considered a casual night of homebrew and Hearthstone? ...
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with advice from the Drama Mamas guide to preventing multiplayer drama. Got a question? Email the mamas at firstname.lastname@example.org.