A gaming buddy isn't quite the same thing as a guildmate. A gaming buddy is quite often also a guildie, but your guildmates aren't necessarily your gaming buddies. Your gaming buddies are people who play with you more often than not. They're your partners in crime, the homies you hang out with in Azeroth whether they're covering your back through your first LFR or filling your chat box during a night of pre-alchemy herbalizing.
But just as when you were trying to break into the social scene during your school days, you might feel a bit of an outsider when it comes to connecting with simpatico players in WoW. For many players, there's only so long you can happily play on your own; Azeroth is a large, lonely land when you wish you had someone to share it with. While joining a friendly guild can often be a great way to meet people, simply coexisting in an online space with a common chat channel somewhere on your screen won't build the kind of friendships you're hungry for. Let the Drama Mamas show you a few tricks of the trade for finding players you might click with on a more personal basis.
Find common ground
As you've discovered, connecting with others in game can be hellishly awkward if all you share in common is a guild tag. In a game as large as WoW, you can do better than merely holding on in a guild with "nice" or "friendly" players. In the Drama Mamas Drama-Buster Guide, we offer an entire section devoted to helping you figure out what type of guild is best for you and how to find a guild like that. And don't feel awkward if that means changing guilds; we can show you how to do that without creating drama and burning bridges, too.
Once you've found the right guild, it's time to put your money where your mouth is -- start doing whatever it is in the game that you enjoy and want to do more of. Then make a concerted effort to get to know other guildmates who are doing that, too. Use voice communication in instances, take the initiative to assemble groups, offer help to leveling characters.
It's going to feel a bit like homework at first, especially if you feel awkward around new people. Approach it as an integral part of leveling up, another aspect of building an enjoyable character. You're leveling your friendships. This takes time, so give yourself a realistic stretch and don't give up early.
I'm still not meeting anyone! Help!
Meeting people in a game where people can be so darn busy can be a tough game in and of itself. Try these time-tested tactics:
- Attend guild events. You're in a guild that suits you, right? (If not, go back to the previous section of this article.) Get in there and get active!
- Join local server events or raids and see if you hit it off with anyone who can recommend their guild.
- Scan the forums looking for guilds that want new members and seem to have a similar mindset.
- Ask people you know in the physical world if they play WoW. You may be surprised that the acquaintance you have at the gym also plays or someone in your book club is hiding a secret World of Warcraft habit.
- Look at online forums for your other interests and see if there is anyone who hangs out in Azeroth too.
- Try some roleplaying. We don't recommend showing up at a random location on a random RP realm, since players and groups are typically engaged in ongoing storylines. Try poking through RP realm forums first.
- Browse through our 15 Minutes of Fame column, which is packed with articles about players following all sorts of unusual angles to the game. You might find a group there that sparks an idea or feeds an interest.
- If it's people you want, make an alt and try Spectacular Death or It came from the Blog. These two guilds (the former, long-time friends of WoW Insider; the latter, actual WoW Insider readers) have become the Drama Mamas default solution for players in search of a laid-back place to have fun with maturity, stability and no drama.
- Talk it up. Say hello to other players who are doing the same kill quests in your area and invite them to group up to speed things along. Chat with others in the local zone channel. Make sure you're making a good impression by following WoW/MMO gaming etiquette.
- Once bitten, twice shy? Don't let confidence issues slow you down.
- Hang out in old world towns. Spend time conducting your actual business in an old world center. The pace is a little slower and a little more personal, and of course you'll be rubbing elbows with players of all levels there.
- Craft stuff, and buy crafted stuff. However small it may be, most realms still have a community of crafters who supply and trade with and for one another and a clientele of regulars. Don't keep your nose stuck in the auction house.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help from more experienced players. More often than not, you'll find somebody who loves to help, and these people often turn out to be friendly types who become long-term gaming friends.
Readers, what tips and advice would you give to someone looking to meet gaming buddies? How have you managed to connect with like-minded friends in game?
Dodge the drama and become the player everyone wants in their group with advice from the Drama Mamas Drama-Buster Guide. Got a question? Email the mamas at firstname.lastname@example.org.