You love this game with a passion. We get that -- so do we. All too often, however, our best friends and significant others don't share that passion. They might not have a scrap of interest in playing any video game at all.
But you want them to experience the World of Warcraft with you. We get that, too. Close relationships benefit from shared experiences and fun. You want your other half to at least bite off a taste of Azeroth and savor this feast that's captured you body and soul.
How can you convince your partner, buddy, or significant other to give WoW a try? Warning: This question represents merely the tip of the iceberg. Brace for impact with the true issue: How can you help a non-playing friend or family member get into WoW in way that's enjoyable for both of you?
A partner in crime, not a vanity pet trailing behind you
Before you invite someone to play WoW with you, examine your offer from the other person's point of view. All too often, established WoW players miss seeing that inviting someone to play WoW with them means actually spending time playing with the new player. Whether or not you intend to play together from the start or after they've leveled up, make no mistake: Inviting someone to play WoW with or alongside you implies that there will, in fact, be time spent together. If you turn right back to your raiding and dailies schedule, you've already abandoned any semblance of togetherness. So what's the point?
Inviting someone to join you in playing WoW isn't about "my friend playing with me"; it's not even about "me playing with my friend." This is about "me and my friend playing." It doesn't mean magnanimously enduring your partner's need for newbie zone action, nor does it mean berating them through joyless powerleveling so they can end up tagging cluelessly along with whatever you choose. Inviting someone to join you in playing WoW does mean spending at least some time away from your usual in-game haunts and pursuits in order to have fun together.
A heartfelt invitation
If you're still at square one trying to convince someone you dig spending time with to give WoW a shot, have you tried the sincere, straightforward approach? Try saying something like "I would have more fun playing WoW if you joined me, and I think it would be a great way for us to spend more time together. It would really mean a lot to me. Would you be up for giving it a try?"
Head off any sense of pressure by starting with a free 10-day trial. No, you won't be playing together at this point, per se. But make yourself available. Don't hover if your partner hates being watched, but be around. Make sure you can break free from other in-game obligations during the trial period so that you can help out as needed.
A checklist for the ambivalent
If either you or your potential partner seems hesitant about getting involved in WoW, run down these questions to help you sort out what's behind the ambivalence.
- If you're hoping for more time spent together, does it matter to either of you how that time is spent? Is it more of a general wish, or is there something specific one or both of you wish you had more time for together?
- Are you interested in playing World of Warcraft because you think it looks fun, or are you more enthused about the idea of sharing a hobby and recreational time with your friend or family member?
- Can you agree on a mutually convenient time and frequency to play together?
- Do you prefer to play together from the start, receive help only when needed, or team up only in the endgame?
- If you envision folding the new player into an existing guild or activities, is that a guaranteed option? Is there a chance the new player could be stranded at the endgame?
- If you live together and have kids, who will take care of the kids when they need attention while you're both playing?
The 2 rules of introducing friends and family to WoW
The First Rule of Introducing Friends or Family to WoW: Play as a team. Once the new player's interest is piqued, create a character for playing together. Then don't play that character any time you're not together. This simple strategy solves almost every issue involving mismatched progression, schedules, and togetherness.
The Second Rule of Introducing Friends or Family to WoW: No powerleveling. Allow the game to unfold in its own time. No powerleveling! Racing a new player past the front of the game will strand them with no sense of the game's scope, opportunities, community, lore, or mechanics. WoW will have been reduced to a dry list of to-do's. Powerleveled newbies don't even get the chance to complete those tasks on their own; they merely come along for the ride while you rattle off each task before putting the fully geared smackdown on it.
While we think the Recruit-A-Friend program is great for experienced gamers, it's not ideal for new players. If you want your partner to fall in love with this game and this world, you cannot yank him or her past every chance to engage.
Keep your friendship solid
You're already a team in the real world. Use these tips to cement your partnership in Azeroth.
- No heirlooms. You want to spend time with your partner, right? Then don't rush through the very activity you're trying to share. Let it unfold naturally, at its own pace. Leveling has been polished to a brisk pace in today's game; you don't need to accelerate any aspect of the gameplay.
- Get questing. Your partner will see more of world and the stories and enjoy more opportunities to get comfortable with new character abilities without the pressure of fast-paced instance groups.
- Change the focus. If you intend time spent with your WoW partner to be enjoyed together, don't rush it. If WoW night is date night, treat it as such.
- Get your hardcore WoW fix on your own time. For now, playing your high-level characters means time away from your partner. To ripen a character worth becoming invested in, your partner needs the luxury of moving at that pace rather than rushing to catch up with you.
- Be positive. Don't go into questing with the whole "back to the grindstone" attitude. Think of introducing someone to WoW like taking a friend hiking or on a long road trip somewhere magnificent. Those activities also require effort and an investment in time, but the rewards are worth it.
Accept a lack of interest with good grace
Leave room for your partner to develop very different ideas about what's fun in game and what's not. You found your own way, after all –- and now it's their turn. Different playstyles happen. Your partner may hate the PvP that thrills your soul, or they may hanker to dive into raiding when you're all raided out. If that turns out to be the case, loosening the in-game ties will be natural. You may find you enjoy playing at the same time but not actually together, chatting merrily as you go.
In the end, if your friend or family member ends up not catching your fever for WoW, let them off the hook with good grace. Now's not the time for a tantrum about how you missed all those raids to spend time with a stinkin' quitter. We all love World of Warcraft, but it's not for everyone. And even if your partner quits playing altogether, they'll have gained a deeper understanding of a hobby that you hold in high esteem.
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.