I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for about five and a half years now. Over that time, I’ve noticed a few parallels between life in Azeroth and life in the Real World ™, and I’ve been thinking lately about a few of the things I’ve learned from WoW.

For one thing, WoW taught me the value of doing dailies. A naturally lazy person, I’ve always struggled somewhat with the monotony and redundancy of daily household chores. Five minutes after I do the dishes or finish the laundry, there are more dirty dishes and dirty clothes! Still, these things must be done. As I’m fond of saying, “We are all Sisyphus.”  But WoW taught me a good reason to do your dailies: Reputation.

See, I’m in a mixed marriage: I’m a geek, he isn’t. I was the only girl in our weekly Dungeons & Dragons group in high school; he’d never even heard of a 20-sided die. He doesn’t understand the appeal of video games at all; I play WoW 25 hours a week. If you’re married to a non-geek,  you know how hard it can be to balance your play time with the funny looks your spouse gives you. Doing my real life dailies and weeklies, whether it be Doing the Dishes or Hanging Up Hubby’s Shirts, earns me valuable Spousal Rep which I can leverage into extra WoW time. Sadly, there’s no gold reward for those dailies, but you can’t have it all.

WoW is teaching me how to be a boss. No, not the level 83 Elite kind… the other kind. I’m not necessarily a person comfortable with being in charge. Nevertheless, I founded and co-lead a raid team. Sometimes, this involves things I find unpleasant or uncomfortable. I have to deal with raid drama. Decide who to sit out for the night when we have too many raiders. Tell people what to do and how to do it. (In all fairness, I’ve delegated a good portion of the “telling people what to do” bit to my trustworthy and capable co-lead & main tank, but you take my meaning.)

Coincidentally, in the last year, I have also been learning how to be a manager/boss/co-owner of a business. I was laid off from a company about to go under, so I went to work at my husband’s small business. I’m new to his business, but as Mrs. Owner, I manage the shop in the afternoons. Sometimes, this involves things I find unpleasant or uncomfortable. I have to deal with employee drama. Decide who gets how many hours when we have too many employees for the current workload. Tell people what to do and how to do it. The job teaches me about raid leading, and raid leading has certainly taught me a lot about my job.

Warcraft has also taught me many useful analogies for dealing with the people around me. For example, I work with a frequently cranky, often unreasonable individual. If I tell you she has a huge aggro radius, and a nasty AOE temper that hits everyone regardless of who taunted her, you can understand my main strategy for dealing with her: I do my best to stay out of range. And I think we all can recognize the wisdom of “stay out of the fire.” Is your boyfriend an asshole? Does your job suck? Are your roommates intolerable? Don’t just stand there. Get out of it!

See? You do learn something every day! Even in Azeroth.

This Blog Azeroth Shared Topic was suggested by… me!

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Everyone seems to have something to say about Blizzard’s new Real ID feature, so I suppose I’ll throw in my two coppers as well.

I’ve seen a variety of reactions to the Real ID feature. I’ve seen people state they were actually going to quit the game over the release of Real ID, which is a voluntary system. On the other side of things, I’ve seen a number of people openly giving out their email in guild chat to anyone who wants to be Real ID friends. I’m not in some cozy little guild either – I’m seeing this in one of the largest guilds in Warcraft, with more than 3000 members.

Me, I’m somewhere in between.

What I like: I love that I can see when my friends are on, no matter what toon I’m playing at the time. Even if I wander off to some other server to play a long-forgotten alt, if my friends come on, we can still chat or make game plans together. I like that I don’t have to try to keep track of all their alts anymore. Some of them have quite a few, let me tell you! Since I’m eagerly awaiting the release date for Starcraft II, it’s also nice to know we can reach each other cross-game.

What I don’t like: I can’t hide out on secret private toons that no one knows about. My bank alt’s name is no longer private. In reality, I never hide out like that anymore, and I’ve started to share my bank alt’s name with my friends so we don’t undercut each other too much at the Auction House. Still, I always knew I could have a private alt if I wanted to. I could change my bank alt if I needed to.

I really don’t like the Friend-of-a-Friend feature, and I know I’m not alone. Yes, I know this is the same thing as it is on Facebook. But on Facebook I don’t use my real legal name. Real ID gives your actual legal name to people you don’t even know. I’ll admit, my concern about this is general and vague. But I still don’t particularly like it.

Am I using Real ID? Yes, with a few select people. These are people I play with regularly; I’ve already given them my cell phone number and personal email, so I have no problem with being Real ID friends with them. I trust they are selective enough about who they have as Real ID friends that it quells my admittedly non-specific fears about the Friend-of-a-Friend feature.

I would like to see Blizz offer us privacy settings for the Friend of a Friend feature, as well as the choice to use a username instead of our actual Battle.net account email and our legal name. I plan to use Real ID sparingly, and I’m enjoying it so far, but I hope Blizzard will do some fine tuning on the privacy issues.

Jaedia at The Lazy Sniper suggested the current Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: What are you doing to conquer the pre-expansion slump?

So after saying just the other day that I wasn’t a victim of the pre-expansion slump, I realized it wasn’t true. Sure, I’m still working on progression in ICC, so I’m still seeing new fights, moving through content that’s fresh for me. An advantage of being slightly behind in progression is that while other raid teams and guilds have no new content to keep them motivated right now, my team is still excited about ICC.

But my team raids just six hours a week, and I play WoW around 25 hours a week. Which means I’m still seeing lots of content I’ve seen before. Which means I’m definitely feeling the pre-expansion slump. I’m ready for Azeroth to be new again. I want to roll new races, see new starting zones, revisit all the changed places in the Old World. I still love this game, but I’m ready for it to be new and exciting again.

In the meantime, though, I find myself with a little pre-Cataclysm to-do list to work on, so I do Ginnger’s dailies. I do Sindei’s dailies. I transmute something on Marsha. I’m not going to lie – it’s not that exciting.

So, what am I doing to keep my game going?

It’s always been my in-game goals that have kept me playing. Whether it’s a certain achievement I’m after, a piece of gear, or even a vanity pet, I enjoy working toward something. That certainly remains true with Ginnger, for whom I have plenty of goals. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been running regular Pit of Saron in hopes of getting a shield upgrade for Ginnger. PuG after PuG, the shield wouldn’t drop. When it did, a pally tank rolled against me and won it. Finally, I ran it with a few friends, and voila! The shield dropped. Clearly, friends are the key to success!

I’ve also been leveling my druid, Aless, though in a very casual way. I’m leveling her as boomkin. It’s not the fastest, I know, but I just wasn’t feeling it with the cat melee. Naturally, I want to try out druid healing — maybe it would teach me to trust druid HoTs in raid — but I’m not committed enough to leveling her to shell out for dual spec yet. Maybe around 60, if I stick with her.

The other thing I’ve been spending more time doing is playing the Auction House. Not in a super serious way or anything, but just to have more of a steady income. It’s really kind of entertaining, watching the prices, knowing what I’m willing to pay for materials, what kind of profit margin I’m getting. If prices on the items I’m selling drop too low, I hold off for another day and a better price.

I made some use of the remote Auction House feature during the Beta, but I haven’t subscribed to the pay service. Yet. It’s tempting, since I could then do some of my Auction House stuff from work. I like the remote Auction House interface, and whatever I do remotely means I spend less time in game doing business, and more time collecting Emblems of Triumph for Ginnger’s Elemental Tier 9 set. Of course, my Auctioneer data is all in-game, but I’m involved in only a few markets, so I pretty much know what I need to buy and sell for. Honestly, $2.99 is less than what I might spend on coffee on any given day, but we’ll see.