World of Warcraft Gets Its Cross-Server Real ID Party Started

Blizzard's Real ID system allows World of Warcraft buddies to chat no matter what game server they reside on, but talk is cheap, and we came to party. With the Real ID Party system, star-crossed pals can now team up to take on dungeons no matter what realm they roam.

I've met plenty of World of Warcraft players in real life, but with dozens of game servers spread across multiple continents, not one wound up being established in the same realm as I am. The Real ID system, which tied players' first and last names to their accounts, allowed for cross-realm and even cross-game communication (hey StarCraft II players!), but would not allow players on different realms to play together. The basic tech was there, as the game's current dungeon finder tool brings together parties from differing servers, but right clicking on your Real ID friend's name and inviting him to your group was not an option.

Now it is.

Still in testing stages, the Real ID Party system grants Real ID friends the power to form adventuring parties with their distant acquaintances. A player can invite up to four Real ID contacts to a party and take on five-man dungeons both normal and heroic to their heart's content.

There are limits, however. Only players on your Real ID friends list can be invited, and only the leader of the party can invite them - no friends of friends. Anyone not on the Real ID list has to be from the same server as the group leader in order to join. If the leader can't fill the group, the Dungeon Finder will do the rest.

It's a great new feature, and one I can't wait to try out when I've got a little more free time. Between my nephew, my brother-in-law and his wife, and my older brother, we've got a full party ready to haphazardly stumble through dungeons, wiping on a regular basis.

The only thing that worries me is this answer to the Real ID Party system's frequently asked questions: "We'll have information on the premium-based aspects of the Real ID Party system toward the end of the testing period."

I'm really hoping Blizzard is talking about additional functionality above what I've just described, such as cross-server arena combat teams. Otherwise this is an excellent feature I just can't see myself paying extra for.