So, here’s a funny situation.

Blizzard’s Recruit a Friend program. It’s a nice deal for both sides.

Blizzard potentially gets new customers, at the cost of giving you a few extra benefits to leveling speed in game, plus summoning each other (something high level guild members get now too), plus after a few paid months the recruiter gets a mount.

Not a bad deal at all.

What I’d like to bring up is a poser in how it works.

Now, the enhanced leveling speed works when the two players, recruiter and recruit, are both playing in close proximity to each other.

The gifting of free levels goes between the two players.

The summoning works between the two.

It’s awesome.

But only as long as there are only TWO people in the relationship!

Let’s take a look at a different situation.

Let’s say, purely as an example, that there are two very long-time players, we’ll call them Bear and Cassie.

These two have been playing for a very long time, lots of alts, lots of level 85 characters.

These two experienced players each have their own distinct account, and enjoy making new alts and playing them together as a team.

Now, let’s assume these two have children. Children that have seen mommy and daddy play World of Warcraft together, and are now old enough to want to play themselves.

And what the children would love to do most of all is play in a team WITH mommy and daddy.

Well, that’s where Recruit a Friend goes off the rails.

What these three people would prefer to do is have a third account for their son, and then each would make a level 1 character, group up, and play, quest and adventure together.

If these experienced players try to take advantage of this Recruit a Friend program, two out of three characters will level faster. Much faster. Much, much faster.

The group won’t get the same satisfaction from playing together, as one levels at a different rate and contributes less or can’t even hit the higher level mobs.

Is this the end of the world? Well, no.

But it is my way of pointing out a situation where it would be nice if you could link accounts together as a “family plan”.

Sure, you’re not recruiting a friend… but you are recruiting a family member, and isn’t that just as likely? Isn’t their money just as welcome?

Isn’t the lack of a three member option in Recruit a Friend a potential reason these three family members will seek out a competitors’ video game where the three CAN play together and enjoy rewards?

It’s a thought. Enhanced leveling is nice, a rocket mount that you can carry other people on is nice, but it seems a darn shame to have to exclude yourself from enjoying those benefits because you plan on having three people playing together instead of two.

I know this is aimed more at my older audience, but how many of you have run into this same kind of consideration, where you and your spouse might both play and your child or children are old enough to join in the fun?

Oh, and speaking of an older audience…

I saw someone this morning in game, and they were in a guild that has my new all time favorite guild name.

“Member AARP”

That, my friends, is epic win.

17 Responses to “Looking for a more robust “Recruit a Friend” option”
  1. Eccentrica says:

    Love the guild name! Well done to them.

    Yes, it would be lovely if there was more flexibility in the RAF program. My husband doesn’t play, but my children want to. Under the current plan I will probably RAF my youngest and the eldest will likely play with a schoolfriend. It is too bad that the three of us can’t group together. I would even be willing to pay more for the privelege.

  2. Tesh says:

    Seems like a great idea to me. A “family plan” is smart design. Heck, extend it to the pricing, too. $35/month for all accounts in a single household.

  3. Bastette says:

    My daughter has been playing on our accounts since she was 4.

    Last year (at 7), we decided to get her her own account for Christmas including all expansions up to Wrath for $20 (via Blizzard holiday sale).

    I did the F&F with my account, and both my wife and I started new characters to play with her. In hindsight, we should have done the F&F with my wife’s account, as she didn’t play as much, and didn’t have all the heirloom gear I did. It worked out, as they would play together while I was raiding, then I would quickly catch up again when we grouped.

    My wife and I have since stopped playing, but my daughter still plays most mornings while we get ready for work. Her warlock is entering Northrend, and she has several other characters in the 30s and 40s.

    We told her we’d get her Cataclysm if she stops sucking her thumb but that hasn’t happened yet…

  4. Torcthaim says:

    My son is interested in playing WoW with me, and to be honest I’d rather not use the RAF program. While I’d love the mount and all, I really am in no hurry for my 11 year old to get even close to max level and start dealing with the trash talk and jerks that are par for the course with random groups and such. I played in a guild that I would have been happy for him to join, to play with people who would be patient with an honest-to-goodness newbie, but most of those players have moved on. (This is probably where Dad needs to get off the PVP server and make new toons on a PVE server, for the kid’s sake – an 11 year old shouldn’t have to deal with ganking while he levels.) So at this point, I’ve set him up with one of the free starter accounts, linked to my battle.net account. He’s having a blast just trying all of the different races and classes, and when he’s picked one that he’d like to level we’ll upgrade to a full account. He’ll have just as much fun levelling at what passes for normal speed nowadays, rather than blowing through the content with the RAF bonus. Of course I don’t get my rocket mount….

    Another thing about families – do we REALLY need to be paying for multiple copies of every expansion? I like that they’ve dropped the price of vanilla/BC to twenty bucks, but that still leaves two more $40 expansions. $100 plus a monthly cost is a pretty high entry fee to have your kid join you. Blizzard shouldn’t be expecting new players to buy more than a starter bundle and the latest expansion – that would be comparable to the cost of a new XBox game.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I personally agree with you. I’d prefer not to use the recruit a friend for experience gains, if you’re playing as a group with your children. But the mount that you can use to carry someone that doesn’t have a main is a huge thing.

      For example, my son is playing the free level 20 cap account right now. He asks if we can visit him.

      Cassie visits and they bounce around together, but I visit and I can transform into a dragon and take him for a ride to visit Ironforge, the Gnome areas that are drowning in toxic goo, we can go all over the place.

      Now, yes, we’re working on getting Cassie her dragon Vial of the sands, but in general, it just seemed silly that you can do it in pairs, but not as a family of more than two.

  5. Ron Nelson says:

    Slick idea, but I’ve seen problems in practice.

    I’ve been trying to play MMO’s with friends for the last couple years, and we’ve ran into this problem pretty frequently: questing isn’t designed for more then two people together. When you have three (or four) it just turns into ROFL-stomp sessions, which really reduces the “gaming” fun of the play.

    • Tesh says:

      That’s when you go somewhere dangerous and see what happens. There’s always somewhere in the world that will ROFLstomp *you*.

    • Eride says:

      What you have here is an instant party to run dungeons! What better way to play than to run a few 5 mans. Grab some guilidies, then at least they are not surprised when your child runs over to kill something.

  6. Dabien says:

    There is a way to do this bear, though its not labelled as such, and it’d probably involve a new account to play on for yourself or Cassie. Its mainly used by multiboxers and the like.

    From the main account, recruit a friend to a new account, you then have 2 linked as normal. Then recruit a friend from the new account, to a second new account.

    This then lets you summon in chain, all gain the increased xp/honor experience, and grant levels up through the accounts.

    Not an ideal solution, but a possible workaround to think about.

  7. Eryius says:

    Another option might be (although this is also not ideal) to deck 1 character out in Heirloom gear. Would that not offset the experience gain from the Recruit a Friend? But admittedly, although it might help, it’s not great…
    Or maybe the RealID grouping could help Blizz implement with this, that you could share this experience-link with (some) RealID friends if they are from the same credit card account or something?

    I like the idea of a family package. As mentioned, it is kinda strange that you need to buy all expansions for all family members. Hmm… :/

  8. Caliea says:

    I like your idea of the family plan. Right now, both my husband and I play, and we’ve let our 6 & 7 yr old boys start toons on our accounts. I agree with Torcth, above, that I don’t want them leveling too quickly right now. I haven’t gotten them heirloom gear, and I haven’t encouraged them to speed level at all. They’re thrilled with their level 20 toons, and I”m trying to coach them on how to play their classes without interfering too much.

    We have 2 other little boys that will be interested soon, and I’d love a family plan that would allow all 6 of us to play together at times, especially as they get older. Like you said – buying the game+expansions for all of us, along with monthly fees is looking crazy expensive right now.

  9. Blackbear says:

    Great idea BBB. That would be a good solution and I think Blizzard can easily implement something like that. Loved the AARP name. For some reason it made me think of a few other suitable guild names similar to “Member AARP.” And, seeing as how I’ve got a bit of free time as of this writing, I’d thought I’d add a few more. Please note, these names are intended entirely for entertainment value. I am in no way making generalizations and I am not trying to offend anyone.

    How about:

    My Astral Medical Walker, Brylcreem Booty Bay Club, Geriatric Guardians of Cenarius, Exalted With Medicare, Grumpy Old Horde, The Senile Scrub Squad, The Elderly Elite, Feebled 5-mans, Squishy Seniors, Debilitated Alliance (or Horde), Fossilized Face Pulls, The Oom Old Ladies, Old Timer Twinks, Broken Down BGs, Flagged Old Farts, The Pensioner Pugs, Over The Hillsbrad, The Ironforge Impaired, Brb My Grandkids Need Me, Stormwind Shuffleboard Club, I Brake CC Often, Keep Your Librams Off My Heals, Welcome to WowMart, and Malefic Enhancement 4 Men.

    Some of these names I just now came up with, others I’ve written down for the purpose of making an article with a list of epic guild names.

    -BB

    Just thought I’d give out a few names for those inspired by Member AARP.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      Brilliant! I was laughing along, but it was when I got to “Welcome to WoWmart” that I lost it. Just awesome!

    • freddyboomboom says:

      I have a guild with a name inspired by a group of old pilots in a Dean Ing book: Boring Old Farts

  10. Tsudrats says:

    I love the idea of a family account. We have a number of low level toons in our guild who belong to the children of our adult gamers and it would be nice to see Bliz recognise that gaming is socially something that families do together as well as friends. I’ve come across a couple of tiny guilds that are family only guilds. It’s nice. I can also understand why several of you have commented on not wanting to encourage them to level fast thanks to some of the ganking. Actively discouraging this sort of behaviour has actually kept some of our long term members .

    Now … if I can just convince our younger members whose parents are not in the guild to stop trying to use pester power ….

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