If you have a real-life WoW buddy who plays on another server, you can now venture into dungeons and slay bad dudes together.
We first learned about Blizzard's plans to add cross-realm dungeoneering parties to World of Warcraft back in May: It was a system that would allow players to invite their Real-ID friends to a party and tackle dungeons together, no matter what server (or "realm") they played on.
According to the WoW Battle.net blog, the feature has gone live - sort of. It's available for live testing, which essentially means that everyone can use it right now but should be aware that it might not work as it's supposed to until Blizzard works out the kinks.
The WoW team posted a helpful FAQ with the announcement, which you can read below:
Real ID Party Feature - Test Phase FAQ
Q: What is the Real ID Party feature?
A: Players can now invite Real ID friends of the same faction to a 5-player normal or Heroic dungeon group, regardless of what realm their friends are on. This system is designed to make it easier for real-life friends to play together.
Q: How do I invite Real ID friends to a Real ID party?
A: Inviting a Real ID friend to a Real ID Party is simple. Just open up your Friends list to see which Real ID friends are online. Click on the "Plus" button to send an invitation to a Real ID friend to join your group. You can continue to add Real ID friends to your party until the group is complete. If you cannot complete the group with Real ID friends, you are free to join the Dungeon Finder to fill in the missing roles.
Q: Does a player need to have Real ID enabled to accept a Real ID group invite?
A: Yes, a player must have Real ID enabled, and both players must be Real ID friends to accept or initiate Real ID party invitations.
Q: Can a party leader invite a mix of Real ID friends, character-level friends, guildmates, or random players to the same party?
A: A party leader can invite any combination of Real ID friends from any realm, guildmates from the same realm, or other characters from the same realm to the same party. If the party leader isn't able to fill up the entire party, the Dungeon Finder can fill in the missing roles.
Q: Can I invite someone who is not a Real ID friend?
A: You can only invite members to a party if they are on your Real ID friends list or if they are on the same realm as you are.
Q: Can I invite a friend of a Real ID friend?
A: No, you can only invite your own Real ID friends the party.
Q: How long will the testing period last?
A: We haven't yet determined how long the testing period will last. We'll keep you updated on the status and inform you when the test period is going to end in the future.
Q: Will aspects of the Real ID Party system be premium-based?
A: We'll have information on this toward the end of the testing period.
Of particular note is that last question - Blizzard initially said that the service would cost a premium fee (for the inviter, anyway; invitees ride free). Predictably, this caused a rather large storm in the WoW playerbase, so the studio seems to be taking a more reserved approach this time around. It wouldn't be the first time Blizzard has retreated from controversial Real ID plans, either.
While I'm wary of any possible "premium" fees, I think the system in question is a great idea that's been a long time in coming. I have plenty of Real ID friends on other servers that I'd love to play with, but I just don't have the time to roll up an alt character on their realms and get them geared - with this, that hassle is out of the picture.
Of course, I still can't play with them if they're filthy Horde. But hey, it serves those barbarians right.