Technology has advanced a lot since World of Warcraft launched over six years ago. We now have tablet PCs that function about as well as computers from back then and I’m pretty sure my phone is smarter than the first computer I played WoW on. Mobile integration with our online worlds is becoming more and more entwined in our lives as we use programs like Skype and Ventrilo on the go. Now it’s getting even closer with Blizzard announcing that they are adding in guild chat (and one-on-one chat with guild members) to their Mobile Armory for the iOS platform (iPhone and iPod Touch).

That’s right, from the convenience of your favorite coffee shop (fully equipped with your beret and extraordinary expensive latte) you can chat with your guild members, keep up to date on what’s going on in the game (or if you’re so inclined to become “that guy” keep them up to date on what toy you’re buying your cat at the pet store), and that’s not even the cherry on top. You can even have private one-on-one chats with your guild members while imbibing your favorite drink at the local Dungeons and Dragons meet-up. Is your Dungeon Master being a jerk and not letting the session out early enough for your raid? Let your guild master know so your attendance doesn’t suffer.

This all sounds like an amazing feature and will bring joy, glee, and prosperity to every iPhone and iPod Touch WoW user out there, but there are a few flaws with this system. The first is that this is currently only free for a short time before it’s bundled up into their premium subscription package. The second is that to converse with your guild you’ll need to use the touchscreen keyboard that can be finicky and hard to type long sentences out on without resulting to drunken shorthand. Lastly, we all have to think of what we’d need guild chat for outside of the safety of our homes.

The “free until it switches to premium” model probably has a few upset and they all probably liken it to a drug dealer offering some free samples of their wares to get you hooked, but I think it’s a really neat thing that Blizzard is doing. They’re coming clean and telling us up front that this will be a premium service once they’re finished testing it.  Not only that, but they’re letting us test is out before we upgrade to see if we even like it and if typing on the touchscreen keyboard to our guild members is too rough on our aging hands.

We all know that touchscreens can be rough to type on (except for those wizards who seem to nail every key perfectly each time) and we know typing full sentences can be a pain. So making legible talk to your guild members beyond what you’d normally send as text messages has got to be on the “one of the most frustrating things in the world to do” list beside trying to hold something and nail it at the same time. However, letting us test the program out before we buy it removes any and all complaints from me. Don’t like it? No point in upgrading then.

As far as use goes, I can see a few times where this would be a lifesaver. Running late for a raid? Pull out your phone and let the guild know. Likewise, it may not see use in everyone’s everyday life at the same time. I’m not a huge guild chat talker so I don’t feel like I’d need to pull my phone out and see what’s going on all the time. Guild Leaders may want to take note, since it’d be good to be able to hop on and scream “QUIT IT CHILDREN” if drama starts to brew while they’re out brewing themselves a snack.

Of course, everything isn’t always sunny in the realm of Blizzard. Testing is available currently on only two realms, Fizzcrank and Lightbringer. That means that the majority of us will have to wait until it’s available on our realms before we can try it out. Then there are a few other issues. Why limit is functionality to only chatting with guild members? Why not let us chat up our Battle.net friends? There are some people I can only talk to on Battle.net so why not extend the functionality there?

Mobile Armory World of Warcraft Thumbs up

Orcs & Humans can agree that the Mobile Armory is a really neat application and guild chat just makes it all that much better.

That makes a lot of sense too since the same people I’d share my email address with are the ones I’d probably want to talk to when I’m away from the computer versus guild members who I probably am out of the house to avoid in the first place. I really hope they let us message more than just those within our guilds and spread functionality so that we can message all of our friends on WoW.

Do keep note though, technology like this is going to become mainstream with a lot of MMOGs as we progress through the next few years. Even so much that Guild Wars 2 is promising full support of mobile devices and even have some really neat things to show off, like the ability to not only chat with your guild members but also see where they are on the map. Their entire "extended experience" is a great example of where the industry is going with adopting mobile technology.

Overall I think this new feature of their mobile application is a hit with me and hopefully, as they add more features, it becomes something even cooler and cooler. Android users are still missing out as they only have the Mobile Auction House, but I’m sure Blizzard will eventually port the goodness of the Mobile Armory that way at some point or another. Until then, those of you on Fizzcrank and Lighbringer with iPhones get out there and get testing. Report your user experience right here in the comments section below.


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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

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Xerin 1
Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.

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