One of Battle for Azeroth’s most anticipated features, for me at least, is the introduction of communities. Similar in many ways to Discord, communities allow you to create, join, and manage various groups. These groups can be realm-wide, even faction wide, though not region-wide yet. A lot of my friends are in a guild on a different server to the one I’m on, so I couldn’t wait for this feature. It was supposed to be launched on Wednesday but, sadly, the pre-patch was a hot mess and communities had to be quickly disabled while they tried to work out what was going on. Happily, communities are now back up and it looks like they’re here to stay.
Here’s what you need to know about them.
There are two new types of communities
The first is a World of Warcraft community. These are faction specific, so an Alliance character cannot join a Horde community, and vice versa. My favourite thing about these communities is that they have calendar support. Like guilds, they are in-game only and character specific, so if you want all eleven alts in one community, you have to join that community eleven times. I can see these communities having great potential for roleplay, fishing, and cross-realm guilds.
The second is a Blizzard group. These communities are not tied to any specific game, just to the Battle.net app, so, for example, your Overwatch friends can join and make these too. They can be accessed both in the game and through the Battle.net app. These are tied to your Battletag, so you don’t have to join them separately with each character, and they’re not restricted to one faction. They’re great for groups of friends or like-minded people – I’ve already made my own and have joined one created by some of my favourite Youtubers. Unfortunately, Blizzard groups don’t have in-game calendar support, which does kinda make sense as they’re not tied to World of Warcraft specifically.
Both types of communities can have different groups and rooms, so if you want to keep raiding chat, lore talk, or “dadgar” jokes separate, it’s easy – because, once you have 20 separate rooms to keep track of, it can be a little confusing. It’s also easy to wind up sending the wrong message (or, in my case, whole string of messages detailing my reasons for choosing my realm, how unhappy I am with it, and how I hope to move my entire alt-army in BFA) to the wrong community, horribly embarrassing yourself – so be careful.
One drawback both kinds of communities suffer from is a certain amount of limited functionality. For example, you can’t currently ban anyone from joining. You can kick them out, but if you’ve chosen a link that never expires, they’ll be able to rejoin as often as they want to. This is an obvious problem and I hope merely an oversight that will soon be fixed, but in the meantime, stick to giving out links that expire.
How to find a community
I’m not going to pretend to already be an expert here, but I wouldn’t suggest going to the World of Warcraft forums and joining the first one you see. There be trolling.
Communities are already going to involve keeping track of a lot more conversations than you may be used to, so I would suggest starting out choosing small, specific communities. I’ve already made a little community just with Twitter friends alone, and that Youtube community I mentioned is for those Youtubers’ patreons. If you already belong to any World of Warcraft Discord groups you really like, ask them if they’re planning to make a community. Your guild might even be planning to go cross-realm. Wowhead is usually pretty good with this sort of thing – they have quite a good list of Discord servers that I wish I knew about a few months ago – so keep an eye on them. There’s no in-game list of communities from what I’ve seen, but considering the impossible to navigate, useless mess that is the in-game list of guilds, that’s probably a good thing.