Blog Azeroth Weekly Shared Topic: Recruit a Friend (or yourself!)

Posted in Rant on Aug 19, 2008

This post is the only shared topic from the Blog Azeroth forums that I’ve replied to thus far, and if you’d like to look at the original post, you can go right here. I also understand that there was some confusion regarding the costs I outlined previously, and as such, I have edited the post to more accurately/clearly (I hope) reflect what exactly you’re paying for if you’re trying to milk every single bonus out of the Refer-A-Friend promo. Additionally, if you have other RAF questions, please see the Blizzard site. 

So you’re facing the pre Wrath of the Lich King doldrums. You’re sick of raiding, picked up all the gear you possibly could, destroyed (or were destroyed in) arenas, farmed an unspeakably huge amount of gold—what’s left to do? You could certainly start farming reputation for achievements or go back and play through all the quests you’ve never done, but why not try another toon? There are great benefits—like expanding your class knowledge or being able to pick up another profitable profession—but going from 1 to 60 is such a bore. 

Fortunately, getting the toon you’ve always wanted is only a few mouse-clicks away! Zoom through the first few levels where XP is painfully easy to acquire, and then skip all the boring run arounds. Why pay for a leveling service when it’s costly, an inefficient use of time, and could very well earn you the ban-hammer? Blizzard has the answer, and it’s 100% safe and effective!

Buy a second account!

You heard me. While this isn’t what Blizzard supposedly endorses, how many people could you refer who aren’t already playing? Believe me, if my friends aren’t playing now, they won’t ever be—and I’m sure I’m not the only person in that situation. So if you’re a diehard with disposable income (in the age of high energy prices, poor health insurance and rising food costs), or maybe you just don’t spend a wad of cash on hookers and blow every weekend, paying for two months on another account can effectively get you XP bonuses, summons, thirty “free” levels on your main account and the coveted Zhevra mount. 

This is great! For just a few months’ payment, you can totally abuse Blizzard’s leveling system and give the metaphorical finger (zooming by on your many-striped mount) to everyone else who couldn’t do it. At first, even I considered it—why not take advantage of an exploit when you see it?—and came up with this particular scheme: 

  1. I send a Refer-a-Friend notice to one of Lycentia’s alternate e-mail addresses. He repeats the procedure with one of my alternate e-mail addresses.
  2. We both purchase two months of play time on our “new” accounts (using a shiny 60 day gamecard); this also earns each of our main accounts a free month of play, essentially meaning we’re making three (instead of four) payments. 
  3. Lycentia and I roll toons on Scarlet Crusade to play with Phaelia and co. and coerce her into giving us bags and stuff, all while enjoying triple XP gains from mobs and quests and the ability to summon one another around Azeroth. 
  4. Once we hit 60 on the RAF (Refer-a-Friend) accounts, we blithely gift our Horde lowbies on Mal’ganis from our main accounts with 30 free levels (home to Elitist Jerks, Serious Casual and the new and improved Juggernaut II). Oh, and enjoy our zhevras on our mains. 

Unfortunately, multiple aspects of our plan don’t quite work: at first glance, Blizzard seems to have a few principles Firstly, the toons we roll on our RAF accounts need to be on the same realm and of the same faction of the toons we want to gift levels to on our main accounts. For example: if I rolled an RAF Alliance toon on Scarlet Crusade, I could only gift levels to a toon from Runy’s account on Scarlet Crusade. No cross-realm cross-faction bullshit. Bummer. 

In actuality, taking advantage of all the bonuses is much more difficult (and costly!) than it seems when working with multiple people. Accounts must be linked in order to receive the party triple XP bonuses and summons. If I referred Lycentia and he referred me, our RAF accounts would be linked to each other’s main accounts, meaning we couldn’t level our RAF accounts together and take advantage of the bonuses. In fact, to get ALL (and end up with two 60s and a zhevra each) the mega-boner bonuses, we’d have to pull off something a little trickier:


Lycentia RAF’s Runy’s alternate e-mail → Runy has a NEW ACCOUNT

Runy’s NEW ACCOUNT RAF’s Lycentia’s alternate e-mail → Lycentia has a NEW ACCOUNT

Lycentia’s new account is now linked to Runy’s new account, and both toons receive XP bonuses and summons. 

Lycentia’s New Account Gifts 30 Levels to Runy’s New Account

Runy’s New Account Gifts 30 Levels to Lycentia’s Main Account

What this means is that the middle RAF account (me, in this case) needs to have two toons on it. These toons will later need to be merged with the main account at a cost of $25.00 each. Lycentia’s main account will also have a zhevra, and my RAF account will receive a zhevra. I would also need to make sure that the second toon on Runy’s account is already at level 30 by the time it receives the gifted levels so that it would hit 60 instantly. Why not switch it around so that Lycentia has to do that bullshit? Well, he already has a level twenty-something rogue on Mal’ganis while my paladin is only level 7.

Essentially, we can go through all those hoops and ladders, level our super-speedy RAF toons on Mal’ganis, take up professions on them that would be highly profitable, gift our 30 levels and essentially have two very viable Horde toons to dick around with there—or even raid on, if that was what we wanted. And then what? Merge accounts and stop paying for both. 

Let’s do some math!

Runy’s Monetarial Expectations:

Runy’s Main Account (using month-to-month payments):

$14.95 + $14.95 = $29.90 for two months

Runy’s RAF Account:

$29.99 (Gamecard)

Runy’s Total:

$29.90 (Main Account)+$29.99 (RAF Account)+2($25.00 to merge accounts)+$40.00 (for Battlechest account upgrade)= $149.89


Lycentia’s Monetarial Expectations:

Lycentia’s Main Account (using month-to-month payments):

$14.95 + FREE MONTH (from RAF) = $14.95 for two months

Lycentia’s RAF Account (using a 60 day gamecard):

FREE MONTH (from RAF) + $29.99 = $29.99

Lycentia’s Total:

$14.95 (Main Account)+$29.99 (Gamecard from RAF Account)+$25.00 (to merge accounts)+$40.00 (for Battlchest account upgrade) = $109.94 for two quick new Level 60 toons. And a Zhevra. 

Remember, these costs reflect the fact that you need to upgrade trial accounts to regular accounts if you ever plan on merging them back onto your main account for full-time play. If you buy the WoW Battlechest, this costs $40.00, total (and also includes some useless strategy guides). $259.83 later, this would be a very profitable venture for Blizzard. Remember, this is only if Lycentia and I wanted to take FULL advantage of the whole procedure (two level 60’s each, all XP bonuses, and two zhevras): he could easily just use a Refer-a-Friend for me and I’d end up having to merge ONE toon and he’d get his two toons and a zhevra. Significantly less expensive—just the $109.94. Split that between two makeout partners, and it’s $54.97.

Remember—training and mounts still require gold, so if you’re gleefully gifting levels without taking any of that into consideration, you might be stuck with a rather ridiculous 60 in terribad gear with no cash. If this is really the route you want to go, consider taking non-competing gathering professions (Skinning, Mining, and Herbalism) and making a point of frequenting the AH with all your goodies—low level gems, mats, patterns, and cloth—and keep a bank alt parked some place helpful so that you don’t have to bring your questing toons back to a capital city.

The entire procedure leaves a bad taste in my mouth, akin to “earning” pets, mounts or items by paying for events such as Blizzcon or the WoW TCG, but the small portion of me that yearns to be ruthlessly efficient in my endeavors is considering it. I don’t necessarily think that Blizzard made the right decision in offering this cheap (not literally) dilemma to players, especially since much of the early-on critical class learning comes from the leveling process, but if you’re interested in having yet another 70, switching factions quickly, multi-boxing, leveling to play with a friend on another realm or, heaven forbid, actually referring a friend, you might as well reap the bonus benefits from the “program.” Regardless, it’s an awful lot of money for convenience—and a pony. 

For now, I imagine I’ll keep doing it the hard way—just how I like it—and wait for a beta key to miraculously appear in my mailbox. 



  • [...] Recruit a Friend (or Yourself) by Runycat of Unbearably HoT Runy reveals the best way to exploit make use of as intended the new Recruit-a-Friend program to powerlevel two brand-new level 70 characters for the low, low price of $243.89! Who said corporate America was dead? (No one, that’s who.) [...]

    • At 2008.08.19 18:27, Razorbax said:

      Two things to take note of in this process.
      Firstly you lose all gifted levels when you hit 60, so you have to Gift the levels at 59 at the latest.
      You also keep your % of XP, so if you are gifting a level 1, try to get to as close to 99% of the level as you can, this will put you at the top end of level 59.

      • At 2008.08.19 18:37, Runycat said:

        That’s something I am aware of, but you’re right, I didn’t mention it here. The idea was to get the toon, who will be gifted levels, to at least level 30 so you’ll be as close as you can get to 60.

      • [...] Blog Azeroth – (reason for this post) Double Bubble – (maor links) TyphoonAndrew – (Good opinions) Unbearably HOT – (interesting take on how to take advantage of this program) Metal Up Your WoW – (omg, i could [...]

        • At 2008.08.20 05:00, Dechion said:

          I think in much the same way about this program, I don’t really like it.
          Is it tempting? Yes.
          Is it legal? Yes.
          is it ethical? Debatable.

          I do know that even after posting about the evils of the program when my daughter bought a computer and decided she wanted to play I did send her over a “refer-a-friend” if only for the free month and free mount on my account.

          I told her already that her starting gift will be four 16 slot bags and 5g from my tailor. She understands that she cannot expect to learn her class by being fast forwarded. She also pointed out that she is paying for 70 levels of stuff to do, avoiding 60 of them would be kind of counter productive.

          • At 2008.08.20 05:15, Runycat said:

            Despite my reservations, it’s certainly not world-ending. In fact, it actually presents more problems than you’d realize, and most of them are monetary (in-game). It’s all well and good if you’re level 10 before leaving the starting zone, but if you don’t have enough money to pick up professions and class skills, what good is it? It means you need to stick around and farm humanoids for awhile to pick up cash–or have some other form of benefactor.

            Like I said, I think it’s more useful to folks who just want another 70 or want to multibox. If you can use it to refer a friend, great, but I can’t help wondering if that’s the least common use of the RAF promo.

          • [...] was just reading Runy’s thoughts on the new Recruit a Friend program. I wanted to share a few gems of knowledge I’ve picked up [...]

            • At 2008.08.25 10:06, Spectrum said:

              I was double-checking this with a friend and he said you can still get triple quest XP with the higher player even if the lower player is below the 4-level window it’s supposed to work with. Neither will get mob XP though, and the lower-level character doesn’t get the quest bonus I think.

              I should test it again, but I’ve been busy.

              • At 2008.08.25 10:27, Runycat said:

                Interesting, and good to know. I’ll actually be able to test this out later tonight, so I’ll see what’s up. Basically, you’re saying that if I had a linked account with say, a level 10 and a level 40, I could run around with the lowbie on follow, do all the questing, and the 40 will get the bonus quest XP? Seems like a bug, but definitely one worth exploiting if it works.

            • At 2008.08.20 12:01, Plac said:

              Wouldn’t it be easier to just RAF to a friend who bought a new account under his same last name? He can buy a new battlechest, you’ll link up accounts and it’ll only cost one person $45 (15 dollar battlechest + 30 dollar 60 Day game card) and an extra $25 if he wants to merge his two account together? I mean you and your friend will be gaining a new (fast) level 60 for $70/2 if you split the costs.

              Also what do you mean by ‘Gifting 30 levels’? I read up on the RAF process and there is no such thing as ‘Oh here’s a free 30 levels kthxbai’

              • At 2008.08.20 12:29, Lycentia said:

                Holy Christ, you’re slow. Clearly you “read up” on the RAF process like George W. Bush “read up” on running a country.

                From the RAF FAQ ( “For every two levels the new player earns, the new player can grant one free level-up to a lower-level character played by the veteran player.”

                Just in case you didn’t “read up” on what I just wrote, this is what that means in plain, simple, President of the United States terms: If I level a character to 60 on a new RAF account that is linked to my existing account, I can then have the fresh 60 meet up in game with, say, a level 31 character on my existing account, and “gift” them 29 levels (Going from 1-60 counts as 59 levels “gained,” so 59/2 = 29.5, which rounds down to 29), and you have yourself a pair of 60’s.

                Think before you post, genius.

              • At 2008.08.20 13:20, Plac said:

                I didn’t understand the slang of ‘gifting levels.’ I don’t see why you’re so angry seeing as how I haven’t said anything offensive, and asked 2 legit questions. And you totally ignored the first part of my post. Clearly you ignored the first part like the President of the United States ignores the energy crisis we’re in, asshole.

                • At 2008.08.20 13:32, Runycat said:

                  For reference purposes, I probably should have listed every single benefit for the Refer-a-Friend program. A few are as follows:

                  -The linked accounts can gain triple experience from quests and mobs if they’re partied and within range of one another. They also need to be within four levels of one another so that trial accounts cannot be exploited (by parking a freebie level 1 trial account next to say, a level 20 in Menethil Harbor as he turns in quests).
                  -The referring account receives a free month of play time when the referral upgrades to a regular account and pays for a month of playtime.
                  -The referring account receives a zhevra mount when the referral upgrades to a regular account and pays for two months of playtime.
                  -The referral account is able to “gift” a level to the referring account that it’s linked to every two levels. The referral account can choose to gift all of these “free levels” at once, when they’re level 60, which ultimately amounts to a total of “30 free levels” (technically, it’s 29).

                  As I did mention in my article, you can simply refer a friend, follow the exact same procedure you commented about, and get most of the RAF benefits cheaply (or relatively). If, however, you want to take advantage of the RAF benefits on both sides, you need to follow the procedure I outlined in my article. What does this mean? It means that both parties will get a zhevra mount, both parties will be able to “gift” 30 levels to each other, and both parties will also still get the triple XP bonuses up to level 60. Ultimately, this means that both people will have to merge at least one toon later, and it means you should end up with two easily attained level 60 toons.

                  Please stop the negativity; there’s no anger there. Both of your questions were already answered within the body of my article, which is what Lycentia referenced. As I said, I should have probably posted the Blizzard FAQ originally so that there wouldn’t be any concerns, but the basics are outlined there. It’s actually not “slang”–if you click a linked account’s player portrait, you literally get an option that says something to the effect of “Gift a Level to Your Mom”.

                  I’ll probably be posting a follow-up to this article for further clarification/exploits.

                • At 2008.08.20 13:34, Plac said:

                  Oh, I understand now, thanks for the quick response. =)

                  Lycentia lets kiss and be friends =D

                  • [...] Unbearably HoT [...]

                    • At 2008.08.20 14:47, Rins said:

                      Is your pricing off? Battlechests cost 40 bucks and don’t come with a free month of play time, I even checked the blizzard store and it doesn’t say anything of the sort

                      • At 2008.08.20 15:09, Runycat said:

                        It’s off; I credited the free time in the wrong place. It would be 14.95 * 2 on Runy’s Main Account, and then it’d be $14.95 + FREE MONTH on Runy’s New Account because that account would have RAF’d Lycentia’s second account. I’ve been waiting all day to get home and fix it since the wireless was screwed up at work.

                      • At 2008.08.20 14:51, Rins said:


                        $40 for Battlechest + $30 60 day game card + $25 for merger = $95 in terms of one person

                        or am I doing something wrong?

                        • At 2008.08.20 15:18, Runycat said:

                          Depends on what scenario you’re looking at. If I just decided to RAF Lycentia right now, for example, it would be (for him):

                          $40 (Battlechest) + $29.90 (60 Day Gamecard) + $25 for merger, as you said.

                          If you’re following the scenario in which both parties end up with two level 60’s, a zhevra, and all the bonuses (free month of gametime, etc.), you’re looking at this as a revised scenario (using the referral formula in the article):

                          Runy’s Main Account:
                          2($14.95)= $29.90

                          Runy’s RAF Account:
                          $14.95+FREE MONTH (for referring Lycentia)+$40 (Battlechest)+2($25.00 for merger)=$104.95

                          Runy’s Total = $134.85

                          Lycentia’s Main Account:
                          $14.95 + FREE MONTH (for referring Runy’s alt account) = $14.95

                          Lycentia’s RAF Account:
                          2($14.95)+$40 (Battlechest) + $25 (merger) = $94.90

                          Lycentia’s Total: $109.85

                          Grand Total: $244.70

                          • At 2008.08.20 15:27, Runycat said:

                            The Math section of the article doesn’t total the battlechest costs, if that’s what you’re missing; it’s in the paragraph following.

                          • At 2008.08.20 15:34, Rins said:

                            ahh, I see it now, thanks.

                            • At 2008.08.20 15:54, Runycat said:

                              No problem! I’ll probably clean it up so it looks consistent and less confusing.

                            • [...] from Metal up Your WoW. For additional takes on this topic, I invite you to read Runycat’s Recruit a Friend (or Yourself) and Megan’s New Rules, Part [...]

                              • At 2008.09.02 17:48, Fettish said:

                                Here’s a question: Let’s say I use my wife’s account to send me an invite; I buy another copy of WoW and TBC. I upgrade the trial account to a full version. I then decide I want to move my level 45-ish druid to the new account so I can close my old account. Consolidating, if you will, on the new account within the 90 day linked account. So, the question: Is that possible? Would the added character be considered linked to her account?

                                • At 2008.09.02 18:00, Runycat said:

                                  Depends on how you do it. As far as I know, Blizzard allows account mergers, provided you have the same last name and there’s enough room for that character on that realm (for that account). Blizzard can be notoriously picky about account info matching; for example, I know of someone who had to fax them her Marriage Certificate before they’d allow her to merge a new account with an old one.

                                  Your best bet? You can actually RAF yourself, use the same e-mail address, and open up a second account in the same name. Blizzard really just doesn’t care anymore.

                                • At 2008.09.03 03:24, Serahvin said:

                                  Why would you have to buy the WoW battlechest to upgrade the account? Couldn’t you buy vanillla WoW only and just have to pay $20? Or will it only do RAF if both accounts have BC on them?

                                  • [...] I wrote about Blizzard’s Recruit-Yourself! Program a few weeks ago, I’ve had a number of questions about the entire process that ran the gamut from [...]

                                    • At 2008.09.04 13:16, Piston said:

                                      well their are a few unanswered questions i have before actually trying this myself. i have 1 account 0 toons. could i recruit another account. start 2 toons at the same time. on the RAF accoutn start a Hunter ( something easy to level ) and say a Warrior ( my personal fav ) on the main account. run around with the warrior following the hunter. getting 3x the xp the whole way. then when both are at 60. could i then level 1 character on the Main account say a (shaman , also one of my fav pvp classes ) to 30. use the transferable levels from the hunter to the shaman and boost him to 60? leaving me with a level 60 warrior and a level 60 shaman on my main account and a level 60 hunter on the RAF account. if after all that if it could work which is what i am trying to ask. could i transfer the hunter to the main account their for only paying to keep one account active and only have to upgrade one account all the way to bc and then eventually LK and when LK comes out turn the hutner into the DK. leaving me with Main account = 1 60 warrior, 1 60 shaman, 1 60 hunter ready to do LK quest when it comes out, and then Freeze the RAF accoutn ro save it for a friend so your only paying for one. and offcourse thats not including the leveling fro 60-70 and then 70-80. and if u did the RAF with the same alst name as the main accoutn so their for blizzard would think that the two accounts were family their for allowign the creation of two accounts for use of the RAF system and then also later on allowing the account character transfer due to the name policy. if anybody has done enough research on this to answer my questions. please reply to this when possible. Piston

                                      • At 2008.09.04 13:49, Runycat said:

                                        All right. Your comment was a little jumbled in terms of grammar, but I think I know what you’re talking about. I edited it just so it’d be clear to other readers.

                                        Firstly, yes, your original scenario is correct. You can level a hunter (on the RAF account) and a warrior (on the main account) and have one follow the other and gain all the triple XP bonuses. Your hunter would then be able to grant (at level 60) 29 levels to any character from the same realm, same faction, on your MAIN account. Just make sure your shammy is level 31 before you gift the levels, that way he’ll end up being 60 (31+29=60).

                                        You can then transfer the hunter to your main account (providing you have enough space on that account, which it sounds like you do), and only have to pay for the transfer, which is a one time fee of $25. In fact, if you don’t care about the Zhevra mount at all, you can elect to only pay for 1 month (on the RAF account) and only upgrade to vanilla WoW ($19.99) rather than upgrading to that AND Burning Crusade. This will save you $34.94.

                                        As for freezing your RAF account, I don’t recommend it. Why? All of the XP bonuses only apply for 90 days. If your friend is going to use it before then, it might be okay, but you should just be clear on how long this program lasts before you go any further. All the benefits also ONLY apply to level 60 and below. As soon as you hit 60—no more summons, no more triple XP bonuses. Keep in mind that you and your friend’s characters must be within 4 levels of one another to receive the bonuses, and that you can only grant levels to a lower level character.

                                        You can give that RAF account to a friend, but if you plan on transferring any character from the RAF account to your main one, the RAF account MUST have the same account information as your main (including last name and, in some cases, credit card information).

                                        I hope that answers your questions! If I left anything out, please let me know.

                                        Oh, and additionally, you don’t “turn” characters into Death Knights; if you have any level 55 character, the ability to create a DK is unlocked. You can choose any race/gender/whatever for your DK, and your DK will automatically start at level 55.

                                      • At 2008.09.04 14:45, Piston said:

                                        so that would be a very logical thing to do if you were to want more than 1 70/80 correct? level 2 characters simultaniously then level another to 31 then use the free levels to get him to 60, repeat again…. boom 6 toons level 60 correct? does the free levels you aquire from levelign expire at any time or dissapear when you hit 60? and by benefits do you mean as soon as their is one character 60+ on the account all the benefits are removed as well? even on alts lower than 60? can you start the DK quest with a character over 55? and u will jsut start at 55? and do you have to have a character over 60+ on the main account before u can recruti a friend or get any of its benefits or can you start fresh with 0 toons? is playing two different accounts owned by the same person at the same time bannable? will blizzard allow you to create two accounts with the exact same information on them?

                                        • At 2008.09.04 15:30, Runycat said:

                                          For 90 days, you can essentially level as many characters as you want. Rinse and repeat. You don’t have to already have level 60s, and just because you have characters OVER level 60, it doesn’t wipe the benefit from the rest of your toons, just that one.

                                          When WotLK comes out, you create a BRAND NEW DK, and that DK automatically starts out at level 55. There’s no way around it.

                                          You can Recruit-A-Friend at any time, and the same person can have multiple accounts. It’s not bannable at all, as long as you’re not botting.

                                          • At 2008.09.04 15:42, Piston said:

                                            why only 90 days? Do you think this is something smart to do if you seek to have multiple characters over 60?

                                            • At 2008.09.04 16:08, Runycat said:

                                              90 days is just the arbitrary amount of time Blizzard has chosen to let the bonuses be in effect for. Power leveling these characters certainly creates deficiencies in gear, weapon and defense skills, and gold, but if you have the money and you’d like to level a few characters quickly, sure, it’s a great idea. I recommend reading my follow up article:

                                              Recruit-A-Friend Reprise: The Bear Essentials.

                                        • At 2008.09.04 14:55, Piston said:

                                          if blizzard caught on would they be able to remove these RAF bonuses at any time?

                                          • At 2008.09.04 15:30, Runycat said:

                                            Caught on to what? One person having multiple accounts? No, it’s not bannable.

                                          • At 2008.09.04 16:44, Piston said:

                                            question? good plan? okay since i have a 90 day period to take advantage of my RAF bonuses why not run like as many groups as possible to 60. 2 at a time grouping with a non linked 70 doing ridiculous instances for theri level to max xp gains. then when my 90 days is up. hopefully il have around 6x 60’s then level the remaining classes alts with the gift levels? having close to all the wow classes at and around 60 in exactly 90 days? would this work? sound like a good plan?

                                            • At 2008.09.05 12:26, Runycat said:

                                              Sure, go for it.

                                            • At 2008.09.05 09:48, Chris said:

                                              Why doesn’t Blizzard just cut the crap and have a system like this: If you have a level 70 toon purchase our triple leveling program that will level you to 60. Maybe even enter the code at Landro Longshot or something. I would buy something like that. I have 3 70’s and 4 alts that I would love to get to 70. I’m just too burned out on leveling right now.

                                              • At 2008.09.05 12:26, Runycat said:

                                                Maybe Blizzard has a very minute conscience that makes them think offering a “ZOMG LEVEL TO 60 INSTANTLY BY YOURSELF” program would be even more of a conspicuous selling out.

                                                After all, with their current plan in place, they’re raking in the big bucks (and largely under the radar, because I’m not sure everyone knows about the costs involved). Why do anything else?

                                              • [...] (reason for this post) Double Bubble – (maor links) TyphoonAndrew – (Good opinions) Unbearably HOT – (interesting take on how to take advantage of this program) Metal Up Your WoW – (omg, [...]

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