Five years of WoW

Along with many other blogs, websites, or other publications, I decided to give my own little remembrance of the past five years of addiction WoW.  There’s been high points, low points, in between points, and many points that I’m not sure where they belong.  However, the fact that I’m still playing and logging on daily after five years has to mean something.

Oh, and the 9+ million subscribers.  But that’s just pocket change, right?

I’ve been a Blizzard fanboy for a while.  I started with Warcraft 2, enjoyed it so much that I bought the battlechest with Warcraft 1 and Warcraft 2 expansion, and haven’t looked back.  I’ve played every single Blizzard game for the PC, and am eagerly waiting for the future releases.  (It doesn’t hurt that I have a Starcraft 2 beta signup from BlizzCon ’08)

As for WoW though, my first experience was actually unintentional.  I was playing Diablo 2, looked around the Blizzard website, and noticed the WoW page.  I took a peek around, and noticed that it was in open beta phase for server stress tests.  Eager to check out this new product, I happily downloaded it and wondered what was in store.  I wasn’t dissapointed, that’s for sure.

My very first character, the first Corath in all of WoW, was a Night Elf priest.  I played him until level 6-8ish, but got very frustrated with the quest that leads you to the Barrow Dens – a quest that’s still a pain.  After that, I decided to try a Night Elf druid, and loved it.  Open beta ended a short time later, but it left its impression on me – after my first day of playing, I went to the local EB Games and pre-ordered the game for when it came out.

Because of how much fun I had with it, I contacted a good friend of mine that I knew in real life but had moved away, who I played many games with over the years (SNES and upwards).  I told him about this awesome new game, and he decided to give it a try.  To this day, Zirath and I are still great friends and in the same guild.

So, release day comes around.  Fortunately, I didn’t start work until one o’clock, so I was able to get to EB at opening and head home to install.  Zirath had to phone me to create a new account, as he didn’t have a credit card, and the signup process needed one.  I gave him my credit card number, then we deleted it from his account immediately so he could buy game cards.  We decided to roll on a random server, and chose Doomhammer because the name was good.

I ended up rolling the second Corath, my very first character in live WoW, a Night Elf druid.  Zirath rolled a Night Elf hunter, a character he still uses from time to time today.  Unfortunately I can’t say the same about mine… he’s stuck at level 26 in the Lakeshire inn.

We ended up in our first (and somewhat only) guild by using the guild recruitment forums on the WoW forums.  Since then, I’ve never had to apply for a guild again.  Legends of Valor on Doomhammer became Forever Legends on Perenolde after a free transfer to alleviate server population.  Forever Legends decided to do a horde reroll on Vek’nilash and became Legends of Intoxication, which then merged with The Crimson Guard & Platinum Syndicate to form Band of Thorns, which I continue to be in today.

I can’t say the same about my characters.  Corath the Night Elf druid, as I mentioned, has been mothballed.  At the time, back in vanilla, to say that druids were a pain to level was an incredible understatement.  Combine that with the fact that I wasn’t very good at the class at the time, and you get me rerolling Rocque, the Human mage.  I stuck with him until we decided to do our reroll, but didn’t get him much raiding experience – something I regret to this day.

A bunch of people from our guild on Perenolde decided to reroll Horde, something that I’m incredibly glad that we did – and probably the best thing I’ve done in my WoW career.  It let me meet new people, make new friends, and finally find things that I enjoy.  My first new Horde character was Gushue, the Orc warlock.  I got him to 60 (after a while), and raided with him all the way through vanilla – we ended up clearing Molten Core up to Lucifron (with only 28-30 people at most, I might add), all of Zul’Gurub, and all of Ahn’Qiraj 20.

Then Burning Crusade hit, and I volunteered to reroll a paladin for the guild, and Fandarel the Blood Elf was born.  I healed through most of BC, going up to Serpentshrine Cavern.  At the time, my wife decided to start playing the game as well, so I rolled a druid to level with her shaman the she had started, thus Asok was born.  He was an alt for a long time until he hit 70, but then I realized something that has never happened to me in any MMO or other game – I was enjoying a melee class.  Being able to tank and just shift forms and dps was a different feeling for me.  It was actually really fun.

Once Asok hit 70, I got him geared up, and ended up being able to main tank all of Karazhan/Gruul’s/Magtheridon, and able to off-tank SSC and Tempest Keep.  For the first time in my WoW career, I found a main character that I really enjoyed playing.  Of course, I’m still an altaholic.  I have a level 80 paladin (Fandarel), 80 shaman, 74 warlock (Gushue), 70 death knight, 68 hunter, and many others below that.  Rocque is sitting at level 61 in Honor Hold, and I doubt he’ll do much for a while.

I went from being a backbencher in the guild to being an officer for a while, and now back to just being a regular guy.  I’ve had five main characters, countless alts, and I’ve made a fair amount of gold – along with three characters having epic flying.  All in all, I’ve invested a ton of time into this game, and I don’t regret any of it.  If anything, I regret that it took so long for me to find a main character that I enjoyed so much.  It’s kind of funny that I’m starting to level Gushue up again, and finding that I’m having fun with him.  It goes in cycles, I suppose.

WoW has been out for five years, and has gone through a great number of changes.  I remember that I had at one point bought a strategy guide for it when it first came out, shortly after release.  It truly is too bad that I can’t find it anymore, just to see what the game was like back then.  When I started the game, I was single.  In the time that I’ve played, I’ve gotten married and had a kid.

My best memory of the game is still one run through Karazhan when I was on my paladin healing, I got to talking to a recent recruit to the guild, an Orc hunter.  I found out that we lived in the same city, were close in ages, and through more talking, found out that we went to junior high together.  Amazingly enough, her and I were great friends – and she happened to find our guild by mistake.  We’ve since reconnected, and are still great friends.

Thank you, Blizzard, for making a great game.  I can’t wait to see what’s still to come.

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