Friday, March 25, 2016

Reflections of WoW Part I

I recently hopped on one of those private Vanilla WoW servers a few months back. With Warlords of Draenor droning on and no new content in sight for a long while I, like many others, started to yearn for the past. When WoW was "harder" and when leveling a character meant something. You honestly take for granted a lot of the changes that have occurred over the years that have made the game more convenient. You forget how long it used to take to kill a single mob, now it's 1-2 hits and it's dead. You forget about spell ranks and having to purchase your new spells every few levels and making sure you had enough money to do so as well. Gold was not easy to come by as it is now. This post is not about what has changed and whether it used to be better or not, these series of posts are a reflection, a memoir, of my adventures in World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft was first released in 2004 and back then when it had released I was in college already and striving to take on the world. Video Gaming had always been a passion of mine and my main games to play were anything from Starcraft 1, Diablo 2, any JRPG at the time, Team Fortress and many many more. I had briefly played Warcraft 3 and enjoyed it but to me it was no match for Starcraft 1 in terms of RTS games. I had never really played an MMORPG before, the closest thing to it was Diablo 2 online but you can't really consider that. I had never gotten into Everquest or Ultima Online but I knew people who did and while the stories sounded fantastic the subscription model always turned me off.

It wasn't until about 2005 when I had decided to try out World of Warcraft. I used to frequent a PC gaming shop and one of the guys mentioned I should try out WoW and I did. I remember creating an Undead Rogue and wandering around the starting area but I found it boring quickly. I had been so used to killing things fast and quickly similar to Diablo 2 that the slow nature of things in WoW turned me off. While the world and aesthetics at the time were amazing to me it wasn't enough to suck me into the game.

2006 was a big year for me. Not only had I finished college with a 2 year degree but I had also met (re-met) my future wife that year as well. It was also the year I started playing World of Warcraft fully. I don't remember what exactly made me want to buy the game and play it. If I had to guess it was the wanting to play a game where I could be fully immersed and be apart of a world with others rather than just experience a singular story-line and be done with the game. Join a world that is ever changing and have some adventures, that was the type of game I was longing for.

If I remember correctly the game was 5 CD's used to install? At the time I only had a laptop and I remember it taking a while to install. I don't think it finished until later that night and I was so excited to play. I had created my account (which I still have today!) and came across a very big problem when I had finished logging in. I had no idea what I wanted to play! As the game was first installing I, of course, picked up the instruction manual and tried to figure out which class and race I wanted to play as (Dwarf Mage anyone?). When I first tried out WoW I just randomly picked a race and class and gave no thought to how it looked or what class would've been the most fun to play. Now that the choice mattered it took me a lot longer to figure out what I wanted.

So being the awesome original person I am, I choose a human warrior named Zuby. I figured at the time this would not be my permanent class as I just wanted to explore what the game was like and try out other classes. It was getting late by the time I had chosen Zuby and I was astounded by the world that surrounded me. There were lots of other humans running around as well. I choose a PvE realm at first because I was not interested in getting ganked or killed that much since I was so new.

That first night I wandered around and picked up some of the first quests they give you and it did take awhile. You see, fighting mobs back then didn't take 1-2 hits like it does now. Almost every fight took a good 30 seconds to a minute and you had to heal up (maybe not so much at the low levels
from 1-10). There was also a lot of people doing the same exact quests as well. I spent maybe two or three hours that night wandering around and trying to figure the game out before I called it quits that night and only hit level 3. I'm not sure if I was hooked right away or not but it wasn't until the next time I logged in is where I got hooked.

I probably had college or work the next day because I didn't log into until later that night. I had finished the rest of the Northshire Quests only to be sent to Goldshire. Eagerly I read the directions of where to go (you didn't have objectives blatantly on your map back then). It was evening/night time so the server was in full force and I can remember going down to Goldshire for the first time and the music swelling up and playing it's iconic Elwynn Forest song and what do I see at Goldshire? Utter Chaos...I saw a giant demon Infernal tearing through town and killing everyone and the town guards couldn't stop it. At first I thought this was an event and we had to team up to stop it! As soon as the demon saw me I died and couldn't make a run for it. Chat was scrolling so furiously and angry and it looked like the culprit was on the Alliance side? Wait, humans are Alliance right? Why is the Alliance attacking its own? From what I gathered it looked like a Gnome Warlock summoned the Infernal and lost control of it (probably on purpose) and let it wreak havoc on us low levels. Was I mad? Not at all! I think at that moment I fell in love with World of Warcraft and realized how awesome this game would be.