Wow.  Or, WoW.

Four years of World of Warcraft.  I can’t believe it’s been four years.  With Blizzcon approaching, I’ve been thinking back on how Warcraft has impacted my life.

At best I can be considered a casual player these days.  It’s probably more realistic to call me an occasional player in that I occasionally play.  I think it’s been 2 weeks as of this writing since I last logged in and that was simply to make sure that some stuff I had in the mail didn’t get deleted.  (it’s been longer than that since I last turned on my XBox)

Still, WoW has played a pretty big role in my life these past four years and in looking back, I’ve decided to share a little bit about my experiences.

First off, I was such a noob.  I remember getting the game to play with a friend of mine, his brother and father-in-law.  I took it home and installed it – it took forever.  I got everything setup and logged in for the first time.  I think I rolled a Night Elf Druid (since deleted and I don’t even remember when or why).  I liked the idea that, at some point, they could shape shift.  I knew nothing about how the game really worked.  In fact, I’d never played one of these MMO’s before, so I had no idea how any of it worked.

I rolled my Druid on the server that the system recommended for me.  Like I said, I didn’t have any idea how any of it worked, so I just assumed that my friends were also on that server.  I think my mind was thinking back to the old days when people dialed into a server to play a game – think BBS.  SO, I ran around like the noob that I was, shouting “Q?!  HEY ARE YOU OUT THERE?  ARE YOU IN THIS AREA?”

/dork

I found out later that they were, in fact, on a server called ‘Earthen Ring’, so I needed to roll a new character over there.  I figured out how to switch between servers and then I stared at the character creation screen.  They were playing Alliance so I needed an Alliance character – I knew that much.  Quinn had a Night Elf Rogue, his brother Marcus had a Human Warrior and their step-dad Albert had a Dwarf Warrior, I believe.  I looked at the different classes and thought that the Paladin was a good choice; they had some parts of the Warrior class and Healing like a Priest or Druid.

Padraig was born.

I learned pretty quickly once I got going.  Albert came to me one night and asked me to join a Guild.  I asked what a Guild was and he told me that it was a group of players who shared a tabbard and a name.  In this case, he’d found some people who were into something called ‘RP’ and they needed someone to sign a charter so they could form the Guild.  They were The Iron Guard.

I was totally willing to help out.  I liked Albert, he was pretty cool.  So, I met the folks in Stormwind, the Human city, and signed their charter.  I was the highest level in the group, which surprised me.  This RP thing reminded me of the games I used to play many, many moons ago.  I got into it pretty quick and started chatting away with people.  My knowledge of the game seemed to expand exponentially, the more time I spent with The Iron Guard.  I met someone named Snowshoe, a Gnome Rogue and eventually, a Priest named Saranya.  Things were moving right along.

Then came the day when Q’s brother M wanted to form a Guild of his own.  Through a third party, I heard that he was upset that I’d joined a Guild and wanted me to help form his Guild, so I figured out how to quit The Iron Guard so I could go sign his new Guild charter.

Holy.  Crap.

The backlash was HUGE!  Apparently, I was more popular in that Guild than I knew.  Truth be told, I didn’t care for the Guild Master.  He did some weird stuff.  He had all these rules about who could and couldn’t be in the Guild, who could be Officers (I was one, Snowshoe was the other), his character was also weird – so I wasn’t too sad about leaving.  But apparently my leaving shocked the rest of the Guild and started an exodus that lead them to break off enmasse from The Iron Guard to form a new Guild: The Iron Splinter.

Meanwhile, I was now in The AvantGuard.  I missed the old Guild though.  I got used to the RP and the constant Guild chatter.  My friends in that Guild continued to quest with me so things were good.  My Paladin ended up outleveling Q and the rest as I was trying to keep up with the group; Saranya, Snowshoe, Kyssandra and Imi.

Then, one day, The Iron Splinter – just about the entire Guild, switched sides.  They rolled Horde and invited me along for the ride.  I needed to roll my third character.  I stared at the character creation screen.  I wanted something different.  I’d gotten really good at tanking with a Pally – something not a lot of people managed to do well.  But I was tired of it – I wanted to do some damage.  I chose a Forsaken Mage.

I played around with the controls until I had a bald but nearly normal looking Forsaken – his face was intact, which I thought was important.  He also had glowing eyes (ironic considering he came to hide them more often than not). He needed a name.  He was ‘dead’.  le Morte.  I typed in ‘Morticai’.

A new age had dawned.  The Bone Splinter made a name for themselves fairly quickly.  Not everyone stayed.  Both Imi and Sandra left for Alliance.  They thought the Horde was a lark but not something to stick with – they both had high level characters Alliance side that they didn’t want to abandon.  A few more trickled after them.

But the Splinter was growing.  Alliance side was full of kids – let’s be blunt.  Horde side, we found, had more mature people who were actually interested in Role Playing and we set ourselves up as an RP Guild from the start.  The people who joined us wanted RP, the people we surrounded ourselves with, Guilds like ‘The Calling’ and ‘The Tears of Draenor’ and ‘The Drunken Monkey Brewery’ – they, too, wanted RP.

After Morticai came Torero, a character based partly on someone that I was working with at the time.  Next came Jaluli, a hunter and my first ever female character – something I wanted to try just to see if I could even create and maintain a female character (it’s still very awkward).  Other’s followed: Calum, Boogedy, Tivir, Brega, Verlassen, Albergi, Ortero, Tivir, Kalagath, to name just a few.

Friendships grew as well.  I suddenly found myself connecting with people all over the world, which was just amazing to me.

All due to a video game.

Now here we are, four years later, and I’m about to meet a ton of these people, face to face for the first time, at a convention celebrating Blizzard and all their games, culture and community and I can’t be more excited about it.  If you’d told me four years ago that playing a video game would’ve brought me such friendships and forged such bonds, I would’ve thought you were pretty crazy.

Yet, here I am and it’s been a fantastic ride.

~P

1 Comment

  • Ten Posted October 3, 2008 6:39 am

    Gah, when did you update so much?

    It’s strange how much a video game can change one’s offline life, isn’t it? That’s probably why I’m such an avid supporter of MMOs in general. Few things forge friendships as strongly as doing something pleasant, but goal oriented together.

    And yes, I know about the shirts 😉 (You pinged me in the middle of night.)

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