[WoW] 10 Years, 10 Questions

This is in response to The Godmother’s post wherein she presents the 10 questions to World of Warcraft players.

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

I’m honestly not sure any more, it’s been so long. I think it was mostly just idle curiosity, piqued after I saw an advert somewhere about the free trial, and simply wondering what all this MMO lark was all about.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

Caerath, male human rogue, currently kitted out in some heirlooms but stuck at level 60 for the past 6 years or so. He’s old enough to still have materials for making poisons, and was there for the utter confusion (to a new player) of the pre-Wrath of the Lich King Scourge invasion event. He also foolishly did not manage to keep any Haunted Mementos.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

I somewhat cringe to think on it now, but it’s mostly that the Alliance seemed the ‘safer’, more familiar option (as in, “not a bunch of savage animals”; yes, I know, I’m sorry). I also preferred playing as humans in Warcraft II because the peasants had the best voices.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

No contest here: it’s the day a guildie whom I had a crush on agreed to meet up with me and go for a coffee (although I surprised her by taking her to the zoo). Five years on and she’s now my fiancée!

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

A tough choice, but I think it’s gotta be raiding, with my mistweaver monk, which is great fun and has replaced my discipline priest as my main character. I enojoy playing DPS too, although by its nature it’s a more competitive role than healing. Tanking is probably my least favourite role, although I do still find it fun, but mostly just on fights that require some kind of movement, like Dark Shamans – other fights, like Sha of Fear, are pretty boring to tank.

Of course, when I was new to Warcraft (and MMOs in general; this was my first), I knew almost nothing about raiding, and since everything was still fresh, I really enjoyed exploring the game, both its worlds and its systems – even now, the music in Stormwind evokes a strong sense of nostalgia in me, memories of running around (on foot, uphill both ways in the snow) fascinated by everything and everyone. Sadly that sense of wonder has faded over the years, as is only natural, and even when I play, for example, Guild Wars 2, my familiarity with the concept of MMOs means I’m a little more jaded from the get go.

I guess another part of it is how that very familiarity also affects my goals in a game: I need to level up, I need to get better gear, I need to kill ten rats to complete this quest, I need to do this and that and grind grind grind, get to max level as quick as possible. My first play through Mists of Pandaria was like that: a race to 90 so I could get on with raiding. The second time through, though, I actually took the advice of the pandas and slowed down. Of course, having to go everywhere on the ground will naturally slow one down somewhat, but I also tried to invest in the quests and stories, seeing them through to completion even when they’d gone green (and as a result only ever did Jade Forest and Valley of the Four Winds before I hit 90 the second time).

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

I’m going to assume this excludes the Shrine of the Two Moons/Seven Stars since that’s a bit obvious and literal.

That said… I guess I really don’t have anywhere to go in my downtime – I’m not big on fishing, I’ve got plenty of ore, gems, herbs and gold, and for some reasons I feel unable to go somewhere just to soak in the atmosphere. Maybe with an Oculus Rift headset and a gamepad I could wander around Azeroth in a more sedate manner and just chill out somewhere (probably Feralas and Dire Maul).

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

On Zobu, the aforementioned mistweaver, a mere 11 days 9 hours, but I went to the trouble of totalling it up for all significant characters: almost exactly 252 days, with the highest single character being my first raiding main Caera, at 69 days 11 hours. Incidentally, I have another character called Zobu on a different server, also a draenei man but a shaman. I like to think my current one is a descendant of the original.

As for continuity, well, for the most part it’s continuous, although once Dragon Soul in Cataclysm started winding down there was a several-months long gap where I played other things, mostly Skyrim and then Guild Wars 2. I only really came back to Warcraft shortly before Siege of Orgrimmar.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Ha! Well, as I mentioned above, lately I’ve tried to really slow down and soak in the atmosphere more, and that means reading quest text. And of course back in my day when I was still new, slowly-revealing quest text was the default (and possibly even the only option, I don’t recall), and quite often you had to actually read it to figure out where you needed to go and what you needed to do (no built-in quest tracker then).

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Getting too involved in guild politics in a previous guild. Both my fiancée and I did it, and somehow she ended up getting guild leadership dumped on her, and after a while she got fed up of being the focus of everyone’s petty grievances that she handed the reins over to me instead. I didn’t particularly want the job either, and it really put me off the game until I could find someone else willing to take up the crown. Once I did, we basically left for pastures new (well, another server) and played Horde-side for a while. Lesson learned: I am not much of a leader.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

Apart from one major thing, it’s sort of difficult to say how the game has affected my life. Certainly it has, but in many small and subtle ways – I look at things a little differently now, I guess, but in a way that’s hard to explain. Sorry, I know that’s a bit of a cop-out.

But there’s also the obvious fact that I met my wife-to-be Zoe in the game, and I shudder to think where my life would be right now if I hadn’t plucked up the courage (with some prompting from a mutual friend) to ask her out. Instead, for the first time, I feel like things are really going genuinely well for me.