Way back in August of 2007, the inexperienced young me was out on her own in the real world for the first time in her life, and nervously getting ready to begin her first year of college in a mere month. She decided to finally begin playing this MMORPG she had read so much about online, and was now able to play since she now lived in the city with a decent internet connection.
She was astonished by the many different races to choose from. Her only other experience with this gaming genre had been with a simple little browser game called Runescape. Eventually, she decided that the Night Elf race looked the coolest and decided to go with a seemingly powerful Warrior class. A random name was generated before she clicked the “Enter World” button. The dimly lit and mystical forest zone of Teldrassil loaded on her new laptop’s computer screen for the first time.
A muscular male Night Elf NPC with a beaming yellow explanation mark ambiguously hovering over his head was visible. He gave her a quest, but she decided to explore a bit. This lead her to discover a cave with the corpses of many other players ominously littering the entrance. Ignoring the obvious warning, she entered the cave and watched helplessly as her character was brutally killed by a fearsome spider beast. After embarking on her first tedious spirit walk to retrieve her character’s battered corpse, she decided to stick with the quest line until her character was stronger.
She progressed slowly and finally reached the glorious timeworn city of Darnassus. As she approached the bank, she was stunned at the sight of other players riding around on giant tiger mounts. Something even more intriguing caught her eye; some of the other players could turn themselves into awesome panther like beasts. She hovered her mouse over one of the players in their epic feline form, and read the class name: Druid. She quickly realized she had made an error in judgement on the class selection screen, and hastily logged out to click on the “Create New Character” button.
She created a Druid class character with similar physical features as the Warrior she first created. This time she thought carefully about the name she wanted to give this character; her mind ultimately came up with Nightnova. She was able to get Nightnova through the starting area much more quickly. The initial Warrior was erased from the servers after Nightnova reached Darnassus. A week later, she created an Orc Hunter named Saayuko to see the other faction’s perspective of Azeroth. She continued on the journey that would end up lasting for almost 8 years.
How Far I Got
This has been the game that has claimed the most of my time (and money) over the almost 8 years I played it for. I’m sure I could probably write a novel on everything I did in the game. To sum it up:
- I played both factions and created a character of every class type. My two mains were Nightnova and Saayuko. Nightnova (a Night Elf druid) was my true main and I did almost everything on this character. Saayuko (an Orc Hunter) was my go to PVP character and my way to see everything the Horde side had to offer. Plus taming pretty much any beast in the game I wanted to have as a pet was fun.
- All of my experiences with other players was mostly positive (believe it or not). I will always remember the guy who took the time to patiently lead my poor lost Night Elf druid all the way from Teldrassil to Westfall so I could complete my quest to unlock a new druid form.
- I was a super casual solo player and played when I felt like it. I never got into the hardcore raiding or any of the competitive PVP elements. I mostly did random battlegrounds, and then some Raid Finders when those were introduced.
- My favourite things to do in the game were: exploring, quests, leveling up characters, unlocking achievements (I had over 13,000 achievement points when I quit), and collecting those adorable little follower pets (I had over 550 of them). The follower pets eventually received a Pokemon style mini game that I loved.
There are plenty of play styles supported and loads things to do in the game. As with most other MMOs I’m sure, grinding is a big part of the game no matter what your goals are. The genre is designed to get you invested in it for the long term. New content is constantly added to game as an attempt by the developers to prevent things from getting stale. The core model remained unchanged and that’s what lead me to eventually grow bored enough to quit. Blizzard usually refreshes the character abilities at the beginning of every new expansion. This added some new life, and occasionally some frustration, for me over the years.
I never touched any of the hardcore raiding parts of the game so I have no opinion on those. After reading the “Resumes” you needed to submit to some guilds in order to join them, it made it seem more like a job than a fun way to unwind. I stayed far away from that since I’m already employed in real life. I had no desire to take up a second job that only pays in shiny virtual purple loot.
Each zone has a unique design and many interesting areas to explore. Blizzard also did a great job of overhauling the graphics over the years. I still remember laughing at those cheap looking paper-like tree tops. The character designs were decent considering the scale of the game. Blizzard had recently upgraded them before I called it quits. It definitely seemed like all the massively muscular denizens of Azeroth have a crippling steroid addiction though.
Most of the music has an epic mystical vibe to it and I enjoyed listening to most of it. I did grow tired of the repetitive phrases the various NPCs say after clicking on them. Your character constantly rambling that they “don’t have a target” while you are furiously mashing buttons can get annoying as well.
My Overall Biased Opinion
I wouldn’t spend 8 years of my time, buy 5 expansion packs, and a fork over a monthly fee if I hated the game. I decided to call it quits in March of this year because I just simply grew bored with it. I also no longer have time to spend pursuing my goals in it; I’d much rather work on clearing my backlog of other games (plus I have a few other non gaming related projects on the go). This game has given me many great memories, and I had a blast playing it back when the world was fresh to me.
There was always controversy created by the many changes Blizzard implemented over the years. When I left, the community was bitterly divided over the flying in Draenor issue. I’m a ‘go with the flow’ type of person, so that issue in particular had no impact on my decision to quit. I left the game on a positive note and have a few gigabytes worth of screenshots on my hard drive to remind me of my time in Azeroth.
SPOILERS AHEAD!! You have been warned.
Favourite Story Moment
The world event to introduce the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. A virus was introduced that turned your character into an undead minion of the Lich King if you got infected. Some people, of course, used this to grief other players, but I had fun with it. Since the undead were a separate faction, you were able to talk to players from the opposing faction whenever you succumbed to the virus. I fondly remember raiding the Crossroads (a Horde faction town) with Horde players on my Alliance faction Night Elf druid.
Favorite “Oh S@#%” Moment
Looking up in the sky the first time I set foot in Hellfire Peninsula.
I loved most of the areas but I would have to say Teldrassil is my favourite. It’s where I started my journey and a massive tree growing off the coast of a continent is pretty awesome in my opinion. I also know what happens when you jump off the side of it. My advice: Don’t do it.
My Night Elf Druid, Nightnova. I had so many epic adventures with that character. Thinking about it makes me want to go log in and check out all the changes that have no doubt been made since I quit. Must resist….
Most Tedious Gameplay Moment
Definitely farming for loot was tedious. I loved collecting the little follower pets in the game. Some of them were rare drops from monsters. I lost count of how many creatures I decimated for the tiny chance of seeing a pet in my loot window.