Sometimes, I feel a little too much like a grizzled old timer with a chip on his shoulder about how kids these days have it far too easy. I probably am a grizzled old timer. That hasn’t stopped my love of the MMO genre or my continuing to play it, however. Like most of us, I played World of Warcraft – fairly seriously, if the truth is to be told. And though I do very much dislike what it did and has continued to do to the genre I love (different argument, different post, different day), there was a lot about World of Warcraft that I did love. So instead of your regularly scheduled programming, let me gush over what I would call the first modern MMO.
I played on one server for the entirety of my WoW career: Maelstrom. As a RP-PVP server, Maelstrom really represented my fairly diverse interests. I had already gotten an urge for player conflict from my Ultima days, but during my tenure in Everquest, I learned to appreciate more and more roleplaying as a playstyle. By the time I had come to playing WoW, I had decided to combine the two, to whatever effect I could produce. It didn’t hurt that I also had real life friends established on the server.
In addition to my one server clause, I also had one main for the vast majority of my playtime, both in vanilla and in The Burning Crusade. It was only in Wrath of the Lich King that I began rapidly diversifying and playing other classes. Sure, I had alts, but nothing ever came close to the time, effort, energy, and reputation of my troll rogue.
In late vanilla, I spent the majority of my rogue’s time doing battlegrounds. I attempted to raid with my guild but to disastrous results, as the guild was primarily comprised of older, more casual gamers. This brings me to my first great love of WoW: the friends I made.
Now this is rather typical of all MMOs. As social entities, you do tend (or at least should) to make friends. WoW is definitely no exception. However, unlike Ultima Online or Everquest, I began playing WoW far more seriously. I started caring more about maximizing my characters effectiveness and improving his gear. As I came less interested in exploring, I came more interested in the competitiveness of battlegrounds, and ascending their ranks. By The Burning Crusade, I had become much more of a power game. I left my first and only guild to join a few friends that had moved to a much more organized raiding guild. Here we arrive at my second great love: the raiding.
As I delved deeper and deeper into playing my rogue in PvE situations, my esteem and value grew more and more to the raiding guild I had made home. In doing so, I found a great love of mine, and met a lot of really cool friends (many of which I still talk to to this day) doing it. I grew as the guild grew, and very quickly our dedicated core was so strong that we began competing on our server for the firsts. Eventually, we stopped competing because we got so far ahead of everyone else.
It was an absolute blast. Beating Vashj and Kael for the first time, after weeks of preparation and hard work. The excitement as the loot finally fell, and the wonder of what would be to come. In addition, I was made an officer, so raiding took on another, more meta, layer of depth. I truly loved those days, those people, and doing those encounters.
Finally, even if I think that one of WoW’s biggest flaws was how diversified it has continued to become in catering to every single member of every single playerbase, there is still something there to appreciate and be thankful for. Namely, the chance to get everyone together – be it the pvpers, the raiders, the explorers, the roleplayers, the casual players, the players with kids, the players with significant others, etc. – under one very, very large roof. In doing so, WoW created a once in a lifetime (I hope) meeting of a wide variety of playstyles and people, one that led me to meet a huge list of awesome people and play the game in any way I pleased.
The magic in World of Warcraft was not the same for me as it has been in other games, but that is not to say it lacked any at all. I did enjoy and appreciate my time with that game and all the stories it has given me to tell.