So I wanted to answer @AlternativeChat ‘s survey on 10 years of World of Warcraft in a bit more detail. If you have not seen it yet, you can find it Here
Why did you start playing World of Warcraft?
My wife and I watched a lot of South Park years ago. We watched the Make Love not Warcraft Episode. She has always been more of a gamer than I ever was. Don’t get me wrong, I was the first kid on the block with Pong, and had an Atari 2600 when they came out. So I have played games for a long time. When we watched the episode we both thought no way a game could look like that. So one Christmas I bought her a copy of the Original WoW. We had it sitting around for about a year. In January of 2009 we installed it on our one desktop PC, it was after Wrath had started. We got to the character screen and she chose to roll a Warrior. We figured it would be the best to learn the game with someone that wore armor. We had no idea. When we got to the point to choose a realm, we saw a few labeled new players. We figured ok, this is were new players go to learn, like so many Playstation games where you started in a spot and worked your way through the game. She eventually met up with a few friends that she had made and the 3 of them would run around old dungeons and did quests. I had an older PC at the time and would look up quests for her on Thotbot, One weekend when I was in North Jersey at a gaming Con for D&D Miniatures she called my cell to tell me she had logged in and had nothing. She was naked in town. All of the characters she had were stripped. And people from the guild she had been in were whispering her asking why did she steal everything from the bank. She was practically in tears. So I drove home breaking several speed limits, got online and looked into what happened. She had been hacked. We had no idea things like this happened. WoW was our first MMO. So we contacted them, it would be a few days to get everything restored. In the mean time she was hiding near the bank steps in Stormwind, embarrassed because she had nothing on. Someone she had never met whispered her to ask what was wrong, she told him someone took everything, she didn’t know what to do. He said BRB, about 10 minutes later, opened a trade window with her, gave her a bunch of Green gear for level 80, a weapon, rings, necklace. More than enough for her to at least play, and a few hundred gold. She told him she couldn’t take it, it was too much. All he said was don’t worry about it. Some day try to help out someone in need and call it even. That really caught my attention. Wow. Here was a game where perfect strangers were willing to help out another player, not wanting anything in return. About a month and a half later I was laid off from my job, I knew it would be a few months before I got a call back. We figured it was worth $15 a month for me to get a copy too. So I started playing. Having done all the quest research for her, getting through a lot of the content was a breeze for me. I had joined the guild she was in, and quickly became first an officer, then a core officer member. It was a great starter guild. A small bit of back story here.
Borean Tundra was 1 of 4 servers opened up after the start of Wrath. It was closed to transfers for the first few months, so everyone there started at level 1 and had nothing. About half the population was there for the gate event, and once that was over many left. But a few stayed. We were often called Wrath babies, noobs, casuals, just about every derogatory name you may know. And many young people took it to heart and just left. There was a point when a small group of us had gotten tired of the absent GM, and the antics he pulled, inviting a friend to the guild and giving them full access to the bank so they could rob it blind to show people why he didn’t allow bank access, would try to get a raid of Naxx going and leave after the trash was pulled on the first boss because he only had an hour to play. So some of us went to a more established guild, and had send him emails explaining why etc. the next day he disbanded the guild, for the next 2 weeks I had in game messages from kids as young as 10 years old almost in tears because they thought I had kicked them out of the guild. I explained to all of them that sometimes adults can be the biggest children and that the GM had a temper tantrum and just took everything. Some I managed to get into the guild we were in, a few others I found homes for, one started his own guild which was successful through Wrath and some of Cata before he burned out on running it. That experience along with many others showed to me, that no only can we run into some of the most thoughtful and helpful people, we can also find the worst. And the ones that tend to suffer the most are young kids. What many seem to forget is that years ago they were that young kid just starting to play, and they had people help them and teach them their class, and all these years later some of them pay it forward, but then there are many that can’t be bothered and answer questions in trade with L2P noob, don’t be a bad, learn to google. It is attitudes like those that will destroy the game. So many have no idea what it was like 5 years ago, let alone 10.
So anyway, that is how I started playing WoW
What was the first ever character you rolled?
Marathal was #1. He has been my main since the beginning, he was my first max level. Originally he was a Night Elf, and for a time I had an Alt, DarkMarathal the Blood Elf horde. Eventually Marathal went horde, and I have never regretted the decision. The people I have met horde side, and those friends I made Alliance side, are what make the game enjoyable to me to play every day.
Which factors determined your faction choice in game?
Ah, this one made me smile a bit. When my wife started playing she chose an Draenei. She thought she looked cool and bad ass. When she had leveled far enough to get to Darkshore she landed on the docks amidst a huge horde attack on town. She saw someone she had seen questing earlier taking damage and she used bandages on them, which got her flagged and quickly killed. We actually opened a ticket because we thought there was a glitch in the game since she had not intentionally turned it on. We later figured it out. But that initial experience with horde players, skull level to her, just attacking people they knew could never beat them, just seemed unsportsmanlike like to me. So when I had to choose my first it was Alliance all the way. By the time Cata had started I had a better grasp of the people that played both factions, and knew many. So when circumstances arose that really gave me a dislike of a few people Alliance side, I switched and joined the guild that I now lead.
What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?
So many good memories, most recently being told by someone that they had heard our guild had a great reputation on the server, meeting people like @Esmeraldasky, and all of the great people I interact with every day on Twitter and in the various forums. If I had to pick a proudest moment it was the day I was promoted to Mod status for Shadowpriest.com and the day that I stepped up to run the guild I now call home.
What is your favorite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?
The people. The game itself is great, and like many other games is enjoyable to play, but its the people we interact with everyday that keep us logging in daily, even if only for a few hours. The wonderful people that have found there way to our guild are some of the best I have met in the game. We do not treat it like a huge job where we have to get all the bosses down in record time, we take our time, we work at things, and most of all we try to have fun.
Do you have an area in game that you always return to?
This was an extremely tough one to think on. I don’t think there is any one place that has been my go to. I spent so much time in Dalaran during Wrath, Stormwind during the times I was Alliance, and Ogrimmar while Horde. There are wonderful hidden spots all around the game, but I have always tended to stay where I could socialize not only with those in guild, but also those in General and Trade. While I may not talk all that much, I am always reading, looking for that one person new to the game with trouble, not knowing where to go, or stuck on a quest. I get a great deal of enjoyment in being able to help someone out, much like someone did years ago for my wife.
How long have you /played and has that been continuous?
I am afraid to look. LOL. I know it is a high number to me, but mostly I have played say 360 days a year for 5 years now, at around 3-4 hours a day. Initially we both played for hours on weekends, but now have found a good time at around 3-4. We both realize it is too easy to get caught up in the mad chase to max out an alt, get it geared, chase achievements, farm mounts, get that 1 more pet. It can in all honesty become Warcrack. Learning how to pace yourself, to find that comfort zone in balancing the game and your real life is a key to maintaining enjoyment even now during the slow times prior to an expansion.
Admit it: do you read quest text or not?
Yes. Absolutely I do. I use to joke with my wife when looking things up for her, that the answer she needed was right in the quest text. Like many she chose the auto take quest option to speed up play. I think many people lose so much riveting story by not taking the few seconds to read not only the hat you need to do, but also the why. Some one had to take time to create the quest, so that it would lead you off to complete a task, but also why you had to do it, and if you pay enough attention, you can gain so much knowledge about the game and the side stories that the books will never tell.
Are there any regrets from your time in game?
I have a few. Making the move from our first guild without talking to the people that would be affected the most, not sticking it out with the first true raiding guild I had the honor to be a part of, even if I was only a social member. I learned so much from Mandarb and his wife Ali, about my class and how you should treat others in a raid, by showing the courtesy to your fellow players in being prompt and ready, to not goofing off even when pulling trash. I learned a great deal, and know that if I had stayed I may have been one of the better players on our server. In the end I chose to go to another guild with earlier raid times and later went back to help old friends rebuild a guild. I have made good choices, I have made bad, but I have always learned and moved forward. It has gotten me to where I am today. I like to think/hope I have done some good in the game.
What effects has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?
My wife and I have had a chance to meet a few people we play with everyday. I have learned that a great many people that play have a lot of issues that they deal with daily, from those with extreme anxiety issues, to parents with Autistic children, to people barely able to pay their bills whose only bit of enjoyment is allowing themselves $15 a month to be able to step away from the problems of real life. It has taught me to be more understanding and compassionate to others. Some may wonder if the @Marathal is just a person role playing a character on Twitter. Marathal is me. I don’t try to be anyone special, I have opinions on the game, I get mad when I see people I know struggle with content designed for those that feel it is trivial, I take offense when people that abandoned our server so many years ago for greener pastures come back to poke fun at the new kids, I give praise to the wonderful Community Managers that take time during their not only work day, but also on their days off to answer a question, or even tell a joke. See for me I have found that it is not just the game that keeps us coming back year after year. It’s the people. Oh sure you will always have the small percentage that re-sub for a few months, clear all content, no matter how difficult it may be, then they are off to play other games. It is those that work 50 hour weeks, the moms that sneak an hour in a few nights when the kids are asleep, the fathers who found a common interest with their kids in a game, the grand parents even, playing with their grand kids. We come from all walks of life, we are men, women, married, single, kids, adults, retired, working, in school, unemployed, teachers, doctors, mechanics, we are everyone. And that is why WoW will always be at the top of the heap. Because it does not cater to just one select group. It tries its best to be something for everyone.
So thank you Blizzard Entertainment for 10 great years, 5 of which I have had the privileged of playing. And I hope to be here 10 years from now when you have your 20th.