Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Top 5 WoW Moments

WoW celebrating its 8th anniversary prompted me to take a look back at the roughly 7,5 years I have been playing WoW now. Through high and low, there is no denying it has been a huge part of my life, not only affecting my gaming (in some ways maybe even hampering it) but also my irl life for better and for worse. Me and WoW go way back - I started playing spring 2005, somewhere around march or april I think. I first saw my brother play it and thought WoW finally managed to do all those things I had been looking for in previous mmos. Here was a game that seemed to actually provide the player with an immense and immersive world to get truly lost in. And boy did I get lost.

At first I played on my brothers account, with the added fighting about computer time between us that caused, and somewhere late 2005 I finally decided to get my own account. If I remember correctly, my first character on my own account was a warlock named Cassiopeia on the Balnazzar server, I think she is still there. I didn't get far on her however before I deciced to go back to the class I had rolled from the very start - priest. And that is how Zinn saw the dawn of light (well actually darkness since she spawned in Deathknell), somewhere in january 2006. She has been with me ever since, and that is to date the longest relationship I've had - forever alone and all that - and one that has truly never had much of rough times but mostly good, fun memories connected to it.

I don't even want to think about the amount of days I've spent in Azeroth. I'm not sure spending that amount of time on -any- one thing can be considered good. It's not as much as some, but definitely a whole lot. I don't regret a single moment of those days, and I definitely don't regret having put in as much time into this game as I have. I've tried to hold myself to doing things that I actually enjoy, trying to refrain from classical "mandatories" like dailies. If it wasn't fun, I wouldn't do it. It has been a tricky balance at times, sometimes struggling to keep up with people who've put in a lot more time and effort than me, but in the end I think it has been a good choice, allowing me not to burn out too quickly and missing out on all the awesome and fun stuff this game holds because I am too busy doing the boring things (admittedly now I do dailies and quite enjoy them, but that is another story!).

I've been thinking back to some of my favorite memories of my time playing WoW, trying not to pick too many raiding moments since they are often the easy choice. Fidning only five was very difficult, but I have been trying to keep to defining moments, moments when I felt the way I played or viewed the game might have changed a little. So here it is, my list of my top 5 WoW moments;

5. The first epic
I haven't found overly many random world epics, and as any of you who have know, it's a very special feeling when you do. I probably found the most back in Classic, such as Fiery War Axe and some I don't even remember the name of anymore. I do however remember exactly where I was when I found it (I've written a post about it to remind me anyway). None of those epics, or any epic I've got for that matter, had the same feel as the very first epic I found.

When I first got it I didn't even consider it a major thing. It's actually in hindsight that this memory has grown fonder with me. When I first found it I was so new to the game that I had no idea just how rare such a drop was and I just didn't know to appreciate it.

I was questing along in STV on my then main, a druid, when a maxlevel character offered to help me out. I gladly accepted and we grinded some mobs when suddenly a purple popped up on my screen. I didn't react at all, for all I knew purple was worse than gray, but my brother who was standing behind me got all crazy, screaming at me to need on the item asap. Back then the rolling system only allowed for need or pass, but thinking back on it I do find it kind of cheeky of me to roll need on an item I couldn't use let alone had very little contribution into getting. Nevertheless I listened to my brother, rolled need and won the Green Tower. I eventually ended up selling it on the auction house for some 100g (a staggering amount for me at the time) which allowed me to buy my first mount (the level 40 one).

4. Downing Sarth 3D
Sarth 3D was definitely not the most fun boss fight I've done, and probably not even the hardest. But I doubt I've done any fight where we tried harder and been closer than this. We had him constantly on 1%, some tries even on only a couple of thousand of hp before we finally, -finally- managed to kill it. The margins where needle thin and everyone had to push their skills to the max for us to finally be able to get him down, even just a couple of crits extra would've made the difference. We tried to perfectly time our pot usage to get as many seconds out of them as possible in the pull, same thing with Bloodlust.

Another reason this is a special memory for me is that it is one of the few major kills I've done, while it was current content, that I didn't do with my main. For this we brought in my paladin as a tank instead, having one of my old guildies heal. This is my last memory of her as a proper healer, before she kind of stopped raiding seriously - us having been something of the priest healing pair back in BC I was sad to see her confidence and interest go throughout Wotlk. She did an awesome job keeping us alive on this fight however and that's why I really like this memory, my old raid group being at their best, something that would soon change.

3. Getting Anathema/Benediction
I'm not a collector and I have rarely gone out of my way to get anything in WoW. I have a handful of cool items, mostly because they're considered memorabilia now than because they were hard to get at the time. Most people call me out on Mimirons Head, but the item I am without a doubt most proud of having is my Anathema/Benediction. It wasn't the first epic I ever got (see above) or even equipped, but it was my first proper endgame raiding item, and the entire quest of acquiring it still one of my fondest memories.

Pretty goblin too

Getting the items required was actually quite easy. The Eye of Shadow was obtainable from the auction house and for the MC part, Eye of Divinity, I was summoned into the raid instance by a guild who sold it, back when you didn't have to be part of the kill to be able to loot an item. Both items cost me around 750g in total, I think 250 or so for the Eye of Shadow and 500g for the Eye of Divinity. This might not sound like much, but it was back then and for me it was a huge sum and pretty much everything I owned. With the two items you created a quest item, and by completing a certain quest in Eastern Plaguelands you were finally awarded with your epic staff.

This quest, similar to the hunter quest for Lok'delar and Rok'delar, was nothing for the faint of hearted. If I remember correctly you were supposed to save (ie heal) spirits of people from Lordaeron while they were constantly attacked by skeletons. Healing them would give you the aggro of the skeletons, so you had to heal while also dealing with them, running out of the tiny quest area would result in an avenging spirit coming to slay you instantly. Initally you were able to get help from other people while doing the quest, but eventually only other priests were able to join in for it. This quest required a lot of preparation and mad skill to complete, at first it turned out to be almost too big of a challenge for me.

I don't remember how many times I tried, but when I finally completed it was with the help of another priest, from one of the biggest raiding guilds on the server. Some alliance came around to give us a hard time, and he called on some guildies (around ten in the end) to come help us deal with them while we did the quest. In the end we had a massive world pvp fight around us while we tried to handle the quest objectives, it was hectic and unbelievably fun. The reward could not have been better and I really felt like I deserved it. I still transmog into my Anathema/Benediction whenever I can (which unfortunately I can't now since I am mh/oh wielding).

2. Getting into raiding
I did some raiding back in classic/vanilla, mostly whenever some guild was desperate enough to call on my poorly geared and completely unexperienced self for some healing. Because of this I did some of MC and ZG at least once, and did not like it. I can definitely see the appeal of it if you happened to be part of a 40man raid group back then - I did enjoy the feeling of being part of an army fighting the evils of the world. It had the same appeal on me that spontaneous world pvp battles still do, but much else was fun about it. I had zero chance on loot since I had some 7 priest healers ahead of me on the loot lists and the fights often felt more of zerging than actual skill. I know a lot of people consider the classic boss fights among the hardest and they probably were. But you could easily bring a handful of people that couldn't tell back from front (like me) and still down a boss (Naxx was probably the exception).

I didn't get into raiding for real until BC, when I joined a guild I was going to stay in for some three or four years. They needed a healer so I decided to dust off my priest which I had abandoned to try out some dpsing. This was the first time I really enjoyed healing and fell in love with my priest all over again (and have stuck with since). Raiding became one of my favorite things to do in WoW and eventually everything revolved around it, in a good way. Few things I've done, and this might sound sad I don't care, have had the same level of team work and feeling of achievement as being able to down a particularly difficult boss with people you really enjoy spending time with. For all the good and bad fights Blizzard have designed, they at least provided a good foundation for people to have good fun times together, and I absolutely loved it while it lasted.

1. Starting to play
This might seem obvious, or not make sense at all - but my fondest memory in WoW throughout these 7,5 years is those first stumbling steps I took on the very first character I created - a little undead priest named Lahmia. I instantly loved it, the setting, the feeling, the music. Questing, finding people to talk to, the massive world that was out there to explore. Walking into Orgrimmar for the first time, after having traveled for what felt like ages was a truly epic feeling. That city was huge. It felt like a real city, full of people and things to explore and see. No game, not even some of my very favorites, have put such awe and feeling of greatness in me as I had those first months of playing. And eventhough nothing felt like those first steps of exploration, when there were still things out there I had in fact never seen before, the feeling of awe over WoW stuck with me for a very long time.



Eventually I would get to know every nook and cranny of this game better than the back of my hand and having to cross long distances now annoys me more than it fills me with wonder, but I can still find places in WoW where I just stroll around and take in the scenery and simple grandness of it all. WoW is huge, on all scales (and we all know size matters). When I rolled that undead priest in early 2005 I probably had no idea what was in store for me and eventhough I thought WoW looked like a really cool game it beat my expectations ten times over. I still run back to Deathknell every now and then, or reroll a little undead, just to get a wiff of that feeling I had on my very first run. I can still remember what I thought and how it felt to see places like Duskwood, STV, Teldrassil, Darkshore, Eastern Plaguelands, Tirisfal Glades, Silverpine and Alterac Mountains for the first time (some of my favorite areas). I can only hope I'll get to play another game that can have that effect on me as WoW did then, maybe it's impossible - like a game virginity, you only lose it once.

And on an ending note, I'd love to hear about some of your favorite moments in WoW!

14 comments:

  1. I understand completely what you mean about starting and intially exploring. I started playing about a year ago (so still somewhat a nooby) and remember quite well the feeling of accomplishment when you get your first kill on a new type of mob (even though it doesn't take much). Figuring out where to go and haw to do the quests and such was quite fun and fulfilling. I aslo started on the starter pack so being able to go over level 20 and see new areas was also a treat.

    The other thing I have found is that my first guild invite came from a social guild member (they were just spamming invites but as a noob you don't realize that). I accepted and very much enjoy being a part of the guild. Chatting and joking with the members in guild chat, helping others with quests, professions, dungeon runs and such is also very rewarding for me.

    Keep up the great work, hope to hear from you soon.

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    1. Indeed, joining a guild makes a huge difference for the experience in WoW and I can say I didn't really get into WoW until I got into a good guild (by good I mean with people I really liked playing with). Before then I had just randomly played WoW, trying this and that for more than a year!

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  2. Thinking of the first time logging into WOW brings up some good memories. Nobody of us read the manual. You just opened the box and started installing the game. After that you just ran the wow.exe and waited for things to happen. "oh...I need an account...what name shall I choose..." back then I thought that this would also be the name of my character and I just searched for the best name possible. After one hour I had a name I thought would be sufficient only to notice that characters were being created in the next step.

    When I walked into the first small village I picked up the first two professions that I found trainers for...Mining+BS...yeah, my warlock was quite happy with my choice...at least for a few days.

    At about LVL10 I walked to IF for the first time. Damn I got terribly lost in that big city. A friend of mine gave me a complete tour. After that he took me to SW and I ended up in the trade district not knowing where I was and where to go.

    You will never ever be able to recreate this feeling. No matter how good a new MMO might be. A seemingly endless world and no idea what you are doing. 7/8 years later standing in SW knowing every single part of the world and even the advanced mechanics you realise that there are no wonders left. And even a new xpac has only a few days where things are new.

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    1. (Commander) Sirow / KaffkaNovember 23, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      Quote:
      "You will never ever be able to recreate this feeling. [...] knowing every single part of the world and even the advanced mechanics you realise that there are no wonders left."
      /sign & /sign, totally agree. :)

      Building on that, have you every tried another MMO(RPG) and totally felt lost? But not in the same exiting way you did with WoW but more in a lost/stupid/infuriating way?

      A while back I tried several f2p MMOs and could not stick to them not because they were bad but because I felt I would never be able to reach that same skill/level of knowledge/profession I have/had with WoW.

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    2. Haha I did that too, just chose whatever profession I found first, which fortunately turned out to be tailoring and herbalism on my priest - quite suitable. I still get lost in SW every now and then :P

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  3. (Commander) Sirow / KaffkaNovember 23, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Fantastic blog post!!! :)

    I wish I could write about my WoW passion/favorite moments like you did, after so much time, all my favorite (first time) moments feel just like a blur. :(

    Sadly the moments I remember most are those most "heart-breaking":
    * Loosing contact with some long time friends I started my "online life" with and I knew over a very long period of time (All the way from many years of Counter-Strike all through the early years of WoW). I'd really liked to get back in contact with some of those pals, but sadly those where the times before Facebook and real-id...
    * The break-down of my very first wow guild ever due to "corrupt" leaders (They stole all of the guild money they earned from our 'guild tax', way back in vanilla). After that I never really felt at home anywhere for a really LONG time. (Until I joined a guild with my fellow university students, one of my top moments on the other hand)
    * Seeing more and more friends leave the game at the end of WotLK and Cataclysm

    I wished I'd remember on which CD I burned all my WoW memory screenshots, I think those, while they definitely do not cover my full play cycle, would really help me remember some of those good moments...

    Quote:
    "[...] like a game virginity, you only lose it once."
    So true, this completely reflects my experience about this.

    I retired from WoW shortly before the release of Patch 4.3 I think and have since tried several free-to-play titles (since I didn't yet feel ready to resubscribe to another MMO(RPG)), including an overall really enjoyable Allods Online, but I never was able to feel that same "awe" again that I had with WoW. (Which than made me quit Allods at lvl 44 of 46...)

    Another insight I got when watching a 'Lets Play' of Rift, where at some episode the (female) player suddenly stopped at a slight hill-top on a "plany-field" while being on the way back from a quest and she turned backward ... and I was like
    "WTF whats happening, why is she turning around? The path/task/goal to reach is the other way! Ó_ò" (*read* I mentally was stubbornly following quest directions)
    And than she said: "Wau, look at that, this really looks beautiful"
    That's when it struck me... Yes she is right that really looks "awe"-"some" (almost in the literal sense)... Why didn't I notice this???

    I think this is one of those examples where all those long time (only) playing WoW in way jaded/dulled you to certain stimuli, you stop noticing them, until maybe... until it is (forcefully) imposed on you again.

    Maybe I'll do another comment about better moments in wow once/if I can find my screenshot collection. :)

    Regardless, thank you for posting some of your favorite moments, they reflect some of my own experiences. :-}

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    1. (Commander) Sirow / KaffkaNovember 23, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Top moment:
      * My first (and last ^^) midnight release event with a few fellow university students and afterward meeting all at the same apartment and installing WotLK together. ("Oh look at this flying frost dragon, it looks so awesome!" "Hey, I'm still installing!!!" *arg*)

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    2. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean about getting too focused on gameplay and missing out on everything around you. I try to take moments to take in the scenery in WoW, but obviously I will not be amazed in the same way I was when I didn't know what to expect. It's unfortunate, but at least I am glad I got to experience that much!

      I've had some sad moments in WoW as well, I suppose those are inevitable with the good moments, because you get sad when something good has to end. I've met so many awesome people in WoW, few of which I still have any contact with unfortunately. I still remember the guild leader of my first guild with whom I got quite closely befriended and have tried finding again but alas.... I have no idea where he is now.

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  4. 1) Seeing the Dark Portal for the first time. I've played warcraft 2 and 3, and that thing is legen_wait for it_dary! But seeing it was just the beginning, I got to cross it, and got teleported to Outland for the very first time. Geesus, it was like hell behind, with a burning Legion army behind trying to assault it, led by a huge Pit Lord. I had never raided and he was probably the biggest dude I had ever seen. So I took the flight from the Dark Portal to Honor Hold, and got blown away by the scenery, it was so desertic, but also so beautiful. And those enormous Fel Reavers roaming the plain! Today whenever I get to take the Portal to Outland, I still get that little pinch in my heart.

    2) My first dungeon. I was around level 20, and it was the deadmines. I had absolutely no clue what we were doing, we didn't have a tank, I don't remember that we had a healer, but someone was probably healing, I think I didn't know that some characters were actually specced for healing :) This was the first time I met Elite characters, and I just couldn't understand why it was just so hard and long to down them, and that it took the effort of a group of 5 people to kill them, they seemed so op at the time. + Those tunnels were kinda creepy, with prisoners along the way, and at the end, what do you find? A HUGE pirate ship at the bottom of a mine??? We wiped on that boat and weren't able to finish the instance, but I was so freakin sold forever!

    3) The first time I got in a group. It was in the Ban'Ethil hollow in Teldrassil. It was kinda hard as you needed to down so many fast respawning mobs in there, + that cave is a bit of a labyrinth, so I got kinda lost. When someone sent me a group invite (I was playing on a free account at the time), it all became so easy, and those tunnels who were kinda gloomy and frightening had become a slaughter party. Mobs got down in a fraction of seconds and it was to the one who would be the first on the next mob!

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    1. @2:
      /sign :)
      I remember I was too afraid to spend my talent point while I was leveling up (because I didn't not know if respec was possible or I was expecting to not have the gold). So until around lvl 46 (I think it was in Stranglethorn Vale) I flat out refused to invest points into any tree until I finally sucumbed and skilled holy.
      Up to this point healing dungeons was incruciating difficult but also due to this really a lot of fun. (Although I kind of feel sorry for all the ppl hat had to put up with me back than ^^)
      I was amazed how easy healing was after I'd invested my talent point. (also it was not as fun [as in dwarf-fortress "fun"] after that) :D

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  5. 4) The first time I realized I could "tank". I had no idea at all about the existence of healers and tanks, for me we were all equal, all there to kill mobs. But then I think a shield dropped, and someone in the party told me to grab it so I could "tank". I was like "what?", and the reply was something like "equip a one handed weapon and a shield so you can tank". I didn't understand it, but I did as was suggested and kept performing my usual rotation. I used Thunderclap a lot, because those lightnings seemed very powerful. It was a while later that I realized that I had actually chosen the "Protection" spec and that it was related to tanking. I thought this "Protection" spec, was something of a "defensive" spec where I would take less damage (I don't like taking damage, but I got into tanking because I didn't know better, lol). In Gnomeregan, someone told me that I sucked because I wasn't holding aggro (I still didn't have a clue about a real tanking rotation, taunting, etc...), and eventually I got my first pointers as to what it meant to tank.

    5) The first time I realized that the elve starting zone was actually on top of a gigantic tree!!! I had done the trip to and back from Darkshore by boat and bird several times, but never realized what this looming shadow was. Eventually I walked past the teleporter in Darnassus, because I was curious and wanted to know where this led. And there was a river falling into nothingness, so I thought "Cool, there must be a big pond at the bottom" and I jumped. And fell, and fell, and fell. And died. I didn't comprehend it at first, it took me several ghost trips and missed attempts to get to my body to comprehend that this gigantic thing was a world tree!

    6) And so many other things. The first time I saw Silithus mobs (oooh Starship Troopers!), the first time I saw snowy winterspring, the first time I killed a lvl 20 crab (how can a crab be so hard to kill?), the first time I got into Stratholme "oooh undead everywhere, scary...", the first time I saw Zangarmarsh's beauty with those huge mushrooms, the first time I saw a Murloc, a Naga, a Satyr, burning legion minions, the first time I entered the Tower of Althalax, the first time the boat landed in Stormwind, ths first time I saw Alexstraza at the top of Wyrmrest temple "oooh sexy lady dragon...", the first time I saw a flying Necropolis, the first times someone congratulated me for my tanking, my first Dire Maul dungeons, Tanaris, Un'Goro crater, the Storm Peaks and its majestuous mountains, the Thorim quest line, downing Loken, the first time I took the tram from Stormwind to Ironforge...

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    1. I recognize myself in all your points! I loved everything about the BC expansion, from the pre-release event to running through the portal itself. It truly felt majestic.

      My first instance was WC and I was equally confused. Most of the time I didn't even manage to get into the instance because there were loads of elite guarding the outside caverns then and my group never went out to get me... It took me a long time to understand the concept of healing, I remember still in Sunken Temple I often offered to be the "secondary healer"! What the heck is that in a 5-man group? XD

      I remember Banethil! Such a confusing place (still is). And one of the first places I truly felt like WoW was a dangerous and challening place.

      My brother found out the hard way you did, and I recall him falling down in the same way trying to adventure around the edges of the tree, it was truly hilarious to see. I agree with you that there have been many more awesome moments in WoW since then... And hopefully more to come. I'll try to be more openminded about it.

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    2. Ah the Tower of Althalax, I can't remember how often I died in there trying to get to the top. :-)

      On the other hand, I never really liked Silithus, although I really love the Star Troopers films, this "invasion of another lore into wow" / "reference to something sci-fi in a fantasy world" totally ruined this patch for me. :-/

      @Tanaris: I remember being totally awed by the shiny coastline of Tanaris with its crystal clear water (afaik that was the only place where the water was this way)

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  6. I still have my Fiery War Axe on my pally (currently in void storage). :)

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