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!