Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
November 23 will mark the 11th anniversary (or as I refer to it, the Anniversaroth) of the launch of World of Warcraft, a fantasy MMORPG that became the most successful of its breed. Millions flocked to Azeroth, and made our home among the droves of elves, trolls, humans, and orcs. But in all likelihood, if you’re reading this, you already know all that. Hell, the popularity of the game is SO HIGH, that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that hasn’t heard of it!
I’m not here to talk about a history lesson though. I’m here to talk about that first step into the game. More specifically, my “Vanilla” experience.
Admittedly, while I AM a ‘vanilla baby,’ I didn’t start playing the game until Christmas of 2004. Sadly, taking a few months off in Mists of Pandaria caused me to be ineligible for the amazing statue gift.
I began playing, because I’d just started college, and my best friend and I went to different colleges in different states. It gave me a way to ‘spend time’ with him, and generally intrigued me. So after installing, I wanted to test the game out, but my friend was busy that week. So I rolled an Undead (Forsaken) Priest, and began carving my way through Tirisfal Glades, until I hit level 16. I wasn’t incredibly impressed at first, but I’d been playing alone up until that point; I hadn’t yet experienced the social aspects of what would become one of the most defining social aspects of my life.
When my friend finally logged on, I rerolled my official first character, a Troll Discipline Priest on Detheroc…
…That’s him in the image above, dead during one of our 1% Onyxia wipes (oh the memories/nightmares). And yes, I made the mistake of leveling as discipline. I didn’t know any better! By the time I hit level 60, our guild was already raiding. They’d been in Molten Core for a while, but my first raid was Zul’Gurub.
I never used the Decursive mod (it was overpowered in Vanilla), which meant that I learned how to dispell the hard way. It also meant that I was the first person on my server to be able to get my Benediction/Anathema, because I nobody else could do the final quest without the help from their addons!
There were many fond memories from back then, but my experience overall left a bad taste in my mouth. I always felt too squishy when I would be ganked in world PVP (which I still hate, and moved to a PVE server eventually). I’d wished throughout all of Vanilla that I could have been a paladin; to control the light, be stalwart, and sturdy.
So as soon as The Burning Crusade came, and Horde was allowed Blood Elf Paladins, I leveled Sunstrider (his name at the start) from 1 to 70 in three days, and got rid of my priest forever (literally moved him to another account, that I gifted to my younger brother back then). I still use that Paladin to this day — Sunshatter, of the Shattered Sun — alongside my counterpart Worgen Hunter — Fenrisúlfr, the Undaunted.
I know that not everyone started playing in Vanilla; but my time throughout the past 11 years (playing on both Horde and Alliance at times) has introduced me to some of the most amazing people in my life. Friends (family really) that saved my life last year, and opportunities I never thought possible.
I’m not the same person I was when I started, and everything in my life has improved drastically! I graduated college, got two wolves (Fenrisúlfr and Nymeria), moved across the country (from Dallas to Seattle), and now I work as a web developer for Microsoft (a job I absolutely love). I’ve traveled, I’ve loved, I’ve lost, and I figured out who I was as an adult.
I’m not attributing that to WoW; not most of it, anyway. But I’m saying it in order to point out one incredibly important thing: WoW grew with me. My characters stayed and changed alongside me. And who knows where we’ll be in the coming years… but whatever, and wherever it is, we’ll do it FOR AZEROTH!
So how about you? If you play WoW, what was your first character? And if you still play, what is your character now? Let me know in the comments if you like. Many friends already answered on Twitter, and I loved seeing so many stories. I’d love to hear yours too! Lok’Tar Ogar, heroes!