Sunday, January 22, 2012

20 Days of WoW Blogging - Day 03 – Your first day playing WoW

My first day playing WoW has to, first and foremost, be seen in a context. Otherwise it’d make for a far less interesting story.
Ignoring the fact that I was in beta, of which there is preciously little to tell about besides from LAAAAAAAG, I began playing WoW around August, 2005. This was the time I’d returned from living in the UK for half a year. As I resided in a very Christian, ascetic (some would say ‘archaic’) community, computers were sparse and only allowed me to read about WoW, so needless to say, my excitement and expectations were massive.
I’d just started university a month before, which in hindsight might not have been the best timing on my part. Nonetheless, the interesting fact is I bought my World of Warcraft from a friend who’d bought it for himself but didn’t dare start on it (YOU KNOW BECAUSE U GET ADDICTED AND LEIK NO LEIF!!!1). So, no reason letting an unopened package laying around.
I remember having really great troubles actually setting up my account. I actually was so sure about this game that I bought a game card in advance. I also remember calling up my friend in the middle of the night because I wasn’t sure about how to install it. Which seems really, really odd in hindsight. But I suppose things weren’t as stable back then, or something.
Menethil Harbor in alpha
The first 24 hours in WoW for me could best be described as somehow psychedelic or trance-like. Once I finally booted it up, I remember eagerly logging in on Nordrassil  and rolling a warrior. I’d known for months I wanted a warrior called SirAshram (from ‘Record of Lodoss War’) and that’s what I got.
It’s dangerous to WoW alone, take these! (All the cool players are doing it!)
I can’t explain the thrill I had when Northshire Abbey appeared and the myriad of wolves and kobolds were swarming in front of me. I was home. I’d been so hyped on WoW for so long and now it was finally there! In that light, it might seem odd that I said ‘Right, just a couple of hours to see if it’s still fun and then go shopping’.
The next time I looked at the clock, the store had closed two hours ago.
I began on a Friday, and was supposed to go to a LARP-event the following week (yes, I actually used to LARP). Needless to go, I got very little time to prepare. In fact, I didn’t sleep the entire weekend. I collapsed around Sunday night at 1AM, woke up at eight and pushed through the event.  
I clearly remember a friend of mine who noticed my shit face and asked about it. When he heard I’d started playing WoW he nodded and later returned with a handful of energy extracts. “Take these,” he said “they should optimize your efficiency!”. They weren’t exactly drugs (or illegal for that matter, I think it was nature medicine somehow) but yeah, they really kicked in once I got back home. Thursday-Sunday on the following week pretty much followed the same pattern. 
Darkshire in alpha
REND!!! And my first green drop.
For those of you who played in vanilla, you’ll likely agree with me that things were quite different back then, at least compared to the difficulty and involvement in leveling. It could be pretty frigging brutal. Some classes had it easier than others when it came to leveling, whereas others sadly neglected when they didn’t have a group. Warrior was one as such. As vanilla was way more focused on group-leveling than Cataclysm, running around as either warrior or priest could be an extreme drag.
In addition, I was new, so I suffered from the usual syndrome of spamming whatever ability you thought sounded cool. In my case it was rend (because of awesome sound) and thunderclap (because of awesome element from Warcraft 3).  I managed to get my ass through the starting area through said abilities and happily began an eclectic approach throughout my talent trees, all the time carrying my faithful shield and a +stam +int sword.
Oh yeah, and if I got more than one mob on me at the time, I’d run away. Otherwise I’d die.
Luckily, Elwynn forest was and always will be kind of cozy and I enjoyed walking around for a bit. I killed some monsters from time to time and then it happened………
THIS DROPPED!
Malachite

HOLY MOTHERF… SWEET!!
A GEM! OMG! I’M RICH! AND IT’S EVEN GREEN!
I’ve named him ‘Gemmy’ (yes, I know) ever since. Sadly, Gemmy doesn’t exist anymore, he was later deleted. In sadness.
Happily carrying Gemmy, I went to Westfall. Of course, getting my ass royally handed to me by Hogger first. In Westfall I had my first meet up  with masochism. Defias Pillagers. An interesting note for you; besides from Vaelastrasz , the old statistic page noted Defias Pillagers as the mob who that’d killed the second highest amount of players in the game. I remember how I’d charge them, scream in terror as they’d drop my health to 45% in one fireball, and then I’d repeatedly hit ‘Rend’ over and over. It was an instant attack, I needed more damage, fast!! And then I’d die.
‘Let me guess, this is your first time playing a warrior, right?’
I joined up with a rogue who also had trouble with the Defias. Together we cleared out some harvesters too, when finally ANOTHER GREEN DROPPED!! It was a caster cloak.
And then this really weird thing popped up on my screen. Something with need or greed? I wasn’t really sure what the hell this was about, so I thought that the cloak might as well sell for a decent price and I needed the money. Soooeh… involuntary ninja at your service.
The rogue first became angry with me, and I originally thought he was taking the piss with me or wanted it for himself. We had a short argument before he finally understood that I’d made a mistake and let me keep it. Instead we found a camp of bandits and he wrote me “Wait here, I’ll sap!”
So he stealthed in, sapped a bandit and I thought “right, that’s my mark!”. I charged in, thunderclapped and we got owned.
On our corpse run back, he discretely wrote me “Let me guess, this is your first time playing a warrior, right?” and I was extremely embarrassed.  Somehow, being a warrior wasn’t all I’d hoped for it to be.
This was pretty much Sentinel Hill in vanilla
I USED TO BE A TONK, THEN I FAILED TO TAKE AN ARROW IN THE KNEE!
Maybe it was cruelty, maybe it was an attempt to cheer me up. Eventually, the rogue encouraged me to go with him to Deadmines. In honesty, he maybe just wanted a tank from the start.
Getting a group together back then was a bitch. Before dungeon finder or even meeting stones AFAIK, all you could do was to enter trade-chat. Pretty much like in The Old Republic.
We made it, nonetheless, and went in.
I can’t remember enough to elaborate on this, but it was bad. The hunter-pet did most of the tanking, I usually ran in first, slapped the mobs a bit with my wooden sword and they’d head for the mage. Luckily we had a really good healer along, and we made it as far as to Van Cleef, and then the wipe fest began for real. I don’t think we ever finished the instance, as the healer did a rage-quit.
Eventually, I’d play my warrior for a few more levels. Then I abandoned him and started a rogue on Hellscream with my real life friends.
Looking back now…
It’s really interesting to notice how far we’ve come since then, when you think about it. The game has changed in so many ways, has become so much more friendly to new people and no matter how you turn and look at it, less hardcore. If only we stop at that statement and refrain from judging the rightness of it, my warrior experience might very well have been totally different today. I do have two warriors around mid level, but tend to prefer damage roles as usual. The damage warrior was a pretty much an unheard concept in vanilla WoW, especially at level 60. The threat generation has also been significantly improved ever since, which I felt during the (very limited) time I tanked in Wrath.
Be that as it may, I really hope that I one day will be able to reexperience the immense rush that fell over me, the first week in which I played WoW. Skyrim and Dragon Age Origins both came close, but not entirely there.
Yes, I’m looking at you, Diablo 3.

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