Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Story So Far: How I started playing WoW.

I started this blog to document my experiences with the MMORPG "World of Warcraft," both as a gamer and as a person with a real interest in pop culture. I'm a longtime gamer, but my first foray into online gaming was with the FPS "Unreal Tournament." When UT2003/2004 came out, I joined a clan which held the number one spot on the OGL ladders for some time and was known as a relatively elite player (at least in our fringe instagib community). Eventually, though, I tired of the FPS show and developed a great deal of curiosity about MMORPGs. When my brother bought Star Wars Galaxies (SWG), I joined him and together we tried to figure out what the MMORPG buzz was all about.

SWG was interesting, to say the least. We were early adopters of the game and immediately felt the grind-fest that marks this genre of games. SWG's grinding, though, was insane. Levelling took forever, mobs were difficult to find (let alone farm), transportation was either expensive or time-consuming, finding mats to farm was expensive and time-consuming...the list could go on. Long story short: my brother and I abandoned the game after less than four months. I felt as though I was working a second job and having very little fun. Sure, there were great features associated with the game (ability to change your appearance, non-combat classes such as entertainers, player housing, just to name a few), but the actual play experience left too much to be desired. I returned to Unreal Tournament.

A year later, my brother told me he was playing World of Warcraft. After my earlier experience with SWG, I initially declined to join him in the world. About a year after that, I learned my coworker "Sam" (not his real name) had played WoW briefly with a friend of his, but they'd stopped over their inability to get their friends to play with them. I did some Internet research and decided to give WoW a try. I alerted Sam and my brother, and we all decided to start new characters on the Korialstrasz realm, which had just opened about six weeks before. Sam brought in his friend "John" (also not his real name), who's a more hardcore player than we are and had already levelled a few characters to 60 (this was before The Burning Crusade came out), so we had a ready-made guide. I was actually excited to try it out.

I rolled a Gnome Mage and started playing in Dun Morogh. I was hooked almost immediately. The cartoon-ish world worked great, especially considering that other MMO's sloppy attempts at "realism" often fell flat for me. The first few levels came very easily and the animations were superb. (I did have to disable my character's voice, though—a high-pitched whine that annoyed the Christ outta me, but that was a small complaint.) Sam rolled a human Palladin. My brother ("Bert") rolled a Dwarf Hunter, and another brother ("Art")(who joined a few weeks later) rolled a Night Elf Priest. John rolled a Dwarf Priest.

Over the next few weeks, the casuals and the hardcores among us were separated out. John rolled a Gnome Warlock that presently sits doing end-game at level 70, though he kept the Priest at the same level as Sam and my characters. Art also ended up rolling several other characters and, despite starting six weeks later than the rest of us, quickly leveled past Sam, Bert, and myself. Bert ended up the most casual of all, just recently attaining level 23 as the rest of us pushed into the 40's.

The next post will lay out who the characters are.

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