Today I just feel like talking about some of my past experiences in gaming. The one game in particular that stands out in my mind on this day is World of Warcraft. Although it is not the first MMORPG I ever played (the old school isometric game The 4th Coming actually gets that honor), my memories of the title once 13 million strong are perhaps some of the most vivid in my mind.
As with most newbies to the Warcraft universe and being the goody two-shoes that I am, I started off playing for the Alliance. The class that most piqued my interest at first was the Druid class. A shape shifting fighter that could take on any role in the game? I said, "Sign me up!" However, I didn't know that was the case at level 60 and it did mean I had to play as a stupid elf. It was well worth it though. The early leveling experience had me hooked. The environment for the night elves had a mystic, whimsical feeling to it. Getting up to level 10 was easy as well, partially because I rolled need on a bunch of gear in my first group. I was an unknowing ninja to a couple other lowbies. But I digress. I stared at the three talent trees in front of me, uncertain of what the best choice would be. After some quick reading, I decided to go Feral to make further progression easier.
Fast track past a weird moonkin quest and an annoying Aquatic Form journey that took me all over the freakin' place back in vanilla and we come to the activity that really made the game for me: PvP. Warsong Gulch was my battleground of choice. Being a Feral Druid with Improved Cat Form and then Travel Form for all the extra speed and pugging with some players that were dumb even for Alliance standards back then, I rapidly developed a skill and love for running the flag in the capture-the-flag style warzone. I took plenty of odd routes and tried many tricks to outrun and outwit the Horde, and it worked more often than not.
It worked maybe a little too well. I often played Warsong Gulch while on my way to 60 -- questing during the week so I could be a decent level for double honor every other weekend or so -- and there was no cross server battling at the time. That meant everyone learned each others' names. I learned later on that my Druid had caused quite a stir among the Horde players that were leveling at the same rate I was. I didn't need to hear it straight from them though; I knew I was a target. The same people would hunt me down time and time again. There was a pair of troll hunters, whom I later learned were with each other all the time because they were husband and wife. There was an undead warrior, whom I found out marked me as kill-on-sight every time we were both in the same battleground. There was an undead priest who spammed fear on me every chance he got. There were a couple shamans who would watch for me and follow me all the way back to the Alliance base, casting Frost Shock on me until they chased me down. I still shiver just thinking about all the Frost Shocks.
I didn't do much raiding at level 60. Instead I joined a PvP guild. We became known on our little server of Vek'nilash for our double Druid assault. Another druid and myself were the twin flag runners in Warsong Gulch. We rolled over most Horde groups on our server. I remember one funny thing that happened one day in between battlegrounds. While a bunch of us were waiting for the next fight, we were all dancing near the battlemasters in Stormwind. All of a sudden I hear one of my guildies start laughing over Ventrilo. She told everyone that a hunter walked up to her and asked, "How did you get your pet to dance?" It quickly dawned on all of us that he was referring to my Druid, which was in his Cat Form at the time. We all had a good laugh.
Some time before the Burning Crusade was released, I got fed up with fighting against the seemingly unbeatable Horde and jumped ship with a new Druid. It turned out the guilds of all my rivals had merged together into the Band of Thorns. It was an obvious choice for me to join them. I had fun doing PvP and raids with all my once hated enemies along with a bunch of new characters that had transferred over to our server. I stayed with that guild until I eventually quit the game.
Of course, I did start playing again. No one ever seems to really quit WoW. I changed servers and played with my cousins. I have one funny moment that sticks out in my mind from that period too. And I happen to have a video of that!
Those were the days...
ArgentStew, the Gaming Sage