Today World of Warcraft (WoW), the game that gave birth to millions of massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) fans turns eight. Love or hate Azeroth, one thing is certain, we will never forget her. No matter how we try to ridicule her outdated mechanics, or scoff at her old worn-out world, we cannot erase her memories from our minds, because she left her digital imprint on our collective heart.
Today I want to honor Word of Warcraft by sharing some of my fondest, most exciting and saddest memories from Azeroth with you. WoW took my MMORPG cherry. I was lured into joining the Horde by a friend, a feisty blood elf called Cälïpsa. I was born a first-person shooter fan-girl, or so I thought, then I walked the dusty roads of Orgrimmar and everything changed. The main reason why I play video games is because I absolutely cannot resist a good challenge, and games challenge me. I always thought MMORPG’s were for gamers who like nice stories, who tremble when they hear the battle cry, you know, like social gamers ;).
WoW challenged me far beyond what I ever imagined. I fell in love with its deeply layered, fascinating world. I had to learn an entirely new set of skills, which I found extremely intimidating, foreign and complicated. It was only after I dinged level 85 and had a few raid runs in Blackwing Descent that it all finally clicked in. I was proud to prance around with my guildies as one of its most valuable damage-per-second, bad ass, ugly looking female Orc Warriors.
My close friends can testify to the fact that I am the type of person who gets bored with just about anything in life at an alarming rate. WoW somehow had the ability to immerse me into its world entirely. I didn’t get bored with trying to perfect my Warrior’s gear, rotation and working with my guild in mastering Boss strategies.
This brings me to another aspect of WoW that added tremendous depth to the gazillion of hours I spend in it, the buzzing social life of Azeroth. I met the most extraordinary people by playing in a Guild. We shared countless hours brooding over how to improve our characters, helping each other with quests, and then there was this…
We went fishing.
Some of my fondest memories in WoW involved just being with another player, quietly sitting together and drinking in the enchanting beauty of the landscape. Some of my saddest moments in WoW involved saying goodbye to friends. Walking past a familiar landmark and calling to mind shared experiences.The truth is that with a game like WoW, our in-game avatars resemble a big chunk of who we are in real life. My Orc warrior, Urduja, was in many ways a projection of my digital self. Her victories, defeats and the bonds she formed lodged itself into my memory banks for ever.
World of Warcraft is therefore a bitter sweet memory to me because a part of me will always long for it. I left Azeroth behind not long after the Firelands expansion came out, but I have never been able to silence her voice, calling to me like a deadly Siren, beckoning me to return to her.
I will always remember WoW for the many lessons it taught me, lessons which I have continued to use in countless games across different genres. It taught me to think more strategically, to adapt my skills in order to strike the perfect balance as part of a large group of players, but most of all, it taught me to appreciate the tremendous effort that goes into creating a massive gaming experience like WoW.
Blizzard I thank you.
A note from Blizzard
"World of Warcraft turns eight on November 23, and we’d like to thank our amazing community for joining us in celebrating eight epic years of adventure. To celebrate, players who log in to World of Warcraft between November 18 and December 1 will receive a unique Feat of Strength achievement and Celebration Package item. Using your item will kick off the celebrations by shooting off fireworks*, applying a (cosmetic only) tabard to your character, and granting an 8% bonus to experience and reputation gains from any enemies defeated while active. As an added treat, this year we’ve put together a little video to take you through the years from the original release of World of Warcraft to the newly revealed shores of Mists of Pandaria. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey. We know we have."
Share with us some of your most memorable moments in World of Warcraft.