I figured the best way to start off a new blog would be with a somewhat lengthy post detailing my World of Warcraft life so far.
Even before I had caught wind of a small new MMO called World of Warcraft, I had always been a gamer. I was deep into the lore back in the glory days of Warcraft III and I've even played through WCI and II a few times (mostly out of respect for the franchise). I played myself some DotA, and that experience with online play was what initially sparked my fascination with massively multiplayer online games. I started out small: Star Wars Galaxies. I played SWG pretty hard back in the days before the NGE and CU (arguably, back when SWG was still any GOOD.) I was one of the first couple of people on my server to unlock a Force-sensitive Jedi slot. It's at about this time that I became hooked on the MMO.
After SWG got shot to pieces with the new (read: poor) gameplay, I felt a strong desire to switch MMOs. That's when I picked up City of Heroes at the insistence of a friend from school. CoH was good, honest play. I relate my CoH experience to the first 40 levels of WoW: "feels like new". There was tons of content to explore, and the time I spent playing was valuable experience in how to properly conduct oneself in an online game. (Sounds cheesy, but etiquette in CoH was a big deal.)
A few months after I picked up CoH (and about a month after I hit max level), I heard from another friend about a Warcraft MMO being released soon. We were both dubious about the success of the game, so we picked up Guild Wars. Bad move. Guild Wars wasn't the gameplay I was into, with too much PVP for my tastes. Still, we spent quite a few months playing Guild Wars and hearing about how popular WoW was becoming. Eventually, we bit.
Enter the World... of Warcraft
We picked up World of Warcraft one Saturday afternoon. My friend brought her laptop over to my house, we installed the game, and both rolled humans (she thought the other races were ugly, and we wanted to start in the same zone. I initially wanted to roll a Night Elf). She rolled a priest, I rolled a paladin. Over the next couple months, we both fell in love with the game. It was everything I could have possibly wanted from an MMO version of Warcraft. Vanilla WoW content still harbors some of the fondest memories of any in the game for me. We took our time reaching 60, as the game was still so new and there was so much to explore. She remains to this day one of the only people I know who can level a toon as fast as me, since we've seen this content so many time and love it all so very much.
At 60, I was introduced to raiding. Raiding on a serious scale was something I had never been exposed to before. Sure, we had Planetary PVP raids in SWG, and Hamidon raids in CoH (anyone who's been to a Hami raid knows how lol-worthy they are), but Molten Core was an incredible first experience. I joined a guild that seemed to be progressing well with the new content, and that's when the problems started occuring.
Raiding as a paladin preBC was, needless to say, awkward. We couldn't quite tank as well as warriors, and couldn't heal quite as well as priests and druids. The preBC paladin didn't really fill any niche in particular, not to mention the absolute catastrophe that was Retribution spec. That's when I rolled my first alt.
I don't really know why I went with a priest. I liked wearing plate. It made me feel powerful, like I could wreck through anything. Cloth, at first, felt weak and frail. But I learned to love the survivability of Discipline. Yeah, you read that right: I leveled my priest from 1-60 as a mixture of holy and discipline. Hey, I didn't know any better. Long story short, leveling my priest to 60 went faster and was more enjoyable than my paladin had been. At 60, I rejoined my guild as they began to hit Molten Core content hard.
"Fifty DKP minus!"
We blew through content. We shattered our way through boss after boss, sitting comfortably in first in terms of progression. We were farming Hakkar and Ragnaros before most guilds were running Blackrock. By the time we were entering Blackwing Lair, I had established myself as a healer with a reputation for leaving no man behind. Raiding as the priest class leader during the latter days of level 60 raid content was bar none the best days of WoW for me.
When the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj opened, the Scarab Lord was in our guild. He also was the first to recieve a Thunderfury on the server. Our guild was the powerhouse guild of the server. Our members would be the ones standing in the Ironforge auction house getting inspected constantly. As great as it seemed, some of us weren't happy.
It was around AQ that I started catching a lot of crap from some of the players that weren't having any fun if they weren't getting any loot. They were the ones who were first to blame the healers for wipes. We hit a wall on C'Thun. I don't think I ever figured it out, but my best guess was we didn't have the teamwork necessary to pull all the shield stages off. The shitstorm escalated and tensions ran high to the point that I was considering leaving the guild and quitting raiding. It's a good thing I didn't, because I would have taken most of the healing team with me, and that would have irrepairably damaged the guild.
"Every weapon is a Hunter weapon."
After a few swift gkicks for the loot whores, we were back in business in time to finish clearing AQ with time to spare before Naxxramas. Again, we made short work of the game's hardest content. We had even killed Kel'Thuzad a few times, and I think we were better at the Horsemen than we were at Twin Emps. That's when I burned out. The fact that a new raid wouldn't be coming after Naxx suggested an expansion, and an expansion was exactly what we got.
The Burning Crusade Blues
In a word, I was pissed. I mourned the passing of preBC, and spent the two weeks before the release of BC leveling a mage to work off some frustration. I hit 60 on the mage the day BC was released, and left my priest and paladin sitting to collect dust as I entered Outlands with my mage. I know most of you who've played will know what I mean; I associate a lot of emotion with my characters, and playing my priest or paladin at that particular time wasn't right for me. I transferred my mage to a new server to give myself a fresh start in WoW.
Outlands was, for the most part, fun. At the very least, it was fun the first time through. I powered my way to 70 on the mage and immediately began raiding again. This time, the guild I was in was run much more like a business instead of a family. I really didn't talk to many of the people I raided with, outside of the obvious exception of during raids. We cleared content up to Magtheridon very quickly, and once again, I felt a bit burned out by raiding. The constant 4-5 nights a week raiding from 10pm to 3am got to me. Just around the time we were clearing SSC and moving to Hyjal, I quit my mage and moved back to my priest.
I took the priest back up to 70 and rejoined what remained of my old guild. Most of the officers were still around, but the membership had changed drastically. They were in SSC when I joined back up, which was an ironically good point, considering I had just dropped out at the end of SSC with my mage. We weren't first this time, however. Another guild had overtaken us for first progression guild on the server in the time that our membership was changing around. We still made fantastic progress in BT and were forced to sit on our laurels a bit until Sunwell was released. There's not much to say about BC content for raiding. It was fun, but I still missed the vanilla raids.
As we waited for SWP, I somehow found time to level my fourth character, my druid. I spent a week or two healing with that druid as we farmed old content until the next raid was released. When it came, Sunwell was an easy clear. We were only limited by the speed at which we could open gates on our server (which was painfully slow, with only two motivated raiding guilds to speak of, Alliance side).
By the time we cleared Sunwell, many of us didn't really have much reason to keep playing. We were a raiding guild by nature, and a lack of new raids left us very bored. Many went their seperate ways. Some went to Warhammer, some leveled new toons, and some just up and quit until Lich King.
The announcement of Lich King was a very melancholy time for me. Blizzard had just announced Lich King when we were clearing through Magtheridon, and I felt no desire to conquer the rest of the raid content only to be faced with another ten levels and the infamous gear reset. I guess I didn't realize just how far away LK actually was, but it felt close, and I didn't like it.
After Sunwell, with most of our officers quitting until Lich King, I began leveling another paladin, Horde side, with my best friend in real life. At the time, I had no idea I'd never play another Alliance toon again.
For the Horde!
Leveling Horde was a magical experience for me. All of the content felt new. Even the old world content that I loved so much had a fresh new spin put on it. The perspective of the Horde made WoW feel like a whole new game for me. The "new" paladin was a blast as well. Retribution, viable? I never would have believed it had I not done it myself.
When my cute little Blood Elf hit 70, I again started raiding specced holy, albeit much more casually. I don't think I got much farther than Magtheridon on this pally, but farming easy-mode Kara for badges in my spare time was a much better atmosphere for me than hardcore, four nights a week progression. I took about two months off before the release of Lich King to just break from WoW, hang out with my in-game friends in real life, and generally just goof around until there was new content to explore.
Needless to say, when Lich King was released, I tore through content. I knew I played quite frequently, but I never truly realized exactly how fast I was at leveling until I had my paladin to 80 and rolled a fresh shaman and had him to 60 before most of the people on the server had their mains to 80. I messed around in the lv80 instances, running heroics here and there. I sat in as paladin class leader in a relatively new guild that was progressing well and we cleared 10man Naxx, Archavon, and Sartharion solo as well as one+two drakes up on 10man.
It was here that I had to take a week-long break to sort out personal problems in real life, and when I returned, I found myself guildless and all of the other officers scattered around in other top-tier raiding guilds. No one ever said specifically what happened, but needless to say, our little guild broke up and the officer staff went elsewhere.
Currently, I'm leveling my shaman his last 10 levels to 80, respecced my paladin prot, and am just generally enjoying the social experience in WoW. I'm helping two friends level toons as well, one for the first time, another for his third.
Lv80 raid content? As soon as the shaman hit 80, he's getting specced Resto and I plan to hit heroic raids with a vengeance.
Thank you for taking the time to read all that. I realize it's a literal wall of text, but I feel new readers should have a background on me if they wish to acquiant themselves with my level of knowledge of the game at this point. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me either on Twitter or by email.