My 14-Year Love Affair with World of Warcraft

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I still remember the day it all started — November 2004, sitting in my AP Biology class as a Junior in high school, talking with my longtime school friend about a game that had just come out that I had never heard of but he and his brother were playing it and it was a blast. That morning I decided to pick up what would be the one game that has stuck with me over these past 14 years. That game was, of course, World of Warcraft.

Starting up, I had no idea what I was doing; I just remember starting an Undead Priest because I wanted to be the healer for our small group of friends. The first night consisted of me having to ask around Brill how to chat with other people in General chat as I didn’t know about the different /say commands, but I trudged along with the grind that is Vanilla World of Warcraft leveling. I didn’t have any leveling plan, just go along as best as I could, but EVENTUALLY, I hit one of the most memorable moments of my gaming “career.” Turning in a quest in the Eastern Plaguelands at Light’s Hope Chapel, I finally “dinged” 60. I knew I was close but wasn’t sure when it would happen, though once it did I threw my hands in the air as if I had conquered this fantasy world all by myself.

The addiction was set. Eventually, my friends and I all got into a raiding guild. In my very first Molten Core raid I was the Main Tank healer – talk about pressure – but that night was a success, with us clearing around half the raid to come back to later that week. All the Ragnaros tactics I could recite in my sleep we were in there so much, but boy did I look good in my Tier 1 Prophecy set and Benediction!

Then, in my Freshman year of college, the first expansion DLC launched, with Burning Crusade ultimately leading to my first hiatus. This wasn’t because it wasn’t the same, fun game; since all my high school friends went our separate ways in college, I was pretty much left to get myself to level 70. I still got into a high-level raiding guild, but due to the demands of college (and almost failing out primarily thanks to WoW), I wasn’t able to keep a solid raid spot so I was left to my own solo devices. My ultimate goal was to afford an epic flying mount, so I spent hours after hours of grinding materials to sell for gold, eventually realizing my goal and getting my hands on the epic flyer. Unfortunately, thanks to this grind, I was burnt out and couldn’t bring myself to play anymore.

I completely sat out Wrath of the Lich King (apart from playing with a friend on a private server, but we won’t talk about that) but Cataclysm was announced and I’m not sure how or why, but I got sucked right back in. I was able to pick up where I left off but behind the 8 ball level-wise — everyone else got a 10 level head start! But my priest (now a Blood Elf, duh) had all sorts of new places to explore and level in — it was nothing like the grind it used to be. With Discipline being king, I jumped into Arenas for the first time, which was frustrating and rewarding all at the same time. However, raiding was still my main love, leading all the way up to being part of a two-person healing team on a Madness kill. The first “end game” boss I took out since all the way back in BC with Illidan! Eventually, Cataclysm couldn’t keep my time, leading up to hiatus #2.

But then Mists of Pandaria launched, which would become favorite WoW expansion. Everything about Mists was perfect to me, from the art direction to the sound, to the lovable Pandaren. SO back into the void I went, now setting new goals for myself. This time I wasn’t going to bother with raiding — too much of a time sink — this time I was going to focus only on leveling and mount collecting (and I was on a pretty solid Rated Battleground team but that was once a week). So I started the journey of having one max leveled class of each.

At first, during Cataclysm, it was quite a long process that involved Recruit A Friending a second account to follow each around for the bonus XP, but once it was all said and done I had every single class up to level 85 and I was on to my next journey — mount collecting. So far in my mount collecting, I’ve picked up the usuals; Onyxia, Ashes of Al’ar, Handmaiden. However, I’m STILL searching for the ever elusive Invincible. Running Icecrown 12 times a week is more mind-numbing, but my favorite mount in the game is still out there waiting to be had. By now, while priest was always my first choice and main, I was enjoying everything about different classes as well. My Paladin was my reputation class, slowing working my way towards “the beloved” title. My hunter was my solo class, and everything in between had its own use.

Towards the end of Mists, I burned out once again, mainly due to the arduous legendary cloak quest. I came to hiatus #3, but then Warlords of Draenor dropped and back into the rabbit hole I went. Now, I will admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Draenor, so while I did a few things endgame, I mainly focused on hitting the level cap with all my toons and straight to hiatus #4.

Legion came out and I was so close to thinking I was done for good. I really had no intention of playing, missed the launch even, but there was always that bug in my ear saying “just check it out, I’m sure it’s fun!” And sure enough, I resubbed and started what I think is my second favorite expansion I’m still not sure what makes me like Legion so much, though it’s probably that there’s always something to do. My 12 max level ‘toons are actually fairly decently geared thanks to the world quests, which all the purists have denounced in the past, but  I loved it. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and once again, here I am taking a break.

It’s been a long and winding journey to this point. The number of hours I’ve sunk into WoW is probably over a few thousand, but it isn’t something I would change, and WoW will always have a place in my heart as the game that I just can’t quit. So while I’m currently unsubbed, hiatus #5 by my count, my priest, which has been transferred over to Alliance by now, is still sitting in Dalaran with my original Benediction transmogged waiting to be booted back up once again. More than likely when Battle of Azeroth hits the shelves.