One of our regular readers would like to continue verifying how deep the often stark contrast between my favourite hardcore blogging antagonist Stop and me is running, and wrote us both asking to define our best moment in WoW (but would rather not be cited by name, so we’ll keep that under wraps).
The thing is, in three years of playing, defining the one single best moment in the game is something I’m hard pressed to do, so instead, I’ll recall a couple of highlights:
My first quest group was on one of my first toons in his 20ies, joining up with two other guildmates to complete several quests in Darkshore and Ashenvale. There was nothing really remarkable about the whole thing, except that the three of us would soon end up top brass in that guild, and later on transition over in one of the few successful guild mergers I’ve seen for level 60 activities. Over time, all three of us also ended up on the officer roll in that guild.
We all still play today, we are all still in the same guild (OK, me not too often since I have a dozen of horde toons wanting some playtime too).
My very first venture into WSG, at level 30 (don’t gasp, back in these days the brackets were 21-30, 31-40 and so on) on a rogue. One of the people, a pallie, queuing up at Silverwing with me (back in the day, you had to be in Ashenvale on alliance or the Barrens on horde to queue up, no fancy battle masters in the capital cities), gave me the pep talk and ran me through the basics. When the gates opened, I remember having an adrenaline rush, heart pounding, nervous like hell. I don’t remember whether we won or lost that first game, but it was definitely fun.
In late Summer and up until September 2005, I played in what I like to call the golden age of WSG – the brackets had been retooled to what we know now, and the game was still too fresh in Europe to have many level 60 toons with spare money to spend. In this relatively short timeframe, twinking was almost non-existent. I spent a lot of time on an orc shaman perfecting the twin shaman cap runs: basically ghost wolf and then rush along the Eastern edge of the map, up the ramp to the ally base, both jump down together. Two earthbind totems, two frostshocks, healing – it was a massively unfair advantage for horde, and the only time this could be stopped was when we faced three smart hunters who understood that owning the midfield was the key to victory. With Improved Concussive shot, they simply stopped anyone from passing (their team mates moping out in close quarters), and edged out a very impressive 3-0 victory in times where the best alliance could hope for was usually losing 2-3.
But then I got involved in a chat with the alliance guildmates, and we came up with a two-hunter counter to the twin shaman runs – one trap upstairs, a shadowmelt nelf hunter there, the pet hidden out of sight, and the twin shamans were separated and killed cleanly without being able to support each other. And suddenly the almost impregnable horde domination of WSG faltered, at least in that one single bracket.
The fun eventually stopped around the end of September, when suddenly every single game had at least three or four undead rogues with Fiery Weapon enchants and more HP than a blue-decked warrior (soon followed by an equally impressive army of gnome rogues). It basically removed most of the competition and fun in that WSG bracket.
Much much later, when leveling my belfadin, I stopped by in the 30-39 brackets, mainly in AB, and realizing that even without respeccing or regearing for the task, my healing definitely made a difference in the outcome of the game was definitely another highlight. It culminated with AV at level 70, where my personal pride was to sit both at the top of the healing done and HK meter, not only knowing that healing helped the team, but also certain that I had won most honour from these games.
I joined up with my buddy Steptoe during season 2 for a lock / pallie duo. When I joined the team, it was at 1440, and we promptly proceeded to tank down to 1323. But then, the steady progress we made, week after week, while our duo started to act as a functioning, well-oiled team, was definitely one of the other highlights in the game for me. We ended up just shy of 1700 rating. That’s of course still massively in the scrub range by all standards, but for us it still meant steady progress and an improvement week after week. I still miss arenas with good old Steptoe, bless his black rotten forsaken heart.
The first time Stoney dragged me through ZG was an amazing moment. It was just a short two-boss run and my lock was level 53 at that time. I felt utterly useless but still, the scale up from 5-men to 20-men play was definitely an impressive experience, along with the unique jungle atmosphere of good ole’ Trollville.
Another memory which stands out was when we quickly assembled 16 people to have a quick go at Kurinnaxx after an MC run – it was far from an optimal setup, it was getting late-ish, but we just went in there, cleared the trash methodically and downed the boss without any fuss. Oh, the kill itself was nice, but it was actually the pride in the guild chat that we were able to simply get job done despite not having the optimal setup (most of the guild was still in ZG kit at that time, it’s not like we were 16 full T1 or T2-clad warriors) which stands out most in my mind. Oh, and remember the two guys I mentioned in my first group quest memory? One of them was running on a dorf priest alt, and won the Vestments of the Shifting Sands. When his white-bearded and dignified elder dwarf character donned these, hilarity ensued.
I’ve always thought of him as the pink plush pocket healer since.
Long time readers will remember I had issues with Shadow Labs early on, in particular finding groups which would be able to pass Vorpil. After Steptoe quit the game earlier this year, I respecced my belfadin to protection just so that I could go back to tanking and test out the various odd pieces of gear I had assembled in 7 months as a healbot. Well, going in there with your random PUG, I didn’t expect too much but that flawlessly executed run still stands out as one of the great moments I’ve had in the game.
The first thing which really impressed me when I started playing WoW after two years in FFXI was when I noticed a wolf killing a squirrel in Dun Morogh. I watched this happen in awe and this simple bit of coding to improve the atmosphere of the world made a huge difference for me. Suddenly I felt like I was playing in a world which felt “real” in the sense that it conveyed the impression that it was existing for itself. FFXI always had a certain artificial quality to it, a bit like those horror rides you can find in theme parks where the various figures and effects only spring to life when a visitor (or his cart) passes by. WoW had that unique quality that it was a “living world” functioning regardless of whether a player was present or not, and other elements only reinforced that feeling. In FFXI for instance you could cross an entire zone chased by a train of monsters (back in the days you had to zone out in order to have a mob return to its spawn or patrol area, they simply never gave up), reach the gates of the city with a sliver of life and watch, with your final breath, your blood splatter the armor of the totally impassive guards who simply ignored what was happening at their feet (not that the goblins chasing you would be bothered by them witnessing your murder either). In WoW, at least at the lower levels and around factions you’re in good standing with, a guard means salvation instead of stony indifference.
In general, even years later, WoW never ceases to amaze me with little details I hadn’t noticed before. Rhoelyn’s little Azerothian picture quiz was really fun in that respect. Just a couple of days ago, while leveling my latest little belf mage in Eversong Woods, I noticed, for the first time, that behind some troll village where you are sent on one of those nice extermination quests, there was, just out of reach, a burning tower.
Well, there we go. Those are definitely among the highlights of my three years in WoW, and among the reasons why, pre-WotLK depression or not, I keep enjoying the game. Is this specific to a casual player? I doubt it. I am however quite curious to read what Stop will come up with, if he decides to answer our reader’s question as well.
And you? What are your own highlights in the game?