I used to play World of Warcraft. I used to play it quite a lot. I believe I’ve more than passed the 100 days mark on just my main character. I shudder to think what it would be total when you add all of the playtime from my alts too.
I don’t play anymore, I haven’t for a while. It’s just not as good any more. People may argue this is rose-tinted glasses talk, but as the subscription numbers continue to decline I don’t know if that’s so.
I started WoW when it was still the base version of the game, Vanilla as it’s known. Everything was new and exciting. I’d never played a game like it before and it was thrilling to check out all these new sights. The world felt alive and vibrant, full of people in chat and in cities, chatting and grouping. Guilds were fun to be in, with active chat and members who helped one another. I had reached the mid thirties as a Tauren Shaman when Burning Crusade came out, when I promptly rerolled as a Blood Elf Paladin.
Burning Crusade was incredible. The new races both looked great, and their starting areas far outstripped the other races’ in every respect, from visuals to rewards. Then once you managed to get to 58 you got to go to Outland. Outland was the blasted demon-infested ruins of the orc homeworld Draenor. It was beautiful. I remember paying a mage to teleport me to Shattrath City at level 55 because I couldn’t wait any longer. I made the long trek through to Hellfire Penninsula, the starting zone. I was too low a level to do any of the quests, so I just killed demon boars for three levels. This was acceptable because the last levels in Azeroth barely had any quests and I’d have ended up grinding anyway. And Outland mobs granted double the experience.
I remember during those three levels of grinding I would keep walking down to my brothers room (he was already in Outland) and just saying how much I loved it, how beautiful it was. I kept looking up and just marvelling at the strands of twisting energy and moons that made up the sky. It was real good.
Eventually I got through my boar-levels, started questing, then got to max level. This was a wonderful experience as the quest design took a huge step forward in BC. It was also filled with detours like me finding one pool of water where mobs dropped rare crafting materials. I found a buyer for them and wiled away some time becoming rich by killing water-snakes and harvesting their magic innards (just like real life). My brothers were all also playing during this time, so it was brilliant to be able to chat and group with them while we levelled. Once I’d hit max I started running dungeons with friends I’d made along the way. They helped me get the hang of tanking and I ended up joining their guild.
I was a member of Dark Secrets for a while, and I got to experience the first raid of Burning Crusade, Karazhan, as well as a number of heroic 5 mans. Karazhan was awesome, just a fantastically well designed piece of content. It was my first time raiding in any game, and I loved the cooperation and chatting on Ventrilo between pulls. I felt like part of the team and I got to see a lot of cool stuff. So anyway, then I betrayed them to join a different guild that my friend was in, which was called Existence.
Existence was very fun. The members of the guild were permanently on Vent and it made doing random other tasks in the world way more fun to just chat away while doing them. We cleared Karazhan and went on the clear Zul’Aman. I got some really cool gear and some great raiding experience. I’d like to say I made some great friends but the guild unfortunately imploded and I have no idea where any of the those folks are right now (apart from one, I forgot!). This was before the introduction of the Battle.net id’s, so there was no way to track them beyond having their character names added.
With that implosion my time with BC mostly ended. I wiled away my time building up my mount collection and doing random activities with friends and my brothers. I continued playing into Wrath of the Lich King and then a little into Cat, but BC was when I was most active.
The thing I miss most about BC was the feeling of inhabiting a world, of an expansion being a chance to explore amazing new worlds and vistas, meet interesting new characters and meet new friends. Unfortunately Blizzards approach to building new content I feel has really been lacking, it just doesn’t make me excited like the old stuff did. Added to that they’ve pretty much killed all social interaction or server community with their increased automation of dungeons and raids. I don’t know how they could possibly back away from that, but man, servers feel barren, and no one talks. It’s depressing.
I miss the game I used to play. I miss the friends I made. I miss the time in my life when I played. I miss it.