The first ever taste of MMOs that I got was from reading the World of Warcraft comics/Novels. I have heard of the games but neither my wallet nor my PC were capable of handling MMOs. So, I would just take my time reading on the lore (being a comic book fan in general), researching on the characters. Just reading up on the stories and looking at the panels blew my mind. I am a game tester by profession and I have done MMORPG’s testing. Hence, I knew how MMOs worked and to have such a sprawling world with millions of players going about their adventures is something I desperately wanted to experience. But yeah, my malnourished friends Mr. Wallet and Mr. PC would advise against it.
A few years have passed with me sighing at the every new expansion trailer that Blizzard put out. And Blizzard knows how to make trailers. Just the first trailer (Classic, 2004) would trump a lot of game trailers to this day.
So came Mists of Pandaria in 2012. The 4th expansion to WoW (World of Warcraft). It clearly departed from the glum visuals of the previous expansions and the world was lusher with an orient aesthetic to it.
This time I was ready though, I could spare the luxury of a $40 game and a $15 monthly subscription. About half a day of downloading later, I was finally in. Into this fantasy world of Elves, Orcs, Dwarves, Trolls (not the nasty internet kind) and such. I would run up to NPCs that I was reading up on and take screenshots standing beside them. I would do Dungeon runs and remember the scenarios from the novels wait for the scenes to play out. I watched with glee as they happened exactly like I remembered them.
So, I ‘rolled’ a Horde Toon and I believe it was a Troll Hunter. Troll because they had some nice Rastafarian voice bits (Don’t judge please, I was a newbie). Anyways, it was…. not exactly what I was expecting. Trolls would start on a remote settlement and gradually work towards the bigger areas. I played for a bit, got my pet, ran around, got killed a bunch and logged off saying that I would tackle it later.
An acquaintance, (now a Guildmate) would later ask me if I ever tried playing MMOs. I was happy to find somebody who shared the interest. We took to the game and he asked me to switch to the Alliance faction since it is where he plays. He even created a new Toon so my Night Elf Hunter could level together and learns the ropes from the start. It was one of the best experiences I had in a while. I got introduced his Guild and they were a very friendly one. This was a time when WoW Guilds were criticised to be very strict and unforgiving to newbies.
They would even let me hop along for raids which, had limited slots and had to be very coordinated.
This went on for a while and when I was just getting the hang of it, the Guild started having issues. People would leave citing trivial reasons. Honestly, the Guild Master was having personal issues and was mostly away. I myself had to change cities due to work. So, I bid farewell to the Guild (did not leave it though) and said I might come back later.
A year or so passed and this time Blizzard decided to drop the Legion expansion. It was just so tempting that I could barely refrain myself from buying the expansion. Remember my friend? He decided to call and add fuel to the fire. But since I was already tempted to play, I decided to get back into Azeroth.
Things were very different this time around. We changed Servers. We changed factions. We changed races. We changed classes. And I rolled my new main, a Blood Elf Paladin. Which I still play regularly.
By this time, Blizzard has introduced a new method of buying a subscription. Through the in-game currency of Gold. You could buy a game token from the in-game Auction House and a game token is worth 30 days of game time. So, in essence, you could play to pay to play (Cue yo dawg! Meme). My friend also got me into doing professions now. Oh, and you get a Boost token every time you purchase a new expansion.
Remembering my love for Trolls, I boosted a Troll Druid. Put this toon up as a leather worker. Makes sellable stuff for about half of my subscription every 10 days. So we got a nice system going on for subscription and not worry about really paying for a subscription in cash. This is the time I rolled the Paladin.
With the subscription set and me coming to love the Paladin class, I decided to run old content for rare items. These would include weapons, gear or mounts in general. This is the grind part. You would run the same instance again and again because these rare items had a very low drop chance. Sometimes as low as 0.3% drop rate. But that very rarity is what added the appeal to the items. My first ever drop was the Ashes of Al’ar.
Some people would call this vexing but the Achievements are just worth doing them.
All in all, I can say that even though thing tends to pull me away from it, I find myself getting back into the World of Warcraft. I’ve even dabbled in other MMOs like Guild Wars 2, DC Universe Online, Elder Scrolls Online, Skyforge, Wildstar and Neverwinter. But, something about WoW just keeps me coming back to it. Be it the Guilds, the Grind, the Gold or the Glory, WoW offers everything and then some.