Wednesday, August 13, 2014

10 Years in Azeroth Part 2--10 Questions

Today I address Alternative Chat's 10 Years 10 Questions in celebration of World of Warcraft's upcoming 10th anniversary as a game. Let's roll!

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

I started playing 3 months after release (February 2005 according to my account history). I wasn't in the pre-release at all, but I was watching the game with interest. I'd played The Realm in the mid 90s, one of the first graphical MMOs to exist (releasing just after Meridian 59), and while I hadn't played Ultima Online, and only played the original Everquest for a few hours before getting bored to tears, I was interested that World of Warcraft was doing things different with quests, rest experience, and the fact that it was in the Warcraft universe!

I had been playing the Warcraft series since the original RTS and was obsessed with Blizzard games in general. I had loved Diablo, Diablo II, StarCraft as well, so a Blizzard game MMO seemed like a no-brainer. Of course, the game released right around my 3rd year of University, and right before exams, so that wasn't happening. But once I had some time to play, I jumped into the game.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

A gnome mage. Arcane mage, no less. I look back and shake my head, what on earth was I thinking? Arcane Missile, Arcane Missile, Fire Blast if the monster still lived. Sit and drink. Frost Nova if they got too close. But hey, I was smart enough to avoid the Wand Specialization talent even back then! Sadly that character has been deleted since, so I have nothing left of him. I did have a severe case of alt-itis back in Vanilla, where I tried all the classes up to around anywhere from level 10 to level 30.

To be fair, I still roll up and abandon characters all the time.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

As per my previous post, my early days were largely Horde, but it wasn't super uneven. I grew up on Alliance being the good guys and Horde being the "bad guys", especially in the first RTS. However, my big draw were the Tauren. Minotaurs were one of my favourite mythological creatures, and I really enjoyed how the Tauren were portrayed in both Warcraft III and in WoW itself.

Later on in early Wrath I co-ran a small Alliance guild, and then I left that guild for personal reasons and joined a much, much bigger Alliance guild over on Proudmoore (where I've resided for three expansions and soon to be a fourth!). So my current allegiance is dictated by my social ties, rather than story ties.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

My most memorable moment was back in Ulduar-10. I was co-raid-leading our "Introduction to Raiding" Sunday night raid (which ironically made a fair bit more progress than our "hardcore" raiding team at the time, though they were 25 man).

It was our first time reaching Kologarn, and everyone was oohing over his introduction as he rose from below. We were sitting in the entrance, and I was explaining the fight to the raiders when my itchy Holy Paladin trigger finger accidentally hit Judgement (note it was spelled differently back then :) ) and started the encounter.

Everyone ran in in a panic while I ran out, thinking we'd just wipe. But I ended up dying since he kills anyone outside the encounter area automatically a few seconds after the encounter started. However, I finished the explanation and directed the raiders during the fight from my dead vantage point and they ended up one-shotting the fight one healer/raid leader short. It was awesome and brings a smile to my face still when I think of it. My raiders rocked it.

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

Today my favourite aspect is raiding, through and through. Coordinated group content, largely because of my guild and the friends that I've made in it. I also like the tactical portion of it, coming up with strategies, tailoring them to my raiders' strengths and weaknesses, analyzing logs and providing feedback.

I started raid-leading back in Ulduar, and have been leading raids in some capacity almost every single tier since. Today I usually just raid call and deal with boss strats, and others deal with attendance, which I'm perfectly okay with.

It hasn't always been the case though. Vanilla every raider I encountered was a complete dick (though given I never hit max level in Vanilla, I didn't run into too many of them), and the rest of them I knew by reputation only--which meant funny yet terrible videos like the Onyxia more DoTs video.

Warning: Extremely Foul Language, and many lols.

Seriously, who wanted to play a game with that sort of person? Through TBC as well, all I ever heard was the bad. And the abuse. Mages in Molten Core who'd get dumped after conjuring food. Paladins who existed only to buff. Priests who had a healing rotation and sat on their thumbs when not healing. Warlocks getting yelled at for using their DoTs and knocking other debuffs off the boss. Shaman being nothing but Bloodlust/Heroism and Chain Heal bots. I was quite well versed on raiding via reading and hearsay.
Oh, and don't forget the egos. Those world first folks? Hearing about them through the grapevine, or listening to "elite raiders" in general chat in Shattrath as the shat all over the general populace?
In Wrath I finally got into raiding thanks to my then boyfriend, who showed me that most of what I experienced wasn't representative. Well, the class issues were completely true, and fairly fixed in Wrath. But the egos of raiders? Just a subset of really vocal people. The jerks in general chat? Most of them could barely function in a raid, they were just lying jerks full of hot air.
Today I find myself loving raiding, and loving the people I raid with. Oh, occasionally I do run into an ego, especially those folks who help us out when someone can't make it, and then turn their noses down on us because we took so long to finish the normal version of the raid (at a whole 3 hours a week, thanks), or that we're not bothering with Heroic modes, at which point I promptly ignore everything they say. Especially when they start trying to analyze wipes and get the analysis completely wrong because they're comparing it to the strats their guild uses and assume anything different is the source of the wipe. That always made me giggle.
But there are also plenty of nice heroic raiders out there, who are fun to play with and are absolutely great people and players, who are helpful and funny. And of course there's my own raid team, who're some of the funniest, most fun people I like to hang out with on a weekly basis. These are the kinds of people that make raiding totally worth it.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?
Not really. I'd say Stormwind, but that's just a function of what's the current Alliance hub. Especially given waaaay back in the day Alliance generally sat in Lagforge. Er, Ironforge.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?
As per my previous post, 180 days, 11 hours. And that's not including a number of "main" characters I've deleted (including two mages), so I'd bump that up to an estimated 200 days at least. It hasn't been continuous, though.

I played on and off throughout Vanilla, partly due to a lack of funds, and partly due to working 40 hours a week while going to school full time. I barely had time to sleep, let alone play a video game, especially one as time-intensive as Vanilla WoW. Taking a look at my subscription history, there's a clear pattern of, "play at the beginning of a semester, drop the game for the last half and exams, pick it up again next semester." Interestingly enough, this would imply that the summers where there wasn't a semester I didn't actually play, which is correct.

Strangely enough I don't remember playing much of TBC, but apparently I was subscribed for most of it? I graduated in the summer of 2006, and played on and off, and checked out the expansion, but took 6 months off after getting bored with doing everything by myself. Then like 3 months before Wrath dropped I started playing again and have been playing since.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Depends on the day, and what my aims are. If I'm trying to hit server first for leveling, I clearly have no time to do it. But when I'm leveling characters leisurely, I love reading quest text. Especially post-Cataclysm quest text. A lot of it is funny and really clever.

Seriously, if you've never done the quest Welcome to the Machine and the line that follows? Go, do it. Right now. It's hilarious.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Not really. I doubt I'd change anything I've done. It's been a lot of fun. I don't think it's a fair comparison to say something like, "I could've cured cancer if I spent all that time on science!"

First of all, gaming is leisure time. Everybody needs some leisure time. If there's something I learned from both working and university full-time simultaneously is that if I don't have some leisure time, I go completely nuts.

Secondly, I don't watch much television or even movies. Right now my watching patterns are when new episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal come out, so that's about 40 minutes including commercials every two weeks. Tack on an extra two hours a month for the rare movie. Those 5 hours a day other people are watching television? I'm gaming. I'm doing something interactive, rather than passive. I'm chatting with friends online; I'm doing mathematics to figure out how to play better; I'm reading quest text. The list is endless.

So no, no regrets, at all. It's been a lot of fun. It still is!

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

Pretty much everyone I've dated over the past decade has also played WoW (though in all cases we initially met via avenues outside the game), so it's made for an easy jumping off point to get to know one another. Raid leading has taught me some extremely valuable managerial and social skills. I've made some fantastic friends in my guild, and have met some of them in real life.

Basically, it's been a great decade, and looking forward to more in Azeroth!

#10Years10Questions, #WoW, #Personal

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