10 Years 10 Questions

Alternative Chat is doing a project where in honour of the 10th Anniversary of World of Warcraft, she is asking players from around the world to answer 10 questions about their experience of the game.

People are free to email, blog, podcast, video or fill in their answers online directly. I’m really looking forward to seeing the end result of this project.

I was hoping to record my answers by way of podcast, but Summer being what it is, means that I’m juggling minions, who won’t leave me alone long enough to be able to record without interruptions. Such is the life of the ‘grown-up gamer’ lol.

10 Years 10 Questions

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

I first explored the Warcraft Universe back in 1996 with “Warcraft: Orcs and Humans”. I was very much into strategy games for some time after that, playing all the subsequent Blizzard offerings – including Tides of Darkness, Star Craft, Brood Wars and eventually Warcraft III.   Then for some time I was very much into Tomb Raider on the Playstation. It was my first experience of a game where you controlled just one character in a more ‘one-on-one’ setting.

I distinctly remember seeing World of Warcraft on the shelves of my favourite computer store when it was released, and I remember picking it up excitedly thinking that it would be amazing.  But then I remember reading about how it was all online, and that you needed to buy game-time to keep playing, and I put it back on the shelf with mild disgust!

In 2004 I was living in country with terrible internet coverage, g.l.a.c.i.a.l internet speeds were the norm, as were the astronomical prices. The exchange rate was so bad, that I quickly calculated that one month of game time was far more than a fancy dinner out, for four people with starters, desert and wine.   So it was not to be.

In 2011, I moved to the UK and saw an advertisement on the television about how you could play World of Warcraft free up to level 20.  I wasn’t currently playing anything, and both my minions had begun school so I created a free account ‘on the sly’ and tried it out during the day.

Needless to say, I was absolutely enthralled from the very first day, despite getting hopelessly lost until I learned how to read the mini-map properly. The day I dinged 20, there was absolutely no question for me, and I subscribed immediately.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

I made a night elf priest. I was immediately intrigued by the idea of being able to heal, rather than harm.  Little did I know that I was going to be required to nuke stuff as a rule in order to level to maximum. I still have that character, although she’s not my main.

3.  Which factors determined your faction choice in-game?

There was never any question for me, because in my mind, the Alliance are the good guys. Perhaps it is a feeling that spilled over from my early Warcraft ‘Orcs and Humans’ days, but there was absolutely no way I was going to be one of the ‘bad guys’.  I chose Night Elf, because I’d loved playing them in Warcraft III (Warriors of the night assemble!)

I am proud to be an Alliance player, through and through.

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I’ve leveled hordies from 0-90 in an attempt to see if I could ever go horde, and I must admit defeat. I don’t like the races (even with their superior racial perks), I loath having to spend ANY time in their cities, Orgrimmar makes my OCD start twitching because there is no logic and order to its layout and the only city I ever enjoy Horde side is Thunderbluff. I will however continue to keep at least 1 maximum level horde character current, just to see the ‘horde-side’ of the story.

horde vs alliance

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

I’ve had several, so I’m going to cheat and give you more than one answer.

I was leveling my priest, and was mounted around level 21 I think it was, and riding through Ashenvale on a frostsabre.  The music “Nightsong” came on, and I was completely transfixed. Suddenly I wasn’t just a mum with a pile of laundry and a to-do list a mile long (with a business to run from home as well) I was EPIC! I was Arwen from Lord of the Rings, I was ME in my most vivid dreams, only better! It was in that moment, that I realised, that while watching movies is a fun pastime, THIS is what I would rather be doing – being an active participant in my OWN experience, not just simply surfing the sofa with a vacant expression.

The second most memorable moment I had was much later, when I playing a mage, had freshly dinged to level 85 during Cataclysm (even though I was mostly still clueless), and the horde attacked King Varian Wrynn in Stormwind.

I was incensed that those ugly bastards would dare set foot in Stormwind at all – and I flew off along with a few others to go and defend. A handful of us managed to defeat and drive off around 20 horde.  What happened next was unheard of for our little low population server and suddenly trade and general chat was awash with everyone imploring everyone to group up as we were going to take revenge, and complete the achievement ‘For the Alliance‘.

As I made my way back to my perch on the roof across from the Auction House, drakes began appearing in the sky above Stormwind as people began logging in (no doubt texted by players in game about what was happening), and two 40 man raid groups set out to take revenge on the horde – and yes, completed the achievement.

I look back at screenshots of the event, and I see the names of people that I’m playing and raiding with now, that I didn’t even know back then, since we were all in different guilds etc at the time and it makes me smile to think of this shared history.

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

This is a very difficult question to answer!  I think I will have to go with a more generalised answer.

The variety, the scope, the sheer scale of the World. 

The first time I rolled a new character after the first, and I chose Draenei – I made the rather startling discovery that by choosing another race, I was going to have a completely different introductory experience! My mind was blown at the idea that every starting experience was different for each race. Suddenly the game was exponentially bigger.

Having come from  a strategy gaming background, and even considering my time playing Tomb Raider, there was always a limit to the world, an edge of the map, and even though these boundaries also exist in World of Warcraft that are practically invisible.

When I realised that I could run the length of an entire continent, without reaching the edge of the world (endlessly running against a blank invisible wall like so many other games) I was wracked with goosebumps!  Then I could simply board a ship and sail to another continent and repeat? I could FLY this at level 60? AND then go to another planet? Cue repeated mind blown moments!

The discovery that there WAS NO END TO THIS GAME at all – and that they were always actively developing new content by way of patches and new expansions? EPIC. The difference between this experience and the old strategy games where there was always a definitive beginning and end to a ‘campaign’ was probably the biggest draw card for me. There would be no point in the future where I could say, ‘Yeah I’m done, what’s next?’

I love that.

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6. Do you have an area in the game that you always return to?

I guess it depends on the context.

I tend to level in the same zones because I know the quests and can simply redo them without pausing to read the quest text etc

Currently all my maximum level mains are based at Sunsong Ranch to maximise my farming time.  The only exception to this is my bank/AH alt, the mage, Legolene, who lives next to the mail box in Stormwind!  But this is just because her hearthstone is set to the ranch, and because she can always just portal to shrine, or Stormwind as necessary unlike the others.

As for a favourite zone in game…hmmm…I am rather taken with Uldum. After the cold and dark of Deepholm, going to Uldum is like taking a hot sunny vacation, in a place with scenic monuments!

sights in Uldum

I also love the scenery and music in Northrend. Particularly Grizzly Hills and Howling Fjord.  I am completely in love with Dalaran – what is not to love about a beautiful city in the sky?

dalaran

I used to love the Vale of Eternal Blossoms as well before Garrosh mucked it all up, and I do spend an insane amount of time farming herbs and ore in the Valley of the Four Winds.

Any zones I do not enjoy at all? Ghostlands (I have some closet hordies that leveled through there), and I’m not a fan of Ice Crown and I only go there nowadays if I have to farm Frostweave cloth.

Oh, and Hellfire Peninsula. I like the rest of Outland, but Hellfire Peninsula, with it’s weird horizon lines really throw me off. This probably just means that it’s working exactly the way the designer intended!

7.  How long have you played and has it always been continuous?

Since around October 2011, I’m actually not sure of the exact date. Yes, continuous, and it will continue to be so I would be happy to be playing World of Warcraft in my nursing home pwning hordies and nuking raid bosses with my other geriatric guildies, talking about that time in Warlords of Draenor when things were so much harder… LOL.

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

Sort of.  There is always some blah blah bit at the top that I NEVER read.

I read the ‘get this/bring this back’ section, and I read the potential rewards/gold/xp amount. That’s it.  I only read the whole thing for clues if I’m stuck on something.

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

I played for 6-8 months at the start, without ever speaking to anyone in-game. I avoided guild invitations since that would mean that I would have to interact with people! Strange scary internet people!

I think my learning curve would have gone exponentially quicker, if I’d found the right guild sooner.  I should have realised that for most people in the game it doesn’t matter who/what/how old you are, and for the most part, people can be kind and helpful. Yes, there are always trolls, but that’s just life.

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

I am more open about my geek status.  I have been gaming since I got my first computer at age 8 (cough)thirty(cough) years ago! I have seen the evolution of gaming first hand, and during that time, it has become acceptable to not only be a girl who games, but a freaking mummy who games. While we struggle constantly to be taken seriously in the industry, we are at least in a place now where it’s ok to be who we are.  While I still face incredulity from my non-gaming peers, I’m more confident to talk about gaming now than I was before.  To paraphrase from on my favourite comedians Dara O’Briain,

“It’s the biggest sector of the entertainment industry and you’re supposed to pretend that you don’t enjoy it?”

 

There you have it folks, if you want to take part in 10 Years 10 Questions, then head over to Alternative Chat’s blog and read about all the ways you can take part.


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