Quick note: Patch 5.4 dropped just under a month ago… and ate me whole. Will be making more time for real-life stuff.
This week the Community Blog Topic from WoW Insider is “how long have you been playing, and what’s different now from when you started?”
At the same time there’s a post on the official forums asking people what their favorite WoW-related joke is, and one of the more popular contributions is “How do you know if someone’s been playing since Vanilla? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” Which has a considerable amount of truth to it… as that’s when I started playing. My first experience with the game was actually at a work friend’s place at 3 AM after a late shift; he was parked in Booty Bay on a level 42 paladin. He left town on a flight point; while I forget now where he went, wherever it was he landed had a iron ore node nearby. He mined it, showed me how to smelt, and I distinctly remember asking whether, if he could get coal, he could turn the bars into steel? The answer–as you may know–being yes, I was hooked. “If they had that level of detail, just how cool was the rest of it??” went my thinking. I bought the game the next day, installed as soon as I got home, and my 14-day Guest Pass started on September 27, 2006. Aside from a couple days here and there where I was out of town, there hasn’t been a day since where I didn’t log in at least long enough to check my auctions. My /played on my main is 327 days; across all my toons it’s 417 days.
I still work for the company I did when I started, though these days it’s in a completely different capacity. Most of the people I worked with who played as well when I started have moved on. One lives in North Carolina. One lived with him for a while and moved back to start playing again. Another is happier playing Final Fantasy 14 and Guild Wars 2 these days. I now have three children; the middle one was only a few months old and the youngest was still just a twinkle when I bought the game. Now our oldest has a level 80-something paladin and druid, the middle one just likes rolling orcs and making fun of them, and my youngest will watch over our shoulders and cheer. My partner let herself get talked into starting a toon “for something to do with me”… these days she’s progression raiding with an amazing guild (9/14 SoO), while I sit in the background waving a little ‘go team!’ flag.
In some ways, nothing’s changed–I’m still an extreme introvert who’d rather see text on a page than clouds in the sky, for example–and in other ways, everything has.