As I've mentioned before, I work at Blizzard Entertainment as a technical writer. What you may not know is my actual history with our games. Also, in case you were wondering, it's super cool to say our games when referring to them.
The first Blizzard game I ever played was Rock n' Roll Racing on my Genesis. It wasn't until Warcraft III came out that I played another Blizzard title. Yes, that means I missed out on StarCraft and Diablo II. The world that Warcraft presented was far more appealing to the me that was in high school and just starting to back in to PC gaming. I sunk a lot of time in Warcraft III and its expansion, but I was never on the verge of losing my real life to it. That didn't happen until the spring of 2005 when I jumped into World of Warcraft a few months after it launched.
I'd just returned from my audio internship in New York and had no career outlook in Arizona. That meant I had a lot of free time. World of Warcraft was there to fill it. The only MMO I played before WoW was Final Fantasy XI, and it didn't feel the way WoW did. Me and my Night Elf hunter were inseparable. Until my friends quit and I suddenly had nobody to play with. My first of many breaks occurred shortly after.
When I returned the game I started my cycle of altoholism and breaks. Vanilla went and BC arrived. Friends kept cycling in and out of the game, and I switched to the Horde because suddenly they had a very attractive elf race. Yes I have an obsession with elves, shut up.
My breaks and creation of alts continued through my time at the Art Institute and through the launch of Wrath of the Lich King. I missed the launch and the first part of Wrath. I didn't resub until just before 3.2 and got my very first max level character after patch 3.3.
Quoting from a guest article I had on WoW Insider:
Seeing the game evolve from a constantly lower-than-max-level character was quite the experience. I never got to see what it was like raiding in T2 gear, not to mention never even getting dungeon 1 set. Sure, I experienced some cool world events like the two Scourge invasions, but all I ever saw when the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj were opened was a server message announcing the start of the event. Going through the Dark Portal for the first time to explore Outland? That happened when I re-subbed after one of those extended breaks this past June. I was faced with the challenge of getting from 58 to 80 before the next expansion released.Still, I had my 80 before Cataclysm hit and I was able to enjoy everything but raiding for the first time at max level. That was all thanks to an amazing Horde guild I was in during my Wrath tenure. We were Tarren Mill Deathguard on Darkspear and we were amazing. I never wanted to devote the time to raiding, but they still helped with max level dungeons and PvP.
The guild stayed strong through the first half of Cataclysm, but when the Firelands were released everything fell apart. Suddenly the game didn't feel the same for anyone and the guild imploded. My Blood Elf rogue and death knight were homeless. I abandoned them soon after. Cata ended and Mists of Pandaria began. I had no interest. WoW wasn't what I needed at that point in my life.
I was working at Rockwell and made the decision to focus on my career. I did buy the Annual Pass near the end of its availability, but never used it. Patch 5.2 launched and once more I had a friend itching to play with me. I gave in.
Mists of Pandaria felt different. It felt newer, better. I rolled a new Night Elf priest and was determined to go 1-90 with her. This was the time I found myself a new guild as well. Unsurprisingly—based on how much time I spent there—I joined <reddit> on Sargeras. It was a very social guild with several raid groups ranging from super casual to super hardcore. That guild, plus LFR, ignited the desire to raid at least a little bit. My priest and I enjoyed our time in the Throne of Thunder, even if it was LFR, but it wasn't enough. I realized I needed to try and recapture my Vanilla roots while also moving onto actual raiding. It was time to get a max level Night Elf hunter on my list.
Celiara was born, and she quickly became my main. I'd gotten to 90 faster than on my priest, and suddenly I had a character I was ready to try normal raids with. By the end of Mists I'd completed normal Siege with 8 Garrosh kills. It wasn't spectacular by normal standards, but it was the highest I'd ever gone in WoW. I was ready for Warlords.
Before Warlords launched I moved to California to start working for Blizzard. The launch of WoD was my first champagne toast here, and it was the first expansion that I'd started off with a focus on semi-casual progression raiding with <reddit>. By the time Blackrock Foundry came out I was 7/7 normal and 3/7 heroic. It was a new personal best. But then everything fell apart again after BRF came out.
The main guild started to splinter and raid groups died. That along with finding renewed interest in our other games—Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm mostly—caused me to switch back to super casual mode. I look at my armory now and see 9/10 normal for BRF and 0/13 anything for HFC. I want to get back into it, but there's not much incentive for me with 6.2.
I will be back to fight the Legion in 7.0 though, and Celiara is thrilled to return to the ancient lands of her people.
Note: That rogue from late Wrath/early Cata is still one of my max level Hordies, and I can't wait to bring her to The Broken Isles as well.