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I sit in Blackrock spire… alone… The crumpled bodies of dragon whelplings lie around me in great piles and as I look askance at the corpse of a great dragonguard I begin to wonder… Will I get back to the group before the hordes of whelplings respawn? I warily lay a sharpening stone to my sword and watch with growing worry as hundreds of dragon eggs appear before my eyes.

For the past 30 minuites I’ve been hurling acerbic comments in the direction of Blizzard’s servers and spamming my login at the World of Warcraft welcome screen. Now that’s I’ve finally gotten in i’m just sitting here waiting to be picked up by an eighty who will run me deeper into the raid to meet back up with my party.

This time does give me a rare opportunity to reflect on my relationship with this crack-like game. It started, like most dubious ventures, on a dark night. It was the launch of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. I was heading down across the Georgia line with my girlfriend to buy it at the only midnight launch in the area (we don’t exactly live in a cultural hub). She had been a long time player of the game and I had been a long time watcher. As a gamer and an aspiring game journalist I had been interested in this worldwide phenomenon for quite a while but had never been brave enough to venture into dark waters of an MMO. I really have her to thank (or blame, your choice) for getting me into it. WoW basically became an extended date for us. I rolled a Retribution Paladin and she a Mage, a classic combo. I took the aggro, wading in with my gleaming sword in hand and the battle cry of the Sin’Dorei on my lips as she blasted our foes into tiny magical bits.

I had not fully grasped the allure and power of MMOs. This wasn’t just a world where overweight nerds in their basements lived out their fantasies of being a warrior charging into battle with maul swinging… this was a world where overweight nerds in their basements lived out their fantasies of being a warrior charging into battle alongside soccer-moms who lived out their fantasy of being a badass mage tossing fireballs into the middle of a horde of teaming orcs. People liked this… experience because it was a release. People read books to escape from reality, this let them take it to a whole new level. No wonder Blizzard is hauling in the equivalent cash of a summer blockbuster every month from their 12,000,000 customers.

When I game I get into it. I become that character, I invest a part of myself in the story of that game. This worked for my purposes as I would find a game, spend every spare hour I had working towards it’s completion and then step away feeling like I was coming up for air. Thankful for the experience but glad to be done. Evil had been defeated and I was free to live my life once more.

Enter WoW.

This was a game that had infinite possibilities. It had depth, it had mountains of lore hidden amongst the crannies of it’s vast landscape, it challenged me to climb a mountain to the level cap of 80 from the humble beginning of my Paladin at lv1. And what did it promise me at the end? A proud “job well done” as it handed me my life back? Alas no, it offered more opportunities. Daily quests, rep grinds, and raid after raid. Then, when those got too easy and took less than five hours, I get to tackle heroic raids. The fabled status of lv80 was only the beginning… god help me. I realized that this was the only game I had ever played that I felt the need to control, to restrict. I don’t know if this is entirely at the feet of WoW or if this is the first signs of this Mat-uri’-ty thing people keep telling me about…

What I do know is that I’m finally back with my group and I have some bosses to down. We’ll kill them all and take their shit. For the Horde!


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