I can’t answer this. It’s as simple as that. I cannot pick one WoW memory as my best. It’s one of the reasons that we blog surely? Writing about our experiences, sharing them and reliving them, keeps them alive. I can’t be the only one who goes back through her blog occasionally, not out of any self-seeking, or self gratifying purpose, but just to look back at stuff I’d nearly forgotten, and chuckle and bathe in the soft glow that memory and nostalgia affords us. So, unsurprisingly, I’m going to fudge it a little, and give you a few.
When I first ‘got’ why you’d be guilded
When TBC came out I rolled a belf warlock – Brodmann, who I loved dearly. He still exists, having been a female gnome warlock for some time, then back to a blood elf, but female. I haven’t the heart to delete the character because Brod was the first one I got to level 50 and 60, but not the first to 70. That was Pilfkin-the-First, but Brod followed soon after. When I was about, umm level 15 or so (still in newbie-ish belf lands) I got chucked a guild invite, and being the newbie I was I just clicked on the ‘accept’ button. The guild was, well… it was ok. But most of its members were younger than me. Eventually a few of us left the guild and formed our own one, but not long after I changed faction ‘loyalty’ (as far as I have, or have ever had, faction loyalty…) and went to play Alliance where I was guilded with the people who I went on to form some of my most important, and longest standing in-game connections.
The guild itself was fairly new and growing fast. I’ve blogged so much about my experiences with this guild that it almost feels like there isn’t anymore I can say about them, but I guess I focussed on the stresses that came later, not the halcyon early days. We were all levelling up together, you see, and that does make a difference – that common purpose, that shared goal. For most, if not all, it was our first time levelling a character so we were all newbies together. Guild chat was full of ‘gratz’ and smiley faces (which didn’t annoy me in that context, funnily enough) as people progressed - people were on hand to give advice on trade skills, craft stuff you needed, joke, take the piss and generally just enjoy the craic. Eventually we all hit max level (70 then) and started to gear up for Kara. Some of my fondest in-game memories stem from The Friday Five – a bunch of us who were running Outland instances, and having the fun and camaraderie that I long to find in-game again, but am doubtful I will. Instances runs before LFG – when LFG was a channel, with people from your realm in it. In fairness, LFG was a bit of a wasteland, but we did guild runs. I haven’t forgotten the in-jokes; so much stuff that still makes me chuckle now. The names, long gone from game but names I won’t forget for a long time. Patish, Dindariel, Saigyo, Jaiden; I could run on for a long time, but my memory is flunking out on me. When WoW was a genuine joy, before I got jaded and burnt out. Those runs were golden times, made possible by my gilded guild.
Becoming a raider
I was lucky to be a TBC baby – we got Kara as our first raid. God, that place was wonderful. I remember the first raid I did with crystal clarity. (I also needed macros and focus target explained to me but, y’know …trivial details!?) I remember being summoned to the stone and seeing raiders. Proper raiders, about to go raiding, in their natural habitat, as it were. As ludicrous as it sounds now, I’d always viewed raiding as something that the really elite players did – and all of a sudden I was there, with them. I kept expecting someone to turn around and say "Ok Pilf – now you’ve seen the big boys and girls in their place. Run off back to Shatt now, honey, you’ve had an eyeful… pop off back there… there’s a good belf.” But astonishingly no-one did. Admittedly, my epics were intro level crafted, not proper BoP drops, but I was there, at the stone, with my guild about to go raiding! And I was… well, I was kinda scared. But excited too. I remember the adds, the crowd control, the marks (mine was always star for shackle). I remember Moroes and the stress of healing and shackling. I remember the details in Kara, the atmosphere, the staircases, the chandeliers, the feeing that this really was some spooky, gothic mansion. I remember getting a Tier token (can’t remember which Tier now and CBA to Wowhead) and not knowing what to do with it – “How do I equip it?” “Pilf, if you don’t know what to do with that, we’re gonna give it to someone else!” my RL had said, in mock-stern tones.
I couldn’t, if I tried, pick a favourite place in WoW. I remember being stunned by the cities; Orgrimmar, which always felt to me (pre-Garrosh-DIY-and-MDF) like it had been forcibly hewn out of the red soil and rock of Durotar. Thunder Bluff; the rope bridges which still give me slight ‘don’t look down’ vertigo. Undercity; the despair and the need for vengeance rising from the slime filled canals. Silvermoon; when Pilf wrote about Silvermoon, a lot of it was, well... it was me.
I love Azeroth’s beaches – I’ve always loved the coast IRL so whenever I got a chance to take a character to the beach in Azeroth I was happy. I really liked the coastline off Tanaris, the shores bordering Eversong Woods and of course Sen’jin (but more of that later). The places I took Pilf to in The Grand Tour – whilst they were places she liked, there was so much of me in her and vice versa, that they were some of my favourite places in-game. I really regret not writing more in that series.
As I’m writing this post, I’m having some internal dialogue with myself. If I really, really had to pick one memory to answer this question, what would it be? Which leads me neatly onto RP and RPers.
When I started playing on an RP server I was terrified. Really and honestly - when you play on standard PvE realms, you are indoctrinated that RPers are just downright weird and freaky (and not in a good way) and I’d met a fair few people who’d had less than pleasant experiences on RP servers (allegedly – I’m still not quite sure how…) I’ve played on RP realms for just under a year, so about one sixth of my overall WoW time and the memories I’ve gathered and stored from this time far outweigh five years worth of memories on PvE servers. I remember being thrilled, in a real squee!! moment, all over guild chat the first time I had some ‘real’ RP. And it wasn’t just the RP itself I loved; I enjoyed writing my little RP ficlets. I must try to get back to that, I miss that creative bit of WoW now…
Anyone who’s been reading this blog for sometime will probably have figured out what I’m going to link to next. Because it was extraordinary. Because when I re-read it (as I just have) I can recall all the emotions - both mine and Pilf’s. I can picture Pilf and the Beachcomber on the shore – it’s making me churned up all over again because it was so believable and so right, nothing felt forced, just total spontaneity. It was a privilege and an honour beyond imagining to have had such an artistic and committed RPer and individual as Sven, even if he’s left me hanging, as he’s only written parts one, two and three. I live in hope that one day, part four will materialise on his blog, but somehow I doubt it will. If I had to pick one WoW memory as my favourite, it would be Pure Shores. But it would be a close run thing.