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Four years of World of Warcraft

Author: by Mike Schramm Source: www.wowinsider.com

Allie Roberts: WoW was my first MMORPG and is still the only one I've ever played. I'm not a traditional gamer by any stretch of the imagination, and it hasn't escaped my attention just how many people I've met playing who would probably never have set foot in an MMORPG if it hadn't been for WoW. Years later it's still possible to appreciate the risk that Blizzard took with a game that broke so many of the accepted rules concerning the genre -- and equally possible to appreciate the enormity of the job in keeping the game fresh, relevant and balanced.

As for major moments and memories, I suppose I really have two that stand out.The first is the close-knit group of friends I gained while PuG-tanking; you can have so much fun in WoW without ever setting foot in a raid. The second is my first Al'ar kill. I was new to raid-tanking, Al'ar was my first big raid boss beside Void Reaver, and the guild I'd come to had struggled on him for nearly a month. People started screaming on vent in the last few seconds as his health dropped second by agonizing second and we knew we'd finally gotten him. Nothing will ever top the first raid boss who really put up a fight.

Robin Torres: I swore to remain loyal to City of Heroes and was not interested in a fantasy MMO. WoW looked interesting enough to try out the open beta with the spousal unit, however. One session and I was hooked. They just seemed to have addressed everything I didn't like about MMOs and made everything I did like better. I spent more time having fun and less time doing the drudgery I was used to in previous MMOs, especially EQ. Travel (flight paths), death (no real penalty), rest (credit for time I can't play), the plethora of quests -- it all seemed so revolutionary at the time. I still remember the thrill of entering my first contested zone, Ashenvale, terrified of marauding PvP gangs while traveling to Astranaar. Now, heavily contested areas feel commonplace and are often annoying, but the extra element of danger while questing then just seemed to make every play session more precious.

Daniel Whitcomb: Many of my memories are of the people too. Of times spent fighting off the first scourge invasion in the Cathedral district while roleplaying with friends, or of the time we held an ambush for a roleplayed procession of Undead alchemists carrying a deadly plague, and despite being outnumbered by about 3 to 1, "won" by killing the designated plague carrier. Of our guild's near-daily Scholomance runs back when Scholomance was 10-mannable, to get one friend her Wildheart Cowl. Even after 100 runs with no cowl, we didn't give up, not because of dungeon or the loot, but because of the friendship. It's stuff like that that I'll remember most.

Michael Gray: Like most, mine are the people. My first Guild was a group of immigrants from City of Heroes, and all of us actually came from Dark Age of Camelot first. Then, we migrated again from server to server. After enough of these migrations, only my ex-wife and I were left from that first group of DAoC refugees. We ended up starting again with a new group on Shadow Council, and this latest incarnation has been growing ever since. We're lucky in that most of us playing are friend in real life, and we're all connected to one another somehow. At least, that's how we justify our 10th Nexus run in a single night -- "We're all friends IRL, this is just as good as going to the gym!" Still, my girlfriend and I enjoy every single night we get to cruise Azeroth, Outland, or Northrend together.

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