I didn’t realize it until I ran into this latest study/poll making the rounds, thanks to TAGN’s post on the same, but I’ve been kicking around in Azeroth for 9 of the 10 years that World of Warcraft has been live. I’ve had a few accounts over the years, so I don’t know my total /played time, but I suspect it’s probably not much compared to most who have had as long of an association with the game. Still, my first blog post here (aside from the “Hello World”) was about WoW, so it’s not like I’m a stranger to the game, either.
Tangentially, this was an interesting find, as I was perusing my archives. Just in case you needed a little more navel gazing.
Anyway, for posterity’s sake, here are the study’s questions and my responses. As I’ve noted elsewhere, I have a love/disgruntled relationship with WoW. Great art direction, animation and world design, decent game design, lousy monetization. It’s a game I keep coming back to, but then, I play a lot of games. It’s never a place I could “hang my hat”, as it were. I have too many other things to do than be tied to one game. Still, I love the sense of place in the game, and I think on balance, I like it more than I dislike it.
Why did you start playing World of Warcraft? *
2005. I was interested when I saw the original magazine ads, but the subscription model kept me away. That is a recurring theme.
What was the first ever character you rolled? *
A Tauren Shaman. I loved Tauren in WarCraft 3, and was looking forward to playing one up close and personally, as it were. The Shaman looked flexible, so I figured I’d give it a shot. My main today is a Tauren Druid (er, that I just changed to a Worgen… still getting used to that), my only level capped character, but just below that is a Dwarven Shaman, and I love them both.
Which factors determined your faction choice in game? *
I started Horde because my friend was playing an Orc. Turns out it was pointless since he was level 58 or so, and we couldn’t even group up anyway since I was just on a trial account. Since then I’ve played both factions, though my core love is still the Tauren people. They are close to neutral philosophically in the Warcraft mythos, and I appreciate that. I don’t buy into the faction pride… contention… thing.
What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why? *
Trying out Flight Form. There’s just nothing else like it in the game. My favorite place to explore is Northrend, but there are a great many beautiful places to explore in WoW, and flight form facilitates exploration in ways no other mechanic can. (And BASE jumping from Dalaran or other high spots, popping Flight Form at the last second, that just doesn’t get old.)
What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case? *
The world itself; always has been, always will be. I’ve always appreciated Blizzard’s art ability, and the world of WarCraft is what always interested me about the game. I enjoyed the WarCraft games, and really wanted to see what the world looked like from the ground. And in the air.
WoW might not have the highest resolution graphics or 3D meshes, but they make the most our of what they have with the strongest art direction in the industry. Others are catching up or edging ahead, most notably Guild Wars (albeit in a different style), EQLandmark and Wildstar, but Blizzard was there first and still manages to look great, even on low end machines (which is important).
Do you have an area in game that you always return to? *
I used to perch my Tauren Druid on the center totem of Thunder Bluff often, since capital cities allow me to conduct business and get rested. Now that he’s a level capped Worgen, he’s not really grounded, but I’m still fond of Northrend, especially Grizzly Hills.
How long have you /played and has that been continuous? *
The longest continuous streak I’ve played was two months. I’ve had a foot in WoW for about nine years, but I can’t stand the subscription model, so I just pop in on occasion when there’s something of note that I want to see.
Admit it: do you read quest text or not? *
The vast majority of the time, yes. Sometimes I’ll skip to the quest goals, but I read fast enough and like reading enough that I only do that if I’m feeling strongly pressured for time.
Are there any regrets from your time in game? *
Nothing strong. Sometimes I wish I’d played more, sometimes I wish I’d played less. I don’t regret spending time with the game, only money.
What effects has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming? *
It’s a significant component of why I bothered to start a blog, and I’ve met friends that way. The audience there also led to an audience that has given me a bit of a headstart on some Kickstarter successes, so that’s nice. Beyond that, it’s also been nice to know a bit about the game since I worked in the game industry and can talk intelligently about game design considerations based on the game. It’s an occasional cultural touchstone, too, which can be handy in some conversations.