The shared topic going around this week, courtesy of Blog Azeroth is to discuss one (or some) of the moments that have wowed us during our time in WoW.
I could probably pick a ton of these. Just about every new raid puts me at a moment's awe. (Ulduar's Descent into Madness, specifically, was damn cool.) The Wrathgate cinematic--even though I had seen it 20 times before Wrath officially came out--was still damn near moving me to tears when I finally saw in in context with the questline. Almost all the music in the game fills me with awe. The DK starting zone. Seeing my first raid (Kara). Getting that first epic mount. Getting that first flying mount. Getting my first 70. My first 80. My first Draenei (the first Alliance race I really liked aesthetically). The list goes on and on.
But if I had to narrow it down to one thing--just the one aspect of the game that stands out heads above the rest--it's not even something so specifically in the game.
It's the story. The Lore. The reason we're actually out there doing the things we do.
When I first started playing WoW, it was mostly because it just seemed like kind of a fun game. I'd play on and off in month long cycles, sometimes taking longer breaks. Even though I started playing the game around the time of the first Scourge invasion (when Naxx opened in EPL), I didn't make 60 before BC dropped. In fact, I didn't even make 70 until Christmas day a year after the release of BC.
The biggest part of this was due to the fact that I all but quit the game when I was somewhere in the mid-to-late 40's; about the time the game expected me to be running Sunken Temple.
It seemed that to make any real progress, I had to go through the dungeons. I didn't get the sense that questing in and of itself was going to get me there. And my experience with previous dungeons (Stockades, Gnomer, Uldaman) had left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole process.
Ultimately I just wasn't having any fun anymore. I had no purpose.
At this point I'd like to mention that I had played Warcraft I and II. But, obviously, WoW came out several years after those. Plus I didn't really pay attention to the actual story going on when I was playing them. I never played WCIII because I didn't have a comp that could handle it.
Anyway, back to WoW. BC had been out for almost a year and I was still stuck at level 40-something back in Azeroth. I hadn't even played for more than a couple hours in months.
At the time I was a regular reader of Joystiq, but had always avoided hopping over to their sister site, WoW.com (then WoW Insider). It was bad enough I was playing an MMO like WoW. There was no way I was geeky enough to follow a Blog dedicated exclusively to talking about it. (*cough*don'tsayit*cough*)
So anyway, this one day work was really slow and I'd pretty much gone through the entirety of My Internet™ twice over. I decided, in the interest of fighting boredom and no other reason, that I'd go see what kind of stuff popped up on this WoW Insider site I'd so avidly avoided.
While perusing I found this little recurring column called Know Your Lore. And it had these names attached to it like Azshara, Illidan Stormrage, and Lady Sylvanas. You know...characters I'd heard of or even ran across, but really didn't know anything about.
This was late 2007 (October/Novemberish, I think), so there had already been a good number of posts in this series made.
I started with the Illidan one. I knew he was the big bad of BC (or at least he was at the time, before KJ entered the picture) and I wanted to understand exactly who he was and I was supposed to be excited about getting myself to 60, going to this strange Outland planet and hunting him down.
Oh. My. God. My mind was blown. I didn't think an MMO was capable of sustaining that kind of story. It's one of the reasons I had always shied away from them. Give me a Final Fantasy or a KotOR any day. Something with a strong crafted story line that I could actually progress to a resolution and care about, right? None of this keel seex snow moose crap that was totally inconsequential. Right.
Needless to say, I spent the next several hours of my day (and a few the next morning) reading through the entire back catalog of KYL posts. Plus I followed a bunch of the character reference links in those posts to WoWWiki and read those. Then I followed links in those posts to other WoWWiki posts and read those. I couldn't get enough of the stuff. As someone who'd always appreciated a good story and dreamed of maybe someday being able to tell them, WoW was like a veritable goldmine. Lined with crack-cocaine Girl Scout Cookies. And puppies.
All of a sudden, I had purpose. I wanted to be a part of this Lore. I wanted to be in these raids where it was all unfolding before me. I wanted to be in this completely amazing, awe-inspiring story.
And now, 2+ years later, long after I'd all but given up on WoW, here I am. Because...just...wow.