Someone who’s been a colleague of mine ever since I started digging deeper into the Twitter side of Warcraft community is @AlternativeChat, who’s just started up a documentary project to showcase normal players and their engagement with the World of Warcraft over the course of the last ten years. So without any ado, let’s answer some questions:
1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?
To set the stage, it was 2005. After graduating high school I’d opted to work instead of going straight to college, but by 2005 I’d started to realized that my interest in doing tech was starting to wane and I wanted an actual degree to solidify my future path as a writer. As happenstance played out, this path to a degree took me to Tucson, a hundred miles away from the vast majority of my friends.
Many of my gaming friends had actually hopped on the WoW bandwagon earlier in ’05, and had been trying to cajole me into it for awhile. I was pretty resistant to the idea because I was still paying for a subscription to Final Fantasy XI that I was stubbornly refusing to let go of despite having not played the game for awhile (and that game really isn’t one you can play without a team, which I didn’t have). Eventually, though, a chance meeting granted me a copy of the game, and I started playing along with one of my flatmates in Tucson, apart from my friends, because I wanted to learn the game on my own and then join up with them.
Looking back, there was certainly a lot more complication to that whole process of me getting into the game, but I might go into all of that later. The bottom line was that I had played the first two RTS games and thought the universe was cute, but I wasn’t sold on the art style and I’d been burned by how group-dependent FFXI had been. And of course there was taking $15 out of my non-existent budget to pay for the sub. So it could be argued I was dragged kicking and screaming into the game, but I don’t regret it at all.
2. What was the first ever character you rolled?
I’ll admit that I’m not 100% sure about this, but I’m fairly confident that my first character was my human priest (originally named Aerienne, though that’s not currently her name) and she’s been my main ever since. At the time, the choice was predicated on several factors: 1) my friends had all rolled non-healing classes, so I opted to pick a healer so I could help them fill out the team, 2) I grew up as the son of a minister, so there was an element of basing a character off of my mother that I found intriguing at the time, and 3) I liked being a support player, which priest was, at that time, fairly well-suited for.
3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?
My friends were all die-hard Alliance by that point, and that really settled it. To this day, I don’t find many of the races on the Horde side very appealing, especially among the races that can roll a priest. I have had a substantial career on the Horde side as a function of going where my opportunities took me, but I like the Alliance. The narrative for my character really only made sense as a human (or as a Forsaken, but I’ve never been able to enjoy their starting experiences) so Alliance was always where I stuck.
4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?
It’s hard to pick out a single moment, so I’ll instead go with one of the earliest moments: my friends and I were a fairly small and tight-knit group when we started out, and we wanted to step into raiding, but prior to Burning Crusade that wasn’t really an option for a crew of 5 players. However, we ended up joining with a guild that needed bodies for a farming run in Zul’Gurub. There were a couple notable points about this run: Arlokk (the panther boss in original ZG) dropped a really awesome piece of gear that I could have used, but I was specifically asked to pass on it by the RL because their resident priest needed the upgrade. Which I was cool with, because I figured my time would come. (This established a pretty silly precedent that’s persisted to this day.)
The most memorable thing about this run, though, was when we got to Hakkar. We’d been in the place for hours at this point, and after covering how Hakkar was going to work we started making attempts (even if this was mostly a farming run, most of the people there weren’t super-geared, so there was a sense of progression). After a large number of attempts, it turned out that the main tank’s gear was all broken, and he only had a back up Arms kit he could use without having to hearth, repair, and fly back, a process that would have taken close to 20 minutes or more at that point.
Instead, my friend Bear, who was maining his BM hunter at the time, noticed that Hakkar never mind-controlled pets. He suggested having his wintersaber pet tank the boss, and the RL was willing to try it on a lark, as long as everyone basically did nothing but wand and white damage while the pet built up threat.
My memory is a bit hazy, but I’m fairly certain we got him down on the first attempt with the cat tanking. It was glorious. ^_^
I’ll save the remaining questions for the next post. Don’t forget to answer these questions yourself! This promises to be an incredibly fun project.