So, I remember waaaaaay back when hitting F5 constantly on Blizzard's site as I waited for them to annouce their latest game. Bets were high that it was potentially StarCraft 2(finally) but there were also rumors of a Warcraft related title, even though War3 was still going strong. Lo and behold: World of Warcraft was annouced. Blizzard, hopping on the EQ bandwagon? Could it be done?
I professed an instant dislike of the idea and swore I would not play such a thing. MMOs were something that I just wasn't interested in. But as time passed, and more details were leaked, I became more & more interestest, though I hotly denied it. I dreamed of playing a Night Elf Druid, as that was my favorite race and unit from Warcraft III. This was during the time when I knew someone who worked for Blizzard. As I heard that the alpha was going and closed beta might soon arrive, I emailed my friend and offerred fresh baked cookies if he'd help me get in the closed beta. However, he refused the baked goods (he was a diet), but went ahead and got me in on the Friends & Family Alpha test. Horde was the only faction option, and of that only orcs and trolls were allowed for races, max level was 25, and falling through the world was still a common problem. It was glorious.
I played throughout alpha, trading off with my husband (now ex, but at the time), until my contact noticed and then got another account for him. I played an orc warlock and fell in love with the cl4ss This was way back when. Soulstones were physical objects one kept in one's inventory and would auto-rez you and there was no recast timer. They were handed out like candy. No voidwalker or succubus yet, just little impy boy. Alpha was a ton of fun. There were a lot of bugs, and new builds every few days. Wailing Caverns was introduced and was a riot. Then we all got switched to Alliance and there were a few more builds before closed beta. I fell in with the guild that my Blizz contact was a part of and we all became pretty close during closed & open beta, though we mostly played alliance through beta and I was the cutest gnome warlock this side of Azeroth.
At release the vote was made to go Horde and I had no interest in being a cow druid, so I kept to my warlock trend. Playing through the release was awesome, especially with a strong friendly guild. We had a ton of fun, never lacked for 5 mans and questing groups and pretty much all leveled at a good rate, though there were a few who rushed ahead and a few who lagged behind. But we were a casual guild, and so certainly were not the first (or second, or tenth or even twentieth) guild to reach Molten Core. In fact, I'm pretty sure there were guilds who started for people's alts who got there before we did. And there was drama as most of the officers were against DKP as a raid setup and people were unwilling to respec or all of the the other stuff one really should do if the group is going to raid effectively. I loved the people of my guild, but I really wanted to see a lot more of the end game content than we were capable of seeing. Through one of our alliances, I got an invite to a more hardcore guild and after a lot of discussion I went there. Mostly with good wishes from my old guild, which was nice. I had a blast rocking Molten Core and taking on Black Wing Lair. However, WoW was quickly taking over my life. I played it every night. I had raiding on Tuesday and Thursday nights, all afternoon Sunday and 'suggested' quotas of farming to be done throughout the week. I was eschewing friends and social outing, running late to work due to lack of sleep, and various other problems. At the same time, for mostly unrelated reasons, my marriage was falling apart. I quit the game, said good bye to my new guildies and tried to forget. This was just before AQ was introduced.
I gained a lot from not being in WoW, though my marriage was beyond saving (and though you will nay say, WoW was actually one of the shared bonds between my ex-husband and I that was a bright spot during that time offering hope). But after a collasal life shift (separation, move, job quit and new job skill acquisition) I was much happier. I still followed some of the WoW news, and felt the itch on the night of TBC release, but mostly I was happier that I now had time to play games other than WoW, visit friends and had slightly better sleep patterns.
But about three weeks ago I came home and saw the install screen on my boyfriend's computer. He'd decided to resub and play with a friend who lived on the East Coast. I was torn. I'd given my account to my younger brother, as he wanted a lock for raiding and I wasn't using mine, and even as I heard the siren song I repeated to myself how much better off I was without WoW. I resisted and did other things. I resolutely ignored the familiar images and the fact that I was being asked to share in the time with my boyfriend and a well loved friend. I was scared. Scared that WoW would take over my life again. Scared that I would have even less time to play through the pile of games that I want to complete. Fearful of the impact it would have my job and outside activities. But after some discussion and reassurances that we would work together to make sure I didn't get 'that bad' again, I went ahead and rolled up a new character.
I've missed the game, and yet there are so many memories, good & bad, that I'm not so much playing it as I am reliving a lot. I'm currently playing a Tauren Shaman, and the boy is playing a Tauren Druid. We're having a good time questing together and going pretty quick, though not insane super fast. Our friend from the East Coast is running us through the various instances at light speed for quest completion & gear. I had done this for others before but hadn't ever done it myself. I'm learning the new lingo and cataloging all the differences between when I last played and now. It is a comfortable old shoe that fits funny as I've grown and changed.
Here's hoping that I continue to find it fun without being work, and that I will be able to maintain a healthy interest.