I’m Going to Uncraft Your War
My World of Warcraft career began in the spring of 2006. I was a depressed college student with ADHD, muddling through without a clue as to what I wanted to do with my life. I had a few friends that had been playing Warcraft since its release in 2004, but it wasn’t until my boyfriend started playing that I actually heard about the game.
My boyfriend, who is now my husband, wanted me to try out World of Warcraft so I could join him and four of my other friends that played. At first I was iffy about it, mostly because it required a monthly subscription. I still lived with my parents and didn’t have a job. I was certain my parents would not pay a monthly fee for me to play a game that had the potential to distract from my schooling.
The other issue was that I’d never played PC games before. I’d always been a console gamer and I was a Mac user at the time. Games that worked on a Macintosh computer were difficult to find so I never bothered looking for any. At that point in my life I considered myself a hardcore “console is better than PC” kind of gamer. I didn’t know what I was missing.
The two excuses I gave for not playing were weak apparently. My boyfriend had a job and said he’d pay for my subscription and he explained that Warcraft was playable on Mac. I couldn’t come up with any other objections so I relented and made a character on his account to try out the game. And honestly? I’m glad I did. World of Warcraft ended up being a life changer in both good and bad ways.
Jumping Through the Portal to Azeroth
The first character I ever made was a Night Elf Druid on my boyfriend’s account. I ran around the starting zone trying things out for a bit with the direction of my boyfriend, but I didn’t know what I was doing so I wasn’t having much fun. My boyfriend bought me the game soon after that and I tried it out on my own that week.
If you have no idea what I’ve been talking about so far, the rest of this article might confuse you. This is not a World of Warcraft 101 article. I will be using terminology and abbreviations that probably only Warcraft players or MMO players will understand, so keep that in mind.
One of my friends suggested trying a warlock. My friends all played on the Alliance so I made a female Human Warlock as the first character on my account. I admit, I had a difficult time getting into it, and not just because of the class, but the game itself.
No one really explained the objective to me. I’d never played anything like WoW before so I was confused about quests and such. I asked a friend if I was supposed to pick up quests or if there was something else I should have been doing. The response I received was something like “you don’t have to do quests, do what you want” so I assumed that meant there was something else I was supposed to do instead.
Look, I’ll be real, I was an absolute mess as a new player. I didn’t understand how to read the mini map so I was constantly lost and frustrated, I ran around not picking up quests and mostly exploring, and when the chat read “Goldshire is under attack” I was like “I’ll go help!” as a level three character, not understanding that I was on a pvp server and that the announcement in chat was because a high level Horde was attacking and would instantly kill me if I got anywhere within sight of them. Thankfully for my dumb self, the Horde were gone by the time I got to Goldshire so I didn’t die, but it did leave me confused as to what the announcement had meant.
I did not remain terrible at the game, but it took until the Burning Crusade expansion was released before I started getting the hang of things and actually liking it. After creating characters to try a few other classes and subsequently becoming an altoholic from then on, creating a hunter turned out to be the thing that made me enjoy playing Warcraft.
Somewhere toward the end of the Burning Crusade expansion, one of my friends introduced me to pvp. I had been extremely hesitant and nervous about venturing into that part of the game and I was scared to death in my first battleground. It was Warsong Gulch and I was on my warlock.
I remember having the thought running through my head as I waited for the battle to begin that if I died I wouldn’t be able to res and everyone on my team would be angry. Obviously I was mistaken and my all my worrying was for naught. Battlegrounds ended up being my favorite part of the game and I couldn’t get enough of them. They also were a tremendous help in learning how to play.
With the release of Wrath of the Lich King, I was officially hooked. The expansion hit all the right buttons for me. It was absolutely my aesthetic and it was the first time I joined my friends in running dungeons and raids. Prior to that I had spent my time making new characters, leveling, and running battlegrounds, never reaching max level on any of them other than my hunter because I didn’t know there was more to the game when you hit max. Plus I was enjoying the hell out of battlegrounds and the leveling and questing experience.
Now that I had experienced all the game had to offer, there was no going back to my non-Warcraft days.
Finding a Place in the World…of Warcraft
There are varying opinions about the game. Some will tell you it’s a time and money sink and that only the strong willed and smart will drop the game before it destroys your life. That was the thought process of one of my friends who to this day says he’s glad he got out of it because yes, for some people, WoW can become an addiction that takes over your life. Mitigating your play time and the rest of your life can be difficult for those that might not know how to manage themselves.
Admittedly, I found myself sometimes sitting in my college classes wishing I was home playing WoW and I skipped classes here and there in favor of staying home and playing. I definitely regret doing that looking back on it. I was young and stupid, but on days when I was having a particularly rough time, World of Warcraft did help.
Even with a few drawbacks, I do consider WoW a positive influence on my life overall. The game got me through some tough times and it helped me deal with my mental health issues by having a distraction and people to talk to. The community in WoW’s early years is one of the things that really kept me logging in every day. I still have friends today that I met thanks to Warcraft.
When I’m feeling depressed or down I still turn to WoW to feel better and distract myself. Those aren’t the only times I play though. I do have fun playing the game and it’s something my husband and I still enjoy playing together. It’s a much less expensive activity than say going to a movie every month or eating out once a week or what have you.
I learned some good life skills thanks to the game too. My typing abilities before Warcraft were slow and I defaulted to abbreviated chat speak a lot of the time. I also had to stare at the keyboard every time I typed something. Thanks to WoW, my typing improved exponentially and soon I was typing quickly without having to look. I might not use the traditional ‘home row’ method, but I know I can keep up with the best.
It taught me how to use a map better and have a better sense of direction. As an introvert, I had a tough time meeting people. I learned how to talk to others and start conversations because of the game basically forcing you to interact with people and form groups to get many things done like dungeons, raids, and some quests. I also learned how to better manage money and how to utilize auctions efficiently to my benefit.
I would definitely recommend the game to everyone. While I personally might not be a fan of what they’ve done with how leveling works in the latest expansion, the leveling experience is now better suited to new players. It’s much easier to get started and learn how to play than when I joined.
World of Warcraft is absolutely worth trying out if you’ve never played and Shadowlands has been such a fun expansion so far that I certainly think old players that quit should come back and see if they like the changes. Of course if you don’t have the time to put into the game it might not be as fun. The game is definitely the time sink people say it is, but I feel the pros outweigh the cons. There’s a reason World of Warcraft has been the top MMORPG since its release.