It’s been a long, strange road

Posted February 3rd, 2010 by Kharin

Little did I know, as I leant over my brother’s shoulder a couple of years ago, that my curiosity would lead me to a deep immersion in the strange, virtual world of Azeroth (created by Blizzard’s World of Warcraft).

crystalsong-dragon-448x336Over the years, my brother has introduced me to a number of fantasy games and had often shown off the wonders of his latest favourite.  This one, more than all the others, drew me in with its rich colors, enticing landscapes, strange characters and different levels of discovery.   I soon graduated from looking over his (and his wife and daughter’s) shoulder (and interrupting them with questions) to occasionally getting the chance to play a couple of toons of my own (a night elf hunter and druid).  I loved it.  The joy of exploring new landscapes, of gaining skills and levels, of solving puzzles left me thirsting for more. These first glimpses and occasional short forays into the elfin forests of Teldrassil were my first introduction to the fascinating, wonderful, ambiguous and sometimes frustrating, world of Azeroth.

It was some time before I acquired a computer up to the task of running Word of Warcraft.   Soon I was installing my own copy of WOW (combined Vanilla and Burning Legion Battle pack) and playing on my very own account.  Once again I started a night elf druid, but ended up settling on a dwarf hunter on the same (role-playing) server used by my brother’s wife. (My brother, by this time, was transferring his allegiance to another MMORPG, Lord of the Rings Online).  Now my journey began in earnest. My sister-in-law introduced me to her guild, we had great fun questing and tackling some dungeons together.  Her lowest toon, a gnome warrior was just a few levels higher than my hunter.  At other times, I quested with my magnificent snow leopard as sole companion or went on guild runs. A whole new world was opening up before me – quests and quest rewards, talent trees, vendors and auction houses, gear and stats, instances, guild dynamics, text chat with its cryptic acronyms and eventually pvp .   The fact was that it was years since I had had so much pure, heart-racing fun.

Now, some time later, I am still having lots of fun and am just as taken with this strange, fascinating world.  In those first introductory steps in Teldrassil Kalimdor,  I had no idea of the levels of complexity of the game, the vast areas and multitude of quests, the different types of experience (questing, instances and raiding, battlegrounds, arenas, role playing etc).  Now my hunter is 80 and running randoms to get those coveted frost emblems.  She has had the privilege of running away from the Lich King, and surviving and has even pitted herself and her faithful snow leopard against the trash mobs in the Icecrown citadel.  She is by no means the most uber or op character on her or any other server.  Nor is she the best geared though her gear score is respectable and her achievements and titles multiple.  She has to share my time and devotion with a number of other toons ranging from another 80 to level 13.  My brother has, sad to say, abandoned Azeroth for middle earth (and keeps trying to entice me to do the same).  My sister-in-law rarely gets the time to play though her sister, who started playing several months ago, reminds me of my own initial enthusiasm and sense of discovery.

I am still learning, still discovering… and still having fun in this strange, beautiful, alluring world of light and shadows, of cooperation and competition, of fun and frustration, of exploration.  And while we all have our own introduction and experiences, our own reasons for playing WOW, I know I am not alone in finding Azeroth fun, gripping and enticing.  And it’s in the hope of sharing something of this journey, of offering some of my experiences and practical guides, of pondering on the links and allusions of this post-modern Tolkien-like world that I have taken the plunge and started Kharin’s Quest.  I look forward to hearing your comments and thoughts as, hopefully, we travel this road together.


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