Yesterday I was talking about how I had been pressured by friends into trying World of Warcraft and how long it took me to get started because of hardcore classes and me being broke. But in spring 2005 I had caved in and my WoW career was starting.
My first character I really played was a Troll warrior named Draazel on the Thorium brotherhood server. My RL friends were already on the server and I figured that an RP server would have less annoying kids. Back then, I was exploring the game on my own terms and I went about things however I felt like. Draazel was equipped with a sword and shield despite picking dps talents, I had leatherworking because my friends covered the other professions and I didn’t really see the points in guilds. I was in a guild with my RL friends and a random guy one of us had picked up in SFK and that was it.
What strikes me from those early days was how much I believed that everyone should do their utmost to help one another. Me and my friends would drop whatever we were doing to help one another through quests, we would farm and craft for the others all the time. My friend would craft me armor anytime I leveled and I was crafting leather for our rogue and hunter like it was expected of us. Bags were provided free of charge and in short, it was one for all and all for one. Back then, I wasn’t really considering that other players might want to play a different way and that beating all the content might not be the goal everyone aspired to. For me it wasn’t even about being kind, it was about being efficient. If we help one another we’re all getting stronger and we’ll be able to progress.
That attitude would later be responsible for a lot of drama but for now, I was happy derping with my warrior and conquering Azeroth. But by level 30, I was starting to suspect that sword and board might not best for questing and that maybe leatherworking wasn’t serving me so well.
The webcomic wars
While I was starting to doubt my warrior a new pvp server, Dark Iron, opened up and the famous Penny-Arcade decided to invite their readers to fight another webcomic PvP-online over on that server. I was hesitant at first but when my RL friends told me they wanted to try a PvP server I abandoned Draazel in the Hammerfall inn and rolled up a human mage named Myrena (which turned out to be an exact copy of Jaina Proudmore) over on Dark Iron. I ended up in the guild Annarchy named after a character of Penny-Arcade and I was having a blast rocking the pink with my 500 new friends.
To say Dark Iron filled up fast because of Penny-Arcade and PvP-online would be an understatement. Just under a week, it went from new to full and hordes of leveling characters were fighting all over the place. Stranglethorn became a no man’s land and I was avoiding roads like the plague so I wouldn’t get ganked. I even learned to quest hidden behind trees so I wouldn’t be spotted. Towns were raided daily and we brought the server down multiples times fighting all over the place. For fans of open world pvp it must have been heaven. For me not so much since I wanted to quest but even I enjoyed the occasional town raid.
This was also the first time I became exposed to MMO nomenclature and to some serious theorycrafting about how to spec and what were the best builds. I learned about the holy trinity, I learned about dps and about how to properly spec. I learned about how a group should behave in a dungeon and about CC. I was still a bit oblivious to endgame but so far that hadn’t been a problem. It was about to change though.
The first time I became aware of endgame was during my first raid of Scholomance (yeah back then Scholo was 10 man) at level 52 I think. While most of us in Annarchy were newish players, we had a pool of EQ/early WoW raiders that wanted to raid and were intent on showing us how it was done. The shock between the old raiders and the new ones like me was brutal to the say the least. Here we were in Scholomance these guys were barking orders and telling us we needed to be better geared, that we needed to do better dps, better rotations and all sort of stuff I wasn’t used to. I wasn’t the only one either. Lots of people in the guild were starting to wake up to that these weird raider people were about and we weren’t sure if we liked it.
The endgame blowout
So drama started brewing… big time. Looking back on it I now know that we had a ticking time bomb in the guild by mixing experienced raiders with new players and that the wake-up would be brutal. So when we were told to gear up, finish leveling and be better I answered that I’d do it but I expected help. I wanted the high levels to help me finish leveling, to run instances with me and craft me gear. For me it was the logical thing to do, if they wanted more raiders, it was their job to help gear them up. And I wasn’t the only one thinking that. A lot of people in the guild thought exactly like me, that since raiding was a tough task, the levels 60s had to help us out.
Pressure kept building and soon we had two camps. On one side you had the veterans who had raided in EQ and in WoW and wanted us to shape up. They didn’t want to hold our hands and spoon feed us though, it was our responsibility to get ready and they felt they were under no obligation to spend their playing time running content or farming for us. On the other side you had the people who had never raided before and thought that it was the sacred task of the raiders to help us transition as fast as possible by crafting stuff and helping us level.
And then shit hit the fan… I don’t remember how it happened but overnight over half the guild quit. I wasn’t around for the exact event but from what I gathered a raider and a member got in a heated argument over gear and performance in an instance it generated a storm of drama in the guild which had a domino effect. Ultimately the guild survived and even raided up to Wotlk I think but myself I quit during the drama storm. I was tired of a getting ganked for hours in plaguelands, I was tired of what I figured were elitists assholes and I wanted to find a guild where people helped each other. Back then I was under the impression that the problems were caused because Annarchy was a huge guild, so I set out in search of that wonderful new guild…