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My little experience with my first mmo :
I would guess it was around Spring of 2005,not sure. I found a game called World of Warcraft on my own. No one at work or my friends played video games. In reading that you can play online with others intrigued me. I went to a local EB Games store and the sales person tried talking me out of it,telling me that my computer was too old and it cost way too much to upgrade. Of coarse he tried talking me into some kind of console and I did not buy into it. I was fixed on World of Warcraft. A few days of research I upped my graphics and ram to the minimum and got my WoW.
Logging in was great,my Elf Rogue was standing there in his under garments and I think he was holding a stick or it my have been a small dagger, but it looked like a stick. Since the first thing on my screen was a guy standing their ready to give me a quest I took it. I killed a few wolfs and did a few more quest and was sent to my trainer to get more abilities. THIS WAS A GREAT, as simple as it was,just a few new abilities changed my play style. Every few levels did it again,and I was extremely hooked.
Playing World of Warcraft at this time in my life was perfect timing. I had just broken up with my girlfriend for the last time ( it had to be done. No going back this time ) I needed to be immersed into some kind of alternate life and the Elf starting zone was it, with its sad love music and beautiful romancing theme. I would sit their in the dark ignoring the phone messages playing my game with a tear in my eye,praying for no knocks at my door.
Anyway where was I.........Making it to the next hub made Vanilla WoW even better. I think the area was called Dolaanr ( 4-10 area ) We must of had thirty players here playing together, flirting and having fun. It seemed at the time that no one would leave this area for days and we knew each other well. Great friends were made here. Ones that would be friends for months.
Eventually I got to level 10 and nothing left to do. Figuring everything out myself I had no clue and had to ask in chat. Soon I was on a boat headed to someplace called Darkshore. This adventure was one of the best times in my little closed off video game life. Landing and seeing all new faces was a welcome change,again with the flirting,dueling and questing. I loved Darkshore !
Eventually I made it to around level 22. After being amazed with all the capitol cities like Stormwind and Ironforge I found my way to Southshore because I had a Rogue quest there anyway. So one day I was solo playing,minding my own business,I got an on screen invite to go to Shadowfang Keep. Whats that I asked ? It's a Dungeon, just come,was the reply !...OK. Next thing I know I'm in a group of five and trying to catch up to a group running off to a far far away land. Anyway, not having a clue we entered the portal and things got wayyyyyy hard !.......Being a Rogue and being the best player in the game ( in my own mind ) I attacked full bore and got everyone killed. We made it back and I did it again. I'm sure you could imagine how bad I got yelled at. It was soooo bad that i'm cringing right now thinking about it
This is where the story gets good. The healer was a girl, she had pity for me as all others were going nuts. She asked me if I was Russian. I like what ? then I realized that I joined a guild called the Russian Mafia add to the fact that my spelling was bad helped her in thinking that. So running with that I said YES .....So now the group cut me a break and showed me how to play with a real group. I learned about agro,tanks go first,wait for mania and healing,everything I needed to know. We worked well together and they gave me the great dagger at the end. Everyone added me to their friends list and we did more dungeons as time went on.
As time went on I got much better. Even to the point that I learned how to find groups using the Social panel> who and asking others to play using private messages. I was the king of finding groups fast. I did every dungeon the game had to offer and my friends list was wayyyy bigger than my Guild list.................NOW THIS IS AN MMO,immersing,hard and friendly. I'm not sure what you call it today. Maybe a fast leveling lobby game to get to the end fast using the dungeon finder to play with strangers that will call you names and kick half the group before your done, kind of game. I'm playing Vanilla WoW right now,and cant find anything better, because I like the adventure and immersion and the feel of a " World ". After all thats why they call it World of Warcraft !
And It's not nastalga talking here. Blizzard went in the wrong direction to catch the five year olds and level players fast to sell expantions with hiding behind the saying, that people are asking for easy.