World of Warcraft apathy had overcome me back in January. After a couple of years immersed in the vibrant virtual world I’d taken a short break and tried to go Horde, but it just didn’t feel right. I gave up. Tried AION which was nice but lacked something. So I played PS3 instead, high quality graphics, lots of different games and Call of Duty MW2 where I could shoot people in the head all day long without getting into a huge argument about guild politics and raiding tactics!
The other day an invisible force… we’ll call it The Ghost of WoWcraft… grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and thrust me down in front of my PC. I signed up for a months subscription and logged in. Usually I pop on to a few alts, just checking in on each one, circling my main character like gravity yanking a meteor toward the earth. Not this time.
This time I headed straight for my main, my very first WoW character, a night elf druid. 4 months ago I had left him standing on a small hill overlooking a sea front forest. I circled the camera around him and smiled. Despite my previous displeasure with this game I was happy to see the old druid with his long white hair and wrinkled wise face.
I checked out the interface, adjusted a few things then changed to bird form and flew off above the trees, circled over a Tuskar camp then rushed high into the sky. It may be sad and nerdy to anyone who has never done that but those few minutes soaring around the landscape put a big smile across my face.
I chatted to a few old friends, quite surprised they were still playing. I farmed a few herbs, checked out all the new bits n pieces added to the interface and then logged out. I was happy. The next day I got chatting to an old friend who was keen for me to join his guild. After some considerable discussion and chatter I joined the Fallen Heroes guild, nice welcome, good quality genuine people.
I have been quite dubious over the purpose of guilds since the hassle with my own guild. Here I was pleasantly surprised. I donned my tree-suit and healed in a bunch of random dungeons, good times, quick and efficient. Headed for a few raid dungeons, again, happy eager people all working together. Why wasn’t it like this before? Who had I been mixing with? This was fun! This was how it was supposed to be, fun chat, kill bosses, heal people, fantastic!
There didn’t seem to be any pressure to participate but people were grouping up all the time because they wanted to help one another! Talk about a revelation! In my old guild it was often a massive struggle to get anyone to do anything… so much moaning and whining, all the bloody time.
Back to my old haunts.
After a good evening of waving my branches in the air and healing people I headed for Darnassus, the night elf city. I hadn’t been there for at least a year. It’s a special place for me. I’ve always been into fantasy style fiction which is why I was drawn to WoW. So when my first character, named Alanon after the druid in Terry Brooks’ Shannara series (slight misspelling I know) made it through those early few quests, the trials and tribulations that lead you to the first city.
All those memories came flooding back. The first time I entered Darnassus, past that huge tree that peers down at you and waves it arms. The Sentinals on the backs of those huge sabres. It reminded me of why I loved Warcraft so much, the stuff you have inside your own imagination has been brought to life, albeit virtual.
Do WoWcraft characters represent who we are?
I remembered why I chose to play a druid, the idea of playing a wise, timeless character who can tap into huge magical powers, bring forth rage and chaos in seconds, yet calm and peaceful 99% of the time. A character at one with nature, using magical power to heal others, to protect and nurture them.
For those who play WoWcraft you’ll remember the very first character you made, despite the strange rule rumour: “it’s the 2nd character you make that you love and play the most” which I find total bollocks. Are we drawn to certain classes because we desire to play something very different from who we are? Or do we choose them without realising they represent our personalities?
I like to think that I reflect the intentions and qualities of the druid class in many ways, other than the actual use of magic (that would so cool!) as I am calm and soothing. Whilst I can be mischievous at times, I prefer to solve problems and fights than cause them. It’s much more of a challenge to make things better than bring things down. If I could then I would throw out my hands and let the magic of nature wash over people in pain to heal them, like dousing flames.
The WoWcraft Experience.
After such deep thoughts filled my brain as I was falling asleep last night I realised that despite my anger and annoyance at WoWcraft, it is a game that has touched my life in many ways, it has allowed me to make new friends and learn things about me I never knew were there. WoWcraft has been responsible for many good times and many bad, but you can’t experience one without the other so they’ve both been welcomed.
WoWcraft may be seen an insular, nerdy, lonesome past time but it really isn’t. Not unless you let it occupy your every waking moment. At the start I was very into it, but now it’s just a part of my life I dip into like watching a bit of TV. I’m a happy healthy chap, smiling and upbeat, sociable and hard-working. I also have the power to heal, to throw light into the darkness and maintain the balance between good and chaos. Because I am a Druid.
– Toka Toka Toka Toka Toka Toka chu chu!