I have no idea how many of our readers have ever had contact with World of Warcraft. Surely there are people here who, like me, spent many months or years playing this game. Today, I'd like to go back to the year 2007, when the first, large WoW expansion - The Burning Crusade - hit store shelves. After almost 14 years, history has come full circle and Blizzard will introduce TBC to the stores once again.
Of course, the Americans will do it on slightly different terms than before. Today we already have access to World of Warcraft Classic, which in my opinion was an excellent business move. Many players from all over the world urged Blizzard to take this step, I myself was also a big supporter of it. This was because core WoW was starting to go in a completely unexpected direction. Many of the top staffers responsible for past adventures left their jobs, and people were brought in to simplify the game and adapt it to changing conditions and expectations at all costs. To a new generation of people who want to see everything and get almost everything from the first hours spent in the game.
Classic WoW, as well as TBC released later, was a real torment. Weeks of struggling with farming new clothes, hundreds of hours of testing new tactics, approaches, and attempts to defeat some boss, and then weeks of joy when a newly acquired item turned out to be a unique item. Back in the days of The Burning Crusade, when a guild on a server managed to defeat Illidan in Black Temple, and a rogue donned the famous green Warglaives, it became an object of sighs for hundreds of people. People would fly into a city just to see him and stand next to him, often to take a screen shot. Then the extremely popular Isle of Quel'danas was added, which offered one of the most difficult raids in the history of World of Warcraft - Sunwell Plateau. There too, after defeating the almighty Kil'jaeden, the infernally difficult final boss of the entire raid, the heroes of the feat would become legendary across the world.
My adventure with World of Warcraft began just over a year after the release of The Burning Crusade. At that time, I made a nasty ally, the Draenei mage, and traversed new areas whose level of complexity and scale of difficulty exceeded my wildest expectations. We often had to work together with other players, and getting to level 70, the highest level in the expansion, was a real ordeal. Especially until reaching level 58, when we could either go to Silithus, or fly directly to the Dark Portal and move to Hellfire Peninsula. I don't know if you remember, but going through the portal back then involved reaching Fort Nethergarde on the Allied side, and the road from there was often difficult and bumpy. Hellfire itself required a lot of experience, knowledge of your character and above all cunning, although it offered much more exp for quests and much, much better equipment.
What particularly captivated me in World of Warcraft at the time was the degree of difficulty of all the quests in the game, the sheer mechanics and intricacies of the instances and tactics. It was a real challenge to not only get better gear, but more importantly to master a character to a degree that allowed you to raid normally. There was no people finder or linked servers back then. If you bumped into someone important, who had good connections and for example led a guild, you had nothing to look for among the players completing the team for the instance. Rumors spread quickly, and your equipment was often thoroughly checked and analyzed.
Professions were required for the 5-man dungeon, especially gems and enchants, and it also happened that the group leader asked what addons you had installed. In the beginning I played a mage, which I was able to wring out a very solid DPS. Back then it was extremely valuable, and mages, especially fire (then Arcane) provided a solid boost for all players. I didn't have to wait long for the team, people sometimes ran up to me and asked if I'd like to jump with them to one of the instances. Do you remember those stones (added in TBC), with which you could summon a whole group? Two daredevils first had to travel the entire world to get to the entrance. They had to know where to fly and exactly where to land so as not to embarrass themselves in front of the others. Then knowledge of lore and Azeroth was required.
Back in the TBC days, I was just learning the game, but the real heyday of WoW addiction came when I contracted mononucleosis. It's that nasty bacteria that makes the only thing you can do is sit at home, take an antibiotic, and... play. Unfortunately, it severely affects the spleen and liver, making it impossible to run or lift anything. It severely limits your fitness. Since I was confined to bed in the real world, I organized my workstation in such a way as to play WoW practically non-stop.
This coincided perfectly with the release of the second expansion - Wrath of the Lich King. I think it's the best thing that ever happened to WoW. Back then Blizzard was still boasting about the sales figures and the number of players on the servers, which at one point was over 12 million. The game was experiencing its greatest boom in history, with queues of thousands of people queuing to play and the possibility of an epic battle with the Lich King urging to great effort. Arthas appeared literally everywhere, not only in story quests, but also during the passage of some instances. His deep, processed voice sent shivers down our spine, and his unparalleled power and story literally glued us to the screen. Another fantastic addition was the new continent - Northrend, which is a perfectly thought-out, expanded and constructed world for the MMORPG. The winter climate suited this game perfectly.
My habits, which I learned back in the days of TBC, helped a lot during WoTLK. As a mage, I had a certain advantage over the other players. Not only did my character provide an intelect buff, but she could also conjure a portal for all the people in the group and set up a table of food to replenish life and mana. On top of that, she was great at crowd control, turning one opponent into a sheep, putting him out of the fight for 60 seconds. During the WoTLK era, a new profession entered the game - inscription. I wanted at all costs to develop it to the maximum level, while still having herbalism at hand. Thanks to glyphs, my spells took on a new dimension, allowing for much more. Skillful and effective combination of all elements, including gems, enchants and class sets made the way to raids open for me. But I had to strive for it for many months, counting on the help of guild friends and kind people on the server.
I can say that I played WoW compulsively for four years. Until Cataclysm, the third expansion, came out, I visited Azeroth every day. I raided regularly with my guild - the Hussars. I especially remember cleaning up Naxxramas and adding the achievement system in one of the first patches, which completely changed my approach to WoW. Conquering certain "achievements" was connected to specific rewards, including unique mounts or titles, which we could display above our heads, next to our name. It added prestige and warned other players that they were dealing with an old hand. Some of the people I met through WoW still write with me to this day, even though they already have families, children, and come from different parts of the world. Like me, they quit playing soon after the release of Cataclysm. But now they're getting back together because what each of us loved so much is coming back.