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Nine Years Ago

"The world is changed.
I feel it in the water.
I feel it in the Earth.
I smell it in the air."
"Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it." 

Present Day

So today Sionis, the Mage of Stormwind, turns nine years old. 

Nine Years?!?!

That might be your reaction. How could I have played WoW for nine years?

Well, let me tell you...

August 7, 2006

It was a different time back then...

I was a college student and I had just purchased my new Apple Macbook for school.

None of that aluminum stuff, either. A full on white plastic shell that was all shiny and wonderful.

My WoW Box

This new Apple computer was great. It had everything I could have ever wanted... except games. OSX was universally known for the inability to play a lot of cool games. Those that were available were years behind because they had to be "ported" by some third party developer. I think an old video from the same time frame just about covers the details...

Still, there was at least ONE game I could play.
I had avoided it on PC because I consider myself a SCI-FI fan more than a fantasy lover, but by now LoTR had made its run, which made fantasy all the more accessible to a broader audience, and Harry Potter was building momentum with its magical powers.

So one night, after watching the cinematic for World of Warcraft, I decided to buy a copy.

I was joined by my childhood friend, my girlfriend (at the time), and her younger brother.

Together, we all took a big step into the genre known as the MMO.

Sionis was the name of my human mage. My friend picked a human named Appoleon. We started in the small town of Northshire and our adventures began right away. Meanwhile, our other party members picked Night Elf and they started adventuring too.

My first introduction to the scale of WoW came when it was proposed that we find one another and play together. We thought this would be easy enough, but soon learned that we would have to run a VERY long distance, through VERY dangerous territory, just to be united with one another.

It took hours. We loved every minute of it.

We eventually joined up, the four of us, in the town of Theramore. We then learned that we would need to venture BACK to a low level area so that we could quest and level up our characters. So back we went through the perilous zones until we reached Northshire and kicked off our gaming experience.

I was subscribed to WoW for 14 months on this grand adventure. I took breaks, of course, sometimes months long breaks, but it was always on my radar. 

Especially since five months in our excitement for the game was spurred by the soon to arrive "expansion," known as The Burning Crusade. The television was flooded with commercials and I found myself watching the cinematic with childish glee.

We played that expansion a lot, but as time works when you're a young college student, we eventually found that we just didn't have the time to play like we once did. By the middle of 2008 we'd stopped playing.

July 1, 2010

2010 as a whole is the epoch of my life. To this day I gauge things on a "before 2010" and "after 2010" scale.

By the time July 2010 rolled around, I had graduated from UCF, I was single after a long relationship that had lasted from high school, I had just transitioned into a new job in my professional field, and I was now living outside of my childhood home for the first time since birth.

All of this happened within the month of June.

As a result, I felt like things were changing too quickly. I was nostalgic and slightly depressed.
Then, one day as I looked at computer bags at Walmart, I noticed a retail copy of The Wrath of the Lich King

I thought about Sionis, my old mage, and I wondered if I could catch up on the expansion that I had missed. I grabbed a copy and headed home to install it on my laptop.

I don't want to get too far into the psychological impact of this WoW expansion on my life, but it certainly meant something to me.

I applied a little Role Playing to Sionis and poured some of my thoughts and concerns into the WoW lore. Sionis had lost a companion. He wanted to get a new start, but he couldn't do that without first dealing with the remnants of his past.

This was some kind of meta-allegory for my own sudden life changes. I felt really connected to my character during this time. Some of my favorite and most memorable WoW moments happened during this time and I'm thankful that I was able to dump some of my real emotional baggage onto a fictional character. I wrote a series of stories about it. 

Later that year the next expansion, Cataclysm, was released. This new expansion shook up the world by changing zones, reworking a lot of the quest hubs, and ultimately making the game less like it was when I had played it years before. By now the other members I had played the game with were long gone. Sionis was going it alone through these adventures now.

I played through the content, but ultimately I put Sionis away once more when life became a whirlwind.

January 1, 2013

2011 brought a new job.
2012 brought a move to a new state.

It wasn't until late 2012 that my life stabilized and I didn't feel like I was constantly drinking from a fire hose. By now, WoW had launched its next expansion, Mists of Pandaria, and I was feeling the nostalgia pretty bad. I didn't want to play alone though, so I didn't join when the expansion launched. It wasn't until my friend, another WoW player from a different server, and I admitted that we wanted to experience the new content that we decided to resubscribe.

We played through the content and saw all that there was to see, but once again real life got in the way. I started dating my future wife in early 2013 and as our relationship required more time, I had less time to give to WoW. We made it six months, one of the longest runs I'd had in the game since my first adventure in 2006. I didn't use Sionis for this one, instead opting for a Monk named Ewokia.

September 27, 2014

By now, Amanda and I had been together for over a year. We were in love and my spouse was dabbling in the genre of MMOs with me. We played a few as a tester, including a month on WoW, which she greatly enjoyed. From there we played Star Wars: The Old Republic, Tera, and eventually we ended up in Wildstar

Strangely enough, we just couldn't get rooted in any of them. We gave it a solid try. We had the most hope for Wildstar since we were all starting fresh, but no matter how hard we tried it just didn't stick. So, when we saw the Warlords of Draenor news, including the character boost, we felt like it would be a good opportunity to join the WoW community.

Amanda boosted a paladin named Iliera and I jumped back on Sionis, who was behind by ten levels since he had not been used for the last expansion. I leveled him up in preparation for the November launch of WoD.

We have been playing ever since. 
We're having a blast.

The Future!

This week, WoW has announced a new expansion, meaning Sionis and Iliera aren't going anywhere any time soon. I just want to send out one more thank you to Blizzard for the entertainment you have provided to me over this last near-decade of gaming.

Happy Birthday buddy!

Purple is Power

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