***Please note: anything in [ ] was a footnote in my word processing document.***
Halo 2 was the first game I ever went to a midnight release of. The previews made it look fantastic and, after the zillion hours spent going through Halo 1’s campaign and defeating it on every difficulty, even legendary, I couldn’t wait for the continuation of the fight for the survival of the human race against aliens called the Covenant. My brother and I joined a slew of boys at the local EB and I acquired my special edition of the game, packaged in its shiny metallic case.
WoW’s expansion, Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK/Wrath), is the second game I can recall attending its midnight release. Unlike for Halo 2, I wasn’t the only girl this time, which was nice. I chatted with the guy ahead of me in line, who had reserved three copies of the game, all for himself.
Three copies? What the heck? I’d heard of multi-boxing by then, but I’d never met anyone willing to spend so much money on one game before. Not only do you buy a copy of the game, you pay a monthly subscription. Multi-boxing defeats the whole purpose of playing online. It removes the need to be social. I kept my opinion to myself and instead pressed him for details, trying to understand why he found his play style so appealing. [Multiboxing: playing multiple characters at once by partitioning your computer screen or linking several computers to the main one.]
Whatever he said, there was no way I’d be willing to pay for several subscriptions at once.
While us gaming nerds eagerly awaited the stroke of midnight, someone from either Domino’s or Pizza Hut showed up, trying to sell individual slices for three bucks apiece. I think we all looked at that delivery guy like he was some freak of non-nerd nature. No one bought a slice. I wasn’t interested in any since it was the wrong time of day to eat, and I was actually surprised none of the guys seized a snack opportunity. Maybe we were all equally anticipating zooming home with the latest expansion so much that we weren’t hungry.
Maybe it was simple as finding three bucks a bit much for a slice of pizza.
As soon as I’d acquired my prepaid copy, next thing I know I’m back home, sitting in front of my computer and the game is downloading, epic classical music blaring from my speakers. Once the game was done installing, I hopped on Vent and dived straight into creating a Death Knight, the newest class I so had to try out.
I’m a big fan of collecting game soundtracks. I have all the World of Warcraft soundtracks, except the Classic WoW version, FFVII, FFVII: AC, FFXIII, a chunk from FFXIV, Dragon Age: Origins, Skyrim, Halo 1-3, and more. There are several I have yet to acquire that I’d love to find one year, like Chrono Cross and The Legend of Zelda:Ocarina of Time (with a full ensemble; not synthetic keyboard).
People who don’t play video games don’t expect such beautiful and dramatic pieces of music from such a source. I’ve surprised family, friends, and neighbors with sweeping scores that add a little more flavor to daily life. And being a writer, I rarely listen to music with words, so I almost never know what’s hot in pop culture. However, I’ve stumbled across artists like Lindsey Stirling and groups like The Black Mages. Some songs I like, and others not so much, but it’s all good.
I attempted to pull an all-nighter on Wrath’s release but somewhere around 5A.M. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, despite downing a couple mugs of tea. I don’t drink coffee, consider soda tasting like carbonated syrup, and find energy drinks tasting like vomit in a can. I guzzled a lot of Arizona Green Tea back then but now that I’ve cut back on liquid sugar, I don’t know how the heck I found that stuff remotely tasty. I had at least one friend gaming on a Red Bull rush who managed to stay up all night and grind his way to the new max level that same day. [Grind: gamer lingo for “bang out” in work production terms.] I slept for at least three hours, not wanting to throw my sleeping schedule too out-of-whack. I was still in school and couldn’t bring myself to skip classes for a video game, no matter how great it was.
Well, release week was full of bumps and I found myself with pockets of time devoid of WoW. Blizzard is notorious for rushing new content before it’s entirely bug-free, thus creating all sorts of frustration for players and, I imagine, thrusting employees into a high-stress situation. They must soothe angry and frustrated gamers while programmers implement mini patches to fix everything they missed as fast as they can.
I must confess that this sloppy execution never steered me away from WoW, but I don’t understand why, when they peaked at 12 million subscribers at one point, Blizzard felt a need for haste when it came to releasing new content. They churned out so much great stuff. It would’ve been even better if the executions had gone smoother. I humbly admit I know nothing about running a gaming company, so my knowledge is severely limited in this area.
Wrath made me even more hooked on WoW with the introduction of Death Knights, the continent Northrend, world PvP, and a tighter storyline that stemmed from Warcraft III. I enjoyed the lore until it took a tangential turn with this frost giant race, along with their Ulduar patch. The content had nothing to do with the big bad guy of this expansion, but hey, at least the raid itself was fun.
I also began to take crafting and raiding more seriously. I maxed out every last profession and began to hoard mats (materials), and I made an earnest effort to become a better raider. At one point I benched Midgetofdoom and dusted off Sekiro, and by the third major patch became a regular raid healer as a Resto Druid. But before I did, I failed miserably at tanking, did a lot of PvP on my hunter, Løstsøul, a lot of achievement farming on Sekiro, and faced a hard truth in regards to the culmination of five years of college. [Achievements and achievement points were introduced in Wrath, thus encouraging/suckering players like myself into completing every last bit of content.]