Michigan native Chris, whom I usually call Wolf, Wolfie, or Wolfiepoo, (Wolfblood), is a friend from Anomaly whom I’ve enjoyed chatting with, and even went so far as to buy a copy of Fable III for him so he could get in on the fun. We became friends simply by being in the same guild and getting to know each other, just like you might become friends with coworkers.
Wolf got into video games around 12 or 13, thanks to his brother and father. Before that, it was all action figures and Legos. His family was big on the Final Fantasy series and other RPGs, like Warcraft 3 and Starcraft, but they brought Wolf into the gaming community with either Power Rangers or Battle Toads for the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System). He remembers it being fun, and nowadays pretty much all of his life is dedicated to video games, when he isn’t in school or doing homework. His brother is slowly losing touch with the fun of gaming, feeling more interested in real life activities.
Wolf is in college now for Accounting, and is almost done with his Associates degree so far, and when he isn’t gaming or working on his degree, he works for UPS.
From his formative SNES days, he spread into Mario games, Pokémon, Dungeons & Dragons—both pen and paper, and online)—Secret of Evermore, Secret of Mana, Warcraft 3, Risk, and lots of free-to-play MMOs, starting with Ragnarok Online which, through the people there led him to WoW. He honestly had no intention of playing it before, since he was perfectly content with the aforementioned MMO.
Despite his lack of intention, he fell in love with the graphics and how his Druid could shape shift into different animals. From there he grew into a solid raider. Raiding, to him, is a great aspect of the game because he loves the cooperation and overcoming huge challenges that are impossible to achieve alone.
He’s stuck with WoW for so long because of the people, finding joy in hanging out with friends from various parts of the world. It’s an awesome experience, and he’s still in contact with the friends he considers the best ones. He’s never actually met any of them in person, though that will change soon enough. In July 2014, he and a few WoW friends will be meeting in Chicago for the Anime Convention. They keep in touch mostly through Skype, along with some instant messaging and lots of chatting in-game. They’re all into the same things and have a lot in common that makes them click.
Wolf and I are more casual friends, but we’ll never hesitate to say hi and keep tabs on each other, and talk about anything or nothing. It’s comforting to know that the other is there. While we both played WoW at the same time, we mostly just chatted, yet raided and instanced together here and there. Good times.
Wolfie believes, in regards to the online gaming community, there are “lots of good people, lots of bad people, plenty of memories to be made, and not a second wasted.” Most of his memorable moments lie with hanging out in a medieval town called Goldshire, making stupid jokes, dueling, and just talking.
One of his most memorable moments is casting a spell called Divine Intervention on his raid leader right before a boss pull. For those of you who don’t know, said spell puts the target in a protective bubble, removing them from battle, and everyone else in the raid dies as the price of the target’s survival. Wolf said it was a priceless moment.
Pascal, whom I call Bacon because his main character is Baconeh and all his toons have the word bacon in it, is from Quebec. Shouldn’t be a surprise he’s from Canada, eh? As of right now, he’s a mailroom clerk for the Correctional Services of Canada. “It’s an interesting job, to say the least.” He’s gotten some weird things in the mail over the years, from a Jaws replica to assault rifles. He works with a great group of guys and has fun doing what he does. He’d like to eventually get promoted to mailroom supervisor, but if that doesn’t happen, he’s happy where he is, until he finds something that might be interesting.
Bacon didn’t play a ton of video games before WoW, but even as he became a more intense gamer, he never let his enthusiasm lead to neglecting work, friends, or family. Around age 7 or 8, a cousin of introduced him to gaming back in the days of the Commodore 64, showing off a helicopter game (can’t remember the name). He enjoyed the challenge the game presented, and it was something completely new, then later got an Intellivision, along with a bunch of games, and he was hooked from then on.
Some of his favorite games from over the years are Soldier of Fortune 2, Master of Orion 2, Steel Panthers, the X-Wing and Tie Fighter series, and Civilization-style games. Soldier of Fortune 2 was a plain and simple FPS that he played for pure mindless fun. Master of Orion 2 was better than its predecessor as he could do more with research and interacting with the AI, and the graphics were much better. Steel Panther was a turn-based hex strategy game with WWII tanks, meaning it was a bit like D&D and moving your units into hexagon-shaped spaces. X-Wing and Tie Fighters met that simple love of playing a Star Wars flight simulator style game. What guy wouldn’t love that? And the Civilization-style games made him think and plan moves, like in chess.
Bacon got into WoW because because a few of his online games friends started playing it, and from what they said, it got him curious, so he looked the game up. A few days, teaser trailers, and one website later, he decided to buy the game and never looked back at his decision. He’s a fan of medieval/fantasy games, so he found that aspect of WoW quite appealing.
What got him addicted was that Blizzard focused more on gameplay and questing, in addition to the “cartoony” appearance. I learned through one of my friends there are gamers out there who prefer stylized games over those that try to create realistic-looking ones. I’m a fan of breathtaking graphics that look like art, be it stylized or realism. So, Bacon’s enjoyment of how disproportionate and goofy some of the characters looked is understandable. He also enjoyed the references to movies and other games sprinkled all throughout WoW, like NPC names and quest titles.
He doesn’t remember when exactly we met in Anomaly, but he’s sure it was “accentuated by improper innuendos. *wink wink*” That guild was full off adult humor, but it was all in the name of fun and laughs. We’d stop if we made anyone uncomfortable, which I can’t recall ever doing.
Bacon enjoys every play style, but mostly prefers to Tank or DPS, along with PvP. Depending on how he feels on a given day, he either wants the challenge of being a Tank and the responsibility that comes with it. If he wants to go on what he calls cruise control, he’ll DPS, as there isn’t much to worry about. As for PvP, that’s for the sheer mindless joy of it. He insists there isn’t much thinking involved in battlegrounds. “Call me a glutton for punishment, but I love tanking more than anything else.” No real tanking woes outside of grouping with random people, like players who pull mobs for you, who don’t know how to not stand in fire, and stuff like that.
Bacon stuck with WoW for so long because of the group of friends he made along the way, in addition to playing the game for enjoyment. The core raiders from Anomaly are all notable friends of his. They were all hard core raiders, and leveled, PvPed, and all the fun stuff friends do together in WoW. He still talks with his group of friends from before WoW every week, and he stays in touch with his Anomaly guildies as time allows. The core group includes ,but isn’t limited to, Eric, Steve, Sam, John, and Joe, who passed away in early 2013 from a heart attack. He was such a funny guy, with toons with names like Thilly Thailor, and Bacon has great memories of Joe he’ll always hold on to.
He met all of them while playing Soldier of Fortune 2, in a guild called Flaming Flamingos, and they’re all still friends to this day. Flaming Flamingos even had a pink tabard with a bird on it. He’s met fellow guildies JP and Dom in person, since they live nearby, and stays in touch with his remote friends via Facebook, Vent, TS, Skype, and email.
Some of his most memorable moments are the accomplishments Anomaly did: doing all the hard modes and achievements in Icecrown Citadel (ICC), the challenges in another raid called Ulduar, which had the guild ranked in the top ten in all of North America for 10-man raid groups. I vaguely remember partaking in that because they wanted to keep getting as many guildies in Ulduar as possible, and netting more and more achievements. I did alright on my gnome mage, until we fought a boss called Freya. Plant monsters would pop out of the ground and all I’d do was say, “Oh, crap!” and die.
On a funnier note for Bacon, he’s died a few times to what WoW players call the “Elevator Boss.” Basically it’s a lost fight against gravity. In one raid in the Cataclysm expansion, there’s a very tall elevator with only a small window to hop on. Everyone who’s ever raided there has probably died at least once to the Elevator Boss. Once said small window has passed, we all try to jump on the descending platform, only to fall to our deaths.
There was also this night where Bacon and Eric were PvPing in Alterac vally late one night. They got a bunch of achievements that are almost impossible to get, like winning without losing any structures, and even winning in under six minutes.
In all, the online gaming community is a great group of people who’re passionate about what they do. But, as in all groups, there are always bad apples that give the community a bad name. He’s been fortunate to meet almost exclusively good apples.