I started playing WoW about six months after release. My only previous first-hand MMO experience prior to WoW was Neverwinter Nights. Not the BioWare game, but the original AOL game based on the old Pool of Radiance D&D Gold Box engine. NWN was incredibly crude even by the standards of the day, but the PvP gameplay was some of the most pure PvP ever played. Since it was turn-based and everyone had the same gear and spec, it was more like playing Chess with spells than anything.
From a very early age, I was hooked on multiplayer online games. As a teen, I used my 1200 baud modem to play games and download porn off the local BBS sites. These were things that pre-dated the mass adoption of the internet. If you had a modem, you could login to a computer remotely and visit the site, post messages, download files and play some turn-based games (like Pimp Wars). An image download could take an hour or two to download, so the games were text and your porn option was limited to one or two pictures. (The adolescent men of today’s internet have no idea how good they have it!)
I was so hooked on multi-player at an early age that if any game (good or bad) had support for a modem, I bought it. They all sucked. Pretty much without exception. The only so-so one in the bunch was Battle Chess—and c’mon—it was just chess with cool animations.
Needless to say, when NWN rolled on to the scene with an actual “community” of players, I was utterly addicted. Unfortunately, the game was also pay-per-hour as part of AOL’s subscription model. I wracked up thousands of dollars in credit card debt and it also cost me good grades in several mid-terms and finals including an F for one I missed altogether. I think this early unhealthy addiction to NWN is what helped in later years to provide me some life balance to my internet usage.
I moved from NWN to network games with my roommates. One game in particular was incredibly fun over the network: Warcraft II. We had a couple of LAN parties, but the real fun didn’t begin until my roommate and I discovered Kali. In a way, I consider the discovery of Kali as the marquee moment in my interaction with the internet. That’s when things changed from being about simple email and a bit of research for school to—something else. You see, Kali allowed someone to play an IPX LAN based game over the TCP/IP protocol the internet uses. Prior to that, all LAN games were only playable if you were in the same building. Suddenly, the 8 player Warcraft II game was born. Clans and PvP ladders were formed. And while War2 was the most popular, Duke Nukem and C&C and Doom were also very popular and fun to play. I think I can safely blame War2 for my continued bad grades in school and even the loss of a long-time girlfriend.
I played lots of games in-between, but the next “landmark” game for me was Starsiege: Tribes. Up to 64 players (32 vs 32), the maps were wide open, you could customize the UI, vehicles, player placed turrets and walls for defense. The games were also very strategic in nature. Defend the base, repair the base, capture the flag! Skiing across the map from one floating base to another floating base in heavy armor by using a concussion grenade is still one of my favorite experiences in online gaming.
It’s worth noting at this point that while I was playing Tribes and later War3, my best real life friend was running one of the top Everquest guilds. I had tried EQ in the very early days before Sony bought the game and found it incredibly boring compared to the fast paced games that I had become accustomed. I had also previously tried out Meridian 59 with the same complaint. Ironically, I had known him since we were both 4 and he had always gravitated towards RPG games while I had gravitated towards anything multi-player. One would have thought that EQ would have brought our gaming together, but it drove it apart as he became consumed with EQ like I had become consumed with NWN and War2. In fact, it wasn’t until World of Warcraft, that we both found common ground in a game again.
Anyway, the only reason that little side-bar is relevant is that I do have PLENTY of second-hand experience with EQ. I can’t count how often I have been lectured in vent about “how things were in EQ.” I could write a thesis paper on it.
Which brings us to WoW. I’ve been playing WoW since about 6 months after release when the real life buddy and EQ all-star convinced me to play with him. My first character was a Troll Warrior for which I played the level 60 endgame as a Fury offtank. When BC released, we rerolled to an Alliance server and I leveled up a Gnome rogue and a Night Elf Warrior to 70. I had intended to play the 70 as Fury and all but abandoned the character when for the Rogue. I am now back on my original Horde server and recently rerolled another Rogue (this time a Troll) which I intend to be my new main.
I have also been known to write the occasional addon, but I only ever do it for my own benefit. If there is no addon that fills the need, then I’ll write something for personal use and if I feel it’s polished enough I will release it.
In addition to Sid67 (a reference to the serial killer Sid 6.7 in virtuosity), I was known as “ITB Blaze” on NWN. On Warcraft II, I was known as Túƒƒgúÿ. And on Tribes, I was known as DMMCM Dink.