Day Three: First Steps into a Virtual World

This post is part of a series "20 Days of... WoW Blogging Challenge", a blogging challenge suggested by Saga at Spellbound. She proposes twenty questions to be answered in twenty days and I, foolishly, have decided to take up this most daunting task because clearly my schedule is not full enough.


"You've taken your first step into a larger world." - Obi Wan Kenobi

I remember the first steps that I took in Azeroth very well.

It was a warm, June afternoon almost three years ago when I first installed World of Warcraft.  At the time I was between games; a few months earlier I had just disbanded my Counter-Strike clan and quit that game for good.  Of course, I was playing some single players games such as Civilization IV and Star Wars: Empire at War, but what I was really looking for was a game that would capture my imagination and energy the same way that Counter-Strike had, or Subspace had before that.

I was also in between jobs at that time as well.  I was taking a new position as a Wine Sales Rep and I had just quit my previous job as a car salesman which ended up providing me with a lovely two week period where I was on the payroll of my new job, but the job hadn’t actually started yet.  It was a wonderful little vacation.

The only trouble was that my wife wasn’t on vacation with me, so we couldn’t go anywhere.  I was stuck in the house and really quite bored. 

WoW had been on my radar for quite some time, but I had been fiercely resisting trying it out.  I had never played a MMORPG before, and the idea of a monthly subscription to play a game just seemed incredibly wrong.

However, the terrific South Park episode Make Love, Not Warcraft had caught my imagination, and since I had some time, I figured "Why not try a 10 day trial?"  At that exact moment, in Irvine, California, a man smoking a cigar and sitting in a high-backed, leather chair started laughing maniacally.  I didn't know it yet, but Blizzard had captured one more player.

Dwarf + gun = win
It took me about an hour to create my first character.  I played a lot with customizing the different races to see what was possible.  I didn't give Horde a thought, really, I was always intending to play Alliance.  Even in the Warcraft RTS games I only played the Humans.  In the end, I chose a Dwarf Hunter, because the idea of a Dwarf with a gun felt like the coolest thing ever.

Stepping into Coldridge Valley for the first time was awe inspiring.  Even though the game was already 4 years old at the time, I was amazed at the graphics and the sheer scope of the world.  Even the relatively small confines of the Dwarven starting area felt gigantic.  The fact that I could go anywhere or do anything that I wanted felt so liberating after so many years of trying to defuse the same damn bomb over and over again in Counter-Strike.  As well, seeing other people running around doing there own thing was fascinating and really gave me the impression that I was experiencing a world rather than a map.

I remember having a lot of problems with the Trolls in the cave in Coldridge.  Grik'nir the Cold was a bastard, and killed me more than once, as did the other trolls in that bloody cave.  Going through the tunnel to Dun Morogh proper was intimidating, even though the troggs in the cave proved to be nothing to worry about.  I had no clue how to level efficiently, and would collect and complete one quest at a time, and so ended up running the length of the zone far more than was necessary.  The second time I did Coldridge Valley (with Krupel, my gnome warrior) it went by a lot faster and was a lot easier.

I made so many mistakes those first few days.

That first day spent exploring Coldridge Valley is one my fondest memories of WoW.  I did everything very slow and deliberately so I could absorb every single detail and explore every single nook and cranny of the zone.  I spent a lot more time in that zone than I probably should have, and by the end of my ten day trial I was only level 14 or so, but I was thoroughly hooked.  I went out and bought the game on about day six of the trial, but didn't install it until the very last moment so as not to waste any of the free play time.



  1. I hated that stupid cave too. The deaths...the DEATHS...

  2. It's odd. Even though I'm 99.9% sure my first toon ever was a Dwarf, I don't remember that cave with trepidation. The vineyard in Northshire Valley though.... /shudder I had nightmares about being ambushed by Defias thugs while harvesting grapes for Milly Osworth. I think that was when I fell in love with being a Rogue. Stealth ftw!

  3. Hehe, I guess I never had much trouble in that cave, as I hardly remember going there. No, what got me was Shimmer Ridge! I died so many times trying to get those Shimmer Weeds....

    I too spent hours and hours in Dun Morogh. We may not have leveled the fastest, but the memories we have from our first adventures more than make up for it!


  4. @Gneisha: Easy now... take your pills and try to relax. The flashbacks will go away again soon. :)

    @Pink: Elwynn in general and Northshire in particular always seemed to me to be far too bright and cheery to have any fear or menace to them. Hogger excepted, of course.

    @Brunnstag: Yes, Shimmer Ridge was always hell. It took very careful pulls and more than a few corpse runs to get those damn weeds. Ahh, the sacrifices made for the perfect beer. That quest chain really shows what being a dwarf is all about.