Back in the day…
Ah, the old days… when I was no more than a n00b and had yet to grasp the sheer awesomeness of being a dwarf… so many things impressed me back then!
In my first day, still on my Trial Account on my old server, even! I had just watched the ominous cutscene flight from the gates of Stormwind to Northshire Abbey, and my first toon, a Human Paladin was standing there in the rain and fog. I miss the Old World Weather in Northrend, I wish they keep it in Cataclysm (Gilneas would look silly without moody fog/rain every fifteen minutes!). Reaching Goldshire, thankfully empty of ‘tards at that time of the afternoon, then getting that quest that sends you all the way up the road and into Stormwind.
And through the fog and the rain I ran, until I had to stop and gaze up in awe at the gates of Stormwind. Sure, after seeing it for what seems to be the gajillionth time it doesn’t have as much impact, but back then! Ah, back then it was a place of wonder. The rain falling over my ridiculously green mail-clad Paladin, big hammer swung across his back, the sunset shining just above the fountain and showing through the heavy clouds! It was with much hesitation and respect that I walked through those perpetually-open gates…
… and proceeded to get lost around the Trade Quarter while being spammed by all sorts of /1.General and /2.Trade chat. But that’s another story.
And then there was that other time, when I was just a wee dwarf… well, technically a Squidgoat from Outer Space, but the seeds for my unhealthy obsession love for the Titan’s most cherished creations had already been planted. Anyway, I was still about level 28, and running around Redridge Mountains as a Protection Warrior (been so since I discovered Revenge kicked all sorts of ass and that wearing a shield allowed me to become effectively invincible for ten seconds once a minute). It was with trepidation that I accepted the quest to kill Gath’llzogg, an Orc whose name only a drunken pig-faced green-skinned brute with a broken jaw could pronounce, for I knew it was a Group quest.
After the whopping Hogger had given me just sixteen levels before (of which I only escaped due to the help of a friendly level 80 Paladin running through and pwning everything to high heaven), I had become wary of such quests. In the days before I included myself into a Guild, I was alone in a world that felt lonely and void of other players. Later I would learn that it happened mostly because I was a couple hours ahead of server time and tended to play in in the early afternoon. Anyway. I decided to give it a shot and ran up the hills to do battle with this Orc with a deformed name.
After painfully slogging through more Blackrock Orcs I could care to count, I broke into the ruined fortress where that foul beast hid. A few more dead Orcs later and I was standing valiantly in his room. And there he was!
Dead near the corner, his dragon companion laying broken just two feet away from him.
A facepalm later, this Night Elf hunter whose name contained an excessive amount of “X”s (four or five, if I remember correctly) and vöwêls wïth âccènts in all the wrong places entered the room followed by his trusty pet and companion for life, Hordekillaz the Cat. As we waited for the eldritch phenomenon of the Orc’s cursed resurrection, we achieved a tacit pact: group invitations were exchanged and we girded up our loins for the upcoming battle.
Suddenly, the Orc came back into existence, as foul and green as ever! Before I could even sketch a reaction, my night elven friend and his cat rushed forth, hitting the beast with a flurry of gummy nips (for that hunter apparently deemed spending all his time in Aspect of the Viper to be a good career choice). As he was mercilessly beaten to a pulp by the Orc’s friends respawned, I saw myself standing alone against the combined might of five enraged orcs. And a dragon whelp that looked at me with hungry eyes.
Two minutes of much shouting, bashing and praying later, I stood at the center of the room, surrounded by the corpses of my slain enemies and completely devoid of any defensive and offensive cooldowns for at the very least three more minutes. In awe, I pondered my survival for a few seconds. Then I bandaged up, collected the loot and ran the hell out before they respawned again!
And the last tale of my past happened quite a long time after I had embraced my inner dwarf and had brought my very own Female Dwarf Hunter (outrageous, I know!) through the entirety of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. Having plunged into the Dark Portal just a week before to arrive in that most wretched of places known as Hellfire Peninsula, I had worked as quickly as possible to move on to greener pastures. Or purpler pastures, as I found them in Zangarmarsh.
But in time, even the lush expanses of the Marsh could not quench my thirst for experience points and sweet loots. Standing at level sixty-four, I pondered my choices. I could either go North and find myself fighting an entire civilization of creatures of incomprehensible stupidity (Ogres), or I could go South and try my luck in the ancestral lands of the hated enemy (Orcs). After a brief bout of internal monologue and a coin toss, I rode my way south on my trusty ram.
And what a vision it was! Before me unfolded the rolling (and sometimes floating) hills of Nagrand! To this day I remember the words that passed through my mind as I struggled to take in the beauty and scale of the place:
“DAMN…! Blizzard did a very good… DAMN!”