A few days after that I came home from work to discover an interesting piece of mail sitting on my desk (you know, old school “snail mail” via the United States Postal Service). There it was, that little plastic DVD box offering a Free 10 Day Trial. It was actually addressed to my brother-in-law-to-be, but my father-in-law-to-be laid it on my desk instead so I could explain what it was before he gave it to Mike. I explained it was a game played online and that yes, after the 10 days you'd have to pay for a subscriptions (about $15 a month). So, Dad told me to do whatever I wanted to with it because he didn't want Mike messing with it. My initial thought was to keep the DVD box and trash the rest. But I didn't. I decided to try it out myself. I mean, what the hell? I'll take a 10 day trial to see what all the hullabaloo is about. And that's how it started.... my decent into THE WORLD OF WARCRAFT.
What was supposed to be a 10 day trial began on Wednesday (8/6/08). It is now Sunday (8/10/08) and I have already logged 14 hours, 37 minutes with my Dwarf Warrior (now level 10) named “Rumplewort” (after an old D&D character I used to play). Oh, and I've spent $40 as well. Yep, my FREE trial turned into full subscription in merely two days time. I didn't fuck around with it either. I didn't just go buy the full version of WoW or just buy the upgraded license key via the website. Oh, hell no! I went out and got The World of Warcraft Battle Chest!
So here's the deal. Within about fifteen minutes into the game with my buddy Rob helping me out (he's the one that's been trying to recruit me into WoW for awhile now) I realize that I'm having fun. I mean really enjoying myself. It's at that point I know I'm screwed. I had seen the Battle Chest at Target a few nights before when my fiancée and I went there to get an item to satiate her own online gaming habit (she plays Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Online and needed a gaming card so she could continue beyond the free version). Once I realized I was hooked on WoW, I knew I'd end up back at Target to get the Battle Chest. So, Friday night after I come home from work and eat a quick supper, I head to Target and drop $40 on my newest obsession. I mean, makes sense to me to do it that way right? A copy of the game itself would've been $20. The expansion pack (Burning Crusade) would've been $30 by itself, not to mention the two strategy guides would've been somewhere around $20-25 apiece I would think. So really, my rational is that I saved myself some cash (at least for now). Yeah, first sign of addiction is rationalizing, eh? What playing WoW the past few days has really done, besides causing me to go to bed an hour or two later than normal, is reminded me how much I miss the old Paper & Ink roleplaying games. I know they still exist and that tons of people still play them. Hell, D&D just came out with a 4th edition last month. But alas, most of my gaming buddies either live hours away (like Charlotte or Atlanta) or pretty much work schedules that don't match up well enough with my own for us to be able to get together regularly enough to play. But I do still miss good old Dungeons & Dragons.
Yep, D&D. The granddaddy of 'em all. Say what you will about it but let's be honest. If Gary Gygax (may he rest in peace) and Dave Arneson hadn't invented D&D back in the '70s, none of us would be playing WoW today. It is my completely unvarnished opinion that all gamers owe thanks to those two pioneers who changed the face of gaming from just cards and board games to a broader world of being able to become a different character and explore our imaginations in a fantasy setting. And while I may not play anymore (it's been about 4 or 5 years since I've played in fact) I still have the materials and I still long for a day when my friends and I can sit around a table and enjoy each other's company while gaming instead of chatting over the Internet. And though I said at the beginning of this blog that I needed to be careful when saying “never,” I still make the following statement with confidence. I may play World of Warcraft for a month, a year, or beyond, but I will never relinquish my trusty 20-sided dice!
Huzzah! And Happy Gaming,
Next week's planned (but not set in stone yet) topic: “A Dogmatic ViewAskew”