1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?
I began playing World of Warcraft seven years ago (as of yesterday, in fact) as something to do with my new husband. We’d already spent the first month after our wedding playing through Final Fantasy III.
2. What was the first ever character you rolled?
Kamalia the Tauren Resto Shaman was my first character, and I still consider her my main. Kamalia is the one who does just about everything — she gets the Loremaster acheivements for each new zone, she maxes out the most factions, she chases the most achievements, she does the most with the secondary profession skills, she raids first and most completely. During the earliest days of a new expansion, I spend almost all of my playtime with Kamalia. As an expansion draws on, though, I spend more and more time with alts, until by the the latest days of an expansion, I am spending almost all of my playtime with alts.
3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?
At the time that I began playing, BTH wanted to be able to play with some RL friends. They were already Horde, so we rolled our new characters as Horde. We did in fact play with those RL friends for some time; they made up part of one of the very first guilds that we joined.
I also quickly fell in love with the Tauren people, so I continue to play mostly Horde because I want to play mostly Tauren.
4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?
Many of my most memorable moments in WoW have a strong postive social component — my BC guild’s first Zul’jin kill; joining a new guild mid-Cataclysm and being delighted by how friendly everyone was; participating in Transmogrification runs of old content raids with blogger friends; helping Cymre to get her Val’anyr; tagging along with Navimie to Navispam Vidyala, Voss, and Rhidach.
Others involve challenging things that BTH and I did together — playing our Hunters through the pre-Cataclysm version of the Nesingwary quest chain in Stranglethorn Vale when we were still somewhat underleveled, so that it took us most of the day and we had to really learn how to work together and use our available abilities to their best extent; attempting to duo Naxxramas in late Wrath, when we were in partly-Heroic ICC gear, and getting through most of it before having to call in a few extra DPS from our guild; duoing ICC several months ago, wearing Mists raid gear, and succeeding by swapping out my DPS character for a healer character for Valithria and LK himself.
But perhaps my most memorable WoW moment happened before I even started playing the game. BTH and I were still just dating at the time. Burning Crusade had only been out for a few months, and BTH had talked enough about the game that I was intrigued, so when he suggested that he show me some of the gameplay, I agreed. I remember so clearly watching him playing his then-Dwarven Paladin in Terokkar Forest, marvelling at the strangeness of the warp stalkers and noticing how the male and female Blood Elf mobs at Firewing Point had different death animations. I liked the richness of detail in what I saw of the game world, and it was interesting enough that when he suggested, after we got married, that we play the game together, I readily agreed.
5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?
I’ve always enjoyed healing. Kamalia wasn’t even level 60 yet when I began rolling alts to explore other classes and races. I’ve also been interested in in-game fashion from very early in my WoW career; one of the first WoW blogs I started reading regularly was an RP fashion blog. This blog has always been a little about healing and a lot about alts and fashion. Although healing and exploring the breadth of the game with alts are still some of my favorite aspects of the game, Transmogrification instantly became my most favorite aspect of the game as soon as it was introduced.
6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?
I love how peaceful and serene Thunder Bluff and Mulgore are. It’s my favorite place to station a Horde bank alt, and other Horde alts that aren’t doing anything in particular often end up just hanging out there, too.
Almost all of my Horde characters have spent some time in the Ghostlands because there are some great items available there from quest rewards and the Tranquillien faction. Similarly, almost all of my Alliance characters have spent some time on Azuremyst and Bloodmyst isles for the unique quest reward items found there.
7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?
Kamalia’s current /played is 148 days, 2 hours (23 days, 2 hours at level 90). If I add up the /played of all my current characters, I get 449 days, 5 hours — and of course that doesn’t include all the time I’ve spent on the many alts that I’ve deleted. And yes, that has been more or less continuous. Though I’ve had some secondary accounts that have come and gone, I have never unsubscribed from my primary WoW account, and I haven’t taken any breaks from playing that were longer than a week or two.
8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?
I try to read the quest text completely the first time I play through a zone because I want to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing and because I want to know the story and the lore. In recent expansions, though, BTH has wanted to go-go-go so quickly toward the new level cap that I haven’t really been able to fully read all of the quest text with Kamalia. Then, I’ve had to remember to take the time to read the quest text with subsequent alts. By the fourth or fifth alt through a zone, I don’t read the quest text anymore — but by the eighth or ninth alt, I start reading it again because I’ve forgotten just why I’m supposed to be killing ten rats and collecting five gubbins.
9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?
During Cataclysm, I intensely regretted not getting my Druid leveled and ready for raiding quickly enough to participate in very many guild alt runs of the T11 raids before Firelands dropped. Thus, I wasn’t able to get the T11 Druid shoulders, which I coveted from the first moment I saw another character wearing them. I regretted it so much that last summer, when the Druid T11-lookalike shoulders showed up on the AH of a different server than where my Druid resided, I barely batted an eyelash at spending $50 in Real World Money to do a there-and-back-again transfer of my primary bank alt to that other server to get them for her.
10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?
When I’m talking to my family about what I’ve been doing lately, I find myself glossing over the amount of time I spend playing WoW as much as I can. I try to avoid talking about the game with my Dad and try to hide my gaming time when I’m at my parents’ house because he disapproves of the amount of time I spend playing and thinks I should just quit entirely. My Mom and my sisters are more understanding, though they still think the time I spend playing could be better spent in other ways. I can talk about the game with my brothers, though we do it when Dad isn’t around. I also feel like my mind is a lot more shallow and frivolous than the rest of my family, due to the amount of time I spend thinking about the game instead of more serious topics — but then, that’s not really a new phenomenon. I’ve lived with my head in the clouds of fantasy worlds ever since I first read the Chronicles of Narnia and the Prydain Chronicles when I was seven.
Playing the game caused me to become even more distracted from my graduate school research than I already had been before I began playing. The allure of Azeroth definitely contributed to the overextension of the time it took me to complete my research and then my dissertation. This summer, I spent a lot of time trying to accomplish in-game goals before the impending collapse of my free time due to moving and starting my exciting new teaching job — a job that is exactly what I spent the last three or four years of graduate school telling mentors and fellow students that I wanted to do — at the expense, however, of preparing for said new job. Now, with just a week and a half to go before classes start, I’m feeling that I will not be as ready as I would ideally like to be for the first few weeks of the semester.
More positively, WoW and the friendships I have made through blogging about WoW have been helpfully therapeutic as I have wrestled with infertility over the past few years.