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  • Writer's pictureCalcas

A New World of Warcraft (and Blizzard) Blog: Welcome to Out of Mana!

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Beginnings in Warcraft


I have been playing World of Warcraft for a long time. My love for Blizzard games, though, goes back to Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. My family didn't yet have a desktop computer then, but I was able to go over to a friend's house after school to play this amazing real-time strategy (RTS) game that was unlike anything I'd ever experienced having grown up as a console gamer.


A few years later, my parents bought our first family desktop computer (and like a lot of families back then, yes, it was in the living room). And when StarCraft came out a year later in 1998, I was officially a PC gamer. Our internet was America Online, and I cannot tell you how many times a Battle.net match was interrupted by someone picking up the phone and breaking the internet connection.


I played Warcraft III and its expansion, The Frozen Throne for countless hours. Friends and I of course played the mod, Defense of the Ancients (DotA), too. The story of Warcraft III and especially of The Frozen Throne hooked me into this world, its lore, and the many rich characters. I don't think I had ever connected with video game characters in this way before. I often think of these stories more like books I experienced than games I played.


When World of Warcraft was announced, my friends and I decided to build gaming desktops. A neighbor had been building PCs for a while, and so he offered to help me. I ordered all of the components I would need from Newegg.com, put together my first ever gaming PC, and pre-ordered this new venture in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) genre.


I had pre-ordered the game at the local Electronics Boutique (EB) at which a few of my friends (and one of my guildmates to this day) worked. EB had midnight releases for games back then because physical copies were the norm, but I was working that night late at Kaufmann's Department Store (a now defunct chain bought out by Macy's a few years later) as it was the week of Thanksgiving and Black Friday sale prep was real. One of my friends kindly dropped off the game at work for me before it was technically released, and after I got out of work, we all met up at Eat'n Park (24-hour diner a la Denny's) to eagerly speculate about what was to come at launch.


I had no idea I was preparing for a journey that has lasted all of my adult life.


Launch - For the Horde!


When the game went live, server queues were unbelievable. No one expected it - least of all Blizzard, it seemed.


We had intended to play on Illidan together as Horde, and so folks who managed to get in created characters there. I created a tauren shaman (whose name I have since forgotten - I had a bad habit of deleting characters I was not playing back then). When most of our group could not get logged in to Illidan a few days later, some of us migrated to Burning Blade. (Like I said, the queues were crazy.)


I made another tauren shaman who I also later deleted.


Regardless of not remembering my character's name, I vividly remember zoning into Camp Narache for the first time and questing around this place called Mulgore. (It's one of my favorite zones to this day.)


I never made it into Molten Core. As it turned out, I was really good at leveling characters 1 to 20. Cataclysm broke me in so many ways, but it killed my main skill in the game. My friends still joke that I should have written leveling guides for all zones, horde and alliance. Let's call it a missed opportunity.


For the Alliance!


As I fell behind my friends playing on Burning Blade, I created alliance characters on the Executus server. I then convinced my college roommate to start playing, and I made the gloriously painful run as a night elf hunter from the night elf starting zone of Teldrassil to the dwarf starting zone of Dun Morogh in order to level together. We were both hunters: his dwarf, Graysquirrel, and my night elf, Arveragus. (I did keep him.)


Graysquirrel and Arveragus played out the remainder of Vanilla together.

I remember clearing The Deadmines through old-school Mauradon that took what seemed like hours.


But my love in those days was still exploring the world more than anything else. In many ways, I felt like I knew less than even the character I controlled, and so I reveled in those old quest lines and the many side quests that were later dropped from the game (or at least rendered unnecessary).


I think I'll pause here for now with my WoW autobiography before The Burning Crusade and, my hunter's heights, Wrath of the Lich King.


Why "Out of Mana"?


I've chosen this title, "Out of Mana," because, as a healer, it's a phrase I've come to associate with the thrill of pushing content that stretches your abilities. It can also allude to running on fumes - and aren't we all there more and more the last few years especially? But, and this meaning might be my favorite, being out of mana also implies you need to replenish that mana. For me, the latter is especially meaningful because it means sharing a drink with friends (online or in real life) and getting ready to continue along this ongoing adventure of World of Warcraft and of life.


I hope the thoughts and stories I share here will speak to you in some way. Maybe they will help you rekindle your own love for WoW, or maybe you'll find yourself thinking about your own experiences in similar games.


Thank you for reading. For Azeroth!

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