All MMO players have their quirks that sometimes separate them from the overall gamer population. We’re a weird bunch no matter how you cut it.
I’ve played a few MMOs over the years, from Ragnarok Online to The Old Republic but by far the strangest and funniest bunch I’ve ever played with have to be the World of Warcraft crowd.
WoW players take dedication to the game to an insane level. I’m not talking about the realm/world first crew or the hardcore 7-day-raiding guilds. No, this is the average player.
You could see it very clearly during last year’s Warlords of Draenor launch. It was three in the morning for most of us, and yet we were all there, thousands of players from both factions just standing in front of the Dark Portal—a place that before this expansion we’d all but forgotten existed—waiting for the moment the expansion officially launched and we could play.
That night there were hour-long playing queues as the servers filled to the brim and I got disconnected from the servers at least four times per hour, but I never even once thought, “I’ll give this a shot later when it’s more stable!” And neither did anyone else. We all kept playing, dealing with the queues, which in other circumstances we wouldn’t even consider doing, all for the furor of the new expansion and storylines.
There were bugs and glitches and we didn’t give a damn, we just kept going at it. I’ve always been a Loremaster, hunting every scrap of quest available in a zone before moving on, even if I’ve already reached the maximum level. Friends of mine moved from the levelling content to the dungeons, and gearing up and getting ready for when the raids finally hit.
And when they did, it was fantastic. Almost in a replay of the launch night, there we were, hundreds and thousands of players from both factions just standing in front of the gates to Highmaul. We weren’t waiting for an official launch this time, but every guild in WoW tends to raid around the same time.
And this time around, there aren’t any unlocking or progressive events as they were in the past, but even if there were and things were glitch and buggy, you’d still see WoW players stick to it, with insane determination.
My guild (Integrity on Baelgun-US) has a saying: “It’s not raiding if you don’t hate yourself,” and it shows the level of commitment we give to everything we do on WoW, even beyond raiding and the guild. WoW players go overboard with almost everything, for every scrap of gold or gear or even to kill a single progression boss.
We feel bad if we’re not playing, almost like an addict going through withdrawal. I’ve been WoW-less for the past three weeks now, moving around the world too much and dealing with stress and heartache, and still I feel that pang of need for wow, to be in Draenor and have fun!
All Hail Blizzard
Beyond our love for the game, something that characterises us as WoW players is the love and adoration for all things Blizzard. If Chris Metzen or Mike Morhaime or any of the other Blizzard bigwigs are presenting something, even if it’s a vacuum cleaner, you’ll see WoW players (and to be fair, players for every other Blizzard game) flocking to the location just for a chance to see this Blizzard Vacuum Cleaner.
Blizzcons are mad events—completely mental. Nowhere else in the world will you see the announcers just CASUALLY ASK the audience to shout “FOR THE HORDE/ALLIANCE/AZEROTH!” at the top of their lungs and get exactly and even more than what they asked for. Every time they announce anything, it gets actual roars from the crowd, as the fans take it in with more fervor than you see even during the best E3 presentations combined.
And the love for all things blizzard extends beyond the game you mainly play. I love WoW but I also love Diablo. I used to hate StarCraft with every bit of my being, but I still bought StarCraft II. Not because I thought the game looked interesting but because it’s Blizzard-made. It’s not uncommon for Blizzard players (this extends beyond WoW) to at least consider buying something just because of the company’s name on it, from plushies to stuff they wouldn’t otherwise spend money on, like Hearthstone card packs or Heroes of the Storm characters and skins!
I know people who unabashedly admit to buying everything Blizzard puts out, to having collections of tankards and plushies, even though they would never in a million years buy those things from any other brand.
The Lore and Language
Here’s the thing that separates WoW players from every other MMO player in the world: the investment in the lore. It’s true that not all WoW players are into the lore as much as some, but they all have a working grasp of over fifteen years of gaming stories and characters. Ask them what Mount Hyjal is and they’ll give you a detailed background on the World Tree Nordrassil up to and including its appearance during Cataclysm (and the raid in Burning Crusade).
It’s not unusual for WoW players to break into Lore discussions, from in-game events, comics, novels and even things dropped by one of the creators in an interview. As long as it’s canon, WoW players will acknowledge and debate it. You won’t find this level of analysis and enjoyment of the lore in any MMO (as far as I know), not even for those based on even more popular franchises such as The Old Republic.
And beyond the lore there’s the language. WoW players have acronyms, nicknames and abbreviations for everything and anything, creating a very WoW specific language that even new players pick up fairly quickly. Classes and specialisations get their own nicknames or abbreviations: Prot, Ret, Boomkins, Pally, etc. The chances of people actually saying the full name of an instance, locale or raid are infinitesimal, opting instead of using their own language for it: ICC—Icecrown Citadel, BWD—BlackWing Descent. Hell, even expansions get the treatment: MoP—Mists of Pandaria, WotLK—Wrath of the Lich King, etc.
And let’s not even get into the nicknames for bosses.
I’ve spoken from my experience as a WoW player. I’ve been playing since the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and while I’ve played other MMOs over the years, I’ve found the previous points to be unique about WoW-players.
Maybe I’m wrong and if I am, please tell me. Maybe all of these are completely normal for every other MMO fan.