World of Warcraft Anniversary: My Epic 10 Year Journey Summarized in 50 Screenshots
This month World of Warcraft celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Since its inception it has become more than just a game for people like myself who have visited Azeroth to see what all the fuss is about. Its engrossing world is where I have created lasting memories, and forged great friendships. It’s an alternate reality where throwing fireballs is possible, death is only temporary, and learning strategies to defeat foul beasts for weapons and equipment is just another day.
I’ve been fortunate enough to remember to take screenshots throughout my 10-year journey. Although my first month playing is confined to the limits of my memory, I’ve captured many of the moments that have made World of Warcraft undoubtedly one of my favorite games of all-time. With that, I can share some of these brief moments in virtual space and time with you.
In the gallery below you’ll see 50 screenshots of my journey from 2004 until 2014. Previously, these have only been seen by myself and a couple friends. Now, I will share my journey with you.
Level 60? Check. Warlock mount quest complete? Check.
Back in early 2005 "epic" mounts were incredibly expensive, and not every level 60 had one. This was my first time tasting success, and I liked it.
This is one of the earliest screenshots I have. It's a photo of me in Arathi Basin with a couple of Molten Core epics equipped. This is just a day or two after the Molten Core epics were updated with unique models (they were generic before that).
At the time I was in Unholy Legion on Tichondrius, although we would transfer to Kalecgos shortly after this screenshot was taken. A long journey awaited ahead.
For reference sake, these are the visible items that I have equipped:
- Head: Nemesis Skullcap (yup, it was originally a turban)
- Shoulders: Felheart Shoulder Pads
- Gloves: Felheart Gloves
- Staff: Staff of Dominance (pre-model upgrade)
- Belt: A random blue
In Vanilla I was a hardcore PvPer. I was a member of what was known as "Cheesecake's Group", a team that would push three players to High Warlord. Back then there was no cross-realm PvP, so teams like ours would dominate battlegrounds.
There was one Alliance group that did give us a run for our money, though. Their team was called "Platetrain's Group", led by a well-geared Night Elf Warrior named Platetrain. We would beat them most of the time, and in this case Platetrain and his friends decided to fish instead of battling us. It was a nice change of pace similar to the Indians and Pilgrims gathering for Thanksgiving.
By the way, that big fat Tauren in the water would become a High Warlord just a few weeks after. I would make it to Warlord, but didn't quite have it in me to go all the way.
If you look closely you'll see two players slowfalling from Lumber Mill down to Blacksmith to save it from being capped. I snapped this on my way to the location and it's easily one of my best works (lol). To be honest, I don't think the Tauren made it all the way given his mass.
P.S. The guy in front is the one who led all of the exploration expeditions you'll see in this gallery. He's the World of Warcraft version of Leonardo da Vinci.
Ever wonder what the bottom of Ironforge looks like? Bam, there it is.
Thousands of Alliance were only meters above me. I suppose it was a little scary.
Noggenfogger Elixir + Sen'Jin village buff. That's how.
I managed to get a real-life friend into the game during Vanilla, my first time accomplishing such a feat in an MMO. This is him around level 40 while leveling in Desolace. I took out a few scumbags who tried to gank him, which was awesome.
After a lot of work, my guild and I managed to down Nefarian for Kalecgos' Horde first kill. It caused quite a lot of commotion in Orgrimmar. We danced, ate meat, and sang songs through the night.
Here's myself with two of my World of Warcraft friends hanging out on a boat after killing tons of lowbies in Wetlands. They still say this was one of the most enjoyable days in their World of Warcraft history. I agree.
I still keep in touch with these two players. Maybe one day we'll meet in real life.
This was the day Darkmoon Faire opened for its first time. Playing mini games with my Aussie friend was a real joy.
The Ahn'Qiraj Gate Opening was a huge lesson learned by Blizzard. Even on my small server, the network simply couldn't handle having so many people in one place. It was ambitious, but an absolute wash due to lag and crashes. I did manage to take this cool screenshot of everyone racing to the gate, though.
The Twin Emperor of Ahn'Qiraj was a very tough fight. It took us, the top Horde guild of our server, several weeks to down them.
My guild had a lot of high-energy people who didn't particularly like taking post-kill screenshots. However, we managed to make this image happen. I believe it's our only organized post-kill guild screenshot. Although, whoever said "Kneel" ruined it.
I can't quite explain just how difficult C'Thun was at the time he was released on the official servers. Let's put it this way: I was in the top guild of my server (Iniquity of Kalecgos) and this single fight actually killed the guild. We would split after four weeks of strenuous attempts. Following collapse, myself and a few members of the guild would find their way into another Horde guild called Meet in Kargath. About two weeks later we would down C'Thun. The rush of excitement as he fell with only a few of us still alive has remained unmatched to this day. Looting the corpse to find several god-tier items was extraordinary.
I farmed so many tubers so that I could heal myself throughout the fight (they were health potions with separate cooldown timers from regular potions). This, coupled with a high level of investment to understand all the intricacies of the fight made it the costliest battle I've ever waged. Despite being a Destruction Warlock, which was a no-no at the time since Afflication had better throughput, I managed to get third in terms of overall damage by being extremely aware during the remainder of the 15 minute fight. I felt like I was on-point, and it paid off.
I will never forget this moment. At the time I was well geared with nearly full Tier 2 and Staff of the Shadow Flame from Nefarian. I picked up the Berserking Buff in Warsong Gulch, seduced one of the best Mages on the server with my Succubus, and one shotted him with Soul Fire. I'm pretty sure that even he remembers this.
Look on the bottom right for the combat log. Oh, and look at my health, too.
So, a friend of mine got the game and began started as a Hunter. At the time, I believe Broken Tooth was the most sought after pet in the entire game. Unfortunately, he was a rare spawn.
Well, we spent about 14 hours (I wish I was kidding) camping him. Coming from hunting Notorious Monsters in Final Fantasy XI, it was just another day for me. After giving up following a full day of sitting in place getting nothing accomplished, I left my Rogue to log out in the vicinity. On the next day I began checking for Broken Tooth's spawn every hour. I eventually found him, and since I had my friend's login information I would hop over and tame the beast so that when he logged in he would see Broken Tooth by his side. He was very happy, to say the least.
He tells me he still has Broken Tooth in his stable a full nine years later. Remarkable.
Myself and several good friends absolutely loved exploring during Vanilla, led by Zenon, the guy with the underwater helmet on the left. He was great at finding ways of going to places players weren't supposed to in the game world, and we would join him on these trips.
In this case, we used Water Walking and three forms of Sprint in order to get to the edge of the world near Sen'jin Village. This was our best exploration trip ever, because I don't personally know anyone else who ever made it here.
Here's my friend after finding his way into Dalaran. He had to Hearthstone to get out. What a weirdo.
This is me using my sister's character to get to a place I wasn't supposed to. It's a place hidden in Dead Mines that I don't think you can get to anymore.
Believe it or not, my sister was a hardcore raider during Vanilla. She had plans to go to Disneyland one day, and let me play her character for a Naxxramas raid. It was awesome. No, I didn't wipe the raid. Or at least I don't think I did.
By early 2006, shortly after the arrival of Naxxramas, World of Warcraft had taken over my life, and I eventually realized it. I decided to quit cold turkey, losing my account in the process. Although my Warlock and Rogue are somewhere out there, I have no idea where.
What I didn't know at the time was that I would be back to World of Warcraft sooner than I knew it.
I would come back to World of Warcraft for Burning Crusade, rolling a Shaman for some strange reason I still don't understand.
While leveling with a friend, he yelled on Ventrilo saying that he found a StarCraft easter egg. He wasn't kidding.
Psst... look for the Kerrigan face.
Here's a real life friend of mine leveling up in Stranglethorn Vale. This was the beginning of a long relationship between him and World of Warcraft. He now plays more than I do.
As soon as Blizzard added Achievements to the game, people began amassing groups to kill the capital leaders of each city. This was my first experience with an Orgrimmar invasion. FOR THE HORDE!
This is my Shaman shortly after hitting level cap. I was trying out a new UI which took me three hours to setup, and was uninstalled within a few minutes of finishing.
Elemental was fun, but I sure missed my Warlock.
I was an extremely hardcore raider in Vanilla, but became a bit of a softy in Burning Cusade. Here's myself and my Burning Crusade guild after killing the first boss in Karazhan.
Here's a drawing I shared with a friend to explain an awesome moment that happened to me which left my Mage smooshed on the floor like a banana. It is 100% representative of the event.
This was my first time playing arena with a real-life friend of mine. We would lose, but boy was it fun.
Burning Crusade ushered a lot of cool things to the game, such as hot dogs. I grabbed one so fast I think I pulled a muscle. It was worth it.
I've played more than 1,000 arena battles to-date, and this is the most epic one I ever took part in. When I took this screenshot, my buddy (the Rogue) was battling the Paladin to the death. We emerged victorious, leading to "FOR THE HORDE!" screams on Ventrilo.
Here's myself, my aussie friend, my sister, and two real life friends all in one screenshot. This was the first and last time we would ever have all five of us in a group. It was good times.
Ah, my Netherwing Drake mount. I must have spent over 18 hours hunting Netherwing Eggs in order to obtain it. Was it worth it? Probably not. The mount looks like a fish for crying out loud. But hey, at least I had a dragon mount.
I joined a friend's guild during Burning Crusade. They weren't very good (so many keyboard turners...), but we had fun anyway. This is us in Karazhan about to fight Netherspite.
Outdoor PvP while leveling is so much fun, especially when you win.
After a seven month break, I returned to World of Warcraft to hang out with penguins in Wrath of the Lich King.
Leveling in Hillsbrad Foothills was not a good idea on this day. I did it anyway.
Something felt so good about soloing this place and earning all the loot for myself. While I've cleared it more than 50 times, I've never seen a legendary binding. I bet when it drops I'll be on a class that can't use it.
With the debut of Icecrown Citadel, I felt an urge to raid again. I joined a friend's guild and we would clear about half of the raid. This would be my third period of raiding, and my last.
There were some amazing quests added in Cataclysm. This is one of them. I would return for my fourth time and level 1-60 just to experience the new Azeroth content. I would soon find myself hopelessly addicted again.
My Aussie friend is one funny dude.
Maybe the camel should be riding me.
This is my fully decked out in arena gear Paladin. I was a Holy Paladin in PvP, so I couldn't really kill anyone, but my heals produced rivers of tears from opponents.
Death Knights are OP.
I wasn't hardcore enough in WoTLK to ever kill Arthas, so I did the fight once Cataclysm came around. What a fight it is, indeed.
I dinged 90 on a quest involving drinking beer. This really is the best game ever.
I came back for Mists of Pandaria and would level four characters to 90 during the expansion.
A Druid, I mean.
About a year ago I made some friends at my university that play World of Warcraft. The problem was they played Alliance. I eventually gave in and transferred my Priest over. I had a lot of fun playing as Alliance for a few months, but we all decided to switch over to Horde Tichondrius for Warlords of Draenor. Thank goodness, because I love killing me some Night Elves.
I still can't believe how well structured Timeless Isle is. It's by far the best "daily zone" in a long, long time.
The first time I quit World of Warcraft was while progressing through Naxxramas. Soloing the entire place as a Priest brought me way back.
I just leveled up a Monk to cap specifically for Warlords of Draenor. Additionally, I made the character on the first server I played on: Tichondrius. This is a server I haven't played on since 2005, making this a truly momentous occasion.
I AM PREPARED!
Happy Anniversary to World of Warcraft!
If you’ve played World of Warcraft, what are some of your greatest memories? Let us know in the comments below.