I Dream Of Dun Morogh

It seems absurd to have nostalgia for the 2000s. Surely it was just a heartbeat ago? Yet that is where I find myself. So much has changed in the last decade and a half – politically and personally (child, mortgage, increasing awareness of own mortality) of course, but also in games. These are times of pre-order DLC, culture wars, UHD, annual sequels and developers saying contentious things on Twitter. So much noise, so much division, so much complication, so many games, even. I know I am not alone in finding it exhausting – a friend recently picked up an original Xbox, a CRT TV and a ceiling-high stack of games for pennies, and is absolutely delighted by his return to what feels like a simpler era. It’s not “the games were better then” – if anything, most were worse – but that the entirety of games and gaming seemed so much calmer.

Me? I dream of Dun Morogh, the snowy Dwarf and Gnome starting zone from World of Warcraft.

Note – please click on the images to enlarge them. Some are, I think, quite beautiful.

To this day, I can close my eyes and conjure up particular paths, creatures and caves from Dun Morogh. There were a couple of years when WoW was nigh-on the most important thing in the world to me, but even before I fell wholly out of love for its ongoing drift into a game of numbers, nothing I saw or did in it, across multiple characters, continents and even planets, could ever measure up to Dun Morogh.

Dun Morogh, in my memory, still feels like home. My first character in WoW – save for a brief dalliance with a Night Elf priest in the beta – was a Gnome Rogue, initially named Kafka but then changed to Samsa (as in awoke one morning to discover etc…) after some passing bore dobbed me into a jobsworth GM for using a name deemed to be too real-world. I made alts, sure, but Samsa, her twin daggers and her bushy green pigtails would always be My Character. Still around on a server somewhere, abandoned soon after hitting the level cap in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, waiting.

Waiting for that perfect day when something happened to bring me back. That day will never come, of course. World of Warcraft is never going to return to the game of risky exploration and dress-up it first was, because it has set and then become victim of so many stat-chasing, dungeon-repeating precedents that inform so many games to this day.

Because I can never go back to Dun Morogh. Not with Samsa, who could slaughter her way through its entire monster population in a heartbeat. Samsa was born in Dun Morogh, earned her stripes in yeti caves and snow-wolf dens, knew well the inn in Kharanos, the bridge just outside the path up to mighty Ironforge, trekked down what felt like endlessly long and lonely trails to do battle with boss-beasts or retrieve kegs of Dwarven ale. In Dun Morogh, she learned how this new world worked, she learned its geography, she climbed snowy hillsides and she gazed upon the ruins of old civilization. She made it her home. And when she moved on, to lush Loch Modan and then lands far, far beyond, she always felt like a tourist.

Dun Morogh, in memory, was a lonely place, but beautiful and serene with it. WoW had no shortage of lonely places, but others tended towards the scorched or desolate. Dun Morogh was a quiet wonderland, feeling broadly untouched by the conflict that ravaged the wider world. A place of hunters and fishers, builders and boozers. I was happy in Dun Morogh. I felt I had found The Game, the only one I would ever need. I snuck into every cave with wonder in my heart, climbed every mountain desperate to see what hints the horizon might hold.

I have long dreamed of Dun Morogh, and this year especially have wished I could somehow restore myself to that earlier, simpler time. Me in the snow, fighting wolves, fishing in frozen lakes, gazing in awe at players who had somehow already earned their mecha-ostrich mounts. So much promise, so much anticipation.

I remember finding a green leather chestpiece and being delighted that it matched my hair. I kept it in my inventory for the longest time, long after it retained any possible use, hoping that, somehow, I’d be able to use it again. But the numbers took hold of me too, eventually, and I sold it just like everything else that did not give me the maximum possible statistical boost.

Today, I went back to Dun Morogh. Not with Samsa, no. She and it have too little in common now, and besides, I would have to spend money to reactivate my subscription. My nostalgia only stretches so far, you know.

I created, instead, a new character. A new Gnome, a mutton-chopped fellow named Shortbread, and this time a Hunter. I felt that was most in keeping with what I remember Dun Morogh to be.

I readied myself for the snow, the solitude, the wolves. And I was appalled.

Many of WoW’s earlier regions have been remixed across various expansion packs, and Dun Morogh is no exception. Well, partially. Where once I seem to recall I spawned in some icy field, now it was deep in Gnomeregan, the Gnome home city that was taken over by leprous gnome-zombies and rogue mechs. Gnomeregan had been primarily an instanced dungeon before, but now seems to double up as a revamped starting area.

It was so busy. NPCs everywhere, engaged in automated firefights with those zomb-gnomes, weird machines all around, commotion and bluster and this carnival of activity. A game utterly desperate that I should not feel bored for even a heartbeat. Even the music was now boisterous heroics, not the quiet strains of icy solitude I remembered.

I found/fought my way to the surface as quickly as I could. An elevator carried me from the bowels of Gnomeregan to what would surely be the Dun Morogh I knew.

But no. Outside, yes, snow, yes, but another carnival. I felt I could barely take seven steps without seeing another NPC or another visibly loop-spawning flock of dangerous-looking but in fact preposterously feeble monsters. I remembered walking for so long, before. Now everything was right there, moments away. I was a pinball, bouncing rapidly from task to task, no danger, no delay, gimme gimme gimme.

Was this really it? When I reached the quiet town of Kharanos, would that too be clamour and commotion? Would the long road up to the dwarven capital of Ironforge now be three steps with a quest-giver on each? Could I hope to see even a single frozen lake? Would I never dance with the wolves again?

I walked on and fought on, further away from the heartbreaking circus this had begun in. The road to the next area grew a little longer than those to date. And then, over the hills and far away, I finally saw something I recognised. And I wept, just a little. Ridiculous, I know. But I had seen home.

Hidden by trees, shadowed by mountains, but I only had to see a fraction of it to know what it was. The gates of Ironforge, carved into the living rock. Before it, a spread of empty snow and white-tipped pines. The eternal Winter of Dun Morogh. Still here, still lonely, at least this corner of it. Prettier than ever, too – a combination of WoW’s technological improvements over the years, a better graphics card in my PC and an ultrawide monitor granting great vistas.

I rounded the corner, and sighted Kharanos. I had felt sure this would either be gone or polluted by too much activity, but remarkably little had changed. It was still a two-building town, with a little camp of traders just past the inn.

A few more NPCs around, yes, and the inn itself was overstuffed with Trainers – the dread hand of Convenience had grasped Kharanos, and I no longer had to walk far to find everything I needed. But it was still Kharanos.

I took Shortbread a little way out of town, found a rock atop a hill, and looked down upon a sweeping, fir-bounded valley, the moon held eternally between its two sides. A lone boar wandered casually along the valley floor. No people, no yellow exclamation marks, nothing but the snow, the sky and that one pig. Just to my right, an Ironforge Mountaineer held constant watch. I felt she had chosen this view too, so I stayed with her.

This was my Dun Morogh again. I had Shortbread sit down on the rock, and then I logged out again. I think, forever. Forever in Dun Morogh dreams.

43 Comments

  1. Cerzi says:

    I still get nostalgic for the gates of West Freeport in 99. A flat pixel line of a horizon, about two colours to the sandy textures. The sound of rats being splatted by level 1s. And when the storm came rolling in, the flickering lights of the gate’s torches became a warm nostalgia-imprinting blanket before the dangers and mysteries of the commonlands and beyond.

    • drussard says:

      The gates of Halas, the frozen wastes of Everfrost.. my first stumbling sighting of a mammoth. Seeing dozens of level 1 naked characters and their various corpses strewn about the ramp into the ‘city’. Where stepping off that ramp almost always meant a brush with death and disaster. Terse, tight, and brutal. To know that I will, in all likelihood, never again be able to emulate that feeling, that moment, is rather crushing.

      • Matter says:

        This is my favorite too. I still remember the soft sound of the cold wind, the crunch of the snow beneath my feet. I grew up in cold wintery lands with tons of snow, and was living in LA when EQ came out, and this allowed me to enjoy snow without the travel and cold. Too bad no later experience ever lived up to this, and I wish I could have those early experiences roaming Everfrost to experience again.

        • Inu says:

          I miss that Everquest feeling as well. I think what really made it unique were the handcraftedness of everything. And NO MAPS. I think people really underestimate the value of unknown exploration.

          Encountering a player in the Halas snow named Twobearsahumpin.

          Playing my first game on Broadband O M G! That made such a difference in the game.

    • cp3oh says:

      The dark mystery of Greater Feydark! The soaring, regal marble pillars of Felwithe, my home. Man I miss the thrilling adventures I had cobbling together groups of lowbies and braving Crushbone, or wandering out and exploring the twisting valleys and hills of the Butcherblock Mountains.

      There used to be crowds of people gathered at the docks, waiting for the boat to Freeport. Once a contest broke out on the trip across the sea, jumping off the top of the boats aft castle onto the deck to see who could take the most falling damage.

      Since the game is F2P now, I logged back on and I was pleasantly surprised to find my High Elf Cleric was still there, right where I parked him fifteen years ago. I spent an entire evening traveling, revisiting old haunts and stomping grounds, empty now but full of echoing memories. After a while I brought him home to Felwithe and parted ways with him for the last time, saying goodbye and leaving him where it all began.

      Old fans talk about Project 1999 but that game could never be to me now what it was when I was 15. But I’ll always love the memories of all my friends and our adventures.

    • Ghostwise says:

      You can still do that in Project 99, if you have the Titanium version of Everquest.

      I occasionally do. In fact I did a few levels in West Freeport with a baby wood elf druid not too long ago, travelling on foot from the Faydark and everything.

  2. Faldrath says:

    *raises a glass*

    What Dun Morogh is to you, Tirisfal was for me, Faldrath, the undead warlock with a green ponytail. Brill, and especially Undercity, of the killing elevators, that I knew like the back of my head.

    WoW almost cost me my PhD as I tried to keep up raiding with an American guild in a very different timezone (raids would end 3:30a depending on DST). I became an officer, then co-guildmaster, met a ton of people, became friends with many, fought with a few, all that drama that seemed to mean so much back then. I made excel spreadsheets with all the loot I wanted whenever new content was released. I browsed Elitist Jerks every day.

    Then I was forced to quit the hardcore raiding at the end of WotLK to finish the phd, and it was a very good thing. I moved to another, smaller guild with a couple of my closest friends and raided only casually, and then only with LFR. I finally got tired of it all in the beginning of Pandaria.

    Some of my closest friends still play, and say Legion has been the best expansion ever. It’s tempting, I admit. But I can’t open that door again.

    • SaintAn says:

      Legion is the worst expansion. Your friends are brainwashed from hype. And the Chronicles book ruined the lore with the dumbest explanations to all the games mystery.

      • Afkilla says:

        How is Elysium?

        • frenz0rz says:

          It’s awesome, an almost perfect time capsule of WoW circa 2006 – both in terms of world and community.

          However, due to sheer popularity they’re experiencing some queues and server lag at peak times, not to mention overpopulated starter areas. There’s a second PvP server due to roll out some time in January which should help mitigate this; it might be worth holding off for that to save yourself some grief.

      • Arkayjiya says:

        What hype? Warlords of Draenor is the hyped expansion, not Legion.

      • Tobberoth says:

        You might want to note in your post that you are in the overwhelming minority when it comes to that opinion. Outside of nostalgia, there’s little doubt that legion is the best expansion so far. Tons of content, and relevant content. No expansion before has stayed relevant for this long and kept constant updates coming. Yeah, blizzard got a bit too trigger-happy on the RNG elements, but no expansion was ever flawless.

      • falcon2001 says:

        Could not disagree more with either statement. Chronicles is freakin’ great and Legion is easily one of the strongest expansions so far.

    • Alk3Catch22 says:

      What’s your PHD in?

  3. Asurmen says:

    Don’t you mean the 2000s, and not the 2010s?

    • Ghostwise says:

      Yes, but before this can be fixed we must bring Alec ten Young Dire Wolf pelts.

      • Ericusson says:

        There should be a thumbs up feature just for your post.
        Fetch quest, my braindead love.

  4. sosolidshoe says:

    My Oughties nostalgia-nirvana is Star Wars: Galaxies, pre-NGE certainly and pre-Cu preferably. I remember logging in for the first ever time at EU launch and being dumped in some wee backwater town on Naboo(can you even imagine randomised starts in a “polished” modern MMO?), and a kind gent who’d been previously playing on the US servers taught a bunch of us the ropes. We went hunting out in the wilds and he gave me a camo duster – no stats, it just looked awesome.

    When I finally decided to go offworld, I went straight to the obvious place with zero shame – Tatooine. Another anachronism MMO gamers today would balk at but I rather miss; transports took time. They operated on a schedule that had nothing to do with you, and sometimes you’d have to chill in the Starport or at the Shuttleport for 10 minutes or so to catch the next ship. It sounds like pure timewasting, but it really made you feel like the gameworld was an *actual* world, one that existed independently of you, one you participated in but that didn’t exist purely to serve your whims.

    Tatooine though, Tatooine is where I’d love to go back to. Battling filthy Rebel Scum at Bestine & Anchorhead, surveying the dunes for prime harvester locations, my wee Small House up in the hills, heading down to Mos Entha or Mos Eisley for the RP communities there and ending up in a speeder chase through the streets and out onto the flats, it was amazing, not just as a Star Wars game but as a game period.

    Sometimes I think about firing up the fan server that’s popped up, but it’s still only half finished and TBH, I’d rather preserve the nostalgic memory as-is than risk tainting it with reality seen through older, more cynical eyes.

  5. Romeric says:

    I’m so glad to have read this. My first character, Romeric, a Gnome Mage, had a similar experience to your account here. I, too was saddened by the introduction of Gnomeregan as a starting area – I much preferred the trek from the Dwarves’ starting area, before reaching Dun Morogh proper. I, too dream of it sometimes.

    I hope that one day they will make Gnomeregan into an actual Gnome capital city. It’ll probably be way too loud, clunky and mechanical, but it’s OK to dream. As with the rest of WoW, it’s all a massive rush to the player cap now. I really miss the feeling of adventure you used to get. Rinsing a zone for XP before moving onto the next is far better than abandoning every zone’s quest chain because you’re massively over-levelled. I wish they would return the levelling experience to the vanilla days. It would take probably months to reach the level cap, but it would feel like an actual adventure, rather than a repetitive series of various Pez dispensers I can’t help but feel the experience has become.

    Great article!

    • Ericusson says:

      The grind of it all is overshadowed by your nostalgia.
      Once you have done the vanilla leveling one time or two with the 2 factions, the perspective of having to go through that 6 months slog makes dying in a bath of weak acid an enviable perspective.

      Or something like that. Discovery and exploration lie in new content now.

  6. Cropduster says:

    More of a Razor Hill man miself.

    But for me it’s the tiny corner of Eve’s Metrpolis/Heimatar regions that I started in in ’08 that resonate with me. Kind of wierd as systems in Eve are so intechangable (even more so back then). But I remember memorizing the system names to get from mission hub to trade hub to exploration hotspot before I knew how to use the map or travel routes.

    And the lowsec pockets, where I’d wonder to looking for lucritive radar sites, and I’d watch older players dueling to the death 1v1 in battleships, then get hunted down by them as they tried to teach me about eve survival by teaching me stuff, blowing me up, then asking me what I’ve learned. Valuable spaceship life lessons.

    Probably not going to get fresh mmo experiences like that again, the closest thing for me was waking up at 5am to cross the sea in archage at lvl30 in a rowing boat, but it didn’t last. Those formative days in Eve Online in the back end of Minmatar space were very speacial and meaningful in a way that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repeat.

    • Ericusson says:

      My latest memories of pvp in Eve : – and then a falcon uncloaks – f..k it I’m training a falcon alt.

      • Cropduster says:

        Well since alpha clones your entitled to as many free navy griffin alts as you can handle.

  7. Themadcow says:

    Alliance scum! Nothing beats the majesty of Thunder Bluff.

    kek.

    • Ghostwise says:

      Breather scum ! Nothing beats the gloomy hills of Tirisfal Glades ! Where senile undead grandmas possessed by shadow demons roam !

      Like Alec I did end up going back to the beginner zones using the free version of the game, out of sheer nostalgia. The good thing is I don’t have to write about it, because my reaction was similar to his (though the other starting areas are less impacted than the gnomes’, I’d say).

  8. muki0 says:

    For me, it was starting off in Teldrassil as a night elf warrior. Being my first venture into MMOs and open world games, I spent an entire weekend exploring what I thought was a vast world (but merely an island), went in totally blind. I couldn’t figure out how to get “down” from the “sides” of the Teldrassil, though. I spent a couple hours (and a few deaths) hopping down branches over the edge of the world, only to find out you had to take a portal to Rut Theran village.

    Reaching Auberdine opened my mind up to how huge the world was. I had gone in blind, not spoiling anything by looking at maps or screenshots of the different areas. So discovering a new area with a new palette, new music, that was completely crazy! Not knowing how to take the gryphons, and not exactly comfortable how levels worked, I walked all the way from Darkshore down to the Thousand Needles as a level 10, dying quite a few times, just exploring.

    It was then I thought I should have picked an explorer class, as if there was such a thing, not a warrior.

    • kael13 says:

      Teldrassil was my first zone, too. And although I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost within its wondrous forests, Dun Morogh is my absolute favourite. As Alec portrayed so faithfully above, there was just something about the contrast of the stony but warm interiors and the icy bleakness of the wilderness outside.

    • WyldFyr says:

      I too started in the vanilla days, before the never-ending server-wide circus event that the current players mistake for the game, and Teldrasil was my first zone. The music still haunts me in a playlist titled “epic”. As does “NightMountain01” (…ding-dong,ding-dang,dohhh…) because my 2nd zone was Dun Morough (and because server time was set to our time zone and we played in the evening, I got to hear the night tracks more). I started playing just hours after my wife, who began as a gnome. As soon as I was ready at the high level of 8, I went on my own quest to join her in Dun Morough, not having any idea of what lay between us. The journey was epic, made possible by the friendly players along the way, including a level 40-something dwarf hunter that escorted me through the Wetlands and Loch Modan. There we leveled-up and started traveling around, meeting people, doing dungeons, learning how to really play, and making friends along the way. Sadly we dont talk with those friends anymore – separated by life, geography, and no longer playing the same games.. but will forever cherish those memories.

      Oh, BTW, here’s a tip: If you are like me and ever plan on driving the Avenue of the Giants, put together a small playlist of WoW Day Forest and Enchanted Forest (Teldrassil) with “angelic01” thrown in good for good measure, and play it on the drive. You will be glad you did.
      ;)

  9. Xiambeh says:

    This is what I love about PC gaming! Reading an article about a now-defunct zone in a 12 year old game and feeling such a profound sense of nostalgia and warmth. My uncle introduced me to WoW when it was released and logged his first character into Dun Morogh. I had played MMOs before (RIP Asheron’s Call…) but this was something different. Once I had my own account I made a dwarf warrior.

    I have no idea how long I lingered in Dun Morogh and Ironforge before moving on. I had no interest in leveling or gear progression, no drive to find a group to power level through dungeons, or even any real interest in the overarching story. I simply wanted to exist as a part of this community of dwarves and gnomes, tucked away in a haven of frost and stone. Even once I finally moved on from Dun Morogh, I felt so disconnected from the new areas that I began rerolling new gnomes and dwarves; always delighted to return to this place that truly felt like home.

  10. JeetTO says:

    I ran a 150 person guild on the European servers back in the pre-expansions days (YOGS ftw). I recently tried a trial of WoW for a couple of hours and it was such a different game I just gave up.

    You can’t go home again, to either Ironforge or Gnomeregan.

  11. Palindrome says:

    The Dun Morogh of old still exists in Nostralius, I have spent the last couple of days being brutally murdered by Yetis and Snow Trolls.

    You don’t need a sub either :)

  12. causticnl says:

    it was also my starter zone (dwarf!), and I revisited it recently when I resubbed for legion. Its still amazing, sadly they removed the day/night cycles from the game (why?), so you now can only see it at daytime.

  13. satan says:

    Besides Death Knights in WOTLK, I had one of every class well clear of the starter zones since TBC, so didn’t go back to starting zones until I think… Pandaland?

    I only lasted minutes trying to make a new character, because like you I just wanted to get all of the in your face scripted garbage out of my face and make my way in the world, instead of having it rammed down my throat. When I did finally go back and pushed myself to level a monk, I think I gave up somewhere in the mid 20s because even then I was still being forcefed heavily scripted plot and having NPCs falling over each other to talk about how amazing I was just for showing up.

    I used to have a very impatient friend in Vanilla who wasn’t big on the world, never read any quest text or paid attention to the lore, always told me things should come sooner and easier, I’d always tell him there were other games that were like that, and that this wasn’t world of yougeteverythingforfreecraft… or something along those lines, he’d grumble and we’d go back to whatever we were doing.

    Anyway fast forward to today and my friend thinks WoW is better than it has ever been, and I find it difficult to even talk to him about WoW because to me it’s barely even a shell of what it was. All I see is a dressed up Diablo3, with Blizzard’s desperate realisation that the lore actually meant something to a lot of people being brought into sharp focus with the lost isles of single player hamster wheel legion having buckets of every single lore odd and end in the history of the game slathered all over it in the hopes that it’ll attract somebody, anybody to play it.

    I’ll always wonder what roads the game might have gone down if not for the Actiblizz merger, when the shift to a focus on maintaining and growing the subscriber did the opposite on both accounts, and the game became beholden to shareholders instead of players.

  14. Sadfist says:

    Such an awesome article! Thank you, Alec!

  15. Pantsman says:

    I think you’re not alone in feeling this way, Alec.

  16. Louvellan says:

    Well, having never spent a second of my life on WoW, I went to read this article out of mere curiosity. Boy, am I feeling weirdly melancholic now. Superb penmanship as always, Alec. You put words on something that’s hard to put words onto, this fuzzy, forlorn feeling when thinking of old, MMOey glories. Even though I couldn’t relate to the places themselves, everything you said echoed through me and my personal experiences. It takes a degree of sensitivity to allow such feelings to relate to something as, one might say, trivial as video games. I’m happy to see that this kind of sensitivity is (very well) written about. I have no particular regret for old games and could never get retro-gaming, as it were, but there’s something about our memories of game worlds discovered, explored and appropriated, so to speak, as our younger selves. Something that apparently triggers melancholy.

    For the anecdote, this article echoed my memories of a teenager hanging out in Tau 37 fighting those damned outcasts to protect my IMG buddies, and sometimes going back to civilisation to see if anything had changed. Man, was Freelancer the king of kings.

  17. Chillicothe says:

    Dun Morogh and Tirisfal Glades are similar as they’re both large with large tracts of low-density areas surrounding one location or curiosity.

    But those days are long gone, and we don’t so much live in an age where things like this are normal perfection of the MMO model, but such things are chosen, and it is said to be the choices of madmen who feel pleasure from pain and frustration. Why else would one not feel relief from insta-que raids, voluminous gold, and hyper-competant character and gear power? We’re like tetras where our owners knocked the food flake can into the tank but failed to notice the mistake till it was too late. It’s from a spigot now, large numbers of us can’t go back, even if we wish to and games built like that exist.

    And no, WoW was not my first MMO, that was blood-besplattered Shadowbane. THAT’S how powerful and quality WoW was.

    I will say that new Gnomeregan music is good.

  18. frenz0rz says:

    I do urge you to try Nostalrius/Elysium, Alec. I really do.

    I returned to WoW via Nost earlier this year having not played in around eight years. WoW was THE defining game of my teens, and I was worried upon returning that I was about to taint those memories irrevocably. But I was wrong. Nostalrius succeeded and still succeeds in capturing the feel of WoW circa 2006; not just in the world being as it was, but much more importantly, in the sense of community and shared experience. The world is very much alive.

    This morning I bumped into a random priest in Thousand Needles who was kind enough to invite me to quest with him. He evidently spoke very little English, but we persevered, and before parting ways he insisted on enchanting all of my gear and gifting me some extra food. I added him as a friend.

    This evening, four friends and I attempted Scarlet Monastery despite being notably underleveled, and we nearly died with laughter as we were slaughtered one-by-one by the first boss – only to emerge victorious with one man standing. It was the best multiplayer experience I’ve had in months.

    I mean yeah, I certainly missed the serenity to be found in those quiet corners of the world; those nights listening to WoW Radio at 2am whilst fishing under the stars in Stranglethorn Vale. The empty, almost superfluous zones like Azshara that you could wander for an hour without seeing a soul. Those are great memories. But more so – and I think I only realised this upon returning to vanilla WoW – I missed the people, the interaction, the stumbling through a vast world and meeting curious strangers who, in time, might become friends. From everything I’ve been told, it sounds like that’s what WoW has really lost.

  19. ludde says:

    My first character – a dwarven hunter in beta – took me through Dun Morogh as well. It’s a lovely place, but for me Loch Modan causes even more nostalgia. Revisited it on Nostalrius and it was grippingly emotional.

    My hunter went on through Wetlands, then Ashenvale on so forth. Man was that an adventure.

  20. skalpadda says:

    My first WoW character was a tauren druid and one of the early druid quests had you teleported to Moonglade to then take a fairly long wyvern flight back. In hindsight it wasn’t actually that long, but it felt epic, and that flight was my first real sense of the world and I was so intrigued by the turtle skeletons in Darkshore and everything else I flew over. After getting Aquatic Form and finding the sea off the Barrens I swam around the entire continent of Kalimdor, which was one of the greatest gaming evenings of my life. After getting Travel Form I went exploring all over the Eastern Kingdoms, developing elaborate strategies for running past monsters in all the high level zones.

    That joyous exploration is still unmatched for me, but WoW will never be the same and no other game has really gotten me that excited for exploration again.

  21. TWChristine says:

    WoW was my first MMO, and even if I no longer play, there’ll always be special place in my heart for the FEELING I had..especially in those first few weeks as I learned about the game/world. I remember running through Elwynn forest on an important mission, and suddenly there was this giant gryphon flying only a few feet above my head! I stopped to watch it and then out of the trees, another one dove down, following the first. I was floored. At the time, I thought it was just higher-level players on flying mounts and I was amazed that this game had so much content! (This was pre-BC) I still enjoy running around in Darkshore, the “home” of one of my characters, and I was honestly pained when I saw what had become of the zone and Auberdine (where I spent many hours resting). Ah well, time moves on and all we are left are the memories. I miss that game.

  22. Igniferroque says:

    At some point, probably during Cataclysm, they created a unique starter area for gnomes. Back when we both started, Dwarves and Gnomes shared what is now the Dwarves starting area.

    I remember playing for 3 days without sleep when I first started. I doubt anything will be as wonderous as those times.

  23. left1000 says:

    I think back in 2000 gaming was different because it was still uncool. Nerds did it. That meant we got left alone by mainstream media pundents who wanted to rile up arguments for hits.