Hanging out in the front of Ironforge. Karazhan runs. The snowy hills of Northrend. World of Warcraft is not just a game, it is its own, complete world. Beasts to slay, treasure to find, and quests to complete. Dailies for gold. Instances for gear. Fishing for fun. There is so much to do that it more or less became my second life for a sizeable chunk of my teenage years. After going to school, chatting with friends, and taking care of what needed to be done in the real world, I would hop onto the computer and become someone that was not technically me but might as well have been.
That sounds bonkers, but it is the truth. The amount of time, the resources, and the effort I sunk into that game were enough to make my avatar a natural extension of myself. Of course, I did not don armor, I did not ride an undead horse, and I did not have a gray beard, but I shaped my character into the kind of person I saw myself to be.
I was always big on questing. I loved going to the different countries like Stranglethorn Vale and Tanaris, searching high and low for those distinctive yellow exclamation marks above Hemet Nesingwary or the Goblins of the desert. I will never forget, for as long as I live, how I was one of the earliest players (within the first year or so) to earn the “Insane in the Membrane” achievement before it was nerfed. The requirements were being near or at “Exalted” reputation for some of the most obscure factions. Ones like Darkmoon Faire, which needed thousands of gold and cards, and Ravenholdt, which needed me to make a brand new “Rogue” class character specifically tooled to steal over 2000 junkboxes from enemies. Getting the “Feat of Strength” took months, but it was worth it.
The tedious work earned me a sweet new title of “the Insane” next to my character’s name. But that was not what ultimately made the game worthwhile. What made World of Warcraft worthwhile were the people around me. The guild I was a part of, my brother going with me to get some levels, and the various friends I made throughout my time in the Eastern Kingdoms is something that I will always hold dear. The game is way too addictive and way too much of a time-sink. And the game was not always smiles. But the memories I have of the game and the people I played alongside are and will only ever be positive.
Overlord gets at the same notion, how the past, while no longer with us, never truly leaves. However, unlike my time in World of Warcraft, Overlord is not all positivity.