My Story from Ten Years of WoW
Hi, my name is Rothalack, you can call me Roth or Frothy if you please. In fact, I think it's safe to assume that I am known as Rothalack by way more people than I am by Brian or ever will be. I love this, it makes me feel good for whatever reason. Today I will be speaking to you with my native Azerothian tongue, so please excuse the not-real words and swearing, it's just more comfortable that way!
An Entire Decade
A lot can happen in ten years, think about what you were doing, who you were, ten years ago. For me, I was 14, a drastically different scenario than being 24. One thing is for sure, who I am now is a direct result of what I've done for the last ten years. Everyone is a product of their past, each second added together equals you, now. Who I am now has been hugely affected by none other than World of Warcraft. How big an impact? Well let's just say between all the played time on all my characters, I just passed up 250 days played.
Is that a bad thing? Hell no! I am beyond proud of this, I owe my identity to it. I have accrued completely unforgettable memories from it. I have life long friends as a result. I felt as though I belonged somewhere more than anywhere else before. I want to tell this story. Prepare yourself, it's a lot.
In the Beginning
There was me, the total noob, playing on Dunemaul US Horde. Little 14 year old kid playing WoW on a crap computer through satellite internet. Might I add, I had a 5000ms ping at all times. Yes Direct TV's internet, you are TERRIBLE. Because of this handicap, I basically had to just stick to myself. Until, I met Vomit. Oh Vomit, you crazy person you. A little background on him. He is what we now know so well as the internet troll. He had fun screwing with people and it was hilarious. At one point he started a guild that he called Nuclear Forum Terror and it lived in infamy. In fact, the largest guild at the time, whom everyone hated like Nickleback, was Imminent Rise. They were that guild that would rip members of other guilds out to improve themselves. They were the death of many guilds, until one day Vomit and I devised a plan to bring them down.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Imminent Rise was in need of a new warlock, and guess who they found. THIS GUY!!! So, first trial run in BWL with Imminent Rise. Little did they know, mwhahaha. We made it through the first few bosses and arrived at the place of planned chaos, the whelp room. All 40 of us slowly made our way up to the boss, Broodlord. If anyone of you remember the room, there were two floors. Each floor completely covered in endless whelps. The second floor overlooked the first with no line of sight barriers.
We start the boss fight, 'I need to time this juuuust right'. At around 20%, I need to make my move. '22%, 21%, 20%, GO!' I drop my rain of fire at the farthest corner of whelps on the first floor. 'No ones noticed yet, NO ONES NOTICED! GO GO GO!' The flood of whelps arrived. The healers were the first to go. Meanwhile, I was keeping my threat down to as low as possible.
You may wonder, why did I specifically go for 20%? The boss drops, we won, but who was still alive? Myself and one straggler healer, tank and few DPS who were desperately attempting to bring down the whelps. Still, why does this all matter? Imminent Rise would run loot completely open. They would do their DKP betting and the winner would pick up their item. There was a level of trust, as well, if you ninja looted, obviously you would be kicked from the guild. No one expected me, the kid trying to get in the guild, would do such a thing. Of course they were wrong. Whilst they tried to live through the whelps and argued ferociously over who pulled the whelps, I walked on over to the boss, grabbed the loot, and let the whelps kill me.
All the meanwhile, this is how I felt
Ventrillo was a mess, 40 people screaming, it was glorious. I admit, this was not the decisive end of Imminent Rise. It was only the beginning. Continual similar operations added all together to bring them down. How awesome would that be if someone from the guild at the time remembers and can give even more detail on the little things that added up.
I Got Off Topic
That was just one story. I wish I could recall these things in order chronologically, but it's a bit blurry for me.
I started playing WoW during my freshmen year of high school. I went to an all male, military, catholic high school. You may have actually heard of us, Benedictine, founded in Richmond VA in 1911. With that in mind, my last name is Schaaf and I was a little, easily picked on, glasses wearing, kid. How do you think that went for me. So yes, I found an escape in WoW. I found socializing in WoW. I found friends, I found people who wouldn't treat me like crap just because the rest of the asshole kids in class were too.
One particular person stands out. The name she went by was Russian... Eritchka? I can't remember how to spell it and I feel terrible for that. She told me how it is pronounced so many times and I still couldn't pronounce it and now, I can't remember how to spell it, sad.
She and I spent so many hours together for months. We played every day. We explored and got to know an entire world together. She helped introduce me to the world of Metal too. She would give me crap for liking System of a Down a lot haha, she was a fan of Dream Theater, so any of that mainstream stuff infuriated her.
I think one of my favorite times with her was back during the fabled 'Corrupted Blood Incident'. You know, the ZG disease. We weren't on the most highly populated server, so we decided to go grab the disease from ZG and run it back to Orgrimmar for show and tell! That was good fun haha.
I'm going to guess this is a screenshot from Illidan, Dunemaul was nowhere near this number of players.
I am not going to say that we were in a... "relationship", but we might as well have been. We never discussed it, it was just kind of implied. I never even thought about it then really, I just realized it one day thinking about her. Wherever you are, if you are seeing this, you were really my first girl friend and I couldn't thank you enough. I finally started getting some self-confidence around that time. That wasn't something I had before I started playing WoW. It was a new feeling for me, to have someone who felt meaningful in that way.
The Circle of Friends Grew!
I found Silver Legion. As far as I know, it was a clan from Warcraft 3. The guild leader and co-founder was SlMrMaul and SlSkyler. I met some life long friends here. Particularly, Billgar, whom I am speaking with right now as I try to piece all of this together. This is where the crew formed. It was myself, Billgar, Zaratai, Doomcaster, Poindexter, and many others that came and went.
This was a great time, we just played and had fun every day. We had our inside jokes and everything. The most prominent of which would be Zaratai's signature Ventrillo entrance. He would join in and immediately begin singing Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. I will remember that for the rest of my life, so many great laughs.
We all stayed friends and played together for what had to have been at least 3 years. From about mid way through vanilla to well into BC. So many things happened throughout all of this time. Of course we gained and lost people along the way. We basically just PvPed the whole time. Battlegrounds was our home, until the amazingness that is Arena was released with BC. Then we became hardcore arena freaks. It's all we did.
Somewhere along the way, Zaratai disappeared. We were all confused where he had gone and why. I still haven't heard from him to this day. None of us have. I wondered for years where he would have gone. One day, I think I found the answer. The information was provided by Billgar. This is where I am a bit unsure how much detail to give, but this, I think, is something everyone should consider and think about. Before I do, I need to give you a little bit of background on MrMaul.
I always had great respect for MrMaul. He was a great guy. Something he had always done was have an open ear and would talk about things like life troubles. It felt like he cared, you know?
One day, he got the news that his mother had died. I don't know the exact details. I would say at that time he was probably in his early 40's. He gave a very touching speech to the guild in Vent, explaining his mom had died and it got very emotional. Basically it made me have even more respect for him and felt like we all knew each other on a bit more of a human level.
Now to get to some of the little bit more sketchy stuff. MrMaul claims to have been a music producer. He claimed to have worked for Biggie Smalls even haha. Now the reason why I believed him was because of the photos. It could be that it wasn't him in all the pictures, but if that was the case, holy shit, did he do a good job making up a bullshit story.
The last thing I remember of MrMaul when he quit WoW about mid way through BC with Skyler, was that he claimed he was retiring and moving into his mansion with his new wife. Now, yes, it's starting to sound like a bullshit story. That was the last I remember of him.
Again, I'm rambling on and you're thinking what in the hell does this have to do with Zaratai. Zaratai's dad was a police officer. Zaratai had mentioned in passing that his dad was bothering him over playing WoW because he thought the pedophiles were out there stalking him. I don't blame Zaratai's dad, he's protecting his son, he's probably seen some terrible things being a police officer in Florida of all places (we all know the crazy stuff that happens down there).
Now you may be seeing where I'm going with this. At no moment of all the years of playing WoW with MrMaul did I think pedophile, nor am I even implying that I'm accusing him of such a thing. This is what information I was talking about from Billgar. Bill had found a suspicious MySpace page featuring, you guessed it, MrMaul. Let's just say it was... shocking. No, I'm not homophobic in anyway, but holy crap, that MySpace page was bad.
This may have been a total troll page, a complete fake... But there were more photos that made it seem real. So, the whole point, I think Zaratai disappeared because his dad probably found something like this on MrMaul and immediately flipped out. Again, I don't blame Zaratai's dad.
Either way, I haven't heard from him since. None of us have. I have seen traces of the name around on battle.net and private servers, but have yet to speak to him. It would be alright to find MrMaul again and get his side too.
So hey, Zaratai, where are you broski! Billy and I would love to play WoD with you mang!
The Boat Camping was too Stronk
One of our favorite things to do was boat camp. As Horde we would make our way to Menethil Harbor and claim the boat to Theramore Isle. We would usually roll in with a minimum of 10, and in upwards of 40. We did this for one very specific reason. The only way the Alliance would get to Onyxia was this very boat and guess who hindered that one for hours! We would spend literally all night camping the boat. It would be a constant hilarious massacre. Even when the guilds did come through to hit Onyxia, they would still come in slowly, never all at once. I recall only a few occurrences where the guilds would actually come together and take us out. Even if they did, we would just coordinate our res and recoup to take them out again.
The Short Bus... I mean Big Bus!
After having to move on from SL, we had to find a guild of some kind. Bill and I had been in the Dunemaul PvP scene enough that we were on the radar. We found our way into the guild Short Bus. It was a purely PvP guild full of Dunemaul's finest. Cripplecreek, Cyphen, Bradbury, Instagrits, Jonat, Yajirobi and many others. We basically had all the gladiators and we rocked people, good times!
We were reported for the name of course, we switched it up to Big Bus haha. Good decision in my opinion. This was when I really got in my stride for arena. For a little while there I replaced Cyphen on Bradbury and Yajirobi's 3's team which was ranked 9th in the world at the time. Needless to say, I didn't last long haha. Won a few games in there though! Was extremely satisfying.
This was our only PvE experience and we did it just for the laughs. Yes, the audio was muted from the video and it ruined me inside. It makes me sad every time I see it now, I don't have the original files to bring it back to life.
The best I ever did on making my own team was in 2's with myself playing SL/SL warlock and my partner was an amazing Disc priest. SL/SL lock at the time was indestructible, so many 'you can't kill me' abilities. My Disc Priest went with a half healz half burst damage build. We would run their healer low on mana and then burst someone. So much fun! We got up to 2k rated, but then Wrath came out and I went to college. My competitive gaming days were effectively over at that point.
I Didn't Think It Was Statically Possible
This, I think, is the most incredible story I have to tell. The title above should give you an idea. Our main crew that I mentioned about, we were close enough that we exchanged phone numbers so I could shoot a text message 'hey let's jump in arena' easily. One of those who I got a number from was Doomcaster. Doomcaster grew up in New Jersey, myself in Richmond. After I went away to college and Wrath had released, we all drifted apart for the most part, but I never got rid of the numbers.
Fast forward 4 years.
I am living in Richmond, going to ECPI and working as a delivery driver. One day I make a delivery to an apartment complex. The complex had building numbers and apartment numbers. I arrived at the building and saw I was missing the apartment number. I type the provided phone number into mine... As I'm typing the first few numbers, I see Doomcaster pop up. At that moment I'm thinking, no way, it's just a similar number. I get passed the area code and first six numbers... It still says Doomcaster... I had one number left to type and it still says Doom, at this point I have a little bit of a shake coming on. I type the last number and it still says Doom.
I seriously start shaking now, it was a moment where my brain is just thinking, this is impossible, there is no way this is happening, what do I do now? I sat there for a brief moment, maybe it was a good bit, I don't know, time wasn't moving at its normal pace at this moment. I just tried to forget about it for the moment, hit send on the number. "Hello", "Hey, this is Brian from Wing Zone, I noticed I don't have your apartment number". He gave me the number and I walked down to the door.
I knock, he comes out, all is normal, this is just a delivery. As he is signing I took a deep breath and said, 'this might be weird... but did you ever play WoW'?
"Does Dunemaul ring a bell...?"
"Does Doomcaster ring a bell...?"
At this point he is experiencing what I felt sitting in the car looking at the phone number.
"Yes... I'm Doomcaster?!"
"Holy shit dude, It's me, Roth!"
We bro hugged it first thing. Both of us just in shock over what has just happened. He invited me in for a beer. We hung out for a bit, I completely disregarded the fact that I was working while I was there. We just caught up on life and discussed how beyond insane it was that I was sitting in his apartment at that moment. It turned out that he was attending Law School at the University of Richmond, right around the corner. It was just coincidence beyond belief.
Let me break down how improbable this entire thing is.
- Over the course of four years, I held onto that phone number.
- Over the course of four years, Doom kept the same phone number.
- Doom decides to move to Richmond for Law School.
- Doom decides to move to an apartment off campus that just so happens to be in my restaurants delivery range.
- Doom just so happens to order Wing Zone.
- He just so happens to order while I'm working.
- I am not the only driver working, it just so happens that I was the one to take his order out, it was just as likely the four other drivers would have grabbed it.
- While Doom placed his order, the person who took his order had to overlook asking for his apartment number.
- Doom had to forget to give his apartment number.
- Doom had to give his cell number and not give a lan line number.
- I had to decide to call him myself instead of calling the store and asking or any other variation.
I want a mathematician to give me a the real number for the probability of this happening. Seriously, even just a five-minute difference would have made this not happen. I would have never known Doom was in town.
That's about all I've got. I'm sure I've just forgotten a bunch more stories that I could tell, but if you made it to this sentence all the way down here, I bet you don't want to read anymore. Congratz on getting all the way through(mmmm, 3200 words) and thanks for reading!
I am not eligible for winning the contest as I am running it, I just wanted to share my story!