I melee’d Sapphiron (as a hunter) and liked it.

A tale of sex, murder, and intrigue! Or of how WoW totally broke me of my MMO phobia, introducing me to some awesome friends and the joys of raiding. One of those.

Let me date myself: I was introduced to video games on the Apple IIe. Oh Oregon Trail, I still find dying of dysentery amusing thanks to you.

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As my obsession with games and terrible jokes progressed, I inevitably became addicted to Sierra games, which one day led me to trialing “The Realm”.

It was my first experience with this phenomenon of online gaming. I’m pretty shy by nature, and even online chatting makes me nervous, as though the person on the other side of my computer screen can see my unkempt hair and dowdy t-shirt and sweatpants (sexy!). Still, I really liked Sierra, so I figured I’d probably like this newest creation of theirs and should try it.

I carefully created a little character and ventured out into the world, quickly meeting someone in town who was friendly and helpful, crafting me some cool gear so I wouldn’t keep getting my ass handed to me by everything I battled.

Emboldened, I ventured forth into the world, quickly encountering another player, this time one who challenged me to battle. Ok then, let’s go! He was a higher level than I, but I figured it was worth testing my mettle. I should have surrendered and ran, but panic held me fast and I was soundly trounced, then stripped of all my belongings and left for dead.

I’d been ganked before I even knew what the word meant (was that even a word, back then?).

Crushed, naked, and angry, I logged off and never returned. MMOs, I decided, were clearly not for me.

Fast forwarding a fairly significant number of years… I’m still gaming up a storm, on both PC and console. I’m also particularly enamoured with RPGs and their ilk. I knew of Blizzard through the Diablo franchise, and the info on this World of Warcraft thing they had released sounded pretty awesome, but… MMO. Never again!

Then an old friend of mine asks me if I’ve tried it and, after being regaled with the story I’ve just told you, informs me that I can essentially play it as a single player game, if that was my wish. I could create a character on a PvE realm and have no fear of the dreaded ganking, and even if I did find myself on the wrong end of a PvP attack, they can’t take my stuff and leave me having to start all over. I would be able to ignore everyone around me and do my own thing.

The hook was in and, like a drug dealer, he slid a trial disk across the table at me: “Try it, you’ll like it.”

Admittedly, I was vulnerable. Things in my life weren’t so stellar at the time. I was stressed, unhappy in my personal life, and in need of an escape. Maybe another world was just what the doctor ordered?

That night I rolled a night elf druid on Icecrown, because that’s the realm my friend was on, and got to exploring.

I was mostly over my virtual shyness at this point, having grown accustomed to the online life that has taken over the world. A huge Sims fan, I was very active on a few forums for the franchise, and discovered that many of the friends I’d made there also played WoW.

When my friend never once logged on to his character, I decided to reroll and join a friend and family guild led by someone I knew from Sims. They were Horde, on Shadow Council, and I’m an elf fan, so suddenly I’m not only playing an MMO, but I’m buying an expansion pack, because who doesn’t want to be a Blood Elf? They’re so pretty!

I dinged 70 on my belf hunter a couple of weeks before Wrath dropped. I had no bloody idea what I was doing, but I was having fun doing it, so I’d already pre-ordered the expansion, intending to continue in my blissful ignorance of chatting with people and killing 200 of X for 30 teeth (how do these things kill me with only half a tooth a piece?).

Wrath rolled in with its incredibly entertaining pre-expansion world events and introduced me to achievements. Damn them.

I’m a completionist on an almost OCD level, so I immediately set out to try and get as many as I possibly could. Coincidentally, I was also introduced to the fun of PvP, astonishingly, as I made bonfire runs during the Midsummer holiday and managed to take out a DK near Astranaar. This led to me and another guildmate deciding we wanted to find a group to do For the Horde!

The run we found spots in was being organised by a then popular guild known for their world PvP events. They were splitting into two 40 man raids to take out the first three capitals, eventually converging on Ironforge, the most annoying of the capitals to successfully penetrate.

We fought our way to the throne room of the massive dwarven city, the Alliance slaughtering us in droves for every inch of ground we captured. Eventually we made our pull on Bronzebeard, only to be cut down before we could successfully take him out.

Making a corpse run back to the throne room, we waited. The second wave had just completed Stormwind and were on the tram heading our way.

From our ghostly positions we saw the battle waging toward us, the encrypted shouts of the surrounding Ally filling our chat panes with bold, red nonsense (kek). Then, as the second wave entered the room, we rezzed.

It was glorious. 80 Horde players crammed into the throne room, sending my grossly outdated computer into an apoplectic fit from the spell effects of that many people converging upon a single space.

I got my black bear that night, but more than that I discovered the high that is working as a team toward a common goal of glory. It was at that point I knew I was meant to raid.

I left the friend and family guild behind, joining a 25-man doing Naxx. I still had no idea what I was doing, but I was getting better at figuring it out through forums and the fan pages of other hunters (I still miss you BRK).

When that guild fell apart, as they do, I co-founded a 10-man with some of the stragglers from that and another guild, tackling Ulduar and then ICC. It was during that stint in ICC where the scepter of GM was passed on to me, the hunter n00b who hated MMOs. That was nearly six years ago.

Now, going into my fourth expansion, I’m a druid again (resto/feral), and managing a Horde raiding guild with 2 successful teams and over one hundred individual players. What started as a way to pass the time has progressed into a part of my life so significant I cannot even begin to believe it.

The people in my guild are not just pixels, they are real life friends. We vacation together (Blizzcon!), cheer one another on during good times, and offer support during the bad. Half our days are spent razzing one another on Facebook and our guild forums.

When my marriage fell apart, they were all there for me. When someone close to me died far too young from cancer, they helped me stay occupied and work through the shock and grief, and when I shamelessly poached a chunk of raiders from a collapsing guild on my server, I discovered my best friend, soul mate, and future husband in their GM.

So, to that old friend who pushed this beast of an addiction onto me, only to leave me high and dry to fend for myself, I just want to say: Thank you.

Oh, and my story title? My gun broke right after the pull. Took us nearly to enrage, but I trapped and raptor stiked the crap out of that bony dragon! I also nearly got the Cho’gall kill wearing a chef hat, and I’m pretty sure I once did Deathwing’s Spine wielding a fishing pole. I’ve also healed in my feral gear, wondering why my mana was so low, so the brain farts go beyond my days as dps. Good times…

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