Alright, I guess I’m really strapped for ideas today, because I’m going to talk about my introduction to the game, and to Blizzard as a whole. And the better part? IT’S A TWO PART ENTRY! Hopefully this will be interesting for someone…but this is what happens when you run out of ideas early on!
Flash back to the year 1997; Sega Genesis was awesome, Super Nintendo was amazing, and the Nintendo 64 had just been launched. Biggie Smalls had been shot earlier in the year, so the radio was playing a lot of “Hypnotize” and the East vs. West thing was kinda settling down a bit. I was chilling at my friend Josh’s house one morning (after a sleepover, because that’s what you did in suburbia when you were sub 10 years old), and I awoke to him being on a computer, playing a game!
The concept of a game on a computer wasn’t foreign to me, but this game had…graphics, and pixels, and colors! It made sounds, had text, and did things that weren’t reminiscent of the games I had played on PCs before (think old DoS based stuff). The game in question was Warcraft II.
This was my first introduction to the Warcraft franchise, and more importantly, to Blizzard games as a whole. I hadn’t even known they existed back then, much less that people played them. And truthfully, as awesome as everything looked, it really didn’t look interesting at all, at least enough to make me want to play them. Eventually, I got a computer (well, my family did, I just got to use it), and I ended up playing games like Dark Forces, X-Wing vs. TIE-Fighter and a couple of others on it. We can all agree, I wasn’t the biggest PC gamer on the planet, I was pretty happy with my consoles and wasn’t gonna go anywhere.
It’s now 2004. World of Warcraft releases, and my experience with it is non-existent. I am in high school, and already game too much on just JRPG’s, shooters and console games. I have a girlfriend who lives in Nebraska, and that relationship’s beginning to blossom. I briefly flirt with the idea of playing Final Fantasy XI, thanks mostly to Ian McConville’s comics on the matter, as well as my friend Jon and his excitement regarding catgirls. Three of my friends buy WoW, and play it as die-hard Alliance players, raid Molten Core, and do everything all you Vanilla-heads talk about all the time and get all misty-eyed for. Then, Burning Crusade is announced, and they summarily quit. Horde Paladins? Alliance Shamans? Flying mounts?! It’s cats and dogs laying together with each other! This is madness!
To this day, none of them have even remotely been curious enough to come back from what I can tell.
Let’s flash forward to 2006. By now, I’ve played Warcraft III: Frozen Throne and Starcraft: Brood War, and while they were fun games, I was more heavily invested in Neverwinter Nights, Unreal Tournament and Counter-Strike (1.6 for all of you guys who know out there), so I never really got into them until…
2007. May. Seoul. The Worldwide Invitational. I was awake in my college dorm room at 4am because, well, that’s what you do in college, and browsing around the big gaming journalism sites after a project. All of a sudden, something big just got pushed…Blizzard was announcing something. Oh, hey, there’s a trailer! And after watching a bit of awesome CG cinematic complete with awesome sound effects and pretty ballin’ music, we see a closeup of Tychus Findlay’s face, and (in Korean, of course) he says the immortal words: “Hell, it’s about time,” and the visor drops.
Instantly, I get a text message from my best friend, who was passing around a message from mutual friends, scattered across the United States like Dragon Balls; “We’re getting ready this summer. You’ve been warned.” My throat dries and my heart jumps in my chest. The last time I played an RTS with them was Warcraft III: Frozen Throne, and I was awful at it. I was going to be a walking mercy-killing. This was gonna be bad…
Soon after, a fire alarm sounds, my roommates wake up, and we all shuffle outside to the center of the dormitory complex, yawning, tired, and confused. I spy my friend Marcus across the courtyard, and the two of us walk up to each other; and we both know what the other is thinking.
“You see the announcement?”
I only nod.
Summer was just around the corner…