So, if I could go back in time and change one thing about my life, I would take calculus in high school. When I look back at my school career and my work career, I can observe the cascade of events that followed my decision to not take that math class. I can see how it affected my choice of classes in University, the progression of my degrees and the effect it eventually, inevitably had on my undergrad thesis and my prospects for a Master’s degree. I can also quite clearly see how it affected my choice of industries, of companies, even the projects I am working on today. Some of the roughest times I have had in school and in work can be traced back to my lack of calculus in high school. That decision that I made well over a decade ago was not unfounded, was not random and the series of events it caused were to a large extent predictable. So, if I was magically given a do-over, if my life was rewound back to the point where I started making decisions that would have far-reaching effects on my life, I would do that one thing differently.
Tobold asks if you were given a do-over for your WoW character would you take it or would you walk away? Would you do everything in your power to reunite your guild or would you take the opportunity to quietly exit stage left? I know for me, once I got over the shock and outrage at Blizzard for screwing things up, I would keep playing. I would make efforts to at least contact my guild members, even if we didn’t re-form. I would re-roll and I would happily re-level. Or happily enough I suppose. With the crush of everyone trying to level again, Azuremyst Isle would go back to the way it was the day TBC came out and Teldrassil would be sinking under the weight of brand new toons. The competition for quest creatures and items in every starting zone would be like Howling Fjord or Borean Tundra was the day WotLK came out. And likely twice as cutthroat as everyone would be leveling not with an eye to enjoying new and beautiful content, but with a surly scowl, a chip on their shoulder and a grim determination to regain their former glory as fast as possible. The flavour of levelling would be different, but I would still do it. This likely only proves that I play more WoW than is healthy for me, but I already knew that.
As interesting as that scenario and the responses it generated is, what I want to know is if you were given a magical do-over by the gods of video games, would you start playing WoW again, knowing what you know now? What was the impetus behind the decision to obtain those game discs, to install and to start up that first toon? Would you do it again? Would you do it exactly the same? What changes would you make? Knowing what the patches and the expansions had in store what would you do differently?
My better half was addicted to WoW long before I ever even bothered to pay attention to what it was. He was an old-time Warcraft player, having played them since the very first one came out. I was getting frustrated with the amount of time he spent with his nose in Azeroth, and so he offered to show me what it was all about. One viewing of the (original) trailer was all I needed to convince me this was something I should try out, and 10 levels in I was ready to mainline Warcraft for the rest of my life. If I had the chance, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I don’t regret one single second of the time that I have taken from my life and given to my characters.
What I would do different is roll Horde instead. I was a little shocked when that thought flitted through my mind, seeing as I’m a really hard-core Alliance player. I love my elves, my dwarf, my little gnomes. I even love my spacegoat bank alt. I love Stormwind. I love Teldrassil. Not just that, but going back and chaning myself from an Alliance player to a Horde player means I would never have met the people that came to make up the guild I’m a part of. I might never have ended up as a guild leader.
It’s kind of a frightening thing to imagine. Playing WoW without my guild? Playing without the people that I have come to love as much as I love any of my friends (and some of my family!). Potentially giving up the opportunity to guild lead and definately giving up the opportunity to lead the fantastic group of people I am with now. The reason behind this is even though I don’t regret the time I’ve given to WoW, over the years it has caused me some conflict within my personal life. Chosing to go Horde would mean chosing to spend more time with my better half, rather than the situation we have now where I play Alliance and he plays Horde. I imagine that with both of us playing together, there would be less strife, less arguing, more understanding. I imagine as well that I would still develop into the raider I am today, but that he would develop along with me. There has been too many arguements in my house about me giving more of myself to my guild and my raids than to anything else. Perhaps if we were playing and raiding together none of that would have ever happened.
The thought of playing without my guild as it is now brings me almost physical pain. I cannot even begin to talk about the love and the support, the good times, the bad times, the drama, the boss kills – everything we have together and everything we have meant to each other over the years. We have grown so much as a guild, as players and as friends, I know that it would be excruciating to start over again knowing I might never see them again. I think that if I did start back at the day I began playing WoW, knowing that my guildies were out there somewhere I would try to contact them, to see if they wanted to play Horde, or even just to keep in touch. I would also hope that I would run into a similarly wonderful group of people Horde side.
And, if I did get this magical do-over, if I did get to start all over again at the very first day of my WoW experience, knowing all that I know now about how to play, how to raid and what the patches and expansions would bring – I’d use that knowledge to become very, very rich.