When Raid Lives and Real Life Intersect

The relationships you develop when you play any online game can leave an indelible mark on your life. Often, these wonderful moments and memories are attributed to such random names as Sundown, Viszerban, Boot, Sarutobi, Narutotwo, etc. Because, honestly, how often did you find out their real names?!

Twelve years later, I still remember with fondness Sharina’s /huggles; that my mage Kochanski, who was named after Lister’s love interest in Red Dwarf, was very similar to the Polish words for “I love you” thanks to Merlina, my warlock friend of Polish descent living in Canada; that Tiggy /bites and would often demand sandwiches once he found out I was a woman; that Coolcat lived freakishly close to us, yet we never got together; and that Alenassin worked in coal mines in Virginia.

Seltaeb and Quill questing long before Fusion.

Seltaeb and Quill questing long before Fusion.

I remember drunken shenanigans with several guildies in Massachusetts one night during the Burning Crusade days. For the life of me I cannot tell any of their real names, but I can tell you that my husband and I had a lot of fun partying with Alterya, Watz, Steelfury, Tuon, Hegram and one or two others that night. And Watz? She could cook one seriously badass skirt steak and that bacon corn dish she made? I’m still trying to recreate it to this day.

Yet, of all these experiences nothing has, or will ever, hold a candle to traveling across the ocean and receiving a guided tour of my personal Mecca from our guild leaders. On our honeymoon.

Yes. We met our WoW guild leaders and they gave us a tour of their hometown and my musical holy grail - Liverpool, England. My Macca Mecca, if you will.

Life doesn’t often get more random than that. Then again, isn’t that the beauty of the relationships we develop through our online avatars? Fleeting, and if you’re lucky, enduring relationships that change us (hopefully) for the better. Even the brief moments where we allow someone to touch our lives via a game without ever meeting in-person change us: the late night chats where you get a glimpse into someone else’s life halfway around the world or when you’re having a woeful stretch IRL and someone online provides the words of comfort you didn’t realize you needed.

And when you’re at your luckiest, you get to travel around the world and connect in-person.

It was 2006 and we’d been playing faithfully on the Dalaran (US) server since a few months after release. We were members of The Windriders, the top guild on the server through C’Thun. It was enjoyable being in the upper echelons, but as time went on, we suffered raid burn-out and discovered that we also enjoyed the slower track. It was a fun challenge of going through the raid instances with a brand new guild. Seeing Molten Core with new eyes.

Some old school Fusion fun. Heading to the Quartermaster.

Some old school Fusion fun. Heading to the Quartermaster.

It started with us occasionally joining MC raids on alts, but ultimately we became members of Fusion - a guild led by married couple Peculiar and Alyssandra (Pec and Aly). We got along well with them and since I wear my musical passions on my sleeve, or in this case, my hunter - Seltaeb, they knew my love for The Beatles early on and we discussed their hometown often.

Along with a healthy dose of daily WoW and work, we were in the process of planning our wedding and our honeymoon. We knew from the start we’d honeymoon in London - it was a city that held great meaning to both of us individually that we wanted to share together. And, since he is a saint when it comes to humoring my musical obsessions - the trip would involve a side trip to Liverpool so I could see the place that birthed The Beatles. It was definitely an added bonus we’d be able to meet Pec and Aly! As the trip neared, we began to solidify our plans with them.

We would take the train early one morning, meet up with them, spend the day sightseeing and then take a late train back to London. Of course, travels never work out quite as planned and the train schedule flipped from Summer to Fall a few days before our trip - which left us with far fewer options. After FINALLY finding a car rental shop that had an available car - we were on the M1, several hours later than planned.

Checking out THE Penny Lane with Pec and Aly.

Checking out THE Penny Lane with Pec and Aly.

Our day trip was turned into a two-day trip and saw us arriving in Liverpool and at Pec and Aly’s doorstep in the evening. There was something surreal about pulling into their driveway that night, ringing the doorbell, coming into their home and seeing them raiding with all our guildmates, the majority of whom were back in the states. We hung out for a bit, but didn’t want to disrupt the raid too much.

We made our plans to meet up in the morning and headed into town to find a hotel and start taking in the sights. As it turns out, when in England, you need to take football matches into consideration when traveling. There was a Liverpool-Manchester match in town that night and hotels were booked up solid. Between drinks at the Cavern Club and The Grapes (another known Beatles hangout), we went from hotel to hotel in ascending price point looking for a room. Finally, when we thought we’d hit the last hotel in the city, the concierge tipped us off to a brand spanking new boutique hotel back downtown. He called down for us and got us the literal last hotel room in the city around 1 a.m. It was a gorgeous hotel and ended up being cheaper than the room we had back in London. We lucked out completely!

THE Strawberry Fields! My mind is blown in this picture. (That's why the photo is so damn fuzzy.)

THE Strawberry Fields! My mind is blown in this picture. (That's why the photo is so damn fuzzy.)

The next morning we met up with Pec and Aly (AKA Adam and Louise) at PanAm, a restaurant on the Albert Dock alongside the River Mersey. We ate lunch, chatted guild and game and then hopped into our cars. They drove us around to all the sights: Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, St. Peter’s Church where John met Paul. All these magical sites that I’d spend my life dreaming of that were part of their everyday world. Sites made all the more special because we had friends showing them to us.

All too soon, it was time for us to hop back in the car and head back to London. We said our goodbyes and “See ya in game”s and headed out.

As time went on, we all took breaks from the game and sadly lost track of each other. Yet, they are still in our hearts for sharing that special day with us.

 

 

 

So, Alyssandra and Peculiar of Fusion on the Dalaran server circa vanilla WoW (AKA Lou and Adam of Liverpool, England), Seltaeb and Quill thank you for your hospitality, your friendship and one amazing addendum to our honeymoon!

Have you ever had an in-person experience with an online guildmate? We’d love to hear your story!

 

How I Ruined My Guildies' Mythic 17 Key

Today was an excellent day. I went shopping, got some comics, a book some lipstick, mascara and really great conversation with my mom and cousin visiting from out of town.

After a long day out in the streets, I came home, helped (okay watched) my mom make some seafood gumbo, took a glorious, hot shower and hopped into my pj's. It was time for some fucking WoW!

I logged onto WoW and Discord and immediately my guildies are like "There goes our other healer." They were putting together mythic + runs to get everyone their +15 for the week. I already had my glass of water AND my peppermint hot chocolate. I was ready to go. Plus 17 Lower Kara it was.

My guildie put the key into the socket and it was go time. I start healing. We're fucking shit up. Fuck you, volcanic and fortified and sanguine! An eyelash fell into my eye or something. My eye started itching. Cool, no problem. I can just kinda rub/wiggle it out while healing. Then, my eye starts burning. Burning bad. FUUUUUCK! I just put on lotion! Now, in addition to the eyelash or whatever was in my eye, I now have Organic Lavender and Chamomile Shea Butter Body Balm (it smells heavenly but burns soooo bad) in my eye. My eyes are watering bad. I can't see. I can't stop crying (not sobbing, but eyes leaking bad). I'm in discord cussing up a storm. Guildies are both laughing and yelling at me, "Hurry up and go flush your eye out." My brother and my 10 year old cousin are laughing their asses off at me.

We finished the instance, but didn't complete the key. And I need a nap. Yup. I'm a fucking peach.

I originally shared this story with my favorite Facebook WoW group, Women of Warcraft.

History of World of Warcraft For Beginners

FROM TITANS TO ORCS AND HUMANS TO THE SCOURGE'S REIGN OF CHAOS AND ONWARD TO THE LEGION, NO OTHER GAME'S HISTORY IS AS RICH AND EXCITING AS THAT OF THE "WARCRAFT" UNIVERSE.

You don't have to know the Warcraft history in order to appreciate the magnitude of "World of Warcraft". But learning about the history and lore can really add to the experience and emersion into the Warcraft universe. Azeroth's history is exciting and fun and full of mystery. Azeroth's history can be found everywhere. In addition to the Warcraft games, novels and shorts, "World of Warcraft" itself offers so many nuggets of lore within the storylines as well as books found throughout the game. From the book "Mythology of the Titans", found in Scarlet Monastery, to taking the fight to the Legion on Argus, here's part 1 of the breakdown of the expansive history of the Warcraft universe.

IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WERE TITANS AND SHADOW...

Well, the Titans didn't exactly create the universe. We still don't know how the universe came to be. But the Titans, led by a council called the Pantheon, regulated the universe, the worlds and the beings that inhabited them. But from the Twisting Nether came dark magic--shadow magic and beings who sought to either destroy or control everything, the Eredar warlocks, enslaving countless worlds. The in-game book "Sargeras and the Betrayal" explains the rise and fall of the titans' greatest warrior, Sargeras. Sargeras was appointed to defend and protect the worlds from the spreading evil. And though Sargeras defeated the Eredar, he fell into depression, making him susceptible to corruption by his next foe, the Natherim or dreadlords. Sargeras, unable to shake the corruption and the depression joined the Natherim's Burning Legion. Sargeras acted as a sort of double agent, undermining all of the progress that the titans made as they went from world to world shaping and organizing.

Disclaimer: "Sargeras and the Betrayal" is the original tale of Sargeras' downfall. His lore was rewritten for Legion.

World of Warcraft fan art of the 5 original dragon aspects. By artist Keisinger037

World of Warcraft fan art of the 5 original dragon aspects. By artist Keisinger037

BEHOLD! A NEW WORLD CALLED EARTH AZEROTH!

The titans made their way to a new world and called it Azeroth. But there, they discovered the inhabitants worshipped powerful, elemental beings referred to as The Old Gods. And so, the Pantheon waged war on The Old Gods. The Old Gods' armies were led by Therazane of earth, Al'akir of wind, Ragnaros of fire and Neptulon of water. Though the elemental lieutenants were powerful, they were not powerful enough to defeat the Pantheon's armies and were imprisoned far beneath the earth. After they felt their work was done with the ordering of Azeroth, they charged the dragon aspects, Alexstraza, Ysera, Nozdormu, Malygos and Neltharion to watch over their prized accomplishment, Kalimdor.

On this new world was a mysterious lake of great power, the Well of Eternity. The quel'dorei or Night Elves believed that the moon goddess, Elune, slumbered in The Well during sunlight. So the priests studied the well. Their quest of knowledge allowed them to create civilizations across the whole of Kalimdor. Queen Azshara build a civilization on the coast. She and her loyal subjects were also fascinated with the magical properties of The Well and began experimentation. They discovered their powers grew and soon could create or destroy life as they saw fit. It wasn't long before Sargeras felt the power of the Well and the practicing highborne from worlds away. Malfurion Stormrage, a powerful student of druidism suspected there was something corrupting Queen Azshara and her highborne elves. And so Sargeras convinced Queen Azshara to create open a portal at the Well of Eternity, prompting the first invasion of The Burning Legion. With the help of the dragon aspects, the Burning Legion was defeated, but not before Neltharion went mad and turned on his fellow aspects, renaming himself Deathwing. The Well of Eternity was destroyed and the highborne were exiled.

 

 THE HOMELESS HIGH ELVES FIND A NEW HOME.

After surviving the War of the Ancients and being exiled, the highborne, led by Dath'Remar sailed the turbulent waters of The Great Sea. Finally, they landed on the beaches of northern Lordaeron. They trekked inland, settling in Tirisfal Glades. However, there was something quite evil beneath the earth and many of the highborne went mad. They continued northward, encountered new creatures and beings and tribes of primitive humans--the Zul'Aman trolls--and finally they found a place that they could call home. They founded Quel'thalas and made Silvermoon City their capitol. They defeated the invading trolls and lived in peace for over 4,000. And then, having regrouped in the shadows, the trolls attacked, nearly destroying Quel'thalas.

The humans warred with each other constantly until one tribe, the Arathi tribe led by Thoradin, sought to unite the tribes. After defeating rival tribes, the Arathi would offer peace to those he conquered, gaining their respect and loyalty. With all human tribes united for the first time, they built Strom, becoming the first human empire led by King Thoradin. Envoys from Quel'thalas ventured to Strom to plead for help. The elves decided to some of the secrets of their magic with 100 select humans. Together, the elves and humans laid waste to the troll armies. Quel'thalas pledged their friendship and loyalty to Arathor and its bloodline.

AND THE HUMANS FUMBLED THE BALL.

The select 100 who learned the ways of the elves passed their knowledge down to a newer, naive generation. The humans began to spread out and built a second city called Dalaran just to the north of Strom. The new magi, feeling constricted, moved to Dalaran hoping to practice magic freely. They built up Dalaran, but their frivolity lured the Burning Legion back to Azeroth. Luckily, they did not come in armies, but launched small scale attacks. Still, they proved too powerful for the novice mages. The Dalaran mages sought help from the Quel'thalas.

The elves told them of the history of the Burning Legion and the dangers of practicing magic. The elves and human magi of Dalaran made a pact: they would entrust the magic of all with one responsible mage. The elves stressed the importance of keeping magic and the Burning Legion a secret, as to not spread fear, pandemonium and more recklessness. Thus, they created a secret council, The Guardians of Tirisfal. As more humans practiced magic throughout the lands, the Guardians' job was to monitor and assess to which degree of power was used. The Guardians of Tirisfal became known as the Kirin Tor or Mage Senate.

Thus concludes this journey into the early history of Azeroth. 

Intro to Playing World of Warcraft: A Crash Course

Whether you're new to Azeroth or are just returning after long hiatus, this crash course will help you survive.

There are dozens of forums, websites and Youtube videos dedicated to World of Warcraft. And yet, most of them don't answer some very simple questions. Oftentimes, you're forced to sift through tons of crap not relevant to what you're looking for, having to listen to someone explain something horribly. And don't get me started on the craptacularly (that's my word), hideous music in the background. Here's where Ge'NeL comes to the rescue! We've created this guide to answer recurring questions asked in the Women of Warcraft Facebook group and all across the internet world....of Warcraft.

WHERE TO START

First things first, you have to decide which type of realm is best for you: player versus player (pvp), player versus environment or role playing versus player.

  • PvP is exactly how it sounds. It's faction player against opposing faction player in addition to NPCs. Outside of major cities, the potential to be killed by another player is pretty high. Some people even find joy in terrorizing low level areas. While it may be annoying, it comes with the territory.

  • PvE realms are relegated to environmental gameplay. While pvp is still an option on pve realms, it requires being in a battleground or arena or turning pvp settings on.

  • RPvP is a bit different. It's role-playing! You interact with other players as if you are an NPC or you can create a background for your character. Almost anything goes, including ERP (erotic role-playing). If that's what you're into (not gonna knock it--you do you, boo-boo) then you can get started in Goldshire.

Which faction is better? Horde or Alliance?

Before someone attempts to fill your head with nonsense let's get this out of the way first. One faction is not better than the other. They banded together for different reasons. That being said, different races have special abilities based on their race. You can click on the particular race then the "More Info" button below the races to see which abilities they have.

After you've decided which faction, race and class you want to play.

MAKING FRIENDS

Some people are content to play WoW alone. And that's okay. Some people enjoy solitude and want to play at their own pace. WoW, in itself, is a very social game where many objectives require playing with others. It really does help to have a friend or two to quest with. But making friends in Azeroth isn't always easy.

  • Join a guild. Joining a guild is the fastest way to meet new people. Talk in guild chat and gauge how people communicate with each other. Do not assume everyone's humor is the same as yours. Not everyone fancies dark humor. Needless to say, your first interaction with someone shouldn't be "Sup bitch" or anything of the like that shouldn't be the first thing you say to someone. Also, remember that a lot gets lost in translation via text communications. So be mindful of how you communicate with others and also how they communicate with you.

  • Create your own guild. By creating your own guild you can create the type of environment that you want to be a part of. Invite people you've interacted with who you feel would fit into the virtual home you've created.

  • Enter random dungeons and battlegrounds. Not only is doing dungeons and BGs a good way to learn to play your class better, but also a pretty decent way of meeting other players. And if you're good, it's likely people will give you kudos and want to play with you again.

  • Don't beg for gold. If there's one thing worse than gold sellers spamming trade chat, it's gold beggars. They are annoying. We know that newcomers need gold. But it's frustrating that people put a lot of time and effort into their characters to make gold, save up for repairs, etc. just for someone to come in and start off with "Hi. Can I have a few gold to guy a piece of gear from the Auction House?" No, bruh. I feel for you, but you have to make it the way most of us did. This guide will show you how to do that, too!

DUNGEON ETIQUETTE

Azeroth has enough bad apples to go around. There will always be abominable twats who think that hiding behind a computer screen gives them a free pass to treat others like total crap, waste people's time, pick on others because of their playstyle, etc. This guide is to help you to not be one of those guys or gals. Here are a few do's and don'ts to help make Azeroth a better world--of warcraft.

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. You're new or it's been a while, speak up. "Hey guys! This is my first time here. Anything I should know about this boss?" People generally appreciate when someone can ask for help.

  • Be open to constructive criticism. It's not easy being told or made to feel as if you suck. Some people seriously do not have tact when talking to others. That's still no reason for anyone to treat you or anyone else like crap. But do try to be open to advice from those who do try to help you by sharing a few pointers or tips.

  • Don't need on every item that drops. In addition to your race-based special abilities, the character creation page also tells you which type of armor your class wears. For example: You're a druid in a dungeon with five other blokes. A piece of cloth drops. The priest wears cloth. You need on the item because you might be able to wear it. Don't do that! Druid's primary armor is leather. Priest's primary armor is cloth. Be courteous and ask if they need it before hitting need. Another example: You're a big, strong warrior in a dungeon. An intellect trinket drops. You hit need. WRONG! Warrior's primary stat is strength. Warriors do not need intellect for anything whatsoever.

  • Do try to have patience for other players. Healers need mana. Tanks sometimes like to wait on their cooldowns or certain abilities before pulling. Someone's kid may decide to play Whack-A-Mole with mommy or daddy's keyboard. Someone's cat may decide that their keyboard is now their bed. Stuff happens. Life happens. Be patient. It will be okay. I promise.

MAKING GOLD

Being new to WoW or making a new toon on a new server and not having enough money to repair your gear, buy gear or buy supplies really sucks. But there are so many ways to make gold. Here are a few ways to ensure you stack your paper (gold) quickly.

  • Loot everything. Yes, loot everything, even the grey items. Vendor them. The copper and silver add up.

  • Sell green (common) armor on the AH. It doesn't matter how low the item level of the gear is, it will likely sell on the auction house. Dirtydianna and Thickyvicky have found some amazing, low level green items for transmogs.

  • Choose a gathering profession. Leather, ore and herbs always sell on the auction house. Always.

  • Collect cloth. Cloth is yet another big seller on the auction house. Especially low-level cloth. Netherweave cloth continues to be the biggest seller on the AH, probably because Netherweave bags are easy to make and they sell very well, especially to low level players looking for more than the 4, 6 and 8 slot bags that they get while questing.

ADDON BASICS

Addons are not for everyone. Some people prefer to play with just the game UI and that is perfectly okay. But some of us use addons to enhance game play and in-game experiences. Here are a few basic addons, if you are interested, that may help you navigate your way through Azeroth.

First, download the Twitch Desktop App. It's all encompassing since they partnered with Curse to include addons. On the Twitch app, click Mods to take you where you want to go. Then select World of Warcraft to take you to addons for WoW. Clicking on the name of an addon will give you detailed information about what that addon does.

  • HandyNotes for questing is amazing!

  • BigWigs or Deadly Boss Mods for when you decide to venture into dungeons and raids.

  • Decursive is particularly helpful in dungeons, raids and battlegrounds. It's a mouseover addon that allows you to quickly removes harmful magic, poisons and diseases from your party or raid members if your class has the ability to remove them.

  • Details! Damage Meter, Recount or Skada damage meters. These are very handy to help keep track of damage, healing, absorbs, deaths and other actions. Details not only displays the damage and healing stats from your party or raid, but also functions as a way to help you improve your game play. For example, as a healer, both you and another player have the same specialization, similar gear and item level, but he/she is putting out more HPS than you. A number of things could factor into why your heals are lower. With Details, you can mouseover that person's name and it will show you what their top heals are. The same with damage.

Was this guide helpful? Comment here, on our Ge'NeL fanpage or by tweeting us at @genelmag! And don't forget to share!