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Joe's World... of Warcraft - Three Years

In this edition of his bi-weekly column, MMORPG.com Staff Writer Joe Iuliani takes a look back at the last three years of World of Warcraft, including some of the changes and its influence on pop culture.

Three Years

Queues back in style. Just when you thought it was safe to log on. Yet in some small way the queues are a fitting tribute to the success of WoW. Yup, hard to believe it’s been three years since WoW launched. On the plus side, I was able to enjoy Thanksgiving this year without worrying about how much leveling I was missing out on.

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This week I would like to reflect upon some of the things that have happened in WoW over the past three years that have really stood out for me,

2004…it was a year where the only goal was dinging level 60. New zones yielded experience and a breath of relief was sighed when you finally found that new flight path. Especially for those without mounts that seemed so hard to get back then.

The biggest boss to take down was Onyxia. For those that bothered, becoming keyed for Onyxia remains one of the most exhausting quests in the game. This once feared boss is now being taken down by 5 man groups. Sure the gear isn’t worth much for a level 70, but there is a deep satisfaction in steam rolling this boss. Call it revenge.

Prior to the Burning Crusade Expansion, numerous patches and instances had been released over time. Players were able to turn their attentions from Onyxia, and begin focusing on the Molten Core, BlackWing Lair, Zul Gu’rub, Ahn’Qiraj (twenty and forty) and Naxxramas. Both AQ and Naxx had world events tied into their release. One world event allowed players of all levels to participate in opening of the gates of Ahn’Qiraj. And you thought fishing was useless.

In my opinion Naxxramas got the shaft in terms of the less explored instances. With the announcement of the release of The Burning Crusade, raids came to a screeching halt. Players were focused on accumulating honor points in anticipation for the release. The loot that would be found in Naxx wouldn’t be worth the effort to obtain. Not when it was soon to be outdone by blue and green quest rewards.

Then, on January 16, 2007 at the turn of midnight, chaos strikes. Millions of rabid WoW fans descended upon malls and game stores waiting to get their hands on the expansion. Yours truly was among them, hyped up on java, and pacing the malls. It was a mad dash to get your game, jet home, and log on. Then you could see how may of your fellow guildies were as crazy as you for staying up half the night and installing The Burning Crusade.

The Burning Crusade brought players to outland and 10 more levels, new races, enhanced skill trees, higher crafting abilities, jewel crafting and flying mounts. Everybody loves flying mounts. There’s not much to be said about the Burning Crusade at the moment that hasn’t been said a ton of times already of late. So we’ll just leave it at that.

In its short three years of life, WoW has even jumped into mainstream popular culture. With the now legendary academy award winning South Park Episode: “Make Love not Warcraft”, WoW players across the servers began looking for their own Sword of a Thousand Truths.

Even Mr. T and William Shatner are on the band wagon. SHATNER!!!! I hope everybody out there really understands how damn cool that is. IT’ SHATNER!!! Check out these commercials for WOW here. http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/downloads/movies.html Keep an eye out for the upcoming Verne Troyer commercial, the bets are rolling out there if he winds up in a gnome related role.

Another popular commercial is from Toyota depicting the summoning of “Four Wheels of Fury” These video clips have spawned numerous chats, jeers and spam posting consisting of now (temporarily) immortalized quotes taken from them. All in all, they are nice change of pace from the all of the Chuck Norris and Gloves of the Aldor jokes that most players are subjected to. Which reminds me, to all you Horde players out there, enough with the Barrens chat.

In case that wasn’t enough, here are some more examples of WoW in pop culture:

  • A Collectible Card Game with in game rewards
  • Magna- Sunwell Trilogy (sure it’s pro-human propaganda, but worth it for the art alone)
  • WOW Action Figures
  • WOW Role-playing and Tabletop games
  • And most recently the World of Warcraft comic book, (currently on sale, and yes more pro-human propaganda)

For you WoW lovers, it looks like this game will be here and going strong for a quite a while. With Wrath of the Lich King on the horizon, the good times will keep on rolling. For the WoW haters, you’ll have something to mock and take shots at.

Let’s hear from you folks on your thoughts and experiences on the past three years of WoW.