I turned around suddenly to the clang of the gates behind me, viewing the span of a burning city before me. Undead horrors and abominations stared blankly and stumbled in sporadic groups. The city of Stratholme lay in ruins, overrun by the legions of the Lich King. I was alone; a still green adventurer that only two days prior was wandering the halls of the Scarlet Monastery. "I thought that the Scarlet Crusade was stationed here somewhere," I thought to myself. Knowing I could make no difference to the fate of this doomed city, I dug through my pack for my hearthstone, and touched it. The city view blurred and vanished before me.
My first adventure into Stratholme was far less poetic than the excerpt of my fan-fic above. Instead, it was filled with far more obscenities and questions as to why I can't get out, and statements of how no group could ever possibly take on 10 mobs, be them elite or not. They should have stuck a warning sign out front! I think back on that day, a year and a half ago, where I realized that the game did not end at 60. In fact, it had barely begun for me. And I've recently realized that the same can be said for 70.
So many people play this game, and many of them skip by much of the content that exists. There is a mentality to get to level 60 to go to Outlands or to reach 70 so you can raid and get the best gear, but many forget that this world is alive and has much more going on than the handful of high level instances and raid dungeons. Riding through Darkshore, did anyone stop and gasp in awe at the Master's Glaive? What monstrous beast is that, which only a blade of a titan could bring it down? In Orgrimmar, there is a tree with the skull and armor remains of the titan Mannoroth. I never even noticed it until it was pointed out to me by another reference. Amazing! There is so much history here and yet so much left to be discovered.
The life of the world is wonderfully detailed as well. Who felt a surge of emotion stumbling upon a lost little girl seeking her dolly, only to find out that she is a ghost? Or perhaps finding the truth behind the madness of the Scarlet Crusade in Stratholme? The gates of Uldum in Tanaris hold information that make us think that Azeroth was even constructed by ancient beings of technological power. These things blew my mind!
The next time you are storming through heroic instances with your guild, think of how you got there. Think back to the families in Darnassus you healed by gathering spider venom. Think of the Orc whose honor you restored by finding his family's medallion in a nearby cave. Think of the conspiracies you uncovered along the way and the span of their intent and grasp over the minds of the people of Azeroth, long since forgotten, deep within the distant Dark Portal. Mostly, think of the creative minds behind the World of Warcraft, and stand in awe at their vision and story that you are now a part in.
Do you have amazing stories to share? Please comment!