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Back in my day, it was all about patch 1.2

Patch 5.2 this, patch 5.2 that! Back in my day, we had real patches. Or rather, we had the very first content patch for the game -- patch 1.2. Daily quest hubs? Dailies didn't even exist back then. No, you got a dungeon -- a single dungeon -- and you liked it. And there was none of this silly heroic nonsense, either. All we needed was someplace to run in and smash a few centaur and we were perfectly happy.

But seriously, it's actually kind of odd to think about, because I remember that very first patch with utter clarity. It was still 2004, less than a month after the game itself had been released -- and I had just gotten the hang of playing a druid, more or less. Well, I figured out what talent points were for, anyway. Hint: It wasn't just the game congratulating me for leveling up.

I was such a noob back then.

Back in my day, it was all about patch 12
In the early days of Warcraft, I had a leveling partner who traveled with me -- a warrior to complement my druid. Druids at that point weren't really viable at anything but healing. The feral tree was a nightmare for leveling, and leveling was incredibly slow. So slow, in fact, that it was far easier for me to heal my warrior friend while they pulled massive packs of this and that, happily cleaving down anything that stood in their path.

But somewhere along the line, they got ahead of me in the leveling process. And I remember feeling incredibly stupid as I leveled, because I just wasn't as good at it as the warrior was. It wasn't my fault really, the class was still hobbling along at that point. So I limped along, trying to keep up and despaired when I realized said warrior was now a good six levels ahead of me.

When they announced patch 1.2, I had no idea what the heck a patch actually was. WoW was my second MMO -- the first being City of Heroes. I liked being a superhero, but I didn't get a chance to get really absorbed into the game by the time I got a beta key for WoW, so I'd never experienced a patch cycle before. What I managed to glean was that a patch was coming, I didn't need to purchase anything else to get it, and there was going to be a new dungeon in the patch called Maraudon.

Back in my day, it was all about patch 12
I wanted to do Maraudon more than anything. When the patch was delivered, I still wasn't high enough level to do it. I remember logging on when the patch came out, eager to see what all this new stuff we'd gotten was about, and discovering to my horror that my warrior friend was already in Maraudon, without me. In a way, it was kind of a beginning of the end of that particular friendship -- not long after hitting level 60, the warrior either quit the game or re-rolled elsewhere, I'm not certain. Regardless, I was left to my own devices at that point.

I didn't see Maraudon in patch 1.2. A few minor patches rolled out before I stepped into the zone with a few friends I'd manage to harass into going with me. But I do remember stepping from dusty desert into underground grotto with mixed feelings on the subject, sad that my leveling partner was no longer at my side. That feeling of sadness was completely wiped away by the time we got to the waterfalls just before the final boss, lost somewhere in a sea of staring at scenery and exclamations of "My god, you can see the sky outside if you look up! Look at that!"

By today's standards, the addition of Maraudon might seem pretty weird. It wasn't an end game dungeon -- it was smack in the middle of the leveling process. It would be like having a patch for Mists of Pandaria that only introduced a level 86 dungeon and a couple of class changes. But back in 2004, when we were on the brink of discovering that this was a really good game, anything shiny and new was appreciated.

Back in my day, it was all about patch 12
For a first content patch, 1.2 wasn't really much to behold. But there was still a lot of excitement surrounding it, because it was the first patch. We didn't know how many we would get. We didn't know what was coming next. There was no talk of expansions, no talk of raids, no talk of daily quests or valor points or anything we see today. There was just a new dungeon waiting to be explored, mysterious and unknown to everyone. In the end, I think it was that little thrill of the unknown that appealed so much to everyone.

That, and being able to finally turn off the graphic for my cloak and hat. Gear was ugly back then, guys.

Sometimes I wonder, between bouts of PTR testing and patch cycles, if we'll ever get that sense of wonder back again. I kind of miss it. I'm curious though -- what was your first patch? When was it, and what did you get really excited about? Leave a comment and let us know! And if you're looking for more information on patch 1.2, be sure to check out what WoW Archivist had to say.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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