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Farewell and thank you, WoW.com

I've told this story a few times before: I actually started out on WoW.com as a comment troll. A few years back, Jennie Lees was the lead blogger here, and she posted something silly about a wallpaper or a plush doll, I don't remember. I was also reading the forums at the time, and Blizzard had just dropped new priest patch notes. "Why are you posting this junk," I commented angrily, "when the priest notes just dropped?" She was nice about it -- she actually emailed me and said that the priest updates post was coming soon. And I felt so bad about it, I never activated the comment. But a little while after that, when WoW Insider posted that they were looking for some new writers, I applied, and said that I was sorry for that comment, but that I was working on becoming a writer and could help out with posting on the site when needed.

When I started writing for WoW Insider (now WoW.com, obviously), I was working retail in Chicago, writing part-time in the evenings. The site itself got only a few thousand hits a month, with one or two weekly features and maybe ten comments per post. Now, over three years later, I'm a fulltime freelance writer, I've been to three BlizzCons, I've written over 1.7 million words in over 3,300 posts here about everything in Azeroth, and the site itself rivals some of the best blogs on the Internet, routinely garnering millions of hits a month. I helped build this site with my own two hands, and while I definitely can't claim all the credit (there was and is a huge team of people who keep this thing running), it's with a fair amount of sorrow that I'm here to tell you today will be my last day on WoW.com.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

What's your best BlizzCon memory?

Did you manage to get your tickets? I'm sure there will be plenty of folks who are returning to BlizzCon. I wasn't able to go but I followed WoW Insider's coverage of the event from the opening ceremonies to the final concert. It was an awesome time for fans to get insight on some of the behind the scenes aspects of WoW, including an art gallery, a sound panel, and an introduction to Ghostcrawler.

I have to admit that even with the massive amount of information on classes and mechanics, my favorite part was the goofy fan stuff. I love how some people really get into their costumes and dances. I think I missed out most by missing the WoW Insider meet up. It's amazing that real people get so into our favorite game franchises.

For those of you who went last year, or even were following along with me, what's the best BlizzCon memory that you carry with you?
BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there's some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, BlizzCon

Azeroth comes through on the love hunt

This is one of the sillier articles that PC Gamer UK has probably ever written about massively multiplayer online games, but still, I enjoyed it. One of their writers went (only half seriously) looking for love in a few popular virtual worlds, and he found it, surprisingly enough, in Azeroth.

Neither EvE Online or City of Heroes were very helpful in the love-finding department -- despite finding a fetching young lady superheroine in CoH, the writer was a little disappointed to find out she was a he behind the keyboard. But WoW, as usual, provides the best of MMO experiences -- the writer finds some cute love in the Night Elf starting area.

Sure, it's silly (and probably not true -- just because someone says they're a Finnish college student means nothing at all online). But I found it strangely touching, the thought that a real human connection could be made in an online game. And isn't that why we play these in the first place?

[via WorldofWar.net]

Filed under: Night Elves, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Humor

WoW is a Work of Art, part 1: A journey into Azeroth

The day I walked into the store to buy World of Warcraft, I had been taking care of my mother as she underwent chemotherapy for brain cancer, and I desperately needed something to do that wasn't cooking, cleaning, sorting pills, or running errands. I needed something that would connect me with people while at the same time letting me stay at home and care for someone I loved.

When I picked up a box with a pretty, yet severe night elf woman's face on the cover, I wasn't thinking, "I want to get to level 60 and start raiding Molten Core for epic gear!" or even "I'm going to be a PvP god!" Instead, I was hoping to create characters with a personal background, with feelings and ideas all their own, and act them out in an imaginary world where no one knew who I really was, a world in which our purpose was to share creatively and interact as a team, not to make money or exchange gossip.

In short, I wanted to roleplay. But what I got was something much more than even a roleplaying experience, more than me and my characters, more than an endless stream of quests and rewards, experience and reputation, monsters and loot. I found myself in a world filled with its own people -- real people -- and a series of problems for these people to overcome together in order to progress and travel even deeper into this world. At every stage, I found something new opening up to me, whether it was access to more abilities of my own, more ways to interact with others, more vast landscapes to please my eye, or more stories to capture my imagination.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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