World of Warcraft has taken away years of my life that I cannot get back, like it has for many, but some of my favorite memories of playing videogames with my friends come from it. I have relapsed on World of Warcraft multiple times, but I have been clean for well over a year now, and nothing makes me want to come back more than hearing a song that I listened to while questing in Stranglethorn Vale, or another game triggering memories of open world pvp battles.
I began playing World of Warcraft a few months before The Burning Crusade released, but quit before that content became relevant to me and quit. A friend of mine and myself decided to start playing again once Wrath of the Lich King came out. I always had music playing while I played, and to this day I will hear a song and it takes me back to trekking through Stranglethorn Vale, or defending the top of a pyramid in Zul'Furrak. I would hardly consider World of Warcraft one of my favorite games of all time, but I cannot think of another game that can pop into my head at any given moment like this game can. It isn't just the music connection either, listening to other people talk about it puts me in a special place too, or some scenery in real life snaps me into a trance; a nirvana that for a split second wants me to go back to Azeroth. And these experiences were not limited to Azeroth; they stretched to the skies of Outland.
As mentioned before, I never got to experience The Burning Crusade when it launched, I had quit before I reached the content, but the first time I had reached the Dark Portal was nothing short of awesome. The amazement of going through the Dark Portal and seeing what I had missed in the Burning Crusade was a great feeling. The massive battle happening as soon as you step through, the giant new enemies, and of course flying mounts. It was like playing World of Warcraft for the first time again; completely new zones to explore, new quest lines to do, and new instances to tackle, but that wasn't my favorite memories of exploring Outland.
My favorite memories of exploring Outland come from a very heated open world pvp battle a friend of mine and I had gotten into. We were still fresh to Outland and were still questing in Hellfire Peninsula. He was a priest, and I a rogue were no more than level 63 when we spotted some Alliance scum, a warlock, that we decided needed to be vanquished. We took action and killed him, but shortly after he revived and healed up a friend of his came to his aid. Inevitably, it turned into a 30 minute battle of supremacy. My friend and I were never into pvp, so we did our best with our pve builds and eventually caused the Alliance to flee, declaring us victorious.
A similar situation arose when we had made it to Northrend, but by this time we had grown tired of our rogue and priest combo, and were new classes. It was our first time doing the quest lines in Northrend when we once again spotted Alliance. I cannot recall the exact details, but my friend was a 76ish warrior, I was a 77ish hunter, and the Alliance was mid 70's but I do not remember his class. The Alliance minded his own, hoping we would do the same. Of course we didn't that's part of the fun on pvp servers. We killed him once and carried on. No more than a minute later a level 80 Alliance Death Knight shows up and kills us. The one we killed earlier on with him taunting the entire time. We go back to our corpses, revive and heal up. Over Ventrilo my friend and I come up with a plan to take them on. By the time we take action another low 70 Alliance shows up. Luckily one of the others was in combat, so we dispatched the 80 quickly and turned our attention to the other lower levels. Once they were dead we hastily left in fear of retaliation and being corpse camped all day.
In the end World of Warcraft has given me some fine videogame memories that I haven't forgotten after years, and for the most part in great detail. My friend and I still occasionally bring up our adventures together in World of Warcraft and it still brings smiles to our faces. Rarely do I play a game that affects me like this game has, and it's no wonder Blizzard is as successful as they are, hopefully Diablo III will bring me the same quality memories World of Warcraft has.