So, this is becoming routine as the month goes on, but, I’m using another writing prompt from the Blaugust forum. The topic is to talk about a game that changed your life. Technically for me there are three games that have shaped my personal life.
The first one is Phantasy Star Online for the Sega Dreamcast. The thing about that game is that it really wasn’t a beneficial to me in a normal way. The game was released sometime during my freshman year of college, and I spent way too much time playing it. I’ve never really been a fan of school, and I had previously had attendance issues, so college was the worst time for me to find a game that I wanted to play more than I wanted to go to class. The problem is that I found this in PSO. I would pretty much stay up late playing it, and miss every single one of my morning classes because I was too busy sleeping. So I wound up losing my scholarship after the second semester. Like i said, not what you’d normally call a good thing. What it wound up leading to was better, and ties in to the other games.
So the second game would be Star Wars Galaxies, what I’d consider my first MMO. I picked this up around the time I got back in to college (about 2 years after the freshman debacle) and started playing it a little bit. I never really got all that far in to it, because at the time I didn’t really have friends so I had noone to play it with. One day I’m sitting in the common area of the computer science department and I overheard a group of guys over at the next table talking about Star Wars Galaxies. I’m not sure what compelled me to do this, because I’m horribly shy and have a hard time talking to people, but I got up and walked over and interjected myself in to the conversation. Believe it or not they didn’t get angry about it and told me to go away but let me join in on the conversation. All those guys are still my friends, and we gamed online together for a long time.
I never did get to play SW: Galaxies with them because at the same time a little game called World of Warcraft came out, along with Everquest 2. I couldn’t play WoW at launch because of PC issues, so I was playing Everquest 2 instead. I did eventually move over, but by then all of my friends were max level and running dungeons and raids all the time. Unlike other games WoW has no mentoring system so if I wanted to do anything with them they either had to walk me through something, or I had to burn through the content to catch up. I chose to burn through the content. Not complaining there, because I did catch up, but that’s getting ahead of the story.
So for the first couple months of WoW I played pretty much alone, I had guild chat, but content wise I was powering through as fast as I could. The problem was that my computer really couldn’t handle the game and literally crashed every 30 minutes because of the video card overheating. So I leveled to max in 30 minute increments. I was so happy when I was able to get enough money together to build a better computer.
Eventually though I did get caught up, and was able to do content with them finally. I can’t remember what content was available at the time, but the big raid was Zul’Garub I think. I remember that was the first raid I was ever brought in on. At the time all my friends were raiding with a group of people that were all from different guilds but had formed a group through word of mouth basically. At the time there was no raid finder, and no cross server play. So you had to find 40 people, on your server, that weren’t total jerks. Somehow they managed to do this and formed up a group called “The Late Night Raiders” or LNR for short. I can’t say I ran with them much, I was really just there as a fill in mage, but I enjoyed going with them and had fun. I didn’t know this at the time but my friend Belghast was in the group (using a different character).
Eventually my friends all (except one) moved from our small guild to the guild that Bel had put together and so I eventually moved over as well. This was around the time Ulduar was out. For awhile I ran with their raid, and hung out on voice chat. Eventually I quit raiding and we all started trying out other games. This is how I know most of the original Aggrochat crew. We were all in the same guild, or raided together at some point. If you listen to the podcast, Thalen is one of the guys I went to school with, and Bel quickly became someone I consider a great friend. He’s one of the reasons I blog. I’m not on voice chat as much now, but everyone always welcomes me when I pop in. I’m still part of that same guild, even if I don’t play now.
So the short version of this is, if I had never picked up those games I probably wouldn’t have the friends I have now. You probably wouldn’t be reading this because I never would have started this blog.
So thanks PSO, you’re causing me to skip class did have a positive side effect.