This blog is part of a ten part series that I am doing because I want to participate in the 10 Years: 10 Questions project. Each of the ten questions asks players of World of Warcraft to recall, and share, the memories that they have from the first 10 years of World of Warcraft.
Question 2: What was the first character you rolled?
The first character that I ever rolled was a female Night Elf Hunter. I gave her the name Thrisper. It came from the random name generator thing.
Why that name? I liked the way it sounded. It reminded me of a combination of the words “thistle” and “whisper”. That seemed fitting for an elf. Elves lived in forests, right? They did in the Lord of the Rings series, so that’s how it must be in World of Warcraft too, I figured.
I honestly have no idea why I chose to roll a Night Elf instead of a human, dwarf, or gnome. I remember that I didn’t want to play a human because I’d done that, so many times before, in Dungeons & Dragons and in Meridan 59. (It was an MMO released in 1996 that I had a lot of fun playing). Night Elves looked very different from humans, so maybe that’s why I wanted to play one.
The decision to make Thrisper a Hunter was intentional. I’d spent a lot of time playing Diablo. The game gave you three classes to choose from: Warrior, Rogue, and Sorcerer. I beat the game with all three classes (more than once). The one that I had the most fun with was the Rogue.
She could shoot a bow and hit monsters that were too far away to hit her. I remember being in levels of dungeons where I could shoot through the bars of a cage and kill the skeletons that were inside it. They had no means of attacking me. I suspected that a Hunter character would be able to use a bow, and that it would make this new World of Warcraft game fun for me.
The screenshot you see at the top of this blog is the earliest one that I have of Thrisper. It was taken on January 27, 2009. She had just discovered the Westfall Lighthouse, and gained 125 experience points for doing so.
Look closely, and you can see her pet cat that is trying to blend into the scenery. Elowell got her name because it was the phonetic spelling of LOL. Thrisper has an LOL cat. At the time, LOL cats were the new and exciting meme thingy that was being passed around online. They were super popular.
Today, LOL cats are “overwith”. I’m really glad I went with the phonetic spelling instead of literally naming the cat LOL. “Elowell” sounds pretty – “LOL” is annoying.
Thrisper was rolled much earlier than this screenshot, though. It took me a very long time before it occurred to me that it was possible to take an in-game screenshot (and even longer to figure out why I would ever want to take one). She was created about a month or so before The Burning Crusade expansion was released. She was the only character I had during my short time in Vanilla.
When I first started playing WoW, I was completely and utterly hopeless at it. There was a higher level, male, Night Elf lurking around the Night Elf starting zone. He wanted to help me learn how to play.
Back then, I was unaware that an offer to help a N00b learn to WoW could be a clue that the higher level player could have motivations that were… less than innocent. How nice, a helpful person! World of Warcraft sure had some friendly players! Those were my thoughts as I tried out this new game.
I quickly learned that I started with a bow and arrows. The helpful player followed me out of the Inn as I marched toward whatever small creatures were out there. I started firing off arrows. The game mechanics were a lot smoother in World of Warcraft than they were in Diablo!
The helpful player was asking me a bunch of questions about myself that I wasn’t answering. I had not yet learned how to use the chat function in the game, and I was focused on playing.
The only salient thing I remember him saying was “Be careful, or you’ll run out of arrows.” As he said that, I was releasing what turned out to be my very last arrow from my bow. They were all gone.
I stopped moving and taught myself how to type into the chat. “What do you mean we can run out of arrows?” I asked. That didn’t happen in Diablo! I vaguely remember having a short conversation about where to buy more arrows – yes buy more. I didn’t have enough in-game money to do it. This was frustrating!
Next, the helpful player wanted me to follow him to what looked like a lake. I kind of remember that the main point of what he was saying was that he wanted the two of us to go swimming. My response was: “I don’t want to go in the lake.” “Why not?”, he asked. “Won’t we drown?”, was my response.
In Meridian 59, a game I was very used to, one step into a lake would cause the player to “drown” and die. If you died in Meridian 59, your corpse remained wherever you died at.
Your “soul”, however, literally ended up in a nether-world, and you had to “Mario” your way out of there – and then run back to your corpse. Meanwhile, whomever came across your corpse could loot it. I’d just started playing World of Warcraft, and didn’t want to lose what few possessions I’d started with already!
The helpful player laughed at me. He told me I was funny, and eventually went on to “help” some other unfortunate new player who rolled a female Night Elf. Looking back, my unexpected answer was what let me dodge what could have turned into a really icky ERP situation. Eventually, much later on, I did take the time to learn that WoW characters can swim!
A day or two after I’d rolled my very first character, I sent an email to my brother. He was the reason I started playing. I happily told him the name of my character, her race and class, and the server I was on.
He wrote back to tell me that I wasn’t on a server that he had any characters on. Oops! I forgot to check that when I got started! I don’t think there was a way to transfer characters from one server to another in Vanilla.
My brother then reassured me that it was ok, and that I should just keep playing on that server. He had taken the time to learn absolutely everything he could about the new, upcoming, Burning Crusade expansion. Long story short, he didn’t like what he saw at all!
My brother felt that TBC had “destroyed” World of Warcraft. My brother has autism, and doesn’t always like when things change. He informed me that he had quit World of Warcraft, forever, and gone back to … I forget if it was Ever Quest or Ultima Online.
I’d missed the chance to play WoW with my brother. Even so, I continued to play the game. Thrisper never ended up being my main character (even after the change that prevented Hunters from constantly running out of arrows).
I still have her, though, and play her every once in a while. She is no longer on her original server, because I eventually consolidated all my characters onto a different server. I can’t help but wonder if she would have become my main character if I’d managed to roll her in time to play WoW with whatever character my brother had selected as his main.