This blog is the first in 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 to recall, and share, the memories that they have of World of Warcraft over the last 10 years.

Question 1: Why did you start playing Warcraft?

The main reason that I decided to start playing World of Warcraft was because of my brother.  He has autism, and was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome before the most recent version of the DSM, the DSM-V, merged that diagnoses with “autism”.  His main way of communicating with the world, and maintaining even a vague form of relationship with another person, is through video games.  He and I spent countless hours playing Super Mario Brothers together on the NES.

One day, he sent me an email in which he asked me to start playing World of Warcraft.  I’d moved to California, and my brother still lived with my parents in Illinois.  He rarely ever sent email, so it was clear that it was very important to him that I join him in Azeroth.

This email, like his others, was a bit cryptic and difficult to understand.  After a while, I sorted out that he had given me a list of the names of all his characters, their classes, and the server they were on.  It was perplexing.  I figured that some of the classes had to be similar to the ones I used to play in Dungeons and Dragons.  The server names, however, had no meaning to me at all.

My brother had played several online video games that were in the same genre as World of Warcraft.  At the moment, he was rather obsessed with it.  The game became his new favorite.  I believed he would stick with World of Warcraft for years on end, so it seemed a good idea to get into the game.

The problem was, I had no idea where to find it.  Would it work on my computer?  How much did it cost?  These were not questions that my brother was equipped to answer.

He knew that I’d played lots of video games in the past.  He knew that I used to play Meridian59, which was an online game that put players into a quasi-Medieval world that involved suits of armor, swords, and giant spiders to fight.  He knew I had been obsessed with Diablo for a few years.  I expect he figured I would work out how to get into World of Warcraft without his help.

It took me a while to actually get into game, in part, because my brother’s emails were unclear.  I didn’t know anyone who played the game, so there wasn’t anyone to ask for help.  I was also working a full-time job that left me exhausted and sick after every shift – so I didn’t have the time or energy to try and track down the game.

My brother sent a few more emails, asking which server I was on and what my character’s name was.  He assumed I immediately got into the game, and that I just hadn’t found him yet.  A few more emails, back and forth, clarified one thing for me.  He wanted me to choose an Alliance character.  I had no idea what that meant, or what the alternative choices were, so I agreed.  Right, one of those servers, Alliance… sure!

One day, out of the blue, things changed.  A co-worker started talking about World of Warcraft.  Finally, someone who could help me figure out what my brother was talking about!

He and I had many conversations about the game, and I started to understand what it was all about.  I could immediately see what my brother liked about World of Warcraft.  During one of those conversations, he told me that the had a code for a trial version for World of Warcraft that he could give to me.  If I remember correctly, I was able to borrow his CD of the game, use the code he gave me, and start playing.  Hello, Azeroth!

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