The day I hit level 50 was the day Shadowsong EU opened the gates of Ahn’Qiraj. Knowing a few people in the know I got the tip that it was happening at 6am server time on a Saturday morning to hopefully avoid the server crashes that followed the attempt to bang the gong.
Masses of people were there to watch and then the inevitable disconnect and when trying to log back in getting the world server is down message. This fiasco went on for an hour but eventually things stabilised and the ceremony went ahead and the gates opened.
I was still 10 levels away from being able to join the end game raiders who went their way downing the one-off world bosses and onto the 2 raid instances, The Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj
a 20 man raid and the 40 man raid The Temple of Ahn’Qiraj
. It would be quite some time before I went there but there was still plenty of content for the non-raiders to get their teeth into to save Azeroth from the bug invasion!
After the excitement of the world event weekend I was still 9 levels away from the end game and the questing in the 50’s was not fun, the game bounces you all around the world from Winterspring, to Un’Goro Crater, to the Plaguelands (Eastern and Western), Felwood and Azshara and back to anyone of the aforementioned. These locations DO have some fantastic quest lines and are rich in lore and in really nice quest rewards for your level, remember this was pre-TBC/Wrath expansion so no “epic” greens.
The best bit of it was that I had a friend (I’m looking at you Kittiah) to guide me to some of the better zones and what sort of items I needed to be collecting in terms of pre-raid gear to give me the best chance of becoming a raider.
It was during this phase that I began to make the transition from casual wow player to what I consider hardcore. Why? Well the questing and returning to Ironforge to post auctions on the auction house (AH) were really beginning to take a lot of my play time and it was during a smoke break one fresh spring morning that I was moaning about this Kittiah, that he suggested having a bank alt to send the stuff that you wanted to post on the AH. This was a revelation I had never considered creating a character to use purely to run errands. So that night I created my 1st alt character, Wilkini another human priest but this time a male one (I know how to be original!). This saved me loads of time back then but I would learn later that it would cost me loads of extra time (I’ll explain why in a future post).
I continued to quest and run dungeons as a Shadow priest (I was still expected to heal in dungeons, such was the way back then each class had a single role it would fulfil in a group and I really did enjoy healing and being in group much more than I did questing solo which always has seemed to defeat the point of playing a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG). The content in the dungeons seemed very difficult back then but this meant that all 5 group members worked as a team and took things quite slowly to move through instances to get to the big bads at the end of each section of the instance. Many times things went horribly wrong but eventually we would overcome the troubles and chalk up another victory (and yes moan about how the loot you wanted never dropped).
Slowly but surely the levels were disappearing, the race to be first of the “group” to be 60 had been lost when Groundwave had got there on April 12th, 2006. It was April 16th the end was in sight and there was still 2nd place to be had (yeah I know the “1st loser”) I was part way through level 58 and had a clear weekend to get the final 2 levels I quested hard and all day long on the Saturday and managed a full level leaving me ¾ of a level to go by mid-day and seeing Peik ding 60 before me did not dampen my enthusiasm. I stopped playing for the day at tea-time and had ¼ of a level to go, but my time for the day was done.
Sunday morning came, I woke up at 5am which is very early even for me, and as there was nothing else to do decided to go and claim 3rd place. I logged in to discover Xanther already on-line and welcome me with the message “yay, I dinged 60 about 45 minutes ago!” bah I had lost 3rd place too… still I needed to get to 60 and off I went questing in the Eastern Plaguelands.
The quests were gathered and off I set, the undead Scourge were dying very slowly I returned to Light’s Hope Chapel (LHC) and handed in a few quests and the XP bar got dangerously close to filling up off I set to do one last quest (I hoped) to finally hit the level 60 goal more death and destruction followed quest completed I returned to LHC all excited, handed in the quest and still I was short of the mark, but it was so close I could taste it! I set of again and got a respawn mob appear in my way and aggro me I kill it then….
DING Level 60 woohoo!