No gamer worth his salt hasn’t played World of Warcraft, Blizzard’s spectacular MMORPG hit. For many, it was like a first crush, addicting and fascinating, one that will remain forever as a pleasant memory even as they move on to other experiences. With the upcoming release of WoW’s latest expansion, Battle for Azeroth, it’s but fitting to pay tribute to the game and reminisce on its legendary records. Here are eight of WoW’s most memorable moments:
1. Corrupted Blood incident
The deadly Corrupted Blood came into being less than a year after the release of World of Warcraft in 2004. A debuff spell hatched by Hakkar the Soulflayer, end boss of the Zul’Gurub raid, to pump up his declining health, it turned into a virtual epidemic when it went beyond the raid instance, spreading the virus player to player, killing them, and infesting pets with corrupted blood to serve as carriers. It took almost a month for Blizzard to contain the plague through patches and resets.
The virtual “Corrupted Blood” incident invaded the real world as scientists began using it as a case study for how the human populace would react to a bioterrorist attack.
2. Leeroy Jenkins
Leeroy Jenkins stepped beyond the global perimeters of WoW and became famous for his battle cry and a silly quote that became a meme. The video, done by a World of Warcraft player guild, show the guild players seriously discussing their battle strategy before entering the Upper Blockrock Spire dungeon. Leeroy, preparing his meal of chicken, was unaware of the rigorous planning and barged into the warzone. All the other players were killed except him. In an ironic twist, Blizzard has honored Leeroy many times in the game, never mind that he was responsible for the deaths of his team mates.
3. Southshore vs. Tarren Mill
Many players wax nostalgic recalling vanilla World of Warcraft’s Southshore vs Tarren Mill, when PvP arenas weren’t around yet and you had to track down your enemies. The factions of Alliance and Horde are in perpetual conflict. Southshore town is Alliance territory and Tarren Mill is the Horde’s outpost. With hundreds of players descending on Hillsbrad Foothills which was the designated battleground, servers crashed and games lagged. There was no goal in the fight except to bring down the other side. It’s incomprehensible but that’s the beauty of the game.
4. Alterac Valley
The allure of the classic Alterac Valley lies in its 40v40 map, the only one in its time, and the inclusion of NPCs and PvE objectives, making it a truly epic battle that could go on and on for hours. Like SS vs. TM, AV is a fight of Alliance vs. Horde, taking place in the Hillsbrad Foothills and Alterac Mountains. The goal is to bring down the enemy faction to 0, with each team starting with 600 reinforcements. AV continues to have loyal players and it’s best to load up on World of Warcraft Gold if you’re planning to join them.
5. Mists of Pandaria
WoW brings in kung-fu pandas, a deviation from the usual World of Warcraft figures. A player has to decide which side he’ll fight for, Alliance or Horde. But in the absence of a choice, one player levelled up to the cap of 90 simply by mining ore and picking herbs. However, he can’t leave Pandaria unless he chooses a faction. And if you don’t really want to fight, the continent itself is for touring – from a panoramic view, waterfalls and golden pagodas to spooky trees and angry mantises.
6. The Cataclysm
The classic World of Warcraft went in for a major overhaul when Blizzard released Cataclysm. Deathwing the Destroyer, believed dead, made a comeback and unleashed his wrath on Axeroth, wrecking the original zones, and allowing WoW devs to create new quests since 2004. Deathwing had control over the elements, including lava. He also had the ability to endure intense heat, like the inside of a volcano. Lava features prominently in this expansion. Deathwing was finally slain by Thrall with the Dragon Soul, bringing an end to the Cataclysm and making improvements to the game.
7. Ezra Chatteron in Make-A-Wish
Ezra is a real person, a young boy with brain cancer who played WoW avidly with his father. The Make-A-Wish Foundation and Blizzard granted his desire to meet the developers of WoW. Blizzard took it a step further by allowing Ezra to create his own quest for a day. Ahab Wheathoof, his creation, remains in the game to this day. He was also the first person to be given the ashes of Al’ar, WoW’s most in demand flying mount in The Burning Crusade. Ezra died at the age of 12 due to a stroke.
Blizzard will also have a tribute to another real-life person, comedian Robin Williams, in the upcoming expansion.
8. Karazhan Attunement
Karazhan, the first principal raid upon reaching level 70 in The Burning Crusade, was unlockable without passing a complex chain of conditions. A player had to run several dungeons in specific succession, with instances getting more difficult to complete. Hardcore players liked it, exhilarated at the feeling of completing an attunement. Casual players found it too much of a bother, and subscriptions dropped, a lesson that Blizzard learned from.