I just walked in the door with my brand new copy of “World of Warcraft: Legion.” Anyone who knows me is already laughing to themselves about the idiotic smile on my face. I’ve been playing for a long time, and I’m such a huge fan that I’ve walked around Blizzcon with a stuffed Murloc on my head more than once. (You don’t need to know what those words mean. Just know that I’ve crossed a nerd line and even lifelong geeks are rolling their eyes reading this.)
It’s been killing me that I wasn’t able to get it the day it came out, and I actually hugged the box when I left the store. Between the film and the new expansion, “World of Warcraft” has enjoyed a resurgence in recent months, and that makes me happier than I can say.
I started playing years ago when I covered Blizzcon for a website. A publicist friend of mine found out I had the game in my house and came over to get me started. I had been a console gamer my entire life and I’d never played on a PC. He sat me down, gave me the basics, and I was instantly hooked.
I’ve always loved fantasy, but I’d never played a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online roleplaying game). Until this point, I’d immersed myself in games, but it was never anything like this. It was a full world. Until I could ride, I had to walk everywhere. Until I could fly, I had to ride. I learned every inch of this gigantic world. I learned the lore. I knew the NPCs (non-player characters). I mined for copper, knew the local flora and fauna and made my own food. I was part of a story.
Until this point, immersion in a world was through books for me. I’d read a series and be part of something, escaping the mundane world for a while. Now, I could really be a part of it.
The thing about this game is that the lore runs so deep after so many years that, when I was on the set of the film a few years back, I knew who was going to be in the film based solely on a casual word from the costume designer or from a tiny prop I passed. I’ve read all the books about it. I knew everything. That said, after all the hours, days, months I’ve played, it was time for more. This time around, with the “Legion” expansion, I can play as a demon hunter. I can have mythic weapons, something I’ve only read about or heard of. I can enter the Emerald Nightmare. (Don’t ask. Seriously, just play.)
It’s like superhero movies: We’re at the point where we don’t need to relearn who people are and have what’s going on explained again to us. We share a long history; it’s like catching up with old friends and going on adventures together. I cannot wait to dive in. Bring me my Murloc!