Every Wednesday, a self-absorbed writer posts an article of virtually no interest to anyone but themselves, under the vague catchall of “Storytime!”
This wondrous story begins with a boy of 12. This boy played The Sims, and did well in school, and enjoyed spending time with his family. He said “I love you” to his mother, and hugged his father when he got home from work. Sometimes.
Then those other kids arrived. His cousins. They lived in his room when he was on vacation over the summer on the West coast, visiting other family. When he returned home, all the things he held so dearly to himself were destroyed. His bottle cap collection was scattered about the room, his Nintendo Power magazines were ripped in places where they had before been so pristine. Food lay uneaten under his bed, and old game cases were flattened under pillows and blankets that had been draped haphazardly around his room. All of the order and neatness he lived by had been broken. They did not care. It numbed the boy. His parents took no responsibility, and neither did the parents of the boy’s cousins. No one seemed to care what he thought or felt. He felt alone.
After time, he forgave his cousins. They were still the coolest people in the world to him, and plus, they had Grand Theft Auto III, and he had never played it. His cousins introduced him to a new game, far removed from the structured world of The Sims.
This game alone was a turning point to the boy’s entire life. It was dark, and demonic, and it awoke within the boy something that seemed to have lain dormant and unnoticed for as long as he lived. His humor grew wicked, and his eyes grew steely. Also, he hit puberty, and had a minefield for a face. It multiplied his angst ten-fold. He got glasses, too, but they totally looked sexy on him. Really. They did.
He stopped doing his homework. He stopped talking to a lot of the people he had considered his friends. He withdrew from his family. He only loved the game, because it gave him an outlet for his emotions. It gave him power over others, and he was a Sorceress, and she was sexy, and shot fire and lightning. Who wouldn’t fall in love? He also played some RuneScape, but he doesn’t like to talk about that. Don’t ask.
The unlucky combination of his mother and father’s genes led to not only a very specky individual, but one with rather unstable emotions. He fell deep down in to a well of depression with his game. For 500
years days, he stayed in his room and played nothing but Diablo II, and there, it consumed him. Then along came a trailer. One of his cousins showed it to him. Chills ran down his spine. What was this new game, created by his glorious overlord, Blizzard Inc? Only time would tell. By fate, it seemed, both cousins were invited to Beta. Having only a family computer at his house, he went to theirs to play. He made a Night Elf Hunter, Fortuna, which made it to level 10, became hopelessly lost in Felwood, and was subsequently deleted. He still owes a Mage somewhere on Magtheridon 20S for a Port to Ironforge.
Days passed. Weeks. Then it came. World of Warcraft. He ventured forth into the sunlight, and bought his game. He took it home, and installed it. He made his first real character; an Undead Warlock. Of course, he had no idea what he was doing. His talents went everywhere, he was poor, and got lost trying to do quests a lot of the time. But he persisted. When he died, he ran back to his corpse. When he leveled, he celebrated jubilantly. It was a new dimension of video games he had never before experienced. It left Diablo II in the dust. He leveled to about 26 or so when one cousin came to him, and said, “We’re making Alliance characters, you can be the Gnome.” Well, he didn’t think that was so bad, and he could try to do his character right this time, cause he had read a couple of guides, and wanted to make good use of his new knowledge! So a Gnome Mage was created, and it really went quite as poorly as his Warlock. He had to sell his shoes on a number of occasions to buy new skills. But then he leveled past his Warlock. He was level 30. Then he was 40, and he got his Blue Mechano-strider. That day was a glorious day for him. He felt a grand victory at being able to run by the other, lesser creatures that didn’t have mounts of their own yet, and smile. He felt a sense of superiority he had never known. He was better at something that someone else, and he actually cared about what that something was.
Online, he was able to be a person he couldn’t be IRL. He would be mocked, or admonished, or rejected if he did those things anywhere but in Azeroth. His persona online because his sanctuary. He strove to become the best Mage he could. No Troll was spared his fiery wrath, no undead minion was granted reprieve from his ice-cold fury. At long last, he hit level 60, in the final bend of Live Strath right before the Cannon Master, at 2:43am EST. His heart filled with joy. He had done it. He had won. After 6 grueling months of daily instances, of AFK Healers, Tanks that didn’t know what Sunder was, and a brief fling as a Pirate, he had reached the top. The world was in his hands.
Not long after reaching 60, he joined a raiding guild with a silly name, and even sillier Guild Leader. The friends he had lost so long ago, he remade in this guild. They laughed at his jokes, they helped him when he needed it, and most of all, they seemed to care. It was something he missed so dearly. He raided Molten Core, and Blackwing Lair, Onyxia, Zul’Gurub, the tombs of Ahn’Qiraj, but his guild never quite got to Naxxramas before great and terrible news came to him. An expansion. Only one of his cousins got a Beta invite this time, and he showed the boy how powerful the gear was that he was collecting from just quests, and how all of his hard-earned Epics would be replaced to soon after getting to Outland. The cousin had gone back to The Horde at that point, and was playing an Orc Warrior, and many Alliance had tasted his Axe. He was a fearsome beast on the battlefield, and his Valor Spaulders were never replaced, much to his chagrin. He convinced the boy to re-roll Horde with him on a new server, and to play where I truly belonged. The boy obliged.
He made a Priest this time, having been on the receiving end of many face-meltings, and since his cousin was making another Warrior, the healing abilities would come in handy as well. They made their way through old-world as fast as they could, and just in time for the launch of The Burning Crusade, they made it to 58. They stepped through the Dark Portal, and together, with filthy, magic-eating Blood Elves at their heels, they set out across Outland to climb their way to 70. Once there, they began that most dreary of gearing processes, but with a new twist. Heroics. They were farmed endlessly, and his rep bars were full to bursting. In the end, he joined a raiding guild with a more serious name, and a more serious Guild Leader named something like Slamhand, or Bonkfist or the like. He led the guild to the top, and the boy healed his guild-members joyfully, and they were as family to him again. Medivh’s home of Karazhan, Gruul’s Lair, Serpentshrine Caverns and Tempest Keep, they fell before him and his guild. Even the great betrayer Illidan was defeated. And Sunwell? That… sucked a lot. He didn’t like it there. Except for the Eredar Twins. They were smokin’.
Throughout his travels of Outland, he came across a girl, who was more than a girl, and shall be hitherto referred to as “V.” The boy was smitten with the girl, and flirted with her as best he could, never really learning how given his hermit-like lifestyle. She giggled, and poked fun at his awkwardness and killed him on her Paladin a good number of times. She would introduce herself after each killing blow. Always so courteous. The girl convinced the boy to come with her, far away, to another server, where they would sow fear and chaos across the land, hand in hand, until the world was theirs to command. He liked the idea of being King to a wrathful Queen, so he went along for the ride.
The boy began ahead of the girl, for she had re-rolled Death Knight, and he kept his Priest. She wasn’t left behind for long, though. He healed his way through Northrend, with V at his side. She slew many foes, and the boy clapped with giddy glee. She taught him many things. Things about cooking, about PvP, and about girls. This knowledge he coveted most of all. She resisted his advances, awkward indeed as they were, but she encouraged him to try them on other girls. He did, and was mostly successful. Mostly.
Their time together was short-lived, however, as V left to pursue real-life things, and the boy was alone again. He set out on his own, and played with a Serpent-loving guild for a little while before applying to another guild. His current guild: <Pango Honoratus>. Those with Honor, or Honored Hammers. His Guild Leader knows for sure. He traveled from Ulduar to Icecrown Citadel itself with that guild, re-establishing the family he so dearly loved. They laughed with him, and told stories with him, and made him feel like he belonged.
And after so many days, filled with experience points and hearthstones, Mage tables and Portal Roulette, steam-rolled ABs and dead-locked AVs, here he is. It’s been a long six years, but he’s been made all the better every day. His knowledge is vast, and his skills are l33t. He is Tyko. I am him. We are one.