I started playing World of Warcraft when it was still in beta 10 years ago. Until the end of Cataclysm, I maintained a pretty steady subscription to the game. It was only after I killed Deathwing that I decided the game was no longer as fun for me anymore.

But with the 10th anniversary right around the corner and Warlords of Draenor, the newest expansion coming out tonight at midnight PST, I’ve renewed my subscription so that I can take Lesserheal, my little Dwarf Priest, out for a long-overdue stroll through the Dark Portal once again. 

Now, I’m not a spring chicken anymore, and I can’t do an all-nighters that keeps me awake and playing an MMO through the wee-hours of the night. So the 2am launch (central time, for me) is out of the question. I am, however, setting my alarm for a couple hours earlier so I can at least get through the introductory quests and see what I can see before I have to go to work.

Ten Years, One Chair

Over the past ten years, I’ve changed a lot as a person. Both physically and emotionally. I don’t spend hours and hours on video games anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to. One reason I don’t is because of the toll the sedentary lifestyle took on my health (remember, I used to weigh 310 lbs.).

Today, I have a FitDesk–basically a stationary bike with a desk made attached to it–set up directly in front of my gaming PC (review coming soon, I promise!).

A photo posted by B.J. Keeton (@geekfitness_) on

As soon as I log into Azeroth for the new expansion, I’ll also be pedaling away and getting in a bit of exercise. It’s not the same as running, sure, but it’s better than sitting without moving at all for hours on end.

Game Changer

Part of the reason I left World of Warcraft is because of how the game’s changed. Or rather, how it hasn’t. At its core, WoW is still the same game it was in 2004. It’s flashier and more accessible, but it’s themepark MMO center is still the same.

And after doing anything for ten years, even if it’s awesome, people tend to get bored. Especially me.

However, nostalgia is incredibly strong, and I’m ridiculously sentimental. I made a lot of friends playing the game, many of whom I am still in contact with. I had a lot of good times. Watching the new documentary Looking for Group the other day really made me want to relive some of those old glory days of raiding and exploring.

With Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard knew exactly where to hit me to get me to resubscribe and buy their new expansion. Not only are they giving The Burning Crusade (my personal favorite expansion) a time-travel once-over so that I can return to a familiar locale with all the improvements and lessons learned over the past decade (from both Blizzard and myself), they are also doing a limited-time redesign of the very first MMO raid I ever experienced, Molten Core.

I’ll be able to queue up for a 40-person instance faceroll with my Priest (once he gets to level 100, that is) , throw around a few smites, and extinguish the firelord Ragnaros all over again. I have never felt so epic in the game as I did the first time my guild beat Rag for the first time, and the reason I loved the Cacaclysm expansion so much was because I got to have Molten Core 2.0 in Firelands and fight Ragnaros in a different venue. (And now I get a corehound pet for it! #squee!)

Priorities

Gaming hasn’t been a priority of mine in a long time. I love it, and I miss it, and I think WoD is going to help me get back into casually enjoying a lifelong hobby.

Part of the reason is that I have so little free time that I need to spend it not sitting in one spot. The FitDesk helps with that. Another part is that I have other projects to work on (books to write and edit, blogs to post, hopefully soon podcasts or YouTube videos to record), and those have to take priority over slinging spells.

But gaming to me is also about the community, and I love MMOs for the social outlet I get there. Very few of my friends play World of Warcraft anymore. I miss that. Most of my IRL friends are playing Final Fantasy XIV, and I doubt they’ll be coming to Draenor with me.

Which is where you guys come in! Play with me!

If you ever want a healy dwarf in your party, add my Battletag to your friend list. I’m Lesser#1993 on Battle.net. (Just be sure to comment or tweet me or something to let me know you’re not just a spammer so I’ll accept the friend request).

So yeah, if you can’t tell, I’m a little excited that the new WoW expansion comes out tonight. I won’t (can’t?) let the game take over my life like it has in the past, but I sure do look forward to melting a few faces and killing a few orcs. At least for a month or two.

Who’s with me?

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