Where to begin.
I suppose I'll start with what's prompted this post. My own Circuit of Disappointment last night turned out to be not so disappointing. It was on the third character to run through for the week, on the 60th kill overall, that the Lich King dropped Invincible's Reins.
The weather's been rather cooperative locally as of late, so with doors and windows open I chose to spare my neighbors as well as patrons of the gas station across the street from hearing my mad exultation. Instead, I bolted around the (thankfully) empty house, whisper-screaming as forcefully as I could manage. After a couple of minutes I returned to my keyboard to share the news with guildies. And Twitter.
Time elapsed: 25 mins Number of H-LK Kills: 3 Number of Invincibles: 1 #warcraft pic.twitter.com/Lk2uctnEid— Ross (@elepheagle) May 28, 2015
I'm fully aware why I feel this way, and why I've attached so much sentiment to the raid zone. August 2009 saw the introduction of Patch 3.2 and the Argent Tournament. In the months prior, I'd spent quite a bit of time on the guild recruitment forums looking for a group that fit my philosophy and schedule. My raiding experience up to that point? Next to none, but I knew it was something I wanted to do. I dipped my toes into Karazhan with pugs near the end of the Burning Crusade, and that was the sort of challenge I was after.
So it was just before the Argent Tournament dropped that I settled in with a guild on US-Bonechewer. At the time they were working their way through Ulduar. They weren't finished by the time we saw Patch 3.2, but made the transition to the Trial of the Crusader nonetheless. It was at this point I was granted a spot on the raid roster, a 10-player outfit at the time.
In truth, the Trial of the Crusader was unremarkable to me. I was just glad I'd found a group before Ice Crown Citadel's release. I had my sights on Arthas.
His was a story arc I loved, even if it's a familiar one. Players actually got to see Arthas' point-of-no-return when they participated in the Culling of Stratholme dungeon. We met a person who saw their own intentions as pure when in truth they were being driven by madness. And what you truly realized was just how devastating Arthas could've been as a force for good. How devastating he was as a force of evil. He was a Son of Azeroth we had to put down ourselves.
Which is why I'm not ashamed to admit I bawled a bit when the Lich King fell for us, just a week before the pre-Cataclysm systems patch. The weight of the previous months, the many hours, boss kills, and wipes, all lifted. It is over.
That kill fuels me to this day. I knew I wanted to do whatever I could to ensure I saw a raiding environment each week. I went from a committed raider who did his job, but rarely talked in voice chat to raid organizer and leader over the course of Cataclysm. Today, I run a successful 1-night raid group. Not to brag, but our progression rate would put that ICC group to shame.
So thank you, ICC. For pulling me in, and not letting me go. For enticing me to see what else is out there. For setting me on the path that's lead me to where I am today. For teaching me that, indeed, video games can move you to tears.
I'm sure going to miss you.