Friday, August 22, 2014

Screenshots of the Past

I've been thinking about the past lately; specifically, my Warcraft history. No doubt I've been inspired by the impending 10 year anniversary of World of Warcraft, that inspiration spurred on by Alternative Chat's #10Years10Questions exercise. And there is a very sore spot in my Warcraft history, and it's related to how we players are able record our time in-game through images.


Though I started playing in 2006, there's a void in screenshots from then until early 2009. I've only been able to locate two screenshots from around that time period, and they come from just before I opened my own account; the rogue pictured above is the oldest surviving screenshot of a character I played, though this one was on a friend's account and I've long since lost access.

In the process of wiping my PC in late 2012, I was wise enough to transfer my screenshots onto an external hard drive. However, the second time I had to perform serious maintenance on the PC in late 2013, the situation was much more dire, and I wasn't able to back up the machine. I effectively deleted a year and a half's worth of screenshots that I will never, ever get back.

While responding to Alternative Chat's project, I spent some time browsing through the 2009-2012 block. If you haven't perused your screenshots folder in some time, you should do that now. Cause you'll undoubtedly stumble across some images that'll leave you scratching your head, or make you smile, or even bring you to tears.

Like this image (there were actually a dozen in the folder in this sequence) of the first time I opened a ticket and got a live response from a game master. My excitement is almost embarrassing:
I lost a trinket in the Trial of the Crusader on a roll that tied with another player. The GM schooled this noob on how background rolling mechanisms work in the case of a tie. It's because of players like me that your ticket response wait time is over a day.

Or this one, where I decided to take off my pants and pose on the beach of Sholozar in front of a rainbow:
No pants? No problem!

Here's one of the first raids I took part in after server-transferring into a raiding guild: 
I get to meet the levitating tree at Blizzcon this year. 
Or when I caught my character staring at an artists impression of Thousand Needles, painted and viewed years prior to Deathwing's return:
"I wonder if at some point in our history that place was filled with water..."

Or this image from playing alongside my significant other and the first character she ever played:
So ominous...
And this one after a night of questing comes to a close:
Today my significant other is a druid, as I convinced her to switch factions so she could join me in my Horde exploits:
Stala and her personal escort.
Given what I found in the small trove of screenshots that weren't destroyed over the years, I feel genuine sadness at the thought of memories that may never be jogged, absent the trigger of a screenshot. How do you go about documenting your time in Warcraft? If you've got some images to share and a description of the moment behind it that meant something to you, I'd love to see it in your blog.

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