When getting into a new game, there is always a hook… something that draws you in and makes you want to play the game. For some it’s the franchise, others it’s the fact friends are playing, and for some they are so excited by the hype they just have to play it. When it came to playing World of Warcraft it was kind of a combination of things.

It started, oddly, with my table top gaming group.

My team of crack gamers – be it we were hard core or just a little crazy is still up for debate – gathered once weekly at a friend’s house because he had the biggest table for us to gather at. We’d show up, have something to eat, and play White Wolf’s Exalted for hours. Now I had heard of WoW before this and at the time was playing FFXI. One night we were getting to a breaking point and my buddy Isolimir (our host’s handle) booted up WoW on his lap top and checked to see if his 40 man raid of Ony was actually going to happen. As pizza arrived and talking and general digression from what we were doing before progressed I sat behind him and asked just what the hell he was doing.

“Well you see I’m a Raid Leader for our guild and it looks like tonight we actually have enough people to do this run.” He explained as he was typing at the same time. “You can watch if you want.”

So I sat next to him and watched the Ony Run, consisting of 40 people, one sided Vent conversations and total chaos. Oh… and a BIG Fragging Dragon!

The next three weeks he paused during our dinner break to do the Ony Run and I sat with him trying to figure out how it all worked. On other days I hung out with my friends I watched them play a bit more and came up with a list of things, should I ever play, I needed to do.

Come around to my birthday and at our game there is a box sitting along with my character sheet and notes. Turns out my team got me the game and just in time for WoW’s 3rd birthday. So I asked Isolimir what class I should roll and try out. I’d tried paladin on another account and it was ok.

“You would make a good Hunter.” Isol said, “I think you would get a lot out of the class.”

So the next morning, since the game took forever to load, I rolled Alihandra who at the time was simply Aliha. So I had my character and my list of must do things.

It’s this list of things that make the game interesting for me – achievements before the achievement system came out. Goals and dreams and aspirations I wanted to move towards to keep the game interesting. Soon FFXI fell to the wayside and I didn’t feel bad about it. Maybe loosing contact with my friends there but I had stopped having fun.

Thus began my knocking off of the list. First on the list – Get to that place filled with dinosaurs. I never bothered to notice that was almost an end game zone but I’ve always been a Dino-nut. Soon more things became piled on the list. Find a way to get one of those hippogryphs, save money for a tiger mount, Kill a dragon, skin every skinable animal in the game, explore every corner of every map, try not to die as often, and so on and so forth. Sometimes little things, other times big nigh impossible to do self appointed tasks simply to see if I could do it or not.

It’s these things – not grinding rep, or dailies, or dungeons. Not gear upgrades or DPS checks or progression – that keeps me ultimately interested. I still love to raid, to push forward and explore and progress and that means the other things come naturally with it. But every once and a while I dig up my beat up list of dreams and aspirations and see which one I feel like tackling today or this week or the 30 minutes before raid. It’s taking a bit of time to enjoy the world that Blizzard crafted for us, the things that live in it, the landscape, and the little things that someone in the dev team felt was something that had to go in.

Then of course, during my time on an RP server, it was all the work on stories, personalities, family ties… the things that made my character interesting. A chance to live in a world and create a person who exhibited aspects of myself yet was their own entity. Soon each alt had their own list of things to do, to try, to strive for and while it can be rather confusing and time consuming for someone who enjoys writing it was a chance to actively make a piece of their personal history happen, which can be just as thrilling as writing it out.

I encourage people to have their little tick box punch list of goals and dreams and aspirations to look at and feel pride for every little box they’ve checked or crossed out… and excitement for all the empty ones.

The header image up above… that is in fact what my screen looks like sometimes when I forget to clear out my sticky notes. I have several binders and note books and my wall by my desktop is covered in post-its. Quick notes, mats lists, quest hubs you know all that stuff… and of course there is the note book devoted to achievements.

So what’s your list? What were your dreams in the game? Did you make them come true? What’s the story of your list?

Till next post – Keep on Keepin on.