Tales of Love, Death and Slumber from Blizzard’s Amazing Universe of Games
NVIDIA is full of fanboys and fangirls. Whether it’s cars, cats or cartoon characters – no one at NVIDIA is afraid to display their passions on a t-shirt or their cube wall.
And more than a few of us have a very public love affair with Blizzard Entertainment. The passion some hold for their “Diablo” characters is unparalleled, the zeal they play “StarCraft II” with is unmatched. And the time some of spend logged in to “World of Warcraft” can be measured in months.
That’s why so many of us this week will be at BlizzCon – Blizzard’s amazing community event. There’s no other conference like it. From the cosplay, to the infamous swag bag, to the beer steins, to the headlining concerts, Blizzcon is the perfect example of an event put on by a company that “gets” its fans.
But the biggest reason Blizzcon is such a great event is that the passions evoked by Blizzard’s games make for great stories. And sharing epic tales – of love, of loss, of sleep – is the stuff of which great communities are made.
So, join the community of fans here at NVIDIA and share your stories in the comments section below. We’ll award our favorite a BlizzCon swag bag.
Here are a few stories from our colleagues.
Eric Reichley, senior content manager, finds love
I’ve been a “World of Warcraft” player since the Alpha days.
So, back five years ago, when Wrath of the Lich King came out, I was flying around Northrend and my guild leader sent me a tell that this chick needed my cloth transmute skill, which allowed me to create various kinds of in-game clothing. We met at the Nexus and I did the transmute. We started chatting. I looked her up on MySpace. She was friggin’ gorgeous. So, I went to Dalaran the next day and bought her a gift, the black cat polymorph.
I guess that was all it took. We spent more and more time playing together. She lived in Canada, and I lived in Texas, so it was a long-distance relationship. We used Ventrilo, then Skype to communicate until I worked up the courage to ask her if we could meet in person. She agreed, so I flew her down and we spent time together.
Today, I am married to that mage and we live in Texas with our son, and my three Level 90 characters. Getting a hot gamer chick for a wife was well worth the 380 days I logged in Warcraft.
Clay Causin, senior software engineer for Mobile Multimedia Cloud Streaming, finds death
In the summer of 2000, I was playing nothing but Diablo II. I played in hardcore mode, meaning if you die your character is gone. Forever. No respawning. I had a Barbarian that I regularly played. Being a melee class in hardcore is tricky because you are always in combat, with death always a split second away. I had to be very careful when playing, so I did so with friends to have safety in numbers. Weeks turned into months and my Barbarian continued to climb the rankings ladder. Once I was in the top 10 I was nearly untouchable.
Then I got careless. One afternoon, I decided to play alone because my friends weren’t online. Not a big deal. I would stay in a lower zone and farm for items. Sounded easy enough to do with a Level 86 Barbarian decked out in my killer gear.
Many Stony Field runs later, I noticed that loading the zone took just a bit longer than normal. I waited a couple of seconds and everything felt fine, so I start clearing the zone. I came across another group of skeletons and “whirlwinded” into them like I had done several times before. Halfway through the group of monsters, I had a technical glitch called a “lag spike.” In a lag spike the screen freezes but audio continues …
So, I’m staring at my frozen screen and then my heart stops when I hear “Rakanishu” and the buzzing of his multi-shot lightning attack. All I could think was “Come on, come on.” My lag spike ended and my screen caught up with the game just in time for me to watch my beloved Barbarian die. Since I was playing alone, my loot was locked to the character. Gone. In an instant it was all gone.
I didn’t move, speak or breathe for what felt like an eternity. I was stunned, sick to the stomach. I wasn’t just experiencing loss, I was actually mourning. I honestly don’t know if it was minutes or hours that passed while I stared at my Barbarian’s dead body. I eventually flipped the switch and just killed power to everything.
The hardest part was facing the music. I had to call my friends and tell them what happened.
Sebastien Januario, public relations manager for Spain and Portugal, finds slumber
In October of 2006 I bought a copy of World of Warcraft on my lunch break and created my character. The character I built was so cute with his beard and huge hammer. I named him after my favorite South Park character. Doncartman was born. I got my Dwarf Paladin to level 60 in just over 20 days of gameplay, that’s 480 hours in 5 months. (A year or so later I was delighted to see that Cartman was using the same class character as me for the Make Love not Warcraft Episode.)
“World of Warcraft” quickly turned into a parallel life, with its own challenges and rewards. It’s a world that never slept, a world in which sleeping meant missed opportunity.
On yet another night of extended gameplay, my guild mates and I had cleared out almost all of Blackwing Lair, the most difficult raid in the game at the time, in less than three hours. We were now on the final raid boss: Nefarian. We reached the very last, most chaotic phase of the battle. Mobs rush you in waves, and you have to handle them any way you can. It was likely 3 am but in marathon game sections like this, who really knows.
After many tries, many deaths, many corpse runs, many rebuffs, I just couldn’t handle it any longer. I feel asleep. And not in a graceful, lay your head down on your desk way. I went for the head backwards, sitting upright in my chair, my mouth gaping open. My guild mates were dismayed, their headphones filled with the sound of my heavy snoring, which made communication among our 40-person raiding party difficult. They began yelling at me through their microphones, to no avail.
I woke up a bit later. Dead and alone, Doncartman lay next to Nefarian’s human form. We had finally done it! And I was not disconnected for being away from my keyboard – or “AFK” as they say. I had to laugh. That was the first time I had fallen asleep at the keyboard. It would not be the last.