“RISE UP, CHAMPIONS OF THE LIGHT!”

– TERENAS MENETHIL

I approached the end of university with my head in the clouds about what was going to come next. I was going to be a director, or something. I hadn’t quite figured it out yet. I knew for sure it was something to do with film, but what exactly that meant, I had no idea. I had spent uni with not exactly the best diet, baked potatoes were a staple with beans and cheese, don’t judge me I was trying to emulate my food. I dreamed of one day being a King Potato ruling over all the other potatoes with a ruthless streak, turning anyone who stood against me into fries. This has nothing to do with anything.

With the workload not being particularly huge (my mistake, there was loads to do if I was going to actually be good at it, I was unfortunately in a kind of wing it mode) and my self image being at an all time low. King potato still looks like a potato, barring the badass crown, meaning spending time outside around other people wasn’t high on my list of things to do. I found a little known game that was soon to be released called World Of Warcraft. It’s been mildly successful. Long story short, I spent a hell of a lot of time playing this game, and instead of focusing on the negatives of spending so much time indoors just gaming, I’d like to talk about some of the amazing values a game managed to instill in me, and how important certain things are to me now. Obviously, WoW is where I met Dan who little known to him is part of the team that make NORSE Life happen, he’s allergic to technology like I am to beer. Shut up, I’m still a man. In short, there’s every chance without WoW, NORSE wouldn’t exist, so I will always be grateful to Blizzard and the WoW community for that. 

One thing WoW taught me was the importance of relationships within a community. Coming from a relatively big village in England called London, as we are a little over 6,000 people – chances are anyone you come across on a day to day basis, you’re never going to see again. This can lead to the common stereotype that city livers are kind of jerks. Why be nice to someone you’re never going to see again? We can only be nice 7 times a day, best save them for someone that matters right? In WoW, you played on a server with a few thousand people – and the way you acted and treated even random passers by…. they would remember. Kick that guys horse? Believe he will remember your name (sidenote: you can’t kick horses in WoW, outrageous I know). There was always this karmic retribution that followed people who were just all round assholes in the end – the kind of comeuppance you’re supposed to see in the real world. Action. Consequence.

“Now I stand, the lion before the lambs… and they do not fear.

they cannot fear”

– the lich king

The community aspect in this game was easily the best I’ve ever been part of, yes there were games that did it before WoW – but to quote Kilian Experience, “I didn’t play them so they don’t count.” I could entirely geek out and talk about the community destroying evolution of Mega servers, open world instancing and channeling that has ruined what it means to have a community in modern games – but let’s stick to the point. In short – you shared a universe with a few thousand other plays that all existed in the same way that you did. If someone was demolishing everything in the Western Plaguelands and you went there – you’d see them. Your reputation as a player mattered. The way you were treated was a direct result of your actions to other players. In order to complete the hardest content in the game you needed 40 people all ready to go at the same time. You needed to mobilize that many people who all had the same goal and the same desire to achieve it. Considering my lifestyle now, this would be entirely impossible – committing to being available x days a week for a few hours to be part of a team hell bent on killing dragons, lava Gods and whatever the hell MajorDomo was. The feeling of camaraderie has always stayed however. That feeling of being part of something where you are all working together for the benefit of each other – for the collective. You might play a few hours a night a week and get nothing personally whilst your friends got shiny new hats and daggers, but you knew, as a collective unit, you were stronger. So this is a thank you to Blizzard and the community I was part of playing WoW, an online game that taught me more than I realised at the time. We pay tribute to WoW with some of the naming conventions you’ll see in workouts, and the tougher scaled up versions of them with the “Mythic” suffix are a nod to the impact WoW had on me, and as a result, NORSE. 

This is what we’ve always wanted NORSE to stand for. The shared fight. The forging of a shield wall, where you know without a doubt that at your weakest, there will be people around you who will stand for you, who will fight for you, because they know, you’ll do the same for them. We stand together, and we fight for the same goal, the NORSE Mindset is as simple as that. 

No. One. Fights. Alone. 

ADDENDUM

WOW Classic has launched. Despite not having the time to play that I used to with obvious changes to priorities and life – but I’m happy to say it once again truly captures the community feel that no other game I have ever played has managed to do. Whilst playing far less, I am currently reliving some truly wonderful memories with players from the past along with new friends playing for the first time. Thank you Blizzard, and the WoW community as whole – thank you for giving me some of my best and closest friends.

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