World of Warcraft has been in my peripheral vision for years now. It always sounded like the sort of game that I'd like, but due to various factors, cost, lack of a decent PC, and a general misanthropy towards people, I've mostly given it a miss.
A while before Wrath of the Lich King came out, I played for a while on a private server called Ash Realms, primarily because it was free and fairly stable. It had 32x leveling and gave you a mount at level 1, and I spent my entire time exploring the world. I also gained a small obsession with collecting the vanity pets, but ultimately, it all felt a bit pointless because everything was very easy to come by. I stopped playing pretty quickly.
However, Azeroth still held a attraction for me. Roughly every 6 months, a desire to play takes its hold. Sometimes it passes, and sometimes I gave in. Until last year, I'd just re-sign up for the Ash Realms and start over, which tended to kill the want pretty fast. But last year, I had no excuse not to get the real thing - steady employment, ok PC, and the Battlechest had just dropped in price - so I took the plunge.
Fast forward a year later and I have a sprinkling of characters across 4 different servers, the highest of which is level 16. And my pet obsession remains.
Which brings me to the announcements of the new expansion, Mists of Pandaria. I'm not going to touch on the panda, that's for others to write ad nauseum about. What got my attention was the pet battling system. My like of the vanity pets is going to pay off, in that I'm about to get the Pokemon MMO I've always wanted. It got me so excited I immediately went out and bought Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm so I'd be fully up to date.
I started yet another character on a new server (Steamwheedle Cartel - EU), so I could later join the PC Gamer guild if I so desired. I'm not sure if I'm going to continue him once Cataclysm arrives from Amazon though - I do quite like the look of the Worgen. I'm going to keep him to get any Horde-only pets, though. Gotta catch 'em all, after all.