When I used to work as an IT contractor, you never got paid if you took a day off. As a result, even years later, I still need to be reminded that I get holiday with my day job, and reminded even more that I need to take it. So when I saw that the latest World of Warcraft expansion was coming out, I thought why not spend two weeks in the new continent of Pandaria? When I told my boss, he was just happy I was finally taking some time off.

In truth, these two weeks are not just for Warcraft. I have a lot of editing to do as well as attend Fantasycon, but there’s no denying that the first half of this next week will be spent almost entirely in a virtual land.
Our guild has never been one of the server’s top guilds. We are unashamedly casual – we have a lot of fun and very little drama. We used to be terrible raiders, I spent most of ICC dead on the floor. But through hard work, dedication and a “Oh well, that didn’t work, let’s try it again” attitude we’ve progressed to the extent that we often surprise the hardcores (9 manning Morchok on the first week of Dragon Soul).
The new expansion levels the playing field, and whereas most guilds have shrivelled in the drought of content leading up to it, we’ve stayed strong and active. And so we hope that the new expansion takes the guild to greater heights, and puts it on the ‘map’ as one of our server’s great guilds.
The launch sees a surprising large number of us go for Operation Derpathon, to play through from 85 to level 90 without a break and hopefully see us rank on the quickest to level table. I doubt we’ll get any realm firsts but we intend to try.
And so the guild has come together, crafting goods and gathering resources to help the teams. It might be virtual but the preparations are very real. There’s a buzz that some of the guild are actually going to attempt this. We’re going into the new expansion strong, and given how much we grew during the last expansion, who knows where this can lead?
I decided a few years back to cut down on buying a game every other week and just stick with an MMO. Whilst my real life friends have got bored and moved onto other games, I stuck at it, and joined a great guild where I made new friends. Azeroth is where I go to recharge my creative batteries.
The important thing is that we have fun which makes things like this challenge a laugh. It’s going to need to be. 20 hours of non-stop gaming is going to be a real test of physical and mental endurance but I’m going to be in the best of company. Let’s hope we’re all still talking to each other at the end of it!