I can tell you exactly where I was in life (and what I was doing) at the time that World of Warcraft and each of its expansions were released.
When Vanilla first dropped (my freshman year in high school), I was skeptical at first. Eventually, after caving to peer pressure since it was all my friends would talk about, I nabbed a couple of free trial discs from the EBGames at my local mall and installed the game on my mom’s Compaq Presario.
I was just happy to be a part of the conversation and the phenomenon at the time, but I wasn’t truly hooked until The Burning Crusade released in 2007. My dad just got a new PC, and compared to the old desktop in the hallway at my house – this thing ran like a DREAM. I re-subbed, hopped into the old Ventrilo server, and spent the majority of the rest of my high school career staying up until 4am to soak up everything the game had to offer.
Thirteen years later – I find myself sitting here in my own home office, with my own PC, waiting for World of Warcraft’s eighth expansion, Shadowlands.
Shadowlands comes at an interesting time. Obviously, when Blizzard first announced the expansion, they had no idea what kind of world they’d be releasing it into. We’ve got a pandemic that’s shut the majority of the world down, a new console generation with not a whole lot new to offer in terms of games, and roughly ten shitloads of people now working from home.
Having thought about it, I don’t think I’ve been this excited for a new World of Warcraft expansion in years. With not much else to do right now, this is the perfect time to get lost in a grind like WoW, and it might be just what the doctor ordered for folks with nothing but time on their hands.
Similarly to how Animal Crossing: New Horizons has helped tons of people occupy themselves at the start of the pandemic, Shadowlands is new poised to bookend this year with another task-oriented experience that should help loads of folks occupy themselves in a world where going outside isn’t really that much of an option.
Sure, I know the last two paragraphs seem pretty bleak, but the point I’m trying to get at is that Shadowlands’ release is going to be an exciting break from the day-to-day monotony that we’ve found ourselves in lately. I’m looking forward to zoning out while doing something other than just scrolling on my phone, and I’m hoping that Shadowlands delivers a wide range of experiences to help millions occupy themselves by getting lost in a world that – ironically – seems less dark than the one we find ourselves in on the other side of our computer screens.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands releases today on PC and Mac.
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