Arguably the game I've spent the most time on in my entire life is the MMORPG World Of Warcraft. I played on and off between November 2005 and January 2011, and I played pretty much exclusively with seven real life friends. While this was good in many respects, it was also very limiting, as we never really managed to all play together at a similar level range.
While I do have fond memories of the time I spent on this game, unfortunately I have become quite venomous in my feelings towards it. Yes, this is partly my own fault, as I don't think I ever got the absolute best out of the game. But overall I am glad I am now free of the endless grinding gameplay, servers almost full of complete arseholes and gold sellers, unbalanced classes and pvp, and of course those very painful monthy fees.
There were three main "eras" I went through while playing the game, and in each era I was part of a trio which levelled and quested together quite a lot. These are the stories of those eras...
The Adventures Of The Gooty One (Nov 05 - Jul 06)
This story begins when the human Jack Gooty, destined to be probably the most useless adventurer ever in the world of Azeroth, decided to begin his training as a Paladin of the light. He set off into the forests of Elwynn, and after several days scratching his very confused head and getting well and truly beat up, Jack was asked to join the JEC guild and accepted. The other two adventurers who were destined to be Gooty's main allies, Warlock Gobblespud and Mage Nyanaeve, were levelling up as members of the Azeroth Guards guild. The trio wouldn't really work together for some weeks. Instead, Gooty either travelled alone or with his guild mates. As he ventured further out into the world he bumped into a Night Elf called Lean, and the two of them helped each other stay sane in the nightmare that was Stranglethorn Vale.
Gobblespud meanwhile had earned his first mount, a horse with flaming hooves no less, and Gooty wanted one. He set out to redouble his pathetic efforts.
Gooty in my first ever WoW screenshot
Gooty in the Deadmines, his first instance
Gooty is jealous of Gobblespud's flaming horse
Gooty is an idiot
The Azeroth Guards did not look like they were pushing forwards, and JEC collapsed when all of the most experienced players broke away to form their own guild called Dark Sky, leaving the noobs pretty much leaderless. This culminated in our three heroes leaving their current guilds and joining the same one for the first time. This guild was the Jade Lightning Pirates, with entry made possible when Gooty bumped into former JEC member and current Pirate Brightmoon in Booty Bay.
Despite a decent start, things were not fantastic in the Pirates guild. Guild members would often argue about pathetic little things, and demand assistance without politely asking for it, particularly Bloodstealer and Ayereth. And so our heroes mainly ignored the others and quested together, heading into places such as the Scarlet Monastary and the very evil Uldaman, trying to battle through those places as a trio when more adventurers were really needed. Gooty drew the line and jumped ship after being mistreated in the Searing Gorge, by Jorgo and Guild Master Luccia no less.
Sarnar looks on in disgust at those who dare to wear Pirates tabards
Gooty likes getting kicked in the nads by large metal women
The Pirates fighting in Uldaman
Gooty and Nyanaeve stroke the Scorpid
While Gooty and the others were ditching their eye patches, Jack's cousin Jim decided he wanted to follow the Gooty One's example. Calling himself "Stormtiger", he gathered a whole bunch of new wannabe adventurers, like Night Elves Bluestreak and Khi and humans Outcrop and Weirdal, and formed the bizarre guild Jim's Munkeez. Members of this guild showed much less fear than the yellow bellied Gooty, and looked to make trouble for the Horde in various battlegrounds, soon earning themselves military promotions. Stormtiger and Outcrop spent a great deal of time questing together also. Progress in this guild ended when Jim turned into a hippy while in the Redridge Mountains, and Outcrop decided to head off looking for the Gooty One...
Stormtiger Jim begins his adventure
Weirdal is weird
Stormtiger balances a mini Outcrop on his head
The mighty Outcrop
A few weeks after the escape from the Pirates, Jack ran into old questing buddy Lean, and she got him an invite into her current guild, Polaris. Topics in the first evening's conversaton included Weird Al Yankovic, boobs, and spanking, and Jack was quite certain this guild could be the place for him. It took a while for Gooty to pursuade Gobblespud and Nyanaeve to also join, and they were later also joined by Munkeez alumni Khi and Outcrop. Things took off for the main trio in this guild, and they were regularly in action alongside fellow guildies Asmoday, Koree, Corteus and Maxxine among others, and all three were promoted to guild officers.
Gobblespud and Gooty need alcoholic assistance getting through the Sunken Temple
Polaris guild officer meeting
Asmoday strutting his stuff
The trio were then invited to take part in tougher quests and adventures to places like Blackrock Depths and Scholomance, and the Gooty One took part in assisting Corteus when the latter received the guild's first key to Upper Blackrock Spire.
But life in Polaris would come to an end just a couple of short weeks after. Kittenmori, the so called Guild Master of Polaris, who was never around, disbanded the guild after learning how much of a better job Asmoday was doing at running the guild in his absence. Gooty's morale was crushed as his former guildies split up to find new guilds. He kicked off his boots for a well earned rest.
Cowardly Gooty hides at the back in Blackrock Depths
Polaris join the attack on Araj the Summoner
The destroyer of Polaris
Arrival Of The Skumsplattaz (Jul 06 - Jan 07 & Dec 07 - Nov 08)
Meanwhile, deep in the land of Durotar, the Orcs Klapdud and Burghedd decided it would be best if they ceased spending their days bouncing rocks off of each other's heads and instead attempted to do something with their lives. With visions of being great Horde heroes and the bane of the Alliance, they grabbed hold of a nearby Troll and set off on their travels. The Troll, Kropotkin, had just started his Priest training, and the Orcs figured he would be handy in keeping them alive while they busted heads. How wrong they were. As they began their journey through Durotar and The Barrens, they formed their very own guild, the Skumsplattaz, with the sole aim of splatting as much Alliance skum as they could.
The Splattaz begin their adventure
What's green with three mouths and six legs?
The characters literally become the Skumsplattaz
At the first possible chance the Splattaz volunteered for battlegrounds, and were soon working their way up the rankings while also trying to keep busy questing. As the Splattaz charged and grunted their way through Feralas, nearly every other adventurer in the land ventured through the newly opened Dark Portal to Outland. With their dreams of fame and glory seeming even further away, the Splattaz made an enormous pizza, stuffed their faces full, and went to sleep for a very long time...
After the first Warsong Gulch battles
The Splattaz raise an army of gophers
Kropotkin is not the smartest
Klapdud has an animal growing out of his crotch
Klapdud finally discovers who's been tapping him on the shoulder
The Splattaz get mounted
Klap learns the 'Levitate Upon Death' skill
Reno the Raptor hams it up for the cameras
Nearly a whole year later, the Splattaz woke up. Realising they had been asleep for 10 months instead of 10 hours, they quickly headbutted each other several times in frustration. Knowing they needed more members in their guild to keep themselves motivated, they got to recruiting. In came Orc Hunter Bolck, Tauren Shaman Twonk and Orc Warlock Wetwhang. But rather than get stuck back into questing, the three founders first cleared the cobwebs by diving headfirst into battlegrounds to get some splattin' under their belts. It was not long before they were taking part in the awesome Alterac Valley for the first time. Once back questing and exploring within the Un Goro Crater, the Splattaz were the main initiators of a large battle against the Alliance on top of Fire Plume Ridge. More and more fighters piled in from both sides, until the Allies were sent scurrying with their tails between their legs.
Some weeks later, it was clear the attempt to recruit more members had failed, as Bolck, Twonk and Wetwhang had not been active since their initial quests.
Klapdud shows an Alliance character what he thinks of him
Burghedd also masters the 'Levitate Upon Death' skill
An Undercity Guardian tries to eat its way through the ceiling
Burghedd takes a much needed bath
Kropotkin and Klapdud in action at level 51
Kropotkin tries to hide from the fish
It had taken many months of questing, fighting, grunting and belching, but now the Splattaz were finally ready themselves to go through the Dark Portal and join the fight against the Burning Legion. Once in Outland, some strange mystical energy filled Klapdud's blood. While Burghedd and Kropotkin were happy to take their time and explore the strange new world more cautiously, Klapdud tore off into the wilderness on his own, hungry for glory and power. Soon after, he had reached his zenith, and aquired the guild's first flying mount.
Meanwhile back in Azeroth, Bolck and Twonk returned to action, along with a bunch of other promising new recruits, particularly Paladins Scoobyscrapp and Scoobittch, who spent a great deal of time adventuring and increasing their power. Soon after, with help from Klapdud, Scoobittch was ready to step through the Dark Portal and join the adventures in Outland.
Eventually, Kropotkin and Burghedd caught up with the hyperactive Klapdud, but soon after came some shocking news that stunned the Splattaz. Burghedd had lost the will to continue questing. He returned to Azeroth and went back to sleep.
Meanwhile, the other recruits were making progress, fighting their way through the Scarlet Monastary and Uldaman in madness filled adventures.
Ashaai does some pole dancing
Kropotkin's wolf Sven does the moonwalk
A typical 'Splattaz guild meeting
Scoobyscrapp, Scoobittch and Ashaai do some synchronized jumping
Kropotkin's wind rider Helo learns to fly without wings
Bolck dresses up as a Goblin and does some crazy-ass dancin'
Bludraven takes his turn doing the moonwalk
Klapdud's pet Kharn does the truffle shuffle
Ashaai picks some weird places to sleep
Scoobittch in action
Klapdud and Kropotkin provide supporting fire
Burghedd goes red as Scoobittch waggles her arse at him
Bludraven and Xanussi go for matching headgear
Bludraven gets a bit stuck
Bolck takes aim
The newer recruits take on Uldaman
Bolck and Kropotkin do not like the Alliance
A New Azeroth (Nov 08 - Jul 09 & Sep 10 - Jan 11)
With Scoobittch taking Burghedd's place as the close combat member of the team, the main three Splattaz journeyed across the oceans to the icy continent of Northrend, intent on dealing with the Scourge and the Alliance. The guild was joined by several Death Knights who had just broken free of the Lich King's will. As the main trio increased their skill and power, and continued to attack the Alliance in places such as Wintergrasp, the other Splattaz enthusiasm waned. Within six months nearly all the Splattaz had retired, prompting the main trio to join them.
Kropotkin jumps around in a ghoulish manner
Kropo tries to handle a very strange looking mammoth
Undeadbarry has trouble trying to teach his ghoul minion to swim
"There's only one way to get rid of a mole..."
Kropotkin goes swimming. No, make that flying. Lets call it flimming. (Woop! LLAP-Goch reference)
"That's one big bitch!"
The Splattaz come over all ghoulish
Kropotkin has a spot that needs bursting
Kropotkin tries his hand at surfing
Klapdud and Kropotkin in Strand Of The Ancients
Klapdud at level 80
Over a year later, Death Knight Undeadbarry was again motivated to pick up his weapons and set off into Northrend. Then, as Deathwing emerged from his slumber to devastate Azeroth, the core trio of Klapdud, Scoobittch and Kropotkin could not resist the temptation to investigate. New blood also joined the guild in the form of Goblins Fingus and Weewilywinky, and a highly skilled Rogue called Maliborgia. But unfortunately in the aftermath of the cataclysm the world seemed a very unfriendly place for smaller groups and guilds, and shortly after the Splattaz regrettably retired for good.
Undeadbarry gains a fan club
Undeadbarry is very confused
Fingus is beside himself
Kropotkin auditions for the next Jaws movie
Kropotkin auditions for the next The Beast movie
Klapdud auditions for the next Predator movie
Stebloke's Skumsplattaz Mounts
Arkhan, the Black Skeletal Horse
Asurmen, the Azure Netherwing Drake
Blaze, Fingus's Felsteed
Corel, the Swift Olive Raptor
D'Argo, Ashaai's Thalassian Charger
Gelnika, the Emerald Raptor
Helo, the Blue Wind Rider
Husker, the Tawny Wind Rider
Kalm, the Violet Raptor
Kamino, the Blue Nether Ray
Karthus, Undeadbarry's Archerus Deathcharger
Keldor, the Blue Skeletal Horse
Kit, the Abyssal Seahorse
Korriban, the Red Nether Ray
Nanaki, the Swift Orange Raptor
Overbite, the White Kodo
Plagueis, the Time-Lost Proto-Drake
Ratchet, the Goblin Trike
Reno, the Turquoise Raptor
Rygel, Ashaai's Thalassian Warhorse
Scorpia, the Swift Red Wind Rider
Scowl, the Grey Kodo
Skittle, the Blue Hawkstrider
Slog, the Brown Kodo
Snakebite, the Armoured Brown Bear
Sven, the Frostwolf Howler
Tuesti, the Swift Blue Raptor
Vlad, the Red Skeletal Warhorse