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World of Warcraft turns ten: 10 unforgettable moments from WoW's first decade

Hayden Dingman | Nov. 25, 2014
World of Warcraft is now officially ten years old, if you can believe it. If you started playing the game as a toddler, you're now entering your teenage years, teenage players are now working twenty-somethings, and college players are settling down and getting married.

On the more uplifting side of World of Warcraft TV there was the long-running web series The Guild. While the characters in The Guild played a fictional MMO known only as "The Game," the parallels to World of Warcraft were clear.

Ahab Wheathoof - 2008

Blizzard's particularly good about in-game memorials, with this year's Robin Williams tributes garnering a lot of attention.

One of the most well-known, however, is Ahab Wheathoof. Ahab, a level 62 Tauren, is a farmer who merely wants his dog back. The distraught farmer and his quest were both designed with the help of Ezra Chatterton, who while suffering from brain cancer was able to visit Blizzard's offices through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Chatterton even voiced Ahab and created the Merciless Gladiator's Crossbow of the Phoenix before passing away in 2008. There's also another tauren, Ezra Wheathoof, in Thunder Bluff in Chatterton's memory.

Activision Blizzard - 2008

One of the most lasting effects of World of Warcraft isn't even part of the game — it's the fact that there's a company called "Activision Blizzard." In fact, when Blizzard's parent company Vivendi merged with Activision in 2008 Blizzard was the only Vivendi subsidiary that survived the buyout intact.

There's no doubt that was largely on the back of World of Warcraft, which even at that point was a gaming juggernaut with over 10 million subscribers — not too shy of the game's 12 million subscriber peak in 2010.

Blizzard Real ID - July, 2010

If you spend a lot of time on the Internet, you know that its tendency towards anonymity is both its greatest strength and (occasionally) a horrific nightmare. In 2010, shortly before the Cataclysm expansion, Blizzard decided it wanted to cut down on the amount of harassment (hopefully) by requiring users to register on the forums with their real names.

The backlash was predictably fierce. One Blizzard employee then tried to prove the situation wasn't that bad by posting his real name, only for forum users to dig up and post his home address, phone number, and other identifying information a few minutes later.

Needless to say the plan was scrapped.

Cataclysm - November, 2010

Keeping a game fresh for ten years isn't easy — it requires constant updates and content refreshes. Blizzard's become a machine in that respect over the last decade, with five major expansions and tons of smaller updates.

But the most impressive (and controversial) content refresh by far was 2010's Cataclysm expansion. The plot involved Warcraft II's Deathwing the Destroyer returning to Azeroth through an enormous tear in the fabric of the dimension, causing a disaster that reshaped the entire world.


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