It was The Burning Crusade’s fault. When it comes to the crunch, as all “its” inevitably do, that’s who I’m going to blame. Burning Crusade. Fade to black with the caption “9 months earlier”, in stylish lower case.

March. A friend of mine managed to goad his flatmate into getting The Burning Crusade expansion for World Of Warcraft. They’d played the main game thoroughly and torn themselves away from it for some time previous to this. During that time, I was aware of the fact that they were playing it but only interested enough to sarcastically ask what level they’d got to followed by a “Ooooh!”, equally unimpressed.

But The Burning Crusade came with a 10-day free guest pass allowing current and returning players a chance to pass the virus on, and this is where I came in, stage left. I created a human rogue, called her Dizelle, and after a slow start spent a lot of my jobless hours in the first week taking her from level 1 to 20, dying a lot of times along the way, and then getting confused as to why I wasn’t gaining XP any more – it was, after all, my new oxygen. A quick check on the inter-stitched net later and I was all clued up on the level cap for trial accounts, I’d be going no further than twenty – and with three days of trial left to go.

“I’ll show them!” I shouted, loudly and with vigour, in my head. And so Anj was born. Night Elves, I learned, were unashamed tree-huggers who like the world best when it’s all dark which looked to all intents and purposes like me in some kind of a nature-loving nutshell. Trees are cool, night-time is great, what more does one need? For the class I settled for Hunter, largely based on the description of them “fighting back the ravages of sickness, exploitation and industrialisation” making them pretty much the virtual world’s lovable activists, and finally not only did hunters get to play around with bows and arrows (like anybody sensible, I have never underestimated the appeal of a string-propelled pointy stick) but also got to have pets to fight alongside them as well. “Y… You mean I get a kitty?”. I’d pretty much found my class.

The full game was purchased, had my guest pass passed to Friend Julia (who had never been a massive games player but found the euphoria that a syringe-full of WoW creates similarly moreish). And there we had it, we were a mini team all set with packed lunches for busy evenings of destroying people.

My jobless state gave me plenty of time, too much time in fact. I was levelling too fast for our little unit and so created Alysha, a Human warlock, to stem the flow a little. Also my curiosity for other classes spawned a Gnome rogue called Caitlin (a tribute to the long since deleted Dizelle, this time backed up with knowledge of things that would have helped her not die quite so much. Like green items), another Night Elf called Wintersong, a druid this time, and a Draenei shaman purely to assist Julia’s 10 year old son’s adventures with the name he chose; Girlpants. Not to mention a myriad of other class dabbles that eventually came to nothing.

So here we are. Anj and Alysha are 70 (although Anj gets more play time so has much more nifty gear even though Alysha hit the big seven-oh a good while before her), Caitlin is 48, Wintersong is 30 and Girlpants is 22. There’s also Cherrytea, a Dwarven paladin lady who is fine with the idea of staying at level 1 to hang around in Stormwind and take care of the auctions and bank stuff. Bless her. There’s even a guild called Avenging Angels which I started with my own (back then) highly precious, and much-needed money.

So let’s have a go at this then. I’ve tried a blog before but it crumbled under the weight of my own laziness carrying a big rucksack packed with “You know, nothing in my real life is actually that interesting enough to type out in great detail for the global public consumption” so, who knows. Something might happen here, it might not.

Fingers crossed then. See you in a year.