I don’t play or read about WoW these days, but I was saddened when I heard the news about WoW Insider reaching the end of the line. I felt compelled to write something over here.
WoW Insider (intimate readers may call them WI, I decided) has been around since as long as it matters and I think that, over the years, they’ve played a phenomenal role in the WoW community, especially, as one would expect, in the WoW blogging circle that I’ve held so dear. They’ve been through so many staff and editor changes throughout their existence and somehow managed to uphold their standards of good writing (a celebrated rarity in for-profit online content sites!), of accessibility and of sunny relationships with their readers (and, from what I hear, their staff).
Oh, and Blizzcon attendees can testify – they sure as hell know how to throw a party!
On a personal level, in my early days, they were an inspiration to me. I remember that era when I was making the transition from “a few hours a week of relaxing leveling” to “I want to raid well”. I swear I read every article posted on WI, every day. When I started generating WoW content myself, I looked to those names on my screen in awe, wondering how they got to where they were.
Later on, as I became braver with my writing, I was sometimes given the honour of a nod in The Daily Quest, their (last seen in 2012) community link love column. If you’ve ever been a WoW blogger and linked to by WI, you know what it’s like. Your page views spike overnight and your stomach does flips as you hover between giddiness and terror, bracing for the dreaded troll comments. But soon you learn that trolls rarely bother with quiet spaces and that you can enjoy a WoW Insider-fueled page views spike worry-free.
Then I’m not sure exactly when I discovered the WoW Insider Show, but for several months (if not more?) Mike Schramm and Turpster were like household names to me. Even after my interests in the game grew past what WoW Insider could provide, I still eagerly awaited each new episode. I think I cried real tears, really wet ones, when the two hosts moved on to new projects. I’ve refused to listen to the show ever since.
Also sorely missed is Guildwatch, a column dedicated to guild achievements, recruitment and, most popcornably, drama (taken straight from the official forums). Was a short lived column. Shame. If it were still around, I’d probably still be reading it.
Though, like I mentioned earlier, what WI did best was throw freaking awesome asskicking Blizzcon parties.
WoW Insider Blizzcon parties are where memories are made! I remember spending hours shopping for and putting together cute outfits (I swear, I never put that much effort into outfits. You guys are just SPECIAL.) I remember showing up for the first time and being dizzy with nerves, only to be put at ease within seconds by the nicest 343948573498 people I’ve ever met. I remember sneaking around to get a view of Ghostcrawler because I was too shy to say hi the normal way. I remember spotting familiar faces from The Guild and being all “OMIGOD”. I remember getting cornered into a really awkward conversation with a lady gamer I didn’t know who was trying to convert me to some kind of angry social justice movement (I think it started along the lines of “Hi, I’m *didn’t catch name*. Don’t you ever feel oppressed?” It was so weird.) I remember watching friends meet for the first time with encounters ranging from timid nods to full on lift-hugs. And with awesome and/or hilarious memories like that, I quickly forgot about all the bar line ups!
Looking back, I feel like WoW Insider was so much more than a WoW news site. And while I was never very involved with them (I never applied to write for them – professional writing just isn’t something I aspire to – and I rarely commented), they’ve certainly added a lot of flavour to my WoW and blogging life.
I’ve been away from anything WoW for so long that it would be silly to say I’ll miss WoW Insider, but I can’t deny that the announcement of the end of era makes me nostalgic. I’ll certainly cherish the memories, those I’ve shared here and those I’ve kept to myself. I wish the best for all of WI’s staff (including those who left the site after the last budget cuts) and I sincerely hope they all find new positions worthy of their talent. (Not that I’m too worried – I’m sure they’ll all do just fine!)
/tar WoW Insider