When I first started playing World of Warcraft in 2009, I didn’t have to shop around for a realm I liked. My significant other at the time was playing on Feathermoon, and since they were the reason I was starting the game, it only made sense for me to roll my characters on Feathermoon, too. This was long before cross-realm raiding or zones were an option. Back then I don’t think we even had BattleTag. So my main and the first few of my alts originated on Feathermoon.
During the last few months of Cataclysm, when I returned from a short hiatus due to graduate school sucking up all of my leisure time, the core group of people I had played with on Feathermoon scattered. Many left for greener pastures, including my partner. Star Wars: the Old Republic was still new and exciting, there were probably other games drawing people’s attention. I wanted to get back into WoW but I also wanted to find people to play with. I shopped around for new servers, knowing that I wanted to start roleplaying and also knowing that the idea of world PVP intrigued me.
Naturally, I chose Emerald Dream. I gradually migrated my three level-capped characters over to the Dream, and leveled a warrior who was born and raised in the fiery crucible of ED. The four years that followed were some of the most memorable I’ve had in-game. I met some amazing RPers, participated in a few epic RPPVP campaigns, and overcame my fear of arenas. I discovered joy in an area of the game I had never before explored.
Times change, though. People change, too. Once upon a time, leveling on a PVP server didn’t bother me. I could laugh it off no matter how many times a level 85, 90, or 100 character one-shot the lowbie I was trying to level. I had a good attitude about the whole experience and never felt like I was being inconvenienced. When one of the guilds I was part of decided to move to Moon Guard to get away from the PVP environment, I moved my Alliance characters with them but remained the most active on my Horde characters over on Emerald Dream. As time went on, though, I found myself spending more time on my Moon Guard toons than my Emerald Dream ones. The people who had made my experience such a wonderful one were barely a presence anymore.
Faced with the prospect of meeting a whole new generation of roleplayers on Emerald Dream, my social anxiety kicked in and I took a step away from the game. In retrospect, that decision only made this one easier. Because by the time I did come back to WoW, almost everyone I knew and cared to play with was no longer on Emerald Dream. Some had moved on to other realms. Wyrmrest Accord or Moon Guard for the RPers, God only knows where for the PVPers. Thinking that a long-time RP partner of mine would be coming back to the server, I applied into a new RPPVP guild on the Alliance side of ED. But I found myself growing irritated with the constant PVP action. I wanted to level. I wanted to roleplay. I wanted to unlock Draenor flying. And I found myself, more often than not, running back to my corpse.
There are wonderful things about PVP realms. There are players who would rather quit altogether than play without that constant heightened awareness, that sense of watching over your shoulder and waiting for someone to drop out of the sky on you. I am not one of those players. I enjoyed ED during my time there, but as it was at the end of Cata, so it is now. My friends have moved on. I can choose to follow them, or to stay and make new friends and new connections.
The decision, in the end, was an easy one.
I’ve got two level 100 characters left on ED, and by the end of the month, I expect they’ll be gone. L——, my first rogue, will retire to Wyrmrest Accord with her sister, my mage K——-. My hunter, C——-, will join the rest of my Alliance characters on Moon Guard.
I’m writing my farewell post here, because no one would bat an eye if I posted it on the realm forums. I’ve been a ghost on Emerald Dream for awhile now, so it’s best to just quietly fade away without any fanfare. To everyone I knew and played with on ED, thank you. To Alvarado, Silane, Liniadel, Torimiyas, Zurga, Leranthiel, Astilaldan, Imfernal, and the few who remain on Emerald Dream whose names I’ve overlooked, thank you. Thank you for the years of roleplay, of writing, of drunken karaoke raiding, of shoulders to cry on and hands to high-five.
I can’t predict whether I’ll still be playing when WoW finally goes offline for good. And I can’t predict where I’ll be, or what class, or what race. But until the end of my WoW days, I’ll keep the Dream alive.