I've had a lot of luck when it comes to the amount of "free" time I have had since playing WoW. Work never created an issue for my game time, since, well, I either worked a half-day or was able to login at work, hiding behind a laptop and trying to look as busy as possible. It wasn't necessarily the "therapist playing tic-tac-toe" kind of thing, but it was pretty close. =) I never thought the work I had taken on would allow me this much /played time (and indeed I restructured my gaming and even guild-associations accordingly), but even now, when I start my new teaching position on Monday, I'll only be on campus until about 1:00 p.m. daily. So the trend of having plenty of "me" time and therefore, probably way too much WoW time, will continue.
Because of all of that free time, and the fact that the wife was working 12-hour shifts at the hospital (meaning I was home alone for hours), I was able to level the Warlock fairly quickly. I passed ol' Biggie and was doing rather well for myself... or so I thought.
Knowing nothing about gear, dungeons, drops, etc, I relied on buying new weapons and armor from vendors to "gear up." That's right. I was one of those guys. White items. No stats. No equip effects. Just a little bit more armor. Those were my "upgrades" for quite a long time. I wasn't even working on professions at all, and when I did, I didn't know about the "Find Herbs" button until after I had already hit 300 with Herbalism (that was a source of LAWL for a lot of people). I didn't know about dungeons or anything like that, so I ended up out-leveling RFC, WC, and the like. Pretty pathetic, I know. I was finally introduced to dungeons in my mid-lvl 20's, while questing near the Sepulcher for some reason, when I ended up running into Shadowfang Keep.
The Belt of Arugal was my first blue, followed by the Feline Mantle. I started to catch on to how gear issues actually worked, although I still didn't know that there were specific-stats I should be looking for. I needed help and realized that my play would benefit greatly if I was in a guild (which I was just figuring out were the titles beneath player's names...).
I joined Living Reavers. A small guild with a lot of other noob players like myself, and one player that seemed to know what she was doing. She was a warrior, so she couldn't help me with my class (and lord knows I needed it at that point), but she did lead many runs through dungeons daily, which helped my leveling greatly. I stuck with that guild through a majority of my leveling, met some nice people, and helped out as much as an under-geared, poorly-geared Warlock could. I mean, I was stacking Intelligence and Spirit "because that's what casters do" ffs. I was even stacking Agility because I "couldn't get hurt if I wasn't getting hit." I forget who told me to do that, and that's probably a good thing. >=O
Yeah, so I was pretty much a nub that had no real clue what I was doing even through my 30's and 40's. Unfortunately, I didn't do much to change what I was doing because I was being called a "good" Warlock. I was getting quests done, instancing for new gear, and was making some new friends along the way, including a Rogue who was always nice enough to open locked boxes for me for free. Sixis was his name, and like many other things, I was oblivious to the guy's rep on the server as one of the best of the best. He never thought he was too good for my boxes, and I am still grateful for that. /fuzzywogfeelings. I also met Xaytanic, a Warlock in the same guild as Sixis (some guild named "Onyx") and who was incredibly geared and sitting on a Dreadstead at the UC mailbox. I was in awe of this guy, and we struck up a conversation and he was kind enough to offer his advice on a regular basis (there's a side-plot to this I'll get into later).
Around that time, in my early Lvl 50's, I left Living Reavers because the GM had basically given up and went AFK for a very long time and without word (a pretty sad trend on Alexstrasza, even today). I was approached by Mysticdeath of War Lords, which was led by a great guy in Ixithra, and joined up with his crew. I Lvl'd to 60 with them and had an amazingly fun time, for the most part. I was able to enjoy helping out, and the guild did "great" things for my "progress." The Warlock Officer, Ferryman, had me sport a Mooncloth Robe and other "not for a Warlock" items that had me at 0 +dmg, very little Stamina, and smothered in Xaytanic's laughter. That's when Xay pretty much pulled me aside and taught me the ropes of the Warlock class. Ya know, what we're supposed to be stacking, what our roles were in dungeons and in PvP... etc.
I started to PvP for Stamina and Spell Dmg-heavy type gear that I now knew should have been my goal from the get go. I spent much time in the BG's, with Onyx (the very dominant PvP guild on the server) when I was lucky enough to have Xay or Sixis get me into one of their groups, and had Ferryman fuming. We got into it big time one day on Teamspeak and in Guild Chat with him accusing me of focusing too much on items not meant for a Warlock and not knowing how to play my class. Mystic demoted Ferryman (Ix was on leave for RL stuff) and I, not wanting to instigate anymore drama, simply walked away.
Oh, and just for kicks, here's Ferryman's Armory. Pay close attention to his enchants...
So anyway, that's how I started the whole PvP grind thing. I applied to Onyx and got in (after weeks of PvPing with them), and apparently was a part of a project put together by the dominant Onyx Warlocks, Darcla and Xaytanic. Demordrah and I were taken under their PvP-tutorship and the two wanted to see which of us would make it to Rank 14. We both did, and Demordrah and I are still good friends today. Darcla and Xay, however, I don't speak with anymore. Darcla plays a healer another server and Xaytanic plays a BE Rogue on Alex, Nahtia, and doesn't care to interact. Meh, I kicked both of their asses in our last duels together, so I'm okay with it. ;)
Most of you guys know the whole honor-grind story, so I won't bore you with it other than the fact that the wife hated it (what free time she did have, I was "stuck" at my comp grinding honor), I missed out on an entire summer, and Bliz pretty much negated the whole damn thing by restructuring PvP to accommodate casuals above everyone else. GG. I will never be that dedicated to any aspect of any game ever again. It was just pathetic.
After that, the Onyx-fragmenting occurred, followed by my stint with AoS Guys and then Prom Kings. Most of it is just drama and had nothing to do with progress whatsoever, so it's not really worth going into.
So, yeah. That's pretty much it with WoW up to that point. With regards to the RL situations that allowed me to do so much in-game, I wish I could say they didn't interact at all. My wife and I really had it out a few nights when I would stay up until odd hours of the morning, playing while she tried to sleep. The friction pushed me to want to escape (read as "play WoW") more often and all that really did was make things worse. For someone who knew behavior so well, I truly was doing all the wrong things. So yeah, there was a little bit of trouble there, but nothing too serious (as some people my suggest... damn politicians), and things can't be better atm.
Well there ya have it. Some uber boring cliff-notes about how I got to where I am now. I wish it were more interesting, but it really isn't. I dunno, maybe someday I'll open up about the drama I've seen. It makes for a much more interesting time, for sure, but it's also quite pathetic - stories of love triangles, girls flirting with guys for gear, young boys planning on moving in with such girls, guilds breaking apart because of it... ya know, lame, crack open a container of Bon Bons and have obscenely more amounts of free time that even I can conjure kinda stuff.
Maybe someday... but until then, gotta use the free time I have to help level the Glitz level to 70. =)