For a number of months, I knew my computer was dying, but it was the release of patch 5.4 that finally did it in. With a seven-year-old motherboard, processor, and a paltry two gigabytes of RAM, even just opening an internet browser was eating up a significant portion of its memory. Running WoW was definitely out of the question. So I began the process of upgrading my machine--new motherboard, new CPU, new RAM, new operating system--and along the way my monitor died too, so I got a new one of those as well. There were some wrenches thrown into the machinery, but at last I found myself once more logging into the familiar World of Warcraft.
I've played WoW for six of its nine years in existence, and I sometimes struggle to explain what keeps me going. Though changes and tweaks have been made through the years, at its core the game remains the same. It's the same night elf druid that greets me on the login screen each time I load the client, the same familiar landmarks that guide my travels across Azeroth. After a two-month forced absence, however, I think I understand better what the game represents to me: it's home.