Where to start... this is going to be a long one. From a young age I have always been into video games, my earliest memories of gaming were playing a game called ‘Putt Putt Goes to the Moon’ on my dad’s computer. I can’t remember my exact age back then, but it was a long time ago. My family moved to Paris when I was 6 years old, and when we returned to Aberdeen to visit the wider family, I remember playing a lot of Doom on my uncles’ computer - a slightly different game than Putt Putt Goes to the Moon! I was 7 when I got a PlayStation for Christmas (I had asked Santa for rollerblades instead as I used to spend a lot of time outside back then). I think my dad got me the PlayStation partly because he also wanted to play it though, as he also got himself a copy of the game Alien (I still remember the face huggers that would jump on you to this day...). My dad didn’t really play it much and never really got into gaming after that.
Anyway, I have a lot of fond memories of playing Crash Bandicoot on that PlayStation. Alongside this I had been playing some of the original Warcraft at my neighbor’s house (an American family) - I just remember building a lot of paths and walls! I got myself Warcraft II on my dad’s PC shortly after and instantly fell in love with the game and the genre of RTS. I left France in 1998 after the Football World Cup (the last time Scotland was in the World Cup until this day!), which was being held in France too, so we had a lot of family over and I remember it being an exciting time. A few months before that StarCraft had just been released and I spent a lot of time at my friend’s house, in his basement, where his dad had around 10 different PCs setup, his very own LAN (he was big into flight simulators). I played a lot of StarCraft back then.
When we returned to Scotland, and over the next 5 years I continued to play a ton of RTS games, from Age of Empires, to Empire Earth, to Warrior Kings, to Age of Mythology and Warcraft 3. I was in Portugal on a family holiday visiting my aunt, uncle and cousins when Warcraft 3 was released - me and my cousin managed to convince our parents to take us into the nearest city and we both bought the game in Portuguese, excited to get home and play it ASAP. My uncle had a good PC and I ended up spending a good part of that holiday sitting indoors playing through the campaign with my cousin - despite the glorious weather and swimming pool! Until World of Warcraft, there wasn’t a game I played more than Warcraft 3 and the subsequent Frozen Throne expansion. I loved the game, the story and the competitive element of the online play.
I remember the terrible 56K dial up internet connection when trying to play with friends and online. It was a real struggle back then, you couldn’t use the phone while someone was on the internet, it was slow, there were disconnects. When broadband finally came around (and it took a while in the UK!) it was a blessing - makes me think how much has improved with internet access since not so long ago. I have a ton of fond memories from the Warcraft 3 days: the custom games, the ladder & competitive system, the battle.net chat rooms, downloading and watching replays trying to always get better. I don’t think there has been a better strategy game - I still find myself watching Grubby every now and then on YouTube to this day. Close to the release of World of Warcraft I really started getting into DotA. I remember when I first heard about WoW, I imagined it as being a bigger version of DotA where you controlled 1 hero in a large world, it would be my first MMORPG experience. I pre-ordered the collector’s edition of the game and waited with a lot of anticipation for the release.
I managed to get into the US beta of WoW, and I made an undead rogue as my first ever character. I can’t remember what level I managed to get to, but I don’t think I made it out of the Barrens. Later in the beta I also made a human paladin to resemble Arthas as close as possible (the long blonde human hair!). The game was amazing, I had never played anything like it and instantly fell in love. With the release of the actual game coming up in Europe I told my IRL friend that I wanted to play a class with more responsibility in groups (must have had some bad experiences in the Wailing Caverns on beta!) - so that I would either play a healer or a tank. My friend wanted to play healer, which left me the tank option and the rest is history - sometimes I wonder how different things would be if I had chosen to play the healer instead... perhaps my entire life path would be different! I was 16 years old when the game finally got released in 2005 and myself, and a couple of friends rolled onto the server Skullcrusher. I played a mighty Tauren warrior. I played a lot more than my friends did and quickly found myself at level 60, leading groups through the various dungeons at the time: Scholomance, Stratholme, and Blackrock Spire. I became somewhat established and well connected on the server, I got the full Valor set, and finally set foot in Molten Core. I will never forget those first 2 giants with the bridge in Molten Core - what a raid.
I had only killed Lucifron when my IRL friends decided they wanted to change things up and make new characters on a new server, and as a new faction. This time we would play Alliance on a server that just came up - Sylvanas. I made an Alliance night elf hunter called Candy and again we tried to somewhat level up together. We made a guild together, with me as guild master, called “Nekked”. While leveling up I would meet 2 of our main starting members in the guild. First, I met Splinky, a night elf male hunter (with the long white ponytail) - strangely I can still remember exactly how his character looked. I met him in the Wetlands while questing around level 20-30, and after playing for a bit together he joined the guild. Next up was a Druid called Javac who also joined. Myself, Splinky, and Javac were the first level 60s in the guild and from there we would do a lot of the end game pre-raid content together - I remember killing a very different looking Nathanos Blightcaller in the Eastern Plaguelands with a contingent of many different guilds.
I was really into the game back then, immersed in the world, keen to explore it, to live it. Outdoor PvP was a big feature, Hillsbrad Foothills, Tarren Mill versus Southshore, we would make big groups from the guild, still called “Nekked” at this point, of all different levels of players. We treated it as a real territory battle, we really got into it - there was no way we were going to let the horde occupy Southshore! These PvP ‘raids’ were a ton of fun and really added value and a reason for people to want to be in the guild. As more people in the guild got to level 60, we started doing a lot of dungeons together and soon we were a decent collective of max level players. As the guild started doing more and becoming more, I decided to rename it from “Nekked”, which has always been somewhat of a joke name for lack of a better idea at the time, to “Method”. The definition of the word made sense for a WoW raid guild (Method – “a procedure, technique, or way of doing something, especially in accordance with a definite plan”) and it sounded good when said out loud. Interestingly, our team support hashtag would later be established as #methodway, which coincidentally relates to the origins of the word Method in Greek as shown below:
It was also at this point that I started missing my warrior and felt like I could lead and influence the success of the dungeons and later raids much more as a tank rather than a DPS, and so I started leveling my human warrior, Sco, on the side.
Having been level 60 twice at this point, and experienced a lot of the content the game had to offer, the next step was to turn the guild’s attention towards raiding. I decided early on that I wanted to make Method renown on the server, and when it came to raiding I wanted Method to be the best guild on the server, the guild that was killing bosses before anyone else. There wasn’t really a world stage at this point (or even a European one), every server was its own massive community and that was the only community you really thought about. We didn’t have enough players at level 60 to do our own 40man raids, so I began trying to recruit players whenever I could, firstly those that I had good experience with from the dungeons. I remember whispering players, telling them that Method will be the best guild on the server - that I was committed to making it happen and and that we were the best choice. Recruitment went well, we picked up some great players, many of whom would play with Method for years to come. However, at the time we still didn’t have enough to make a 40man raid ourselves. I had become friendly with an officer in another big guild at the time, his name was Sprycer, a human warrior (again, writing this I can fully remember what his character looked like - I feel like back then there was a much stronger feeling of fantasy, that the people were the characters themselves, which is something very detached now). Anyway, he was the officer of a guild called “Might” and in the absence of their guild master (he had gone MIA) he had now taken the reins. Method and Might came together to make a 40man raid between us, and it stayed like this for a short while, as the raids were commonly referred to as “M & M” like the chocolate.
The guild master of “Might” didn’t end up coming back to the game anytime soon and Sprycer, not wanting to take on the responsibility of guild master, agreed to merge Might under Method to become one unified guild. From there Method went on to conquer Molten Core and Onyxia, and establish ourselves as the pinnacle of Alliance raiding on Sylvanas. I have so many memories from these times that I will always look back on fondly. The running of 40 mounted players towards Onyxia’s lair - it felt epic, it felt like you were a massive army on the move (like I said I was really into the game back then!). I remember while we progressed Molten Core going home at lunch time from school with my friend and watching videos like Nightmare Asylum versus Major Domo and Ragnaros, from the Fura POV. The music was always interesting too! And finally skipping my secondary school dance (prom for the US guys) to kill Ragnaros for the first time. And then there was the DKP system, the discussions around who was going to get the first bindings of the wind seeker, those were the days...
At some point during vanilla, a thread popped up on the official raids and dungeons forum that was used to track which guild killed which boss first on a European/world level, a step much further than server level. Having established ourselves as the best guild on the server, this was the new objective for Method, to achieve the best possible rank on a European/world level. If I remember correctly, this started becoming quite prominent around AQ40 and then later Naxxramas. Speaking of AQ40, it was around this period that I spent multiple months grinding Arathi Basin and Warsong gulch, until I finally got rank 14 in PvP. This was a pretty big achievement on a personal level since I was still going to school full time back then.
Due to the grinding for rank 14 we decided as a guild that the officer Splinky would be the one to bang the gong and open the gates of AQ - if only I knew that I would still be playing WoW 15 years later, and that Scarab Lord became quite prestigious! I remember that we were going to bang the gong earlier in the day to avoid massive server lag (everyone gathered for it), however we (and the entire server!) had to wait until myself and another officer at the time (IRL friend) were home from school to take part. I can proudly say that I never did skip a day of school to play WoW!
During our Naxxramas progress I had finished school and it was time to go to University. This was a big problem because the University was in a different city (2 hours away) and the student halls had no internet connection. I made it a priority to get an internet connection installed (some drunk guy literally pulled my cable out of the outside wall at some point!), however it took a while. I would travel home each weekend to raid, and I seem to remember this was around the time of the 4 horsemen where every tank was desperately needed. We eventually cleared out the entire raid, not really placing high up on the European/world rankings (still server first), however for only raiding on the weekend and during night time it wasn’t too bad. Method would not actually move to day time raiding until long after this. With Kel’Thuzad down I got my hands on Might of Menethil, the best 2h weapon in the game and soon afterwards I made my one and only pvp movie “Sco and his mom”.
It was then time to get ready for the highly anticipated release of World of Warcraft’s first expansion, The Burning Crusade, but that's a story for another time.