Having been one of those people with no life and too much time, ThANkS foR SINGlING us out Ross, we're not crazy, NOT CRAZY. Anyway onto:
STORY TIME WITH DIGIT.
To give a little background, I was one of those rare flowers who was actually in the World of Warcraft beta, playing on the only realm Argent something or other. I remember Captain Placeholder (a fun story with a silly song, look it up!) and when Warcraft had no exclamation points, they actually added that in shortly after launch. I was in a guild running for world first Onyxia kill as the heal lead. We were 3rd to take her down ever, and second our realm by 15 bloody minutes.
So that's kind of my pedigree for the story, started super hardcore and gotten less hardcore with every expansion, that guild fell apart shortly after that onyxia thing destroyed our spirits. So we fast forward to Wrath of the Lich King, where my 3 best stories happen.
Story 1: That retarded horse.
It was at this time that World of Warcraft was starting to experiment with supplementing the subscription with microtransactions, their first grand experiment? A purchasable mount, purely cosmetic, in fact looked weird when it first launched. They took the most difficult mount to get at the time (Invincible, a wing-a-ling undead horsey from the Lich King himeslf) used the texture off the hard mode only boss of ulduar that had become a bit of a legend by then (Algalon) a made made of stars, mashed them together, and created the celestial steed. (They later cleaned up the texture and his animations, so he looks better now than he did) All for the low low price of $25, or $10 more than you pay for a month of gametime.
Anyway, at the time, my guildies and I saw the writing on the wall, if this thing did well, it was going to meanhttp://a lot more negative things to come later. So we started the 3 month campaign of TRH-Free benefits. We farmed the rarest materials, and in bulk, we offered services for super cheap, ran people through raids, etc. . .if they let us look at their account achievements and confirm there was no TRH achievement.
So we sold rare materials, gave free runs, etc. . . for 3 months to discourage paying $25 for an in game item. Sadly, it was incredibly successful and our guilds attempt to slow the rush, was only a paper holding back the ocean.
Storytime 2: The Questining!
After the failed campaign, our guild decided to spice things up even more! We were bored, the last raid was the only content we had seen in ages, and we needed...something to do before the new expansion came out.
So we ran the longest quest chain in Warcraft history for 3 weeks. We had players around the world in specific slots 24/h a day (on multiple shifts so everybody's schedule worked) but always somebody there, offering you a quest, in the low level zones it was to kill 20 bears and get us greys, and then they point you to the next questgiver with the 'quest item' (usually a vanity item, so we could confirm they'd done or at least really knew about the quest.) so, you do the quest in the lowbie region, and slowly go through ~60 something quests to the Final Quest, defeat 3 completely deranged madmen in LIVE FINITELY COMBAT *Awesome Music Plays* (This was done in Dire Maul Arena, an area that forced pvp, even for same faction, even on non-pvp servers.) So we had 3 jibbering mad-men attacking the quest taker and each other, and the reward was 50,000 gold, a 2 mounts worth about 25k. The first person to clear it ever got a vanilla wow collector edition code, to claim one of those super rare pets. It was feel good times.
STORY TIME the 3RD: Undergeared
So, while my main guild was getting bored enough to make a game with-in a game, I was reading blogs, lots of blogs, writing in blogs, creating a blog, blogs blogs and blogs. I ran into one, ye olde Greedy Goblin. A blog mostly dedicated to discussing the economics of WoW and how to make money fastest/easiest with the auction house. He was starting an initiative though, Undergeared. A raid group designed to clear Wrath of the Lich content in only blue quality items.
To explain, there had kind of become this odd requirement for random groups, you had to have a 'gear score' (item level of your gear, as calculated by a mod, and later added to the normal game) of ____ (usually higher than what the dungeon even dropped) to get into the group. This practice eventually got so crazy, this goblin decided to prove that this expansion, unlike Vanilla and TBC was more about good gameplay than the gear you wore.
So we became Undergeared. For a little background in Wrath of the Lich King, the normal 5 man dungeons drop blue items, with the final boss dropping a purple (epic) item. All raids drop only purples etc. . . And our mission statement to clear all the content in Wrath of the Lich King on normal without any epic items, epic gems (stat boosting items that were added a little bit into the expansion) or enchants that used materials -from- epic items. We would also do as much heroic content as we could.
So we started, we cleared the first dungeons (Naxxramas, Eye of Eternity, and the Obsidian Sanctum) easily, even the hard mode of Obsidian Sanctum. KILL GET.
Then we travelled to Ulduar, a raid kind of notoriously difficult. Designed around having purples from Naxxramas, but we cleared this too, easily, and all of the hard modes (save for Algalon)
So then us mighty adventurers headed to Trial of the Crusader. This was a bad raid, designed badly, with badness, and was easily thwarted in normal by Undergeared. We didn't do heroic here, because we couldn't bring ourselves to do this raid anymore. ONTO ICECROWN.
We entered Icecrown Citadel, home of the Lich King, with a little trepidation. This was the final raid (or so we thought) of the expansion. A multi-winged behemoth of a raid, and we were running with the blues of so long ago. Many people commented to Greedy Goblin's blog about how what we were doing was mathematically impossible to do in ICC. One boss inparticular (Rotface) had a mini-rage that everybody said would one shot our tank. But persevere we did. After 3 weeks of attempts we cleared the first wing. Then the blood wing (a coordinated fight called the 3 princes was best for our style, smart play greatly reduces damage taken by everybody, there's even an achievement for it!) and the boss, a vampire lady bites a person in the raid and gives them super damage! Then they have to bite a person, and then both of them have to bite a person later, etc. . .
Then we went for the plague wing, where the dreaded Rotface lie. We cleared the first one, Festergut, and made our way over. We took our highest HP tank (a druid) and prayed, the mighty blow came down and left our druid with 7 hp, from 32,000. But he lived, well, he immediately died after, but he lived the hit! This meant we could do it, if we were awesome!
So the weeks began.
So the month happened.
So the month and a half happened.
WE WON, with only 1 person up, who fell over dead immediately.
Then we slogged, and battled, weary, worn, tired. We got to the Lich King. We had proved ourselves so clearly, so cleanly. We had taken dungeon blues, and pretty much beaten the expansion. Gear score be damned! This expansion was about skill. But, all these weeks of tough fight after tough fight. Of the expansion of boring (not everybody was in my other guild, who was working to entertain themselves.) and we just had members dropping...we got to the Lich King, and impotently had to bow out, because we couldn't even get 10 people on to try.
The rise and fall of undergeared.
So, those are my WoW stories.
Some bigger MMO stories I was not involved directly in but know about or was part of the community at the time:
Angwe, Ganker God of Warcraft. Many moons ago a force of nature rose from the ranks of the horde. Angwe, a rogue born to kill innocent people leaving Menethil harbor (level 30 zone) for the alliance. He became such an unstoppable force of nature that there were guides written on how to avoid him on the road (dive into the water and swim to shore, use certain cooldowns to hearth/teleport/stealth past him.) etc. . . It seemed this person never slept, never stopped staying there and killing for months. Good times Angwe, good times.
The death of Lord British (Ultima Online) during Ultima Online's beta test, Richard Garriot came to visit his game and his people in a big event to see what was happening. A peasant used a very low level spell on him, and...he just died. The guy had forgotten to turn his invulnerability back on. So the godking of the game, who crafted a world full of lore and love, assassinated by his people just because they could. THANKS PLAYERBASE.
Thistledown defense (Asheron's Call) - This is one of the stories I really feel should be out there more. Asheron's call held an event to defend these shards that would summon a great evil boss. Some players would try to destroy the shards, others would defend it, but in the end every shard would fall.
Or so the developers thought. On thistledown server, players took the defense seriously, they levelled the shard up by killing themselves, making it more difficult to kill, and held on so well and so long the developers actually had to intervene to destroy the shard (I guess they never planned the content to extend to 'players defended the shard.' The last stand was so ridiculous and so great that a monument was actually created on the server engraved with the names of the people who defended it.
Asheron's Call is kind of awesome. The dev's also plan to provide players with abilities to host their own servers when theirs shut down....this is cool.