I’m not a huge MMO gamer. I’ve dabbled with a few, but mostly I’ve stuck with World of Warcraft up until this summer, and now Rift. I’ve had some good times, some bad ones, and some that just stand out in my mind as some of the best moments ever in a game. In the long run, my achievements in a game mean little to nothing, and that’s okay. But at the time, they were a huge accomplishment for me. And for that, I’m happy.

Killing the Lich King was the number one achievement I managed in my time in World of Warcraft. No, I wasn’t in a top-end guild, and no, it wasn’t a hardmode kill, either. All that mattered to me was that I killed the Lich King in any capacity. It was also good to me because it was right before the 4.0 patch, with all the nerfs to Icecrown Citadel. Yes, it was with the 30% buff in ICC, but you know what? I don’t care. I killed that bastard. Previous to that, there was no kill that was ever so satisfying. Up until that point, there wasn’t a boss that was so intrinsically entwined in all the plots and sub-plots of the game as to have an overwhelming presence in the game. Add in the Northrend quests where Arthas was appearing all over the place and creating mayhem.

When I first started playing the game, there was no denying what an influence Arthas had over everything, and what sort of impact he had. The Forsaken race was the penultimate factor in this. No other race was so brutally impacted by one being that was somewhat tangible in-game. One could argue orcs with Mannoroth, but even that wasn’t so widespread as Arthas’ influence. You saw the repercussions on both sides fairly early on in the game, especially if you ended up in Hillsbrad Foothills or Duskwood at any point. The quests have largely changed since then, and they’re by and large nowhere near the same as they once used to be. But at the time, everything led back to Arthas.

Even in Outland, there were subtle overtones that led back to him, especially when dealing with Illidan and the Black Temple in Shadowmoon Valley. Granted, Shadowmoon Valley (and even Netherstorm) had more to do with Deathwing than Arthas, but the storyline was still impacted by him, and in a more prominent way than it did with Deathwing. There’s also much that dealt and deals with Azshara, but even that wasn’t so prominent as Arthas. With Cataclysm, Blizzard attempted to emulate the goings-on in Northrend with Arthas, by trying to throw in Deathwing everywhere. It didn’t work quite as well, though, because Deathwing has never been so prominently important to the story, at least in the way the information is presented in game.

One of my friends that got me playing the game regaled to me a bit of lore that he knew about the Forsaken. After getting lost in Undercity numerous times (and actually having to blow a hearth cooldown to Brill, of all places), it became known to me what Arthas was all about in terms of the game. He’s always been the big baddie that everyone wanted vengeance on for one reason or another. Sylvanas, Varian, Saurfang, these are the most prominent figures in this role. But upon doing the introductory death knight quests, you see there is a reason for killing Arthas, you see what impact he had on every race, regardless of whether they were troll or gnome, tauren or night elf.

Rewind back to Stratholme and Scholomance. I didn’t play in vanilla, but these instances (and later, Naxxramas) were huge precursors to what would happen in Wrath of the Lich King. Undead everywhere. The Scourge were one of the biggest threats to all of Azeroth. Black Dragonflight? Meh. Naga? Pfft. The Scourge were a symbol showing, “this is what can happen if you lose control.” Nothing I’ve seen has ever been so telling as to what lengths things can happen if a person or group of people do not remain in control of themselves, if they let vengeance consume them.

The only boss that I think may have even close to an impact of Arthas – at least, in game – is Sargeras, because everything lends back to the Burning Legion, even Arthas’ actions himself (remember Mal’ganis?). But I don’t think even that will come close to the pinnacle of story that was Arthas.

So, no kill has ever been so satisfying to me. I don’t know if any kill ever will in the future. Maybe Regulos in Rift, but at this rate, it may come too soon to have as much of an impact on the game as a whole that Arthas did in WoW.