I've forgotten everything. The intricacies had leaked out of my brain like the details of a distant dream. All that was left was the hollow emptiness of deja vu. I've been here before I just know it.
Where I am: Azeroth. World of Warcraft. On a boat.
Who I am: a big bastard of a Panda wearing a suit of armour.
What I am doing: standing deathly still, in front of a training dummy, about to alt-tab into a Google search because I've legitimately forgotten how to move in World of Warcraft.
Why I am here: Christ only knows.
Once again, for the second time, I am an idiot in Azeroth.
You may or may not remember the original 'Idiot In Azeroth' series, in which I played World of Warcraft, as a complete noob, for a month.
There was confusion. There was strangeness. But by the end I truly felt like I learned something. That I gained a basic level of understanding of what the hell was going on here and why it was so compelling to so many people.
But then I forgot.
I mean I genuinely forgot. After playing World of Warcraft for a month I had delusions that I might continue playing, on-and-off. That I might continue with the game in my downtime between other games. That didn't happen. World of Warcraft promptly became that game that other people played, that thing I wasn't interested in. I lived my life Warcraft free and I was fine with that choice and then, like the Spanish you learned in high school, I forgot everything.
All that's left is fragments: "hola! Que pasa mi amigo!"
Then, more strangeness. For some reason a bunch of my friends began playing World of Warcraft. It turned out my three of my closest friends were reformed WoW addicts and I had no idea.
It started with a discussion. The 'I used to play WoW for hours on end' conversation'. That took me by surprise. So many people in my friend group used to play WoW.
Then a 'hey, let me show you my characters' discussion.
Then a 'we should start playing again' discussion.
You can guess where this is headed.
That is why I am now sitting in front of my work laptop, with a partially installed version of the World of Warcraft: Legion beta, trying to work out how to make this goddamn Panda move.
"What are you gonna do," my brother-in-law scoffed, when I told him about my potential return to Azeroth.
"You don't even have a character."
You shut your goddamn trash mouth, I have a level 15.
"Why are you doing this," he asked.
I don't know.
Christ, I don't know. Because I'm sick of No Man's Sky. Because I don't want to watch The Bacherlor. Because I'm sick of playing goddamn Super Mario 3D World with my three-year old son. I have my reasons.
None of them are good, or make any real sense, but I have my reasons.
I mean, World of Warcraft can be fun, I guess. At least, I remember it being fun. I remember it being sort of engaging. Most of all I remember it being 'something to do that wasn't Facebook' while my wife watched television.
Regardless, I am here. I push the forward arrow key and my big-ass Panda in armour starts moving in response. "See," I say internally, "I knew it was the arrow keys." It hadn't moved before because I'm streaming the game while it downloads, I guess shit was just a little choppy and weird.
It turns out I did remember something. Muy Bueno. I guess I'm not as much of an idiot as I thought I was.