WoW Stress Test Ends September 12th, 2004
With the end of the Stress Test looming over us, folks did what they could to make the most of the remaining time.

Some decided to check out Gnomeregan:
While others decided to spend their last Stress Test hours exploring new lands:
Once it was over, everyone was bummed, but we had had a blast, and now we're all going crazy waiting for open beta and release!

Great job in the Stress Test gang!  We accomplished a lot for such a short period of time, picking up at least one full beta account that will be able to join the lucky buggers in the guild that are already enjoying the closed beta, completing a couple instanced dungeons, and learning a lot that will help us get a quick start in open beta and release.  Go SF!
SF Raids the Stockade... Three Times September 11th, 2004
Saved from the abyss of boredom by the extension of the Stress Test, we looked for something else to raid.  The Stockade was a little high level for us, and all elite mobs, but that's OK.  We gathered two groups together and headed in.

Once inside we fought our way down the halls of the dungeon,
finding a few special named mobs along the way, such as Kam Deepfury.
The Stockades turned out to be a small instance that could be done quickly.  In fact, we did it three times in one night, helping to get everyone the quest kills and items they needed.
Shadowed Fates Tabard Created! September 8th, 2004
Everyone pooled there money, and a bunch of us gathered in Stormwind to pour over potential Tabard designs.  Others joined in via guild chat, and it didn't take us long to agree on a red and yellow color scheme.

The icon on the other hand took a little longer...  Phanan and Knuk wanted a pink bunny.  I was campaigning for the keg or the beer steins.  There was much discussion about a shield, crossed sword, or sword on shield, but we all agreed those were likely to be too popular, and we wanted something distinct.

Finally, after spending way too much time on something that didn't involve killing, we settled on this hot lightning themed number, modeled by Kebin.
SF Kills VanKleef September 6th, 2004
And finish the job we did!

The next day we headed down again, killing the Ogre and Shredder again, and then continuing on to new content.  We killed the Forge guy in the big room with the huge vat of molten metal.  After that we broke into a HUGE underground cavern with an ominous cannon studded ship in it.  After the Goonies jokes subsided we got back to slaughtering the evil Defias scum and their allies.  After a bit more work, we arrived at the boat, and were greeted with our toughest fight yet: Mr. Smite.  His pair of stealthed rogue guards were an unexpected surprise, but we kicked his butt in the end and continued on.  Ultimately we cleared the boat:
And continued on to kill Captain Green and finally the big boss himself: VanKleef.

It was a successful first (un-server-down-interrupted) WoW raid for SF, and it left us thirsting for more!  It may not have been Blizzard's primary intent, but the Stress Test turned out to be a great promotion for World of Warcraft.
SF's First WoW Raid: DeadMines September 5th, 2004
Ahhh!  Just like the good old days - our first WoW guild raid!
We headed into the DeadMines, killing as we went.
First there was the named Ogre Rhahk'Zor...
Followed by Sneed and his Shredder.

And then - BOOM - the servers went down.

That may make it sound like a bad night, but we had a blast.  Instanced dungeons in World of Warcraft are amazingly fun.  They remove all the issues of others training you, kill stealing, or just flat out getting in your way.  All that's left is a dungeon experience that is far more interactive and fun than anything you've experienced since playing single player RPGs.  We ended the night bummed that the servers went down, but stoked to go back in the next day and finish the job.
WoW Stress Test Begins September 2nd, 2004
As Buddha would say, "You once bunch o' freaks, you always bunch o' freaks."

So while the WoW stress test meant Knuk exploring new cities...
It also meant Dia in hotpants (hey - some things never change!),
Dimuyen (Fortunato) and Knuk sneaking up on the local fauna in dresses,
and a disturbing fascination with widdle fuzzy bunny pets.
But all was not lost!  We still remembered to slaughter the local fish people (the omnipresent Murlocs seem to be WoW's version of Frogloks), including the named ones - Brack and Old Murk-Eye.