InReview: World of Warcraft Classic – “You Think You Do But You Don’t”

Robby Tight

WoW Classic returns with a bag of new tricks!

Read Time6 Minutes, 43 Seconds

Three years have passed since the mortal races banded together and stood united against the might of the Burning Legion. Though Azeroth was saved, the tenuous pact between the Horde and the Alliance has all but evaporated. The drums of war thunder once again.

Three years ago the question was asked to Blizzard devs during a Q&A about adding Classic Servers to World of Warcraft. We received that famous response from J Allen Brack, “You think you do but you don’t”.

Early this week, Blizzard released their Classic Servers. During the first few hours of Classic’s release views on twitch were already through the roof. The channel page had over 900,000+ viewers watching with streamer Asmongold having upwards to 500,000+ viewers.

The release did not come without its shortcomings and issues. In classic Blizzard fashion, launch day was a little bit rough with queues rising to tens of thousands of people waiting and some players found themselves waiting upwards to 10+ hours just to get in. Once logged in, the majority of players were met with frame drops, lag spikes, and some players even experienced disconnection issues forcing them back into the queue once again.

Many players who got in found it very difficult to quest due to the sheer amount of players on the servers. Most players formed groups and just farmed higher level NPCs outside of the starting zone to get the leveling process going so they can begin playing the game. Some players just stuck it out and took the slow road and quested. They found themselves often relying on other players to get their objectives complete.

All of these issues aside, the game as a whole, for the most part, is exactly how it was back in 2004 when Blizzard first released Vanilla. The game offers new challenges to those players who are used to the laid back pace and difficulty of the current retail game. The leveling experience is very slow and many players who did not play in the past may find this as a turnoff. Whereas, veterans of Vanilla and even Burning Crusade will find the change of pace refreshing. Fighting monsters may come as a challenge for those players who are not used to Vanilla NPCs. Sometimes pulling 1 extra monster will result in a player’s death if they do not know how to handle themselves.

The game plays a little more fluid than modern day Vanilla as long as you disregard the server lag and disconnections during the first couple of days. The difficulty and grindy aspects are ever so present as before. Players will spend hours grinding to their next level and eventually will form groups to run the same dungeon over and over to power level their character to the max level of 60. Classic reintroduces an aspect of the game known as “Weapon Skills”. Weapon skills are how proficient a player is with a certain type of fighting style. The more you train your weapon skill, the more likely you are to hit your target. Players also have to learn different weapon styles. For example, not all races can wield an Axe or a Staff.

Another aspect that has been reintroduced to players is having to visit their class trainer to acquire their skills. Not having it in your action bar like current retail could put players off a bit. Having to purchase your abilities comes with strategy. Do you buy your new level skill for 1 gold or do you continue to save for your level 30 mount? Each action has its reward and consequences. With gold being harder to come by in classic than it is in current retail, every last copper spent needs to be an important investment. Whether you spend your money on professions, or gear or skills, looking at all of your options before buying anything is an important challenge that is added back into the game. A lot of players believe that these additions bring back a large RPG element that has been since lost in the current retail version.

The biggest success factor of Classic and even Vanilla back in the day is the game’s community. Players may find some tasks and challenges very difficult to handle by themselves. Those looking for a more singleplayer style of gameplay may not enjoy Classic as much as those looking to interact with the community and enjoy the multiplayer aspect of the game. It is difficult to get through the leveling process without interacting with players, and trying to run dungeons is impossible without interacting with at least 4 other players of your faction.

Many current retail players are avoiding Classic servers. A lot of players are saying that most people going back to Classic are seeing the game through rose tinted glasses and letting nostalgia drive them back to Classic servers. People are saying that the game was slower and more of a grind with less reward. Most people would agree with the statement of Classic being more of a grind and being slower. I personally believe that most players who have experienced Classic will also say that there is a great reward for most dedicated and casual players. I would be bold enough to say the rewards in Classic WoW far outweigh the rewards in current retail. Albeit, the rewards in Classic are far less “physical” than those in current retail. The rewards of taking the time to max your character, to delve into the depths of Molten Core and defeating the Fire Lord himself, well, these rewards are vastly missing in current day WoW. Current day WoW doesn’t provide that feeling of accomplishment.

Additionally, players of current retail have been quoted saying the only good thing about Vanilla was the Community and stating that Discord is better for communities. Where Discord makes it easier for us all to communicate, services such as these do not make a community better. The Community of Classic WoW vastly outweighs the community for current retail. On August 28th on the EU Server of Zandalar Tribe, the Horde and the Alliance clashed in Westfall in a mighty battle, partially due to the Streamer and Youtuber Nixxiom, whose streams can be seen on Twitch.tv/Nixxiom. Hundreds of players attended this community event to fight for their faction. This and many more events created by the community are happening all over.

As of writing this post, many of the games players have been racing for what is known as “World’s First”. Worlds First is a prestigious title only a few players can say they have. The first player to Level 60, the first guild to defeat Ragnaros and so on. You can find many streamers on Twitch streaming their progress and there is a live stream being hosted at Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas hosted by Method. Method is one of the most achievable World of Warcraft Guilds in the world with the most World First Bosses than any other guild. You can watch the fully interactive 24-hour broadcasts over at twitch.tv/method and twitch.tv/WSOE and you can also watch other players of Method at method.gg. As of August 28th at 6:15 pm these players were currently leading the charge:

There is no price nor reward for those players who obtain a World’s First in Classic, merely bragging rights and the community spotlight. Events like these are what make a game’s community so important and so loved.

All in all, I fully believe that Classic WoW has something for every type of player whether you are a veteran returning home for the first time since 2004 or you are a brand new player to World of Warcraft. Everyone can find something to keep themselves entertained. So grab your axe, fill your vials, and go slay some Murlocss. Welcome to one of the most immersive MMORPGs of all time.

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