WoW Classic servers threaten as much grind as they do nostalgia

World of Warcraft Classic

I don’t think anyone expected Blizzard to announce that Classic servers were in the works for World of Warcraft, but Blizzcon 2017 was full of surprises.

Blizzard have been notorious for closing down fan-run private servers for vanilla WoW and refusing to offer an alternative for years - but after the storied shutdown of Nostalrius, it appears the Warcraft team have caved to demand and are looking into offering a 2004-flavoured experience.

Sticking with modern-day WoW? Get caught up on the next expansion, Battle for Azeroth.

But rose-tinted glasses have a habit of brushing aside glaring flaws. Should a player in 2017 - who may only have started playing an expansion or two - be excited by this nostalgic offering?

world of warcraft classic vanilla

World of Warcraft’s been going for well over ten years at this point, and the game as it stands in 2017 is near unrecognisable when compared to what it looked like back in 2004. The structure, the world, classes, and characters have changed dramatically in a decade, for better and for worse, and it is important with the development of an official Classic server to know what a new player is in for. Naturally, there are people nostalgic for what they see as the good old days, but vanilla wasn’t entirely the rosy experience they recall.

For starters, World of Warcraft Classic’s world is rather barren. There is almost a frontier feel to the place, with towns smaller and less populated than they are these days. Hidden valleys and clearings reveal traders tucked in the corners of the world - vital-but-obscured supply points for when travelling back to town carries grave risks.

The Cataclysm tore apart the old world, but rebuilt it with more structure and direction. With fewer hearthstone locations and flight points, charting a path through the wilderness to quest in Classic feels like more of an adventure, and unlocking parts of the map feels like real progress. Beasts and monsters are deadlier than in the current game, too, adding to the sense of excitement and danger gained from travelling the world. When you have levelled up and reached the furthest regions of the world, you truly feel the scale of your journey and a sense of conquering a dangerous land.

World of Warcraft Classic

The early questing experience, however, is not something many people will miss from the old days - and with good reason. Quests in Cataclysm and beyond were streamlined so you always knew where to go and what to do, and you could usually count on at least a handful per hub to carry unique objectives. Vanilla Warcraft, however, really does boil down to collecting 15 bear ears more often than not - with a slim chance that the unfortunate bear will  actually drop what you need.

You might even call it tedious. While the slow pace allows you to become intimately familiar with the land, it also makes levelling a slog. Even worse, you’ll often be required to bounce between zones to find quests that match your current level, necessitating long walks or flights between regions. The endgame is more complicated, too, with endless faction grinds, and the need to run full guilds of players through attunement quests to even start working on the devilish bosses of Azeroth.

World of Warcraft Classic

It is natural to feel nostalgia for those days. That is because of the sheer amount of time needed to invest, the fact that every achievement felt hard-fought for, and every level properly earned. But World of Warcraft has become a game that wants you to see everything immediately - every raid can be done through matchmaking, and reached instantly - so it is hard to imagine going back to lengthy attunements and the sheer logistical struggle of getting 40 properly-geared raiders together weekly.

The value of Classic servers will come down to what Blizzard want to prioritise with this intriguing experiment - is the aim to conjure up players fond recollections from the old days, or recreate the full grind of Warcraft’s past?

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Thojorkill avatarDarkedone02 avatar
Thojorkill Avatar
19
2 Weeks ago

Look at how well hard-grind nostalgia servers are doing today in comparison to their lifetime peak sub numbers. EQ is kicking ass and taking names with their progression servers, and in fact they are the only things keeping the franchise alive. Runescape is another one that has had a lot of success with their throwback to "classic." The only difficult thing about wow vanilla is the logistics of putting 40 people together for raids.

The challenge and tediousness of vanilla made you connect with others and build a strong social network of friends in order to tackle the end game and pvp. I can't wait to see the current generations of spoon fed wow kiddos partake in pvp against those of us that can manage our cool downs, regen stacks, group dynamics, and proper key bashing in battlegrounds and open world combat. Those that can get to endgame and start banging out gear, tackle MC and Dragons, get rank 13, then later do a few tackles or possibly clear Naxx/AQ40, and do it all with the help of their friends will be in for an amazing experience.

Vanilla wow was NEVER really about content, its tediousness, the grind, or any of that other BS. It was about relationships in RELATION to the content. Dungeon groups and BG groups are easy to find with a bunch of guildies and friends that have end-game in mind. 40 man raid groups are cake to put together if you have some strong social coordination.

For those that are closet anti-socials, or those who only want to solo grind and then bitch about how you can't get a hold of end game gear (which is a majority of the "classic sucks" crowd) they will continue to whine and gripe about blizzard catering to a lost crowd of subscribers. There is nothing we can do about it - if you don't like the tediousness of having a strong social game and connections, than that's on you, don't play classic. IDGAS.

I've been playing on private vanilla servers for some time, with guildies and friends.

The overwhelming consensus is that private wow servers suck, and we'd all pay that monthly subscription to have a home that's always there, and always stable.

I'm not lost in the nostalgia bubble with rose-colored glasses, I'm coming home, with a ton of friends in tow.

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Darkedone02 Avatar
94
2 Weeks ago

I like how Wow devs finally step up and bring in the classic servers that other competitors been doing for quite some time, EQ and Runescape done it successfully, and now it's time for WoW to do it... maybe EQ 2 should start there for that old time "Game Vs Game" comparition when both games originally launched together.

Now once WoW is successful and I do mean successful on making WoW Classic servers, even all the kiddos in our generations, the people who was born basically when cata came out or with wrath came out... Can now experience the golden age of what was classic world of warcraft, and hopefully it bring back the huge player base it once held. 12 million people playing classic world of warcraft anyone?

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