WoW Classic has been around since August 2019. This was at the request of the masses of the WoW community. WoW Classic breathed new life into the WoW community and really saved the game from itself. In this blog we will explore how WoW Classic saved the main game. We will also discuss what it continues to do for the community today. Whether that be continuing to hit that Nostalgic chord or to inspire other players who may have missed what is seen as “the golden era” of WoW.
WoW Classic – The Beginnings
WoW Classic was officially announced at Blizzcon 2017! This came after pressures from the community who wanted to play the older iterations of the game. With every WoW expansion there were changes to the game such as mechanics, removal of old content and general quality of life. These are many changes that the community did not want. When the Cataclysm expansion was released The shape of Azeroth was changed. People began to show displeasure . Mainly because the world they once knew was now destroyed and that feeling of nostalgia was now gone. Private servers started popping up which experimented with the so called “vanilla” game which gave some of the community the experience to be able to relive that content. But, this was not enough. In April 2016, there was a closure of one of the biggest private servers. This was caused by a cease and desist order given by blizzard. Members of the community created a public petition to have an official “legacy” version which drew over 200k signatures which was delivered direct to the President of the company at the time!
WoW Classic – The Release
WoW Classic in the iteration of “Vanilla” was officially released on 26th of August 2019 to the general public. The release of the game was included in the subscription price of the base game! This was a big plus, because it meant that anyone and everyone who was involved in the retail game could hop on without having to pay extra for the game (so more a 2 for 1 offer). The game release itself had its own issues. These included queue times, but that was all part of the experience of the game. The social aspects that we all know and love from the current iteration of the game was not present back the. So, from a social aspect the game really had that feel that people needed each other to play the game. The social aspect was one of the main reasons why the game was wanted. The majority of the community who were brought up on the type of gameplay who really miss the social interaction of the game.
WoW Classic – The present
Following the success of “Vanilla”, the Blizzard team went out to the general community and gauged how far they could take this success. Thus we also had “The Burning Crusade” and then later “Wrath of the Lich King”. These are the results of the feedback delivered by the community. WoW Classic has recently released Wrath Classic, which continues to follow the story just like the retail game followed all those years ago! At this stage there are no further discussions as to how they plan to continue. Whether Wrath is the last expansion from a classic perspective or that they look to evolve from this story and use this potentially as a branch for other WoW based storylines. WoW Classic in the “Vanilla” format is also available. Players will experience the game from that beginning meaning we have 2 separate iterations of “Classic” WoW.
WoW Classic – The key Savior Points
Having spoken with other players of classic, below are the main draws;
Playing WoW Classic really brings you back to those moments that you experienced as a player from that Era. I found that when completing zones, dungeons and even raids it really took me back to those moments of remembrance. Memories of times when I first completed it with friends from either real life or in game. This is called the Nostalgia effect. This means that you recall past memories more fondly. This makes you think of those moments as potentially better than they actually were. From my own thoughts I have to agree. I really felt the effects of the Nostalgia and it really kept me engaged for such a long time.
WoW Classic takes time to play. The average level for someone who, like myself, has real life commitments can take around 4-6 hours of gaming to get a single level when playing Classic. This gives that real sense of achievement when you level a character. You really feel that progression when traversing through a zone, or killing that elite during a difficult group quest. You don’t get that much of a dopamine hit when leveling in retail as the average run between 10-50 can be completed within 12-15 hours. This depends on your own speed and with zones “scaling” to you, you don’t have that challenge of the harder enemy that you once had if they were 1-2 levels higher than yourself.
The original versions of WoW had some mechanics that were abandoned later on in the games development. Things such as purchasing your new abilities, in-depth talent trees (which admittedly are being revamped and are returning in Dragonflight), Looking for a group organically (using a chat system rather than a queue mechanism) and leveling up weapon skills were all removed from the game to simplify it more so for the player. These mechanics are all present within Classic and of course have their own failings which are evident but people love this. They weren’t all perfect but they all had their part to play in character development and again bring that memory of the game to the forefront when interacting with them.
WoW Classic took you back to the beginning. The true origins of WoW and what it truly meant. Classic WoW took away all of the systems implemented and brought it back to that raw MMORPG. Yes the graphics may be dated and the navigation of the world is more difficult (such as flying only available in Outland and Northrend) but it was that experience that people wanted back. To take the world in again and be immersed is all that the player base wants and Classic is what it gave
Final Thoughts – Did it work?
WoW Classic was a throw of the dice by the Blizzard team and they had to get it to work. In my opinion it has worked. It has brought the attention back the game. Bringing players back many of whom may of put the game on ice. But, this may have also reopened that love of the MMORPG Genre. With the subscription including both games, this would bring that curiosity to try the main game again. The Nostalgia of playing Classic for me personally hit really hard and made me think of all those times playing the game. It also reminded me of a time in my life where I personally was growing as a teenager into an adult. This effect I feel has really hit everyone within the community. This is why it is such a popular game. It’s also an extremely clever marketing tool that Blizzard really have used to their advantage!
While the queueing issues sill exist, the game is still accessible! There are online resources and videos making the game easier than ever. This will support the organic growth of Classic in the future. With Dragonflight on the horizon, I really feel that once the hype has calmed down on the recent Wrath Classic release, we may experience a resurgence of players. These are players who may want to explore the talent system. This talent system has elements of previous mechanics that are modernized. I for one am excited to see exactly how both Classic and Retail move forward. It will be great to see how Classic saves WoW!