Humanity has made a lot of forward progress over the years.
Technology has reached a point that some people never thought imaginable, and our morals are progressing in a more positive direction as well, (albeit slowly). Even with all this forward progress, we still look to the past. We long for things the way they were. We keep trying to recapture the “good ol’ days.” While I’m generally of the mind that we as a civilization should be constantly looking forward instead of back, I don’t think this is necessarily the case in all things.
Yes. This is an article about video games, and today, we’re talking about World of Warcraft Classic.
I’ve been playing WoW on and off since its launch in 2004. In the fifteen years that I’ve been dedicating my life to this game, I’ve seen it in every iteration –at both its glorious peaks and depressing valleys.
I have vivid memories of trudging through the content of The Burning Crusade listening to Circa Survive’s On Letting Go and Paramore’s Riot! on a basically infinite loop. I have fond memories of my old social guild that I used to run for fun (shout out to my friend Artofficial on the Bladefist server, wherever he may be).
In recent years, WoW has become an immensely streamlined experience. Getting a character to max level can take mere days if you know what you’re doing, (and about a week if you don’t). Massive 200 player guilds of complete strangers are everywhere and end game content has been made extremely accessible with both the “Looking For Dungeon” and “Looking For Raid” systems. Blizzard Entertainment has made plenty of changes to WoW in the last fifteen years –and to be frank, they had to. The game would have been stagnant without major change (regardless of the thoughts made on recent installations of the game).
I recently renewed my subscription to WoW after several months without playing, ready to give the recently released World of Warcraft Classic a spin.
Classic offered a promise–a World of Warcraft that was still in its infancy when things weren’t as they are now. Often, Blizzard has told players that a “classic” WoW experience isn’t something people want, even with large amounts of people playing on extremely popular private servers (RIP Nostalrius). In an attempt to both give people want they want and to put a stop to the private servers, Blizzard caved in and released their own classic experience. How is it though?
I can happily report that Classic is the most fun I’ve had in the World of Warcraft in years.
I will 100% admit, the game is a SLOG to play. I’m playing a warrior and the leveling experience is awful. My character, Sandwich the Orc, has only a few silver to his name, unlike the hundreds of thousands of gold that line the pockets in the retail version of WoW. I’ve been playing the game for over 24 hours of in-game time and I’m sitting at a solid level 15. The rapid experience of retail WoW has been pulled back to the extremely slow and grindy play style of old, and it’s amazing. I am seeing the world with new (old) eyes. I am taking in the scenery for once. I get to look around and appreciate the world of Azeroth as I kill hundreds of zebras to get their hooves (seriously why do the hooves only drop after you kill so many of these zebras? Why are there hoofless zebras running around?). Being able to live in the world of an MMO is important, and retail WoW has players moving so fast through the world that they don’t have time to stop and smell the roses.
With Classic, not only can I smell those roses, but I can kill a few harpies while I do it, provided I’m stopping to eat some food after every single mob pull (seriously, leveling a warrior is P A I N F U L). My favorite part of Classic so far is that I’m finally being social again. Not long after I left my character’s starting zone, I was picked up by the guild, “Demise”. We’re about 55 or so members deep, and every time I log on, the guild chat is popping with everyone carrying on long conversations about the quests they’re doing, the professions they can use to make items for the guild, and sometimes just talking about their day. The general chats in each of the zones outside of the major in-game cities are active as well, with other people like me telling their stories of their own vanilla WoW experiences, and usually also complaining about the leveling.
I’m a big fan of World of Warcraft. I always have been, and I likely always will be. Because of how much I love the game, I’m very critical of it. I don’t think Battle for Azeroth has been a particularly great expansion, but Classic has brought back my love for WoW. We have come a long way and it’s important for us to look forward, but I’ll happily look to the past if it means I can experience something I love so much with the same feelings I had about it the first time I encountered it.