I’ve been in for the four load tests, seen the game overcrowded and behaving badly, sat in long queues, been logged out multiple times, worked with the odd and archaic mechanics, and none of that has deterred me. I am simply craving WoW Classic.
I had a Blaugust post planned for today, a lightly cautionary tale about how thinking you know somebody… and then acting on that… simply because you read their blog can be a mistake. Something a bit contrarian for “getting to know you” week I suppose. But I just can’t make that come together right now because I am a bit obsessed about WoW Classic.
If you are a long time reader here you might well be fully justified in thinking that of course I am all in about WoW Classic. I can be tedious at times in my attention to the past, so you might be right to think this is just another nostalgia trip where I will get all worked up about the good old days yet again.
Didn’t I do enough of that for the EverQuest 20th anniversary already?
And you wouldn’t be wrong to think that I am, in fact, wallowing in nostalgia about now. I have watched that video I made back in 2012 about the instance group and its first year in WoW more than a few times.
There are a lot of old sights in that video. (I wrote a whole director’s commentary about it back when I posted it, if you are interested. That would be a way to get to know a lot about me and the group.)
So, yes, guilty as charged on the nostalgia front.
But there is more going on here. I am also in something of a gaming slump, and all the more so on the MMORPG front.
I feel like I should be logging in to Battle for Azeroth to work on unlocking flying and to see the new content that came with the Rise of Azshara update… but I don’t. I have barely logged in at all for more than a month now, and the last time I did it was just to do some Darkmoon Faire stuff and a few pet battles. I am just not feeling it.
There are, of course, lots of other MMORPG options. I have a bit of a yen to go play something else, maybe get back to LOTRO for the Legendary Server to finish off Moria or perhaps some EverQuest II. I just don’t feel the drive. And starting a new game just makes me look at the choices then go back to binge watching Veep and Bob’s Burgers.
EVE Online is still there, but I feel like I am in a slump even in space. To start with I have been continuously subscribed and playing since late 2011, the longest I have ever gone with any online game without a serious, six month or more, break. But now there isn’t a war going on, our play battle deployment isn’t thrilling me, so I am feeling a lack of purpose. I’ve been playing with some alts, but as with other titles, it isn’t holding me. And the whole Chaos Era thing is hitting a point where I want to step back and let things settle down. Chaos does not encourage commitment, it just becomes exhausting when it doesn’t stop.
And then I went and played in the WoW Classic load test last weekend and it felt so right. Simple, fresh, familiar, easy, difficult, slow, fast, crowded, and homey. I just want to run around and fight over kobold spawns or pick that first hunter pet and start working on skills or spend a silver on the skinning skill and skin all the corpses around the wendigo cave.
I mean, I might be singing a different tune out in Stranglethorn Vale some weeks down the road, trying to collect all those pages, or when I hit that level 40 quest gap. But those are future problems. I want the kobolds now!
But wait, there’s more!
I am also pretty excited that we’re getting the band back together for this. There are still details to work out, like when we can all be online together to play, but we’re together on Discord making plans. And, honestly, I miss having a regular group. EVE Online gives me a sense of belonging, but I am always happiest in small groups. And everybody in the old instance group seems pretty jazzed up about the idea.
And, finally, I really want to see how we do. It has been a long time since the group first came together back in 2006… at the exact patch level that WoW Classic will be using… to roll up some characters with intent to do the five person dungeon content in World of Warcraft.
There are a lot of posts on the site about the instance group… it has its own category… but at one point I threw together a “summer reruns” post that collected the timeline of our journey through vanilla WoW.
It took us quite a stretch to get through from the Deadmines to unlocking access to Upper Blackrock Spire. There was a six month gap in our narrative, which extended our time, but we were also pretty bad at doing instances.
Our being bad didn’t stop us back in vanilla. Honestly, it didn’t really become an issue until later dungeons in The Burning Crusade, finally coming to a head during Wrath of the Lich King where our struggles to slay Prince Keleseth caused us to evaluate exactly how we were getting things done. We actually took it upon ourselves to read some class guides over at Elitist Jerks, which improved our performance dramatically.
And while we are now about four and a half years out of practice as a group, we likely haven’t forgotten everything, so we won’t regress back to our 2006 selves. That makes me want to see what experience has taught us. Back in 2006 we took four runs at the Deadmines before slaying Van Cleef. In Uldamon it took us three trips and multiple fights to bring down Archaedas, and it was a near run thing when we did manage it.
Then there are the things we missed. I don’t think we even did any of Dire Maul back then. (Okay, we did some of it for Bung’s epic mount and mine as well.)
So there is a question of “how hard were those dungeons?” versus “how bad were we really back then?” to be tested. How much have we learned over the years plays up against how much have we forgotten and how much has more than a decade changed us.
There are probably more threads in the weave that is my longing to get stuck into Azeroth of old, and they are all bound together and making the wait difficult. The proximity of the launch, just a week and a half off, seems so distant that I can’t stand it yet so close that I don’t want to distract myself with anything else.
This is going to be a long wait.
What will be interesting for me will be the difference in PCs. When I started in Wrath I played on a cheap laptop that had me at 2-3 FPS in Dalaran with graphics set at rock bottom. I learned to anticipate casts because of how bad it was. Going to be interesting playing on Ultra
Apologies if I missed it, but what classes do you plan to play? From what I kept in memory from the last few days (brain not working, sick at home) you have one char for the instance group, but do you plan on another soloing alt?
I’m still not 100% decided, so far I guess Tauren Prot Warrior + Rogue alt.
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One thing that caused WoW to get both easier and harder (a conundrum I know)… was the accessibility and improvements in UI/UX that were made by the community. As mods gave better information and accessibility to the masses, the game became more trivial. As a result, the devs had to make encounters harder and harder. It was, in effect, an arms race that largely went unnoted as a contributing reason for the games decline.
Remember the damage meters? Those revealed the stark differences between classes on boss fights… some were completely underwhelming and required tuning. The battle for useful evolved into this homogenized bullshit where you “bring the player, not the class”.
No idea how the game developed after 2014 period, I was long gone at that point.
Vanilla, however, remains something of fond nostalgia for me as well and I’ll be returning at least for a month!
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Our discord is also busy with activity right now, and the scramble for names was the first real sign that I think WoW Classic is going to work out really well for a lot of people. So many sat in queues and then got real mad when names were already taken. That doesn’t happen over an experience you aren’t 100% invested in.
Playing World of Warcraft from November 24th, 2004 (Australian timezone so one day later than the USA) onwards was the greatest gaming experience I have had in decades of playing computer games.
And I have not even the tiniest, slightest smidgeon of desire to revisit that game, which was so good by the standards of 15 years ago. None whatsoever.
I’ve no interest in actually playing Classic, either – my vanilla memories are settled and sufficient – yet I remain curious as to how it pans out. I still predict “3-6 month wonder”, as people (re)discover the tedium, but being wrong at this point would be more interesting than being right. Perhaps, at the very least, Blizzard might draw some conclusions about the over-complicated item reward structure of Live.
Either way, we will observe something about human (or at least gaming-human) nature, in an experiment that isn’t too weighed down by serious real-life concerns.
I am in the same boat… I don’t want to start anything new, knowing how much of my time classic will take, but also not doing anything is making the wait feel longer.
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