I will be the first to admit that my own WoW Classic first night experience may not be representative. I know a bunch of people who saw this on their screens.
Blizzard even opened up more US realms, a couple of more EU realms, and even a new Oceanic realm. (And another) We’re now around 50 WoW Classic realms. Demand was high. Time to update my realms list post.
But there were no queues for me. Not right away.
I got home from work about 15 minutes before the servers were set to unlock. I booted up my computer, switched into shorts (because it was 95 degrees out and we have no AC), and got myself logged in. Skronk and Ula were already online and logged in and we got onto a voice channel in our Discord. Our first choice, Bloodsail Buccaneers, still looked good.
I made a character on Old Blanchy as a backup, but went back to BB and got on the character screen, where the “Enter World” button was still gray.
Skronk and Ula were a dwarf and a gnome respectively, so I set aside Wilhelm the human pally for a bit and went with Tistann, my dwarf hunter, so we could all start off together.
And then the “Enter World” button went live right on time… give Blizz some credit there… and we all hit it. After a moment or two, we were dumped into a mass of dwarves and gnomes. It was a sea of new characters.
We quickly grouped up and were pulled together into the same layer. We managed to find each other for our first group selfie of WoW Classic.
Then we got ourselves oriented, made the usual changes to the settings… must have fast quest text or die… and launched ourselves into the game. And it was a crowded game, with everybody right there in the starter zone.
It was time to look for mobs.
Wolves, the first of the stock bear/boar/wolf quest trifecta to hit us, were being slaughtered en masses and for a few minutes it was a tough call to tag one before somebody else grabbed it. The slight delay as a hunter in getting a shot off felt very long.
But the edge of the wave of new players passed beyond the wolves pretty quickly. Not that the wolves were not still being hunted like crazy, but after not too long it became fairly easy to pick off a wolf now and then to advance our quests. During that we leveled for the first time, as a group, about 22 minutes after the server went live.
We turned in that quest and got sent to Anvilmar to meet our class trainers for the first time, to get our first new skill. Mine was track beasts, which was not all that useful, but you take what you can get.
Then it was off into the zone again for some boars… naturally… and a delivery quest which led use from camp to camp. While the dwarf/gnome starter zone was the one alliance area I had not done during the stress tests, all of this was still oddly familiar despite it having been years since I had been here. As Skronk noted, our memories of a lot of this very old content was better than more recent expansions.
We were given a few more tasks, including picking up the lost belongings of Felix Whindlebolt. In searching for those we ran into our first server queue… a queue in the game.
The gear Felix was missing were all items you had to click on the retrieve, after which they would disappear for a moment before appearing again. Old WoW tech. In order to facilitate everybody getting their quest item, people nicely queued up and waited their turn. So we joined in.
I don’t know if this was simply RP server behavior… lots of people in line had set themselves to walk rather than run, so we did so as well…or if this was a manifestation of what I have observed in other retro server experiences, where everybody is simply so happy to be there that they feel cooperative, but we were willing to go along with that.
No so Poncho, whose legend began right there before our eyes.
Poncho cut the line.
And at that point people began booing Poncho, shouting shame at him, and generally haranguing him. As soon as could be, Poncho because the byword for a bad player and for the rest of the evening Poncho would remain a topic of conversation in general chat. There was even a guild formed with the name “No Ponchos” in response to his actions.
We carried on. The first line was long, the second was shorter, and there was no line for the third item Felix was missing, so we returned that, hit level 4, and ended up heading back to Anvilmar again. There we were treated to the an aspect of the classic WoW experience, not having enough coins to buy all your skills. We all had two skills to buy, at a price of 1 silver each, but we didn’t have even five silver all combined.
Ah well, living the WoW Classic lifestyle.
Then it was time for our final queue. The big quest in the zone is The Stolen Journal, where you have to go slay a named troll in the troll cave. That meant another queue. But this time people queued by groups, as one of the early innovations of WoW over EverQuest was making sure everybody in your group got the drop for certain quests. If you had to bring back somebody’s head, then all five of you got a head from the kill.
So groups, standing abreast, lined up, one after another, to take their turn to slay Grik’nir the Cold in order to retrieve the journal.
A couple of times people looked like they were going to try to cut in line, but they were shouted at, advised not to be a Poncho. We only had three in our group, so invited a couple of singles to join in. It was like being at the ski lift on a busy weekend.
We got the journal and headed back out to Anvilmar. The quest reward was enough to buy us all our missing skills. The next steps sent us out of Coldridge Valley, through the trog cave… which seemed a lot shorter than I remembered it… and into Dun Morogh proper.
On the far side of the cave we saw Syp standing AFK, so we took a quick passing selfie with him and moved on.
Out in Dun Morogh things remained crowded, but never quite as crowded as it was in a few of those opening quests. The queues seemed to act as a meter to dole people out into the world in little groups, spreading them out just enough that we ran into no more queues. Or maybe Blizz added more layers. I saw some people disappearing for a while. Maybe they were grouping with people in other layers, or maybe Blizz was evening out the load.
We hit the old points out in Dun Morogh, remembering some quests in full, forgetting steps in other quests. We ran all the way to Rumbleshot before we remembered we were supposed to pick up a box of stuff for him along the way. And we spent some time in the Wendigo cave competing for mobs, though the spawns were plenty.
We ended up at level 7 then took a bit of a break for dinner. My wife had brought me something, so while Ula and Skronk idled I ran up to Ironforge and trained skinning and leatherworking, the went back to the wendigo cave and quickly got my skinning skill up past 50.
When they got back Bung and his son, who hadn’t even been born when WoW came out, got on Discord with us and said they were in the queue for the server. It was a few thousand deep, but the estimate was only 20 minutes or so, though that did bounce around quite a bit, like they had hired the person who did the time estimate for Windows file copy to do the queue time estimate.
They got in, but rolled up humans, so were over around Northshire Abby. We logged out our dwarves (and gnome) and grabbed humans as well to go hang out with them.
The human starter area was crowded of course, but as with Dun Morogh, it felt like the big wave had passed and we were in the midst of a those behind the wave. There was competition for mobs, but not like the first ten minutes we were out there struggling to tag a wolf. I even saw a familiar name.
We wandered about, grouping up to go take on the Defias in the first of the bandana collection quests. I was on as a pally, and I did sorely miss the ranged ability of my hunter. But we got through the Northshire Abby quests. There was barely a line for Garrick Padfoot, the named Defias whose head we all needed. There were two other groups hanging around him, so we waited our turn for his spawn, then went on our way.
The only problem of the evening occurred while we were out among the Defias. Word was that Blizzard was having some problems with layers crashing now and then. There had been reports of BB being down while we were on and happily questing away. But then it came time for our layer to crash and we were kicked out. But the queue was “only” about 3,500 deep for me, which only took a few minutes to work through until I was back on again.
I stuck it out until we got to Goldshire, then I decided to call it a night. I had been on for more than five hours straight on a week night after a full day at work and with another looming in the morning and this blog post to finish up.
We still have a lot ahead of us. We have to form a guild… because, of course we must… and we’re still working on a name. We have to sort out our group a bit. And we have a determination to go and do Ragefire Chasm at level, which means getting through Orgrimmar naked at around level 15 or so. But there is plenty of time for that. We had what I would have to consider a good first night, which hopefully portends more.
So did anybody get to level 60 yet? I am going to have to score myself on my predictions.
Others writing about the first night: