Friday Bullet Points about WoW Classic Again

I’ve done this topic before, but WoW Classic is the gift that keeps on giving in so many ways and there are a few items I felt deserved a mention but maybe not a whole post.

Classic is as classic does

So on with the list.

  • Holly in Azeroth

For me the big news of the week here was the announcement that Holly “Windstalker” Longdale has moved to Blizzard as a “Principle Game Producer” to work on WoW Classic.  Per her LinkedIn profile:

Recently joined Blizzard to focus on World of Warcraft Classic!

We got the news in early March that she was leaving Daybreak/Darkpaw in order to pursue a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”  Well, it is hard to argue with her choice now, or Blizzard’s.

The optimist in me… and I am by nature very optimistic, at least until the facts land on me… see this as a possible huge win for both.

On the one side we have Holly, who has experience running classic/nostalgia servers, successfully leveraging them to grown EverQuest‘s player base over the last five years now able to work with a company that has the budget and staff and technical capability to make shit happen.  No more layoffs looming every year, making do with a team stretched too thin, and whatever shenanigans Daybreak gets up to running the show.

On the other side we have Blizzard, which has finally learned that nostalgia sells… WoW Classic arguably having saved their bacon as Battle for Azeroth faded quickly… but which is clearly struggling with what to do with this new found success.  They need somebody who has made the mistakes and learned from them.

What will come of this match up?  Who knows.  It might be magical and unlock a wide range of possibilities, or it might be “Because SOE” meets “New Blizzard.”  But at least it is a sign that Blizzard is serious in this area and it may be the height of Holly’s career so far.  I wouldn’t have said “No” to Blizzard had I been in her position.

  • Phase Four Fully Functional

The fourth phase of the WoW Classic unlocks finished opening up this week.  Arathi Basin was unlocked early, but now there is the Zul’Gurub raid available as well as the Green Dragonflight Dragons for your raid group entertainment.

Also now available is the Stranglethorn Vale fishing tournament.

And the precursor actions to the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj event have started up in Silithus.

I will say that, while Zul’Gurub as a raid is way beyond anything the instance group will end up doing, one of the highlights of the Cataclysm expansion was getting 5 person heroic instance version of the raid.

And there was already a world first event as part of the raid in WoW Classic as the final boss, Hakkar the Soulflayer, was slain without killing the five high priest bosses.  Each priest left alive give Hakkar a special ability, ratcheting up the difficulty of the fight.  Are we all better 15 years down the road or does modern equipment and connections enhance our abilities?

  • Population Pressures

The surge in online gaming that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic has put pressure on the WoW Classic servers again, with full realms and queues showing up.  Because of this Blizz has put a couple things in place currently. First, they have restricted new character creation on three US servers:

  • Arugal
  • Faerlina
  • Whitemane

You can only create new characters there if you already have a character on those servers.

In addition, some free character transfers are available from three servers that have been seeing queues recently:

  • Incendius (Alliance Only)
  • Faerlina
  • Whitemane

The free character moves are likely available only so long as the queues last, so if you want one do it sooner rather than later.

  • Burning Crusade Poll

This one is a bit old at this point, but I meant to bring it up previously… and may bring it up again… but Blizzard sent our a survey to some players asking what option they might prefer if The Burning Crusade were to become a practical reality as a classic server option.  The choices were:

  1. Continue playing my current Classic character on my existing server as it progresses to the Burning Crusade expansion, with the option to transfer to a Classic server that will never progress past level 60.
  2. Start a brand new character from level 58 on a new Burning Crusade server.
  3. Start a brand new character from Level 1 on a new Burning Crusade server.
  4. Continue playing my current Classic character on my existing server that will never progress past level 60, with the option to transfer to a Burning Crusade server.

Polls like this might be familiar to some who saw them as part of EverQuest and EverQuest II retro server development over the past few years.  I’m not saying that Holly was already at work for this… a poll is a pretty easy go to idea… but it could be.

As for which I would choose, I would rank them 1, 4, 2, 3, though I am not really fond of either of the last two, with three being a bit of a non-starter for me.  For a server focused on The Burning Crusade, slogging through those 60 levels again would seem more of a barrier than anything.  I’m enjoying it now, but I am not sure I want to start over again right away.  TBC was deep enough as an expansion already.

3 thoughts on “Friday Bullet Points about WoW Classic Again

  1. Wolfshead

    If I were to make a list of MMORPG luminaries, Holly Longdale would not be on the list. I’m not sure that she’s contributed anything remarkable or notable in the MMO world other than being essentially a caretaker of the EQ franchise for the past few years.

    That said, Holly had a lot of fondness for EverQuest and seemed to understand the allure of Norrath after these years. She was very adept at explaining much of the magic of EQ. I was very hopeful when I would hear her talk about the future of EQ.

    Over at my site, I speculated that she left Daybreak Games because they had either cancelled EverQuest 3 or just refused to get on with it.

    https://www.wolfsheadonline.com/did-holly-longdale-leave-daybreak-games-because-they-cancelled-everquest-3/

    The story of the EverQuest franchise beyond the first few expansions is one of unrealized potential and repeated failure. The EQ franchise has been spinning its wheels for 15 years as it lives like a beggar in the towering shadow of WoW. Of course this is not Holly’s fault as she inherited quite a mess from John “Pay to Win” Smedley who’s been riding on the fame of EQ for over 20 years now.

    I hope that eventually Darkpaw will endeavor to release a new version of EQ but when they do and if they do, there may be nobody left to care.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Wolfshead – I think people are more complicated than that. I would have trouble believing she left solely due to Daybreak not buying in on a new Norrath game. There are certainly a lot of other problems there, and a lot of uncertainty about the future. In the midst of that having Blizzard offer you a job in a stable, well funded environment based on expertise and insight you had developed over the past five years would be a tough offer to turn down even if Daybreak was considering a new game.

    As for Daybreak, I fear no new EverQuest game is in the cards. They don’t seem to make enough money to invest in what it would take to create a competitive fantasy MMORPG these days, unless somebody buys the Darkpaw Games from Daybreak, and the Norrath team itself cannot afford to neglect the two games they are currently supporting to focus on something new with risking the revenue that keeps them afloat.

    Word I got a couple years back from an insider was that DCUO on PlayStation is the one reliable money maker at the company, which might be why Jack Emmert and his Dimensional Ink group in Austin were talking about working on a new title a while back. But I am leery of even that until they have some details to share. The last “new” game from Daybreak… the only “new” game during the Daybreak era… turned out to be a battle royale rehash of PlanetSide 2.

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