Daily Archives: May 27, 2021

Reflections on the WoW Classic Experience

I want to say, up front, that the whole WoW Classic experience has been great.

Classic is as classic does

I think we got about the most authentic, full server, vanilla experience that Blizzard could realistically have been expected to put together.  Launch night remains a crazy amazing experience to me even now.

There is a line! Maybe they have toilet paper!

My play time in ManicTime shows that I played more WoW Classic from its launch until now, than any other game.  EVE Online isn’t far behind and, somewhat surprising to me, retail WoW isn’t that far out of the running, falling in third place, but vanilla Azeroth clearly kept me invested.  That “all I want to do is play WoW Classic” feeling I was having while impatiently waiting for its launch was not a false sentiment.

Spending the last twenty months or so playing has been a lot of fun.  I got to revisit a lot of things I remembered and was reminded of many more things I had forgotten.

And, in just 21 months, I managed to get three characters to level cap.  That doesn’t sound like a huge achievement, but it was certainly better than I did back in original WoW.

It was interesting to compare advancement rates with my group character, Viniki, and my (mostly) solo characters, Wilhelm and Tistann.

Leveling up with a group that will run instances with you makes the level curve pretty smooth.  A few places we had to go out and do some remedial leveling work, but for much of it we could go from instance to instance.

Solo though… the infamous level 40+ flat spot in quests and leveling was real.

Of course, some of that has to do with how vanilla handled quests.  The idea of a quest hub had clearly not jelled the way it would in Outland.  Blizzard was quite optimistic in places assuming that people would find quest givers in a back room or off on the edge of camp or way off on their own.  And the number of quests that need you to slay the right mob at the right level to get the right drop to start a quest… well, I will say that my solo characters had very different experiences leveling up.

Seriously, while a lot of core quests were obviously the same, I somehow ended up not getting identical drops or pops or whatever.  And that doesn’t even take into account how differently my two main solo characters, a paladin and a hunter, play over all.

The hunter is still the master stroke class, complicated and easy, a strange mix of being able to get away with a ton of things with a pet and traps yet being hobbled by that ammo bag, pet skills, and the need to keep the pet fed.  It is a complex system that I doubt any major studio would commit to in an MMORPG again.

As for the paladin in vanilla… well, no major studio should do that again.  I was never as happy playing him solo as when I went into an area with demons and undead.  At last I could use my ranged attack.

As for my group character, I have said this before, but it bears repeating; Blizzard clearly had no single plan for instances.  The designs were all over the map.  There were very linear runs where you would finish the whole thing in one run, slaying several bosses along the way.  And then there were instances that they clearly expected you to spend time with, making multiple runs.

We went to Blackrock Depths a dozen times before we had finished every quest we had related to the instance and had defeated the final boss.  That was an epic series of runs, and all the more so doing it as a group of four.  No instance like that waits for us in any of the later content.

That said, I think our group is about done with the full on WoW Classic thing now.  It was fun.  I am glad we went back and ran as many of the instances as we did as well as having a chance to do the solo route with a couple of characters.  There are still some thing to wrap up, but I don’t think there is much left within our capabilities to explore that would change my feelings on the whole thing.

I’m good with moving on to Burning Crusade Classic, but I am also glad Blizz is keeping around some WoW Classic servers for those who want to experience it and just in case I want to go back and live it again.  (Though I do think they’ll need to do some fresh launch servers at some future date.  But, with Blizz, they can probably afford to hold off for five years or so just to let the nostalgia pressure build up into another big event.)

When the update hit last week I moved all of my key characters forward into the new patch.  We still have instances to run in old Azeroth, but the road forward towards Outland is the one we will be taking.

EverQuest Launches the Mischief and Thornblade Servers

The EverQuest team successfully launched two new special servers, Mischief and Thornblade.

Arrived on time

Originally just the Mischief server was announced back in April, but the team apparently decided that this new server would be popular enough that they would forgo the usual launch day crowd and queue problems and just launch two servers.  And so the Thornblade server joined the mix.

Both servers are up and live

I will be curious to see if there is enough interest to justify doubling up on these servers.

Both servers are “random loot” progression servers which, as I mentioned in the previous post, means that loot from rare and raid mobs in the same expansion all share the same loot table.  So your Lady Vox raid can get loot from any other raid boss of similar level from the initial content.

As an upside, rare mobs are supposed to spawn more frequently, so your ability to test the random loot theory outside of set piece raids is greater.

According to progression server FAQ, which has been updated to include the new servers, Mischief and Thorneblade will unlock new expansions every twelve weeks, though the post announcing the new servers contradicts that, with the following information I previously reported being reiterated:

  • EXP: Mangler EXP Progression
  • Pick Zones Enabled
  • Agents of Change Enabled
  • Truebox Enabled
  • Free Trade Enabled
  • Random Loot Enabled
    • The Mischief server is a new experimental server that randomizes loot.
    • Rare NPCs will drop loot from other NPCs of a similar level within the same expansion.
    • Raids will drop loot from other raid NPCs of a similar level within the same expansion.
    • We may add other special case randomization.
    • Rare NPCs have a greater chance of spawning
  • Unlock Cadence:
    • Expansions:
      • 1 month Classic
      • 2 month Kunark
    • 2/3 month regular release cadence
      • 2 months for no level increase
      • 3 months for level increase
    • Exception: LDoN will only be one month

The exp setting put this server as faster than classic, but slower than current live servers.

“Pick Zones” indicates that multiple versions of the same zone can be active to alleviate crowding.  You can pick which instance of the zone you want to play in.

“Agents of Change” allow players to spawn a raid instance for their group, though there is an exp penalty to keep groups from just spawning them to have their own camp.  You get a full spawn of all mobs in the zone, but no respawns.  Rare mobs have a chance to spawn, but are not guaranteed.  Somebody did a video about them if you want a deeper look into this feature.

“True Box” means you are only allowed to have a single client running the game per machine when you play on the server.  No full group multi-boxing allowed.  If you want there, there is a different server for you.  And “Free Trade” means nothing is bind on pick up, you can sell or trade any loot you get.

As this is launch day, when the servers are the most crowded, the team also published a FAQ about the server login queue, which isn’t quite as user friendly as the ones you find in newer games, as it was something added later on to accommodate such launches.  The queue kind of depends on your trust in it, because the time estimates are approximations and or you are not told your position in the queue.  You could be next and you would never know it.

Still, it is better than the old days when the server just told you “tough luck, try again later!”

And, as with all special servers, you must be a Daybreak All Access subscriber to play on them.  There is no free to play option.

In addition, Daybreak is offering two special packs as part of the server launch.

There is always an up sell

Roguish Rapscallion Pack

  • Roguish Rucksack – One 40-slot 100% weight reduction bag claimable on any server! (Lore)
  • Bottle of Adventure II (x3) – A bundle of three 25% experience potions usable on any server.

Successful Shenanigans Bundle

  • Everything in the Roguish Rapscallion Pack, plus:
  • Shenanigan Satchel – One 40-slot 100% weight reduction bag
  • Bottle of Adventure II (x5) – A bundle of five 25% experience potions usable on any server.
  • Token of Challenged Resurrection (x5) – A bundle of five 85% experience resurrection tokens.
  • Bottle of Clarity Pack – One mana regeneration potion appropriate to your level.
  • Bottle of Alacrity Pack – One melee haste potion appropriate to your level.
  • Potion of Speed – One movement haste potion.

You can apparently only purchase each pack once per account, but you can purchase both, which will let you claim the bag on two characters.  These are not “get one on every character” promotions.