World of Warcraft Classic – We’ll See

I didn't expect to see this coming out of Blizzcon, but I did expect to see it eventually: Blizzard is creating a classic World of Warcraft server/experience. 

"I am pleased and also a little bit nervous to announce the development of a Classic server option for World of Warcraft," said J. Allen Brack, Executive Producer of WoW.

Brack went on to say, "This is a larger endeavor than you might imagine, but we are committed to making an authentic Blizzard-quality Classic experience." We want to reproduce the game experience that we all enjoyed from the original classic WoW – not the actual launch experience. So please bear with us, it’s going to take some time, but it will happen."

Here's the welll-made trailer/announcement.

How Will WoW Classic Work?

There's absolutely no information, but I love to speculate.

I think this can go down a number of ways. Two of the more obvious ones being simply a new server (or 10) launch. That brings its own series of challenges given the client.

They could also launch a completely separate client for the classic experience and have it launched right off the Blizzard launcher. Possible.

They could also turn this completely upside down and make it an extension of your current server. You use the temporal discombobulator thingy and your character goes back in time. The experience becomes some uber cavern of time experience -- a lot less likely.

Assuming they launch new servers and a new client (my opinion the most likely), they have the choice of keeping the assets updated or truly rolling back the client and clock to the graphics and experience of vanilla days.

EverQuest, no stranger to the progression server / classic server experience, has been handled in multiple ways. The player-run server was literally the old assets and client. The official servers use the newer graphics and UI features in order to make it somewhat manageable for them.

No Thank You

Regardless of what Blizzard does, I think I'll pass. I played Vanilla for years. I server-first killed nearly every raid boss. I was the leader of three guilds (on three servers) to do it. I opened the gates of AQ. I was that no-life braindead raider who lost myself to the game. Never, ever, again.

There are people who enjoy that type of arduous 'challenge' -- though I strongly oppose the idea that any of it was difficult gameplay. It was difficult in that it took TIME, and it took PEOPLE.

Today's WoW is more accessible, but also more difficult to execute gameplay on the raids themselves (the ones that aren't public raids).

Where WoW is concerned, opposed to a game like EQ, I never felt the journey held much for me in Vanilla. It was always about reaching the destination. The reason a progression server or 'classic' experience works for me in EQ is that I enjoyed the journey and never reached or cared about reaching the end.

Let's see where Blizzard takes this classic experiment. I like their candor stating upfront that it's a challenge and not a small feat to accomplish. 

  • Balthazar says:

    Really looking forward to hearing more details. They should have done this years ago.

  • SynCaine says:

    You are kinda selling herding 40 people vs 10 people short in terms of difficulty. Also it was a different (IMO better) difficulty than forcing everyone to play dance-dance for individual skill.

    But like you said, the time where I’m going to herd 39 others in a guild of 60+ are over, so its a mute point anyway.

    • Keen says:

      I’m distinguishing between the gameplay being difficult vs. herding cats. The gameplay itself was relatively easy. The annoyances and time factors to me do not equal difficulty.

      • SynCaine says:

        For a line member yes, a lot of vanilla raiding was easy. For a leader, it wasn’t, since you basically had to play your own character and a bunch of others (as a main tank, you had to know when to switch off and to who, and when they switch. DPS leader was responsible for people moving around, switching targets. Heal leaders had their own issues). And with 40 fighting, people would go down, and as a leader you had to know what impact that had on the fight, and when to use a key in-fight rez. At 10 people all of that is trivial in comparison.

        Plus usually the leaders were also doing the actually mechanically difficult things in a fight as well (Boss positioning, add grabbing, etc), because leaders also tended to be the best/most dedicated players.

        So on top of recruiting and keeping 60+ people happy, leaders also had far more going on during a raid fight when the size was 40.

      • Keen says:

        Yeah, as the guild leader and raid leader it was a full-time job. Literally. No really, I literally mean it. I didn’t have a job, didn’t go to school, etc. I was 100% WoW.

        It was ‘difficult’ because it was obnoxious, time consuming, and required constant vigilance. On more than one occasion, groups would splinter off and guilds fell apart; Hence doing the server first thing on three different servers.

        But I still draw the line between game difficulty, and organization difficulty.

  • Gankatron says:

    It must be comforting to have such a dominant share of the MMO market that the new reveal for your aged IP is to wash, rinse, and repeat it all.

    • Gankatron says:

      …that being said, I certainly had my best experiences of any MMO in vanilla WoW, but I’ve always been a solo player at heart, and wasn’t very interested in raiding.

      Still I don’t have the time for it anymore.

      I wonder how it will be received by the newer generations of gamers that have been trained up on immediate gratification models?

      I know I wasn’t able to keep my interest when I went back to WoW after a very long hiatus due to the solo play feeling far too rapidly progressing, but will progression feel far too slow for today’s gamers?

      I am guessing the days of proudly posting in global about having finally earned your first gold piece are over.

  • evang says:

    Funny thing is the classic is getting more hype than the new expansion.
    On reddit right now BoA 2,6 comments,Classic 9,1k.

    I think that most of the people will get reality check after it launches,something that happened to me with DAoC and the classic server/Uthgard/Origins.
    It’s all peachy and nostalgic looking through the pink glasses but you forgetting the negative stuff.
    The genre needs a reboot and i really hope some of the games that are on the horizont will deliver.

    • Keen says:

      Unless the journey is something amazing (which I never think of WoW having an amazing journey) then it’s hard to live past the nostalgia. That’s why EQ’s classic experience works for me — even when the nostalgia wears off, I enjoy the journey.

  • Bhagpuss says:

    It’s of great interest to me because I never played Vanilla WoW. The degree to which WoW was looked down upon by many MMO players at the time of it’s launch and for a long while afterwards seems to have been airbrushed out of history. I only knew one person who played at launch and he lasted about three months before coming back to EverQuest. It was common currency in most MMOs I played for years after WoW launched for people to deny any interest or even curiosity about WoW and to make a virtue of never having played.

    I only succumbed when I was at a very loose end with MMOs and had run out of new ones to try. I think Mrs Bhagpuss and I had tried almost everything we were both willing to play by then (there were nowhere near as many, of course) and we were looking at the dwindling options when I said something like “I suppose we could try WoW…”

    That was solidly in the WotLK era so that’s the earliest version I’ve ever seen. It was much better than I expected and we enjoyed it a good deal for about six months, by which time we rather ran out of steam and moved on – I forget to what. I could have tried one of the various emus but I haven’t heard an awful lot of good things about most of those so I’ve never made the effort.

    I am very curious to see what Blizzard come up with. I have no interest in raiding but I’d be very keen to see things like the original pet taming and control system, which looked excellent on paper. I will certainly give whatever they give us a run, anyway. I imagine people like me, without a direct point of comparison, will get the most out of it. Everyone else is going to be disappointed, either that it’s not like they remember or, as you suggest, that it is.

  • Balthazar says:

    I really enjoyed the journey in vanilla WoW. I loved the spontaneous PvP that occurred while I was out questing or gathering mats for blacksmithing. I enjoyed doing lower level dungeons with friends or pick up groups. Or grouping up with friends to quest and level up. There is no reason to group up now in WoW unless you are in a hardcore raiding guild, which I have never been. I had no strong desire to raid in WoW.

    This is the only problem I had with vanilla WoW. There was not much for me to do at max level, except wait for BC to release or get ROFL-stomped by raiders in BGs. Nowadays, the journey in WoW is a joke. There is no challenge. You can faceroll your way to the latest expansion (or just get a boost). I’d like to enjoy the journey again, not rush through it. That is why I am looking forward to WoW Classic. I’d love to spend 6 months to a year leveling and crafting a character up to max level.

    I know there are a lot of classic WoW purists out there. But, I am not one of them. As long as they come up with something that is a reasonable facsimile of vanilla WoW, presumably with a lot of the QoL improvements they have made on live, or even if they can’t roll back all of the class adjustments made over the years, etc., I won’t really care. I’ll still have fun with it.

  • Michael Whitt says:

    Nope, did 1-60 3 times when it was a PITA. Not to mention all the quality if life stuff added over the years. Only thing good would it would bring back dishonorable kills and Spellpower stacking.

  • Jim says:

    I remember how ridiculous it was to save enough money to get a basic mount.

    I knew nothing about mmo’s back then. Ignorance was not bliss.

    • Gankatron says:

      While gold was more difficult to obtain, it was exactly that which made it have a higher relative value, and in turn made the game interesting for me in the long turn.

      Man when I bought my first mount it was like Christmas, and when I earned my PvP mount by achieving Lt. General rank the day before that ranking system was trashed, it was a sweet feeling of immense accomplishment.

      When I went back and played around the Panda time they might as well as had a red button on the UI that allowed one to press and auto-level to 80 as the challenge of leveling and gold accumulation was gone.

      But I suppose they are quite smart about this release as now they may reclaim the old guard players while simultaneously retaining the newer ones, catering to both group’s expectations.

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  • Gankatron says:

    I wonder if they are talking about just a vanilla rule set or the whole environment prior to expansions?

    If the latter are they anticipating re-releasing the expansions as time goes on?

    …so many weird possibilities.

  • Pallais says:

    As a Scarab Lord you have experiences and memories from Vanilla that I’d say 99.9% of us don’t. This isn’t a knock, just to point out you’ve done all the major things in Vanilla.

    For me, I’d like to go back and do the classic Warlock epic mount chain. I did the Paladin one, but I never clicked with Warlocks until later. I’d also like to revisit places such as Auberdine that just aren’t there in their original form.

    Yes, this is nostalgia for me, but I’m not asking Classic to be my one true MMO. I’m not trying to relive my youth, but to revisit an old neighborhood and possibly stop in at some local diners and have lunch. Sometimes it is nice to go back and sit with your memories.

    • Keen says:

      I certainly can’t fault you for that. I think those are all great things.

      As you said, for someone having done all there is to do in Vanilla, it ends up feeling more like a chore or a job you hate going to than fun.

      Take the Warlock Epic mount for example. To me, that’s a heinous task. It requires a group of people willing to help you (or a ton of patience and long hours). After doing that quest, I can’t bring myself to ever go back to Dire Maul.

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