If 'it' hadn't already begun, then 'it' has certainly begun now.
Yesterday an official Blizzard statement was made in response to the add-on community creating tools that essentially put 'retail WoW' into Classic WoW.
The main focus of this response is to an add-on that creates a LFG tool similar to what we have in modern-day WoW. It makes finding groups easier, facilitates the creation of groups, etc. This did not exist in Classic.
Here's Blizzard's response:
We’ve been closely following the community discussion around this add-on for WoW Classic, as well as analyzing it to make sure we understand how it works. After careful examination, we believe the nature of ClassicLFG is incompatible with our social design for Classic. Thus, in an upcoming patch (in the weeks following launch), we will be adding restrictions to the Classic add-on API that will significantly limit this add-on and others like it.
In line with what we shared at BlizzCon last year, we intend to be very careful about allowing add-on functionality that might undermine aspects of the social dynamics that are core to the Classic experience, even in cases like this where it’s clear that the addon author had no ill intent and was simply trying to provide a service to the Classic community. Ultimately, if a streamlined group-finding system was something we considered compatible with Classic, we would have kept the modern Premade Group Finder tool rather than choosing to remove it from the Classic client.
It’s difficult to articulate a clear-cut rule for exactly when an add-on crosses the line. However, when an add-on goes beyond presenting information or providing aesthetic customization, and attempts to create an interconnected social network that relies on other players also using that same add-on, we are likely to scrutinize it particularly closely.
I think that's completely fair. I support keeping Classic WoW as close to the original as possible. I think that's what most of the true "we want Classic!" crowd desire, anyway.
There are two clearly defined groups right now that will play Classic:
- The people who truly desired the original experience, and a recreation of that experience where they could forever live out their classic days.
- Those who are willing to go back and play, try it, are still excited for it, but weren't beating down the gates of Blizzard HQ or dedicating themselves to emulators just to have that experience back.
I think those who cal into the first category are fine without the add-ons that mimic modern functionality. To be upset by the absence of these API features would heavily invalidate their desire to go back to how things were in 2004.
Those who are filled with angst over Blizzard's push to keep the experience as classic as possible are likely in the other category. They may in fact represent the large majority. This group does things like quoting Ion (Wow Dev) who said during a Blizzcon presentation that some add-ons would be available that build community, etc. This group wants the best of bost worlds -- not a crime... simply not Classic.
Finding a group is hard. It's not fun to sit there broadcasting in chat channels for people to join you on a 30 minute run to a dungeon, hoping they'll stick around to complete it. I get that. I remember when that's all we knew and we never had the tools that we do now -- it wasn't fun back then, either.
I've gone back and played EverQuest progression servers and I look forward to playing upcoming games like Pantheon. While I can be 'okay' with that experience, I still don't love it. That said, to undo piece by piece what you find inconvenient or dislike about Classic WoW moves you inevitably closer to retail.
An easy-to-find-a-group experience exists. Modern-day WoW. A jump-in-jump-out run a dungeon and log out game exists. If that's what youw ant, it's there.
Let Classic WoW be truly Classic WoW. Let people have their 3 months or 2 years or however long they stick with it or Blizzard leaves it up without progressing it. Let people who want to play that have their sandbox. Those who dabble and hate it will leave. Those who remember only the good and none of the bad will be disillusioned within days or weeks. Those who remain will have exactly what they want: Classic WoW.