The hype train continues to chug along towards the release of WoW Classic. I’m excited. I created my characters to reserve names, and while doing so, some of that original WoW magic came back, even just in character creation. It’s hard to explain because normally I’m not a big nostalgia guy, but I spent A LOT of hours in WoW during Vanilla and into TBC, and then likely an equal number of hours cursing what WoW has become once WotLK was released here on this blog, so I’m more emotionally invested in this than just about any other game.
Blizzard recently put out this video, which has some of the original developers playing Classic and offering their feedback. Even in the initial 10 seconds, I go from a happy nostalgia spike of seeing the Collectors Edition box (still have that in a closet) to a ping of disgruntlement seeing Arthus, Mr. Death-to-Vanilla.
There is a lot of talk in the video about how WoW in some ways happened by accident (they didn’t really know what they were doing, because back in 2002ish no one knew what they were doing in terms of an MMO), and how it was a true passion project. In some ways I think this is what you MUST HAVE to make a good MMO, and that being a veteran MMO dev is as much a negative as a positive. If you get ‘too good’ at it, the end result lacks that charm and feels too formulaic, too ‘by design’. In some ways an MMO needs to be somewhat of a mess that doesn’t completely come together, because that gives the players a lot of ‘what if’ situations. They don’t always work out for the best (plate armor with +Int in WoW for example), but I don’t think those are the things that actually drive people away.
The section about what characters they want to play, do they play what they originally did or go a different route, hits right at home. I feel like I should roll a warrior to be the main tank, because that’s just what I do in an MMO, but I ultimately rolled a rogue because hey, something new. I’m guessing by the 10th wipe on Onyxia because our tank can’t hold agro I’ll be wishing I had rolled that warrior, but whatever…
That deadmines section of the video? Ooof, right in the nostalgia breadbasket. Same deal with the clip of the first gryphon ride. Same man, same.
All that talk of ‘whatever initially grabbed you, grabs you again’ and how the ‘magic’ is still there? I mean, you think you want that but… yea you do want that huh? Who could have guessed! The conversation around how the world is the main character? They might as well have been saying “time to list the reasons why current WoW is a dumpster fire and why Classic will work”. I’m glad they are saying it, but I also wish they had said it prior to WotLK and not marched WoW down the welfare epics and ‘dumbed down’ state it got to. “Let’s keep it hard” they said. I agree.
Side note: Funny how in 2019 we are calling 2005 WoW ‘hard’, because in 2005 one of the major selling points of WoW was that it was so easy, it was accessible to casuals compared to all other MMOs at that time. WTF does that say about the current state of the MMO genre, and more importantly, when Classic explodes into a huge hit that connects with people well beyond the initial 3-6 month wave of nostalgia, what will THAT mean for the genre going forward? I mean, will we start seeing WoW Classic clones? And do… do I actually want that to happen?