Reading some of the early reaction posts to WoW Classic has me mentality returning to the older days of this blog, specifically the thing where I pick apart another post because it always amuses me that people say how they are feeling, but don’t understand WHY those feelings happen. It’s the good version of “you think you do, but you don’t” I guess.
Case in point, this article from MassivelyOP. Let’s break down some of the parts shall we?
Number 2, quest markers: The game holding your hand and guiding you means you no longer have to actually care about the world and what’s around you. It means you no longer pay attention to quest text, just the little tracker with regards to how many more X you need. This of course then leads people down the ‘boring questing’ line of things, because all of these Kill X quests are ‘the same’. But hey, maybe that’s ok for some people, right?
Except number 3 is ‘a larger sense of world’.
The zone — the area — you’re in is your entire world at any given time, and you are forced to absorb it and immerse yourself in it. I love how this makes everything feel so large and even dangerous around me, even while it’s forced me to slow down.
I added the bold, but see how that directly contradicts number 2? So you love that Classic slows you down and makes you pay attention, yet after 3 minutes you went out and downloaded something that helps you do the exact opposite. And don’t worry, this isn’t the only example provided here.
Number 4, slower travel.
I’ve seriously contemplated rerolling as a Shaman just to get that faster hearth cooldown because this is so bad
Read the bold from number 3, now read the bold from number 4. “But its important for devs to listen to player feedback!”. Yes, yes it is. Its then even more important to listen to what that feedback is REALLY telling you, and not the initial impression of said feedback, because most players don’t fully understand WHY they are enjoying something. WoW Retail exists because New Blizzard was ‘listening to the players’ and just blindly giving people what they said they wanted. You think you do, but you don’t.
Number 5, slower but significant moments of progress.
But when I did get that six-slot bag or that rare armor upgrade or my very first green item, it was more exciting than the last 20 times I got a purple item in Battle for Azeroth.
The comparison with Retail WoW is obvious, but lets note it. The real key here however is that because the game is stingy (by WoW standards anyway) with loot and inventory space, you actually notice it and care. If the ‘problem’ of bad quest rewards, or ‘too limited’ inventory space was ‘fixed’ (Retail), would players care about finding that rare bag drop (more on bags later), or that imperfect green drop that is still an upgrade? Also equally important, the game is designed around those facts, so you can still progress even without always having the best gear for your level, or even close to it. There is a lot of room for error here, while actually rewarding removing as much of that error as possible (if you are decked out in at-level gear, you quest/progress faster, which is itself a good-enough reward without being mandatory).
Number 6, more talk about the limited loot, but also the mention of a guild member helping out with bag space. The big and obvious thing here is that if the inventory space ‘problem’ was solved by the game, this player would have one fewer reason to rely on a guild or the interact with other players. It would also diminish the early usefulness of that crafting profession. It should also be noted that the writer values a few points of armor over the cosmetic look of gear; if the game was faceroll easy (Retail), would that still be the case?
Number 7, talent trees. This one is more complex than it appears on the surface. Yes, talent trees are cool, or at least cooler than not having them and the decisions they bring. But again, if Classic was faceroll easy, would people care as much about making the ‘right’ choice with talent trees to boost their power? Would players look over how their skills work, how talents may boost them, what combos the choices create, etc? And this is all based on the early game of questing, we aren’t even talking about group dungeon usefulness, or PvP specs for Battlegrounds.
Number 8, running away. Another item that has a lot of hidden gems inside. Would players care about a hard-to-get chest if loot wasn’t as scarce or valued? Would this encounter around the chest have stood out to the author if they had been able run in and AoE everything without a care? Does the act of actually dying ruin the experience for the player, or make it memorable?
Number 9 and 10 are nostalgia talk and the announcement of not raiding. Neat.
Point here isn’t to pick on Massively and the author, because I think their feelings/writing represents a pretty significant group of players; people who can express how they feel, but not fully understand WHY they feel it, and why certain game design decisions lead to them feeling that way. Classic isn’t just a chance for non-Retail players to enjoy WoW again; its also a live demonstration of all the ways Retail went wrong with WotLK and beyond, as well as the rest of the genre when it copied that version of WoW.