World of Warcraft Classic And What We Left Behind

Alright, we’re going to be talking about
World of Warcraft: Classic and as these things go I’ve gotta lay down my bona fides. I
have been playing World of Warcraft since launch. I have been playing World of Warcraft
a lot since launch. I have the Ivory Raptor, which involved farming
up one thousand gold within the first six months the game was out, and I did that in,
like, three. A few years ago Blizzard sent me this nice
little statuette commemorating ten years of unbroken subscription to the game, which means
that this is a cute little gesture from a company that made a game I really like, but
also kinda yikes. I have this in-game windrider pet because
it came with this windrider plush doll that I keep on the shelf behind my streaming setup. I’ve done server-first raiding, I helped
three people grind to High Warlord, I have my Brawler’s Guild rewards, Mage Tower rewards,
Swift Flight Form, and even the absurd Realm First Illustrious Jewelcrafter. Why did I get this? Why did I do what needed
to be done to get this?! Point is, yes, I have played a lot of World
of Warcraft. In August 2019 Blizzard Entertainment launched
World of Warcraft: Classic, a re-creation of World of Warcraft more or less as it existed
in 2006, towards the end of the vanilla game’s lifespan, after all the new content was released,
but before any expansions were added. While not a pure recreation the deviations
are small and few, most being concessions to the fact that WoW itself changed dramatically
over the course of its first year. For example one of the more dramatic anachronistic changes
is the inclusion of the in-game clock, a feature that originally wasn’t added to the game
until June 2008, almost four years after launch. Care has even been taken to recreate period-authentic
inconvenience, such as the bespoke recreation of spell batching originally designed to work
within the limits of dial-up internet, which will, in turn lead to things like cancelling
an ability only for the ability to cast anyway, or being well out of range of monsters while
they continue to hit you in the back of the head. But returning to the Azeroth-that-was fifteen
years later is an interesting experience. It lays bare all the strengths and flaws of
the game and really calls attention to the fact that World of Warcraft was kinda bad. Alright I’m gonna just oh are you stuck? yup are you kidding me? Well, it’s bad, but it’s also really good?
I mean, it’s still a lot of fun, but it’s also pretty garbage. It’s garbage, but still
a classic. Here, since I’m already in this hole let
me dig my way out. I really like to revisit old computer role
playing games. The genre has, through most of the history of electronic gaming, found
itself at the locus of gaming technology, pushing both graphical capabilities and systems
complexity. They were, in their heyday, often at the cutting edge of what the personal computer
could do and what a video game could even be. This, however, also means that they’re often
quite experimental, which in turn brings with it a lot of compromises that modern players
need to make in order to engage. Controls are typically unusual, frustrating, unintuitive,
or unresponsive, and it’s likely there’s at least one vital game system that is utterly
inscrutable, the game assuming you have the time, patience, and inclination to devise
its operation through brute trial and error. Ultima Underworld is the first retail game
with a fully 3D environment, but the underlying systems for character movement are pretty
immature. It’s not very precise with how facing translates to direction, leading to
a lot of times where the player character is walking forwards, but at a kind of slanted
angle. Dungeon Master 2 has a magic system revolving
around combinations of symbols representing abstract concepts, with no guidance on what
anything actually does. The manual gives a bit of help by at least telling you that the
first set of symbols indicate power level, but at the end straight up tells the player
to literally trial and error their way through. Most of these games will allow you to just
casually soft lock all progression by throwing away something vital, either on purpose or
by accident. But it’s not impossible for a modern audience
to submerge themselves in the games, and once you’re over the hump it’s generally pretty
rewarding to see what originally sold players on Lands of Lore, Ultima Underworld, or Elder
Scrolls: Arena, to peek into the history of modern games and see the genesis of ideas,
systems, controls, and vocabulary that persist to this day. Just, you know, maybe keep a walk through
or strategy guide handy. This is much of the WoW Classic experience.
There’s several distinct humps for a modern player to get over, things that are, by today’s
standards, hostile, unintuitive, and obnoxious, but adapt to them and there’s an interesting
and rewarding game on the other side. I have also found that it’s actually easier
to adjust to now than it was in 2004 specifically because Classic is essentially a complete
product. While Blizzard hasn’t activated all the content that Classic will contain,
we know what all of it is, which has the odd effect of making it feel a lot more self-contained
and easier to accept the jank as just part of the package and charm. Just before we jump deeper into the jank of
Classic, I do think it bears mentioning that WoW itself exists in the context of the game
it was meant to compete with but ultimately all but crushed: Everquest. WoW was, from conception onwards, meant to
be the “friendly” version of Everquest, and elements of Classic that feel exhausting
today, such as the relatively small number of quick travel flight points scattered around
the world, were positively indulgent compared to Everquest. You mean you can just fly all the way across
the world? Let me go get my monocle and top hat! Will they be serving hors d’oeuvres on
this flight? Oh, you think there aren’t enough spiders
in Dustwallow, that it’s going to take forever to get all the venom you need for that damn
shield quest? Yeah, well, out here in Crescent Reach there
are three snakes! Three! Three snakes! Sure, by modern standards it feels like a
pointless waste of time to make the player return to a class trainer and spend silver
in order to acquire new abilities and improve old ones, but when you put it in the context
of EverQuest where buying spells and learning spells were two different things, and it was
possible to buy a spell you couldn’t learn, and also some spells you needed to find as
drops from random monsters, World of Warcraft was very much the “noob friendly” approach.
Why, look, you can even see all the spells that you’ll eventually be able to learn! Oh go, they’re so expensive Game, please, please game, I just, I just
want to buy my raptor! I just need a raptor! That’s not to say that all the humps are
contextual improvements over EverQuest. Some of it is just bad on its own or obviously
incomplete. World of Warcraft was pushed out the door
probably a good six months early leading to a pretty substantial and well-documented disparity
in quality between the stuff the developers had been working on the longest, namely Eastern
Kingdoms and the Alliance starting zones, and the stuff they had been working on the
least, Kalimdor and the Horde starting zones. There’s a few standout examples, like the
area around Blackfathom Deeps in western Ashenvale being little more than a rough draft, which
maybe looks just kinda old and junky at first glance, but is a stark contrast when compared
to areas like Shadowfang Keep or The Wailing Caverns. The entire zone of Azshara is largely devoid
of quests, not completely empty but hardly the number or density that you would expect
from a zone of its size. There’s even a substantial number of NPC camps scattered
throughout, staged with furniture and flags, but never populated. and, oh god, this character is too low to
be here, oh god F’s in chat The Paladin talent trees weren’t implemented
until the game finally launched, and were clearly a last minute rush job, with notable
highlights being the Holy tree, ostensibly a single-target healing specialization. Let’s
just take a short tour through this. The first tier contains Improved Lay On Hands,
which adds a small 1 minute armour buff to an emergency heal with an hour long cooldown,
the second tier has Revelation which reduces the cooldown of Lay on Hands by up to 20 minutes,
giving it a mere 40 minute cooldown. The third tier begins the chain of talents leading to
the tree’s capstone ability, and those three talents are a damage boost to a single ability,
an aura that increases holy damage dealt by your party, and the capstone ability Holy
Shock, an instant cast, medium range damage spell. In the healing tree. There was a lot of stuff like this floating
around, some of it easier to change than others, and in a lot of ways the first year of World
of Warcraft’s life was spent just kinda getting the game finished. Some of the abrasive moments really just come
down to different expectations. The “massive” in “Massively Multiplayer” was always
a lot smaller than it ever felt, most of the heavy lifting being done by clever design
pressing players into interactions that felt more substantial than they really were. WoW
just wasn’t actually built to have that many players doing something in the same area
at the same time. Single quest areas can typically only support three to eight players at a time.
Any more than that and it quickly leads to over-competition, with players standing around
just waiting for more opponents to spawn. While this encourages grouping up, it only
does so to a point. You can’t get credit for most quests if there are more than five
players in your group, and a second full group is enough to strip a quest area bare like
locusts, so paradoxically there’s a lot of time in the Massively Multiplayer game
spent looking for places to play alone. not for any other reason than just to like
know that you holy crap oh my god see like that right there, there’s the line!
That’s, that’s the line! So Dan, queue it up. I wanna die. This is. All that said, returning to WoW as it used
to be is also an enchanting experience in many ways. It reveals the flaws, yes, but
also the things that have held up surprisingly well. The cartoonish, exaggerated aesthetic of the
Warcraft universe, always praised as a strength of the series, continues to shine. Even the
chunky, blatantly low-poly assets have their own charm, and after a few minutes of play
quickly blend into the scenery. And there are some moments of windowing, places
where the game creates a frame to guide the player’s view, that remain stellar. One that really stands out to me is actually
something that I had forgotten about, because it was replaced in the changes to the game
over the years. The opening hours of the Orc and Troll quest
lines lead the player out of the Valley of Trials, down the road to Razor Hill, through
the pass in Drygulch Ravine, culminating in their entrance to Orgimmar, the capital city
of the Horde. The path leading into the city leads the player to this frame at the threshold,
the wide open space of the Valley of Honor with the bank, flight tower, and zeppelin
framed against the sky. It is a compelling composition. Evocative, fantastical, it’s
a moment that really strikes the imagination and makes the world feel so much bigger than
you ever thought it would be. The version of this moment, as it exists now,
was put into the game in 2010 with the Cataclysm expansion. A huge portion of that expansion
was dedicated to revamping the original world’s content, since most of it was at least six
years old, with some art assets being as old as 2003 or even 2002. The resolution disparity
between launch content and stuff from the second and upcoming third expansions was stark,
and it was a gulf that was only likely to grow wider as more content was added. Additionally players had been clamouring for
freeform flight to be added to the original continents, a much loved feature integral
to both The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions, but the original environments
had never been designed for freeform flight. The old world ultimately consisted of a series
of valleys scooped out of a giant mass, with questing areas joined by large blocks of featureless
terrain, carefully hidden behind impassable rocks and hills. The flight paths all wound
through hand-crafted vistas, designed to make the world look fully formed and sculpted while
obscuring the giant empty spaces in between. It was very much an amusement park facade,
and while some players enjoyed taking a peek behind the scenery, the out-of-bounds areas
weren’t acceptable if it was going to be something all players could access just by
flying up over the tops of the hills. A revamp was, in a lot of ways, needed, but
a lot of what they revamped things to was kinda questionable. Cataclysm, as a whole, is not a fondly remembered
expansion, and a big part of that is in the details of the decisions that were made. Blizzard decided that rather than merely updating
the terrain and cities to look more cohesive with newer, higher-resolution content and
rather than just filling the voids between zones in a way that would look boring but
presentable when flying, they would instead dramatically alter the world itself in a massive
cataclysm and advance the timeline so that the state of the entire main world was concurrent
with the end game content. This had some side-effects. By advancing the timeline many of the new
zones were now sequels to their original versions, following up on the storylines that played
out before the Cataclysm. But these new storylines only made sense if you were already familiar
with the previous story, which was now no longer accessible. This kind of self-referential storytelling
is ultimately the blood of Cataclysm, with a lot of moments in the expansion being retreads
of older moments from WoW’s history, delivered with a cheeky smile and a wink to the camera. Mortals that fancy themselves heroes have
entered the broken hall. Oh I do hope this “raid” will amuse me. In this regard the new entrance to Orgimmar
is no longer intended to welcome new players to a wide open world, no longer framed to
spark the imagination, but a blunt shock for old players, an overhaul of layout and aesthetic
signalling the change in leadership from Thrall to Garrosh, a mulletted electric guitar solo
screaming “this ain’t your daddy’s Horde”. It is incredibly trivial, but it is emblematic
of a fair criticism of how the game has evolved over a decade and a half: increasingly focusing
inwards. I’m not even sure I should be saying “criticism”
though, because it’s not even critical as much as it is merely descriptive. World of Warcraft has undeniably changed over
the years, but the “goodness” or “badness” of most of the changes really comes down to
a question of values: what do the players and creators like in the game, what do they
want out of the game, and what does an ideal evening of play look like? They’re not really questions with right
and wrong answers, and no matter what answer you pick it probably doesn’t have some moral
implication underneath. You’re not a bad person if you want to quietly solo queue for
dungeons and go through the game with an absolute minimum of social friction. Likewise it’s
not a superior tier of gaming to prefer a game with aggressive social dependency and
time-sink gatekeeping. This is where I feel I need to acknowledge
that lot of the clamour for WoW Classic has been controversial, fraught with ego and drama,
as a number of the high-profile personalities leading the charge are known for their toxicity
and vitriol, having made something of a career in the very small, but highly competitive,
niche of complaining about World of Warcraft. they wanna make it different, they want to
do things just a little bit different! Oh, maybe I just want group finder, hey my gear
doesn’t match maybe I’ll just transmog this helmet, f* you! You’re going to wear that
pink helmet and you’re gonna like it. Those chromatic boots looking like a goddamn clown
with your DPS warrior? That’s you! Your f* face? It’s a square! Alright? Eight pixels?
You’re gonna love it. It’s gonna be the exact same. We’re not gonna give up, we’re not gonna
stop. No changes! The basic argument from these outrage merchants
is that WoW as it currently exists, is bad unlike some point in the past where WoW was
good. And I really need to point out that this argument has been working for over a
decade. It is not a new phenomenon by any means. Why having badges be given by every single
frikkin instance in the entire game is an absolutely awful idea. Possibly, in fact,
the worst idea I have ever seen Blizzard come up with in their entire history. Alright?
this goes beyond everything. This goes beyond putting Naxx version 2 in the game. This goes
beyond every stupid thing they have ever done. I mean, really. This goes beyond the whole
“hey let’s give ’em some Black Temple level epics for running Kharazan.” No it goes beyond
that. It’s incredibly, pants-on-head-r* in every possible respect. There’s no consensus on when that peak was,
when WoW was truly the best, but it’s generally agreed by that community to be somewhere during
the first three phases of the game, between 2004 and 2010. This has created an environment where WoW
Classic has been positioned explicitly in contrast to Battle for Azeroth as “the real
World of Warcraft”. The pure experience, spiritually untainted, the mythological prelapsarian
version. An experience so perfect that it will restore World of Warcraft to the position
of cultural relevance that it held when seemingly everyone and their dog had a subscription. It’s effectively a church schism in video
game form. That level of intensity in the conversation
can make productive analysis somewhat difficult, as the arguments for that position aren’t
always coherent. A big hitch in these kinds of public conversations
is that there’s a performance angle, and people tend to skew towards the answers that
they believe are correct, or the answers that they believe the audience wants to hear. The
opinion that you’re supposed to have, rather than the answers that are true. They tend to lean really heavily on value
statements, appeals to the things that the wider social group believe are superior qualities,
which can lead to some hot nonsense like saying that World of Warcraft was best when it was
hardest back in Classic which is a comical statement because Classic just isn’t very
hard. Now I do want to walk a fine line here because
when it comes to talking about video games and difficulty the conversation turns into
a swamp super fast because the language that we use to talk about the systems and interactions
isn’t particularly well developed, so people end up just shouting the same words at each
other with different implicit meanings and it goes nowhere. Mainstream video games bias towards tests
of reflexes or the ability to execute a complex pattern consistently or with precision, and
this is a thing that you’re supposed to like and desire and appreciate. The vast majority of the challenge in World
of Warcraft Classic, however, is extremely simple from an execution standpoint, and is
really more of a test of patience. I’m not saying that as a bad thing, by the way. Tests
of endurance, tests of patience, are a form of difficulty. It is a skill that is being
tested, but it’s still not what people are typically referring to when they say “hard
games.” WoW Classic is a very slow game, and it punishes
mistakes with heavy time costs, but even then it’s not exactly as taxing as a marathon,
most of the content can be trivialized, the vast majority of it is not particularly difficult
to execute, there’s no requirement to do it in a single sitting or a tight timespan,
and it is certainly not more difficult to execute than basically anything that came
afterwards. All the difficulty is piled into a willingness
to wait, to be cautious, to spend time recovering after every. Single. Fight. And a failure
of patience is typically met with a time sink as punishment. So there’s this syllogism at play where
we take three suppositions A – hard games are good, B – I liked World of Warcraft in
2006, C – I like good games. I liked World of Warcraft and I like good
games, therefore World of Warcraft was good, and good games are hard games, therefore World
of Warcraft must have been hard, because I like it and I like good games. This isn’t really that weird, people do
tend to be pretty bad at figuring out why they like the things they like, so they just
assume that their stated values apply to the things they enjoy. And yes, to bring this back around, World
of Warcraft has undeniably changed over the years, and the changes have collectively been
dramatic. Not just changes in terms of graphical updates, large swaths of new content, or the
world overhaul of Cataclysm, but philosophically. The ideas answering questions like “what
makes good content” have shifted and morphed over the years, often subtly, sometimes drastically. I want to remove the outrage merchants from
the equation and contrast some of these changes honestly, because while, on a personal level,
I think a lot of people have been hoodwinked by outrage merchants into parroting bad, syllogistic
arguments, I don’t think people are being disingenuous when they say they enjoyed WoW
more in the past than they do in the present and that it’s not all nostalgia. Nostalgia is, of course, an important part
of the overall picture: World of Warcraft landed at a really formative time for a lot
of people, a time when they were in high school or college and had a lot of free time, and
all their friends had a lot of free time, and their life meshed well with the pace of
the game and the game became their shared social space. That is a potent element, but
it’s not the whole story. The Hashtag No Changes crowd has an entire
warehouse of rose coloured glasses, but that doesn’t mean classic is devoid of value if
you aren’t wearing them. We can’t un-cross a river, but if we walk
through this we can maybe put together a reasonable portrait of the differences and understand
why some players justifiably feel like they’ve been left behind by the changes over the years
and in turn what Classic has to offer. World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is a
very busy game. There is a lot to do and the game has a tremendous array of content for
players of all stripes, ranging from player versus player competition to skill-testing
group content to trivial minigames and ARG-style community treasure hunts. With fifteen years
of iteration there are very few styles of play that aren’t accounted for, in particular
if you are in the majority of players that prefer a social solo experience, meaning that
you like having other people around, you like the multiplayer elements being seamlessly
integrated and not a separate game mode, but you still prefer to spend the majority of
your time playing alone. You don’t want to have to coordinate multiple schedules just
to play the game. Not only is there a lot to do, but most of
it can be completed in ten to twenty minute chunks, with group activities taking bigger
commitments of around 30-45 minutes in the case of dungeons or a couple hours in the
case of raids, so it’s an environment where depending on how much time you have to play
there’s almost certainly something to do that is a structured task with concrete rewards. Island expeditions, arena, battlegrounds,
mythic dungeons, raiding, pet battles, world quests, professions, achievements, collections,
special events, oh my. In contrast WoW Classic has relatively little
variety when it comes to structured tasks. There’s dungeons, there’s quests, there’s
professions, there’s raids, and eventually there will be PvP battlegrounds. Though, once
you get to max level, well, quests are a finite resource, it’s not even super difficult
to complete every possible high level quest in the game. There is a very narrow, and deliberate
channel that players find themselves in: questing leads to dungeons, and dungeons lead to raids,
and raids in Classic mostly require 40 players, so they’re not exactly the kind of thing
you just casually toss together with the lads. In fact, really, in order to field a raid
of 40 players you need a pool of sixty to eighty players, minimum, to cover for different
roles, people who need to leave early, people who can be there on Tuesday and Thursday,
but not Wednesday, people who aren’t part of the core group but are basically the supply
line for the raid, providing materials and consumables. So there’s this pretty self-evident contrast:
between the game as it used to exist, with relatively few defined activities, and the
game as it currently exists, awash in things to do. But that’s just a surface level analysis,
and this is where I think things get interesting, where we see something of what has been left
behind. All of that content, all the different tasks
and parallel progression streams, they have been added bit by bit over the years to free
players up so that they don’t feel trapped in that narrow channel of progression where
you either found a group of people you could raid with, or you kind of ran out of things
to do. That’s good, because there are absolutely things about that arrangement that really,
really suck. The requirements in terms of time, players,
and materials, effectively creates a corporate environment, where guilds that have the resources
to raid accrue a lot of social power. Back in 2006 it wasn’t really that unusual
for a given server to only be able to support one or two active raids per faction. Actually, in 2005 the server hardware itself
literally couldn’t support more than one raid engaging Nefarion at the same time, and
groups would need to coordinate across factions because if two groups pulled the latency would
spike, and if three or more pulled the instance server would crash. Hashtag no changes! which meant that you needed to bend to their
schedule and maybe needed to put up with a lot of toxicity and harassment just to play
a video game. Because of the way that the various mechanics interact, success one week
sets players up for more success next week, so guilds that are doing well tend to attract
more players than they actually need, while failure can quickly lead to a social death
spiral as experienced and geared players quit or leave, increasing the odds of further failure. Given that these raids represent a huge time
commitment it’s not unusual for guilds to focus on hedging their bets and playing it
safe, only bringing the best geared players with the most optimal classes. This can make
it difficult, if not impossible, for players coming in late, who don’t already have the
best gear and only have a few hours per week to play, to even get an invite to a group. So there are very good reasons for a lot of
the changes, in particular providing comparable progression tracks for players who want to
play mostly alone or just with a small group of four, nine, ten friends instead of listening
to thirty nine assholes screaming whenever someone pulls whelps in Onyxia’s Lair. The next idiot f* who goes and aggros something
they ain’t supposed to is not getting any f*ing item for the next two f*ing weeks not
to mention 200 minus f*ing DKP is that enough f*ing motivation for you to f*ing play proper?! This toxicity is actually a deliberate design
choice, in a sense. EverQuest, and World of Warcraft were built on a concept of social
dependency, the idea that the game was explicitly hostile to solo play and that it was basically
impossible for a player to be truly self-sustaining. World of Warcraft, as the friendlier version
of EverQuest, tempered that a lot, you can get through most of the game solo, but it’s
definitely still there. Questing with one or two other people is substantially
faster, and much safer. Since characters often provide a force-multiplying factor to one
another the increase in speed is more than simply linear. With a friend you can do higher level quests
a lot earlier, which reduces the amount of time spent moving between questing zones and
makes it a little less likely that you’ll have to resort to grinding just to be able
to move on to a new area. This social dependency is kinda compelling
and interesting in its own right, but it has a few big weaknesses, namely that it means
players are essentially at the mercy of other players, who may or may not be nice people,
and it relies on there being other players in the same space as one another. Right now, in the first months after release,
WoW Classic is a lot of fun to level through because it’s in the sweet spot where there’s
a lot of players all kind of spread throughout the whole level range, so no matter what level
you’re at or which stage of a quest chain you’re on there’s probably someone else
nearby who’s either at the exact same spot or pretty close to it. If you need help with an elite opponent that
you can’t take on solo then during prime time it’s probably only going to take a
few minutes or so before someone else comes along looking to do the same quest. But as time goes on more and more players
accumulate at the level cap, and while some players compulsively level new characters
over and over, most players focus on a single character. The result is that as the overall
population caps out the local population in the lower and mid-level zones drops dramatically,
and social dependency only works if there’s other players around to be dependent on. Back in 2006 it wasn’t even particularly
weird to be literally the only player in Stonetalon or Desolace at any given time. So it definitely needs to be kept in mind
that while a lot of changes have been made to speed up leveling, to reduce social dependency,
these changes have been made to address real problems that emerge as MMOs mature, and a
lot of these problems loom over the future of Classic. So Blizzard has added all of this other stuff
to provide more dynamic alternatives, to widen the ranges that characters can quest together,
to speed up the journey from level 1 to level 120, and to ensure that players at level cap
aren’t trapped on a dead server or held hostage by the only assholes with a raiding
guild or simply excluded entirely from group play because they chose a class that is less
optimal than another. But with all of that added stuff, it is possible
to reach a point where there’s simply too much to do, where there’s so many parallel
choices, all of which are at least somewhat comparable in terms of their worth, that it
becomes paralyzing and difficult to focus. You can get a decent amount done even if you
only have twenty to thirty minutes to play, but that also means that over the course of
an hour you might be rapidly pinballing between a dozen small tasks, and the line between
variety and chaos is a fine one. What’s more, if everything is meaningful,
if it’s all significant content that provides a reward of appropriate value, and they’re
all on daily or weekly reset timers, well, at a certain point it stops feeling like options
and starts to feel like an obligation. You’re running low on runes, you should
really do your Looking For Raid runs for the week. Have you done your emissary quests for the
day? Gotta get at least a +10 in for the weekly
cache. Don’t forget your island expeditions. Trial of Style ends at midnight. Mythic raid Tuesday Wednesday, Heroic alt
run on Thursday Can’t forget your PvP cache Are you ever going to finish that achievement? Here’s where Classic has an unexpected strength:
if there’s nothing to do, if nothing is “meaningful”, then you are free to self-direct. [big pause] Let’s talk about grinding. Oh okay, so GravyCast wants to know what is
grinding? Well. WoW slang with Crystal! so, grinding is when you keep killing the
same mobs in a particular area just over and over again without the guidance of a quest oh, that didn’t work out well F’s in chat Grinding is something of a hallmark of early
MMOs. It was pretty much taken for granted that at some point in playing the game you
would find yourself standing in a field, killing the same enemies over and over and over again.
Just an endless, rhythmic process that only ends when your bags are full and you decide
“yeah, I guess I should head back to town”. If you needed money to buy skills or a mount
or new equipment, this wasn’t the most efficient way to get it, but it was the most straightforward. I just want my raptor! If a questing area was too competitive, if
there were line-ups for a quest target, maybe it was a better idea to just go over to the
less popular spot with no quests and just grind out a level or two so you can move on. Oh my god! Grinding isn’t something that anyone would
really describe as compelling gameplay. It’s not very dynamic. It is, by definition, repetitive.
It’s the kind of thing that, intellectually, everyone feels is kinda bad in a game because
while it’s not truly pointless it’s definitely low on point. But that aimlessness is maybe not all bad. Grinding is, in essence, the purest distillation
of self-directed play. There’s no diegetic authority telling the player what to do or
how to do it, there’s just a vague incentive and the player’s own discretion about how
to get there. Now, this is the same incentive set that led
to the addition of all those other tasks and options to the game, and in a sense players
in 2019 have far, far more freedom in how they go about achieving their general goals.
So at present players have more structured options to engage with, but what we find in
the comparison between Classic and Battle for Azeroth is that paradoxically adding more
content, more structured activities, can make it feel like there are fewer options. This happens because as you add more direction,
more structure, the emotional value of self-direction goes down, and even if self-directed, freeform
play boils down to only a few viable options, the fact that there’s nothing telling you
to do it, well that does a lot for the illusion of openness. And I should say that I’m not using “illusion”
here as a pejorative. I love illusions. I crave a well-crafted illusion, and Classic
delivers them in spades. For a while, at least. At some point in the last 15 years, gradually,
bit by bit, the game has discarded most of these illusions, in a lot of ways because
the players grew past them. Spend enough time with an illusion and you start to see through
it, you figure it out, and at a certain point you just want it to be honest with you. And that honesty, laying out mechanics, revealing
the nuts and bolts of how it all works, just telling players where the quests are and how
to complete them, providing a dozen alternate ways to level, letting them fly over every
hill, it’s not a bad approach, but it’s mutually exclusive with mystery and the illusion
of a wide-open world. You can, in Battle for Azeroth, level up by
running around in circles endlessly killing murlocs, but the whole time that you do it
there’s the overhanging knowledge that there’s so many better, more efficient, structured,
organized, sanctioned, fun ways of doing it, so why are you bothering? In Classic, well, everything sucks, so…
you’re free: do whatever you want. Is aimless grinding better experience than questing?
Generally no, buuuuuuut… it’s not that much worse, either. There is a kind of freedom
in the lack of structured options. Anything you choose to do is about as good as anything
else. There’s a simplicity to that, a clarity
that the game has definitely moved away from. And, again, that’s not bad. Leveling in
Battle for Azeroth is a lot more dynamic and less punishing, but it’s also a lot more
dense, more noisy, and less meditative. It’s a rush to get to level cap, because that’s
where all the players are. And the thing is that for most players, that’s
what they want. The aimless, self-directed play of Classic
is cute and interesting, but wears out quickly. There’s only so many times you can grief
Alliance at Marris Stead before you’re just done with it. The first time you have to wait
thirty minutes for a party member to get to the dungeon, because they were on the other
side of the world and it just takes that long to get anywhere, it’s a drinking game style
moment. But, by the third or fourth time you just
really, really wish they’d turn the damn summoning stones back on. However, for players who not only enjoy that
illusion of open ended freedom and the pace that comes with it, but prefer it, it makes
sense that they maybe feel like the game has left them behind over the years. Horse doovres F’s in chat

100 thoughts on “World of Warcraft Classic And What We Left Behind

  • alot of this is why tbc will be even better than classic, game was in a better spot overall…. up until 3.0 hit!!

  • The last time I resubbed to wow was just before Cataclysm and it didn't take long for me to unsub again. I was so offended by the new Orgrimmar I just straight up quit forever.

  • As far as the progression Classic is going to have I think if they go to TBC it should be optional to transfer your classic character to a TBC server and classic should exist forever.

  • Asmongold is not a classic wow outrage merchant. I think outside of BFA he prefers the modern game for the reasons you mentioned, and simply likes some aspects of classic.

  • I don't understand this whole grinding thing, I played in private servers and now in Classic wow but I've never had to grind, yes a lot of areas only have a relatively low number of quests and sometimes that's not enough to move on to the next higher level area, but I never grinded, oh I ran out of quests in silverpine but still too low for tarren mill? let's go to ashenvale and do the deadly blunderbuss quest, oh hey BFD is here let's get a group for it! 2 to 3 hours later "Hello TM! How nice to see you again" and done. Why do people grind? I don't get it? when did the XP from questing stopped being enough that people grind mobs like idiots? never had to do it myself and I level several characters to 60.

    This is an honest question, if my post comes off as angry it is not, I'm honestly bewildered how people always mention grinding when they mention Vanilla wow, I guess you would have to do it if you're trying to get rep with some faction or trying to find a particular item but I never felt like I had to grind for XP, maybe because I'm one of those people who likes to see everything and get every quests for when I do any dungeon so I get tons of xp and nice loot from those dungeon quests.

  • I have never heard anyone complain about wow so i guess i follow the right channels.
    I had the pre- cat one and i couldn't afford the expansion. My characters are all gone though.

  • Here is the thing dude: Classic was simpler and more minimalistic, the new one a absolutly full of crap.
    It feelt really different and really fun.
    Also the plot development gave alot to wish.

  • Really good video Dan! Though this was a interesting watch for me. As I never played WoW, and I only know a little anything about it.

  • I wonder how much of the backlash saying that classic was better is coming from people who feel hurt by no longer having the kind of social importance the game used to provide. You went into detail about the kind of Social Power global leaders had and I'm sure that felt great and was a positive memory for those who got that far and those who got that far would probably still be playing the game

  • I have no nostalgia for wow classic, but I do have some for more grindy early mmo's. And I have to say I do still enjoy wow classic quite a bit.

    P.S. F IRL for TB and whoohoo for Hbomberguy.

  • I started around Cataclysm and only really got in when I played Hearthstone and decided to really explore different areas. Orgrimmar's harsher look is fine with me since they did want to update the visuals and definitely give it a more threatening look. If you really analyze both layouts I guess you could complain but the new version is still pretty good. Cataclysms whole rework of iconic zones may have upset certain people, not only that the quests are sequels to quests not even in the game anymore. Again they may have wanted to update the visuals and put something in the void zones (or make it 100% impassible) but I think that bit could have been done better.

    Even minor things updating and streamlining the game are like how WoW just made a casual friendly version of Everquest. Some people do like an old fashioned MMO where teaming up is important not only for social points but so you're not fighting with other people to accomplish a quest, or when you do team up for a big mission it's more personal if you gather the people yourself rather than a built in team builder for convenience. I'm sort of reminded of how LoL later added a system where players choose what position and class they're playing as, it certainly makes finding a basic team easier but removes creativity and basically locks the game into how it should be played rather than what your friends can do, think if you wanted to make a team out of 5 priests, you can't, 1 support per team, must be healing spec, 1 jungler, solo mid and top. There are benefits but a lot of the heart gets lost too.

  • Nostalgia does play a large part. I started in cata but only really got in the game at mop. I still consider mop to be my favorite expansion and best time I spent in the game. Invariably most of the people I ask will tell me the same thing, that their favorite expansion was the one they started in. This is because the time you start a game is filled with discovery and challenges which make everything you do quite meaningful. The game wasn't technically harder to play, it was in many ways easier but everything you did took time and most importantly investment. Rewards were few and far between making them more notable and memorable. This high investment for little but meaningful reward kept you invested in your character progression for a far longer time than today. I feel a lot more rewarded by dropping a green item while leveling in classic that dropping an epic in a BFA raid…

  • I think something you missed: WoW has added in more and more daily chores. Arbitrary grinds for player power that reset every "season", which is what they call new patches with raid tiers now. For example, say I want to play my 120 shadow priest which I haven't touched since BfA launch. I could get geared out relatively well within 1-2 weeks, but I have 3-4 weeks at least of grinding menial tasks 1-2 hours a day to get what I need. It doesn't matter how good I am at the game or with taking advantage of social circles, I cannot gain certain essences or AP faster. 8.2 right now is the most alt unfriendly the game has ever been.

  • Not that it was super profound in context but "Spend enough time with an illusion and you see through it, you figure it out, and at a certain point you just want it to be honest with you" is a kickass quote

  • TLDR: Some ramblings from a Vanilla/TBC casual. Vanilla was maybe not better, but much more intimate. Classic won't last forever but that isn't a bad thing.

    You touch on it with the illusion but I think the main thing you missed was it's significance. Awe.

    It is the dependence of other players and what an organized group could accomplish. When you saw a player in full tier 2, it commanded a level of admiration. Even just seeing it linked in chat sparked interest. Admittedly, this awe is likely what lets people get away with toxicity.

    Its' loss is why I lost any desire to start raiding in TBC as the ”standard” raid size went from 40 to 25, the scope affected the impression. It stood in a spot were it lost the sense of wonder combined with it being easier to just jam 5-mans with your friends.

    And finally, it is the reason Retail died for me. I reached 70 in TBC and was gonna start running arena with the aforementioned friends. I was terrible, but I eventually managed to get myself a handful of epics through it. Then season 3 dropped and I realized i'd been caught in a treadmill. I was never going to actually reach a point were I was satisfied with my state in the game. The chores you mentioned in dailies is the very reason my friends quit and I didn't stay long after.

    Somewhere around Cataclysm-Mists I leveled a new character for a few months. The game felt alien. My experience with dungeons consisted of getting screamed at for not having kept up with the meta in years and not knowing the routes/strategies, AH having such massively inflated prices that buying was impractical as I lacked a max-level toon and so on. Even the world felt off as the stakes and power kept rising in the fluff while in vanilla things were more in line with the games RTS predecessors.

    This is why I'd prefer any changes classic makes be kept to a minimum, even quality of life ones like summoning stones. The experience of having to create a party by hand creates comraderie. The sluggishness of travel and combat makes the world feel grander (Breath of the Wilds is another game that handles this well). While not without toxicity, the trials of the game creates many pleasent moments, both within and across factions.

    I do not expect classic to survive forever but neither do I want it to. I want to play the game untill I feel done with it, not see it beaten to death and shamble off like zombie, a fate that many big franchises have these days.

  • They should of tuned Classic's difficulty way up before releasing it for 2019 (we have 15yrs of knowledge on this game) so this is why Blizzard should of ramped that difficulty up for release and kept it a secret so players can experience it first hand. I think giving the Raids the option for 20/40 players in Classic should be an option they bring in which gear needs to scale appropriately but the 10-15man Dungeons need to stay!

  • Retail now is an interactive Disneylike fairytale. Classic is a massive multiplayer role playing game. Far more engaging.

  • Classic is for people wanting to be forced into having nothing to do and thus finding ways to entertain themselves.

    BfA is for people wanting a reason to be playing.

    And how you play it, still comes down to choice. The vast VAST majority, never plays seriously and will be doing what they feel like and what's on offer.

  • When Blizzard decided to make nearly everything in the game convenient the game went to shit (LFG, LFR, Flying, Daily Quests, Not needing to replenish your reagents, Not needing to learn Weapon/armor types etc). I stopped playing around Cataclysm then came back for like 2 months in Legion and peaced out again cause it was so MEH. The reason I like Classic (I'm on PvP server) is no cross server so you run into the same players constantly, everyone I've met is mostly nice and helpful, its way more social. Things take time and effort (tho not enough imo) so the reward is a lot more satisfying, you aren't getting Epic's for easy work, if you see a player with a cool weapon it actually means something (transmog sucks).

  • You: "video contains internet shouty men"

    Me: "inb4 Asmongold"

    Also, inb4 Asmongold reacts to this video on his stream

  • I haven't played BfA or Classic. My proper WoW journey begame in Burning Crusade and ended in Cataclysm, and I ended up returning briefly for the three expansions following Cataclysm, mostly doing solo play to get the overall story in (and get my fix).
    You describe perfectly how I felt about WoD and Legion; There's too much stuff to do, and it's all Important™.
    I ended up having to participate in parts of the game I had little interest in, some of them quite grindy, to progress the story. Or at least it was presented that way. Having all these things for players to do is fine, if it's all within it's own system. Unlocking the next step in the main story by grinding a ridiculous amount of some item (Shut up, Khadgar!) isn't fun, it's a grind.

    Watching videos of WoW gameplay, reading about story developments and updates to gameplay REALLY makes me want to get back into it. But then I remember my last few weeks in Legion.. I was just plain exhausted, running back and forth doing the same tasks over and over again and mostly just hating the experience. So I will continue staying away until Blizzard untangle all the Things™ you can do from one another, turning chaos back into variety.

  • Why Classic was/is better:
    1) No flying: Flying separated people and stopped people from meeting/finding friends.
    2) 1 server/no sharding: Cross servers didn't exist thus your actions had consequences. The people you played with you could continue to play with or, if you had a bad experience, you could ignore/not play with them. Sharding is just a bad server design to fix bad server population problems.
    3) The zones, instances, raids, gear had a feeling of fun design. They were not cookie cutter. The game didn't feel like it was a grind it felt like a journey.

    With each expansion WoW moved away from this. That's why so many people left the game, why the game changed, and why so many wanted classic back. More people have quit wow than play now. When you say the current game is what most "people want" your definition of most is a very small number.

  • I know how you feel about revisiting old games. I recently picked up what I call the "Gold Box Dungeons and Dragons" games, with their bad graphics, and gaming glitches (you could be chasing an NPC up the stairs of a tower, and then choose to Camp for several nights before finishing the chase?!?! ^_^).

  • The section about guilds raiding is literally what’s happening in FFXIV right now, if you replace “guild” with “data center”.

  • bad? your nuts. i have the opposite experience. people wanna play, but never be uncomfortable or lose it seems lol. we got classic for this reason. if you don't like it, go to modern wow. dont ruin the experience by whining, for people that do like games that take a lot of investment and tuning. live and let live you know?

    jesus christ people quickly make the same mistakes again lol, that's the real interesting thing to watch. how quickly they forget and get into the same pitfalls

    you call it unfinished zones, i call it a world and not a linear rollercoaster ride or theme park, the flaws are what made it so immersive. if you follow the line of thought in this video. in 5 years, your back in a superficial themepark. just pisses me off lol.
    you complain about looking for places to play alone. but then you can play a singleplayer game.
    I prefer having to look to play alone once in a while 100000 times over, looking for places to play with other people.

    Not once has it happened to me in latest wow expansion where players actually interact or just any community at all. all the "flaws" are gone. its an efficient solo player theme park ride. an undead mmorpg. its alive. its still going. but its also dead. no soul. yikes.

  • Congratulations, you've missed every reason why I played and enjoyed Vanilla more than any other expansion; while simultaneously talking about the part of the game that led to the downfall of WoW in general: Raids. Raids, raids, raids; that's all people ever talk about, raids, raids, raids. That people only ever talk about raids, raids, raids is the reason why no one ever understands why they like playing the game.

    You get somewhat close with talking about how players dictate their own goals because 'everything sucks' but that's not quite it either, it's because players dictate their own EXPERIENCE. Not everyone's goal was to raid, and I'd argue that very few people's goals was to raid. Back in the day Blizzard lamented how less than 1% of all players had even seen the inside of Naxx and how it was a bad thing. It wasn't. This change in game theory/design was what the pact that sealed Blizzard's fate: The decision to make raids accessible to everyone. WoW used to be about the journey, not the destination; but WoW kept putting the destination closer and closer and closer to the player, so close that the game has no journey and nothing but destinations.

    For me personally: I wanted to build a mage that could tank, the game offered the mechanics to allow for it to an extent. Those 'useless' defensive talent points, suddenly become useful. Those 'useless' stats on some gear, suddenly have a purpose. I wasn't the only one in setting an absurd goal for myself and going for it, that's why throughout the history of WoW you had rogues and shamans tanking raid bosses; the underlying mechanics of the game allowed for creativity and exploration in the end game that a sizable chunk of players participated in. They did it to roleplay, or to try and pull of something unique or unexpected. Some people willingly sacrificed using better gear just to be more fashionable; that yes, there were players who cared more about how their character looked than the amount of damage they put out. Some people wanted their character to be more well-rounded, more of a jack of all trades than master of one; sure there were people who would respec for specific fights, or for raiding or for dungeons, but there were people who tailored their characters to avoid having to respec at all.

    I seldom saw the inside of a raid in Vanilla, and BC; I never got bored, and it was a treat whenever I did get to go raid to see the inside of a raid. It was never the end all be all. Sure there was better gear inside raids, so what? Dungeons were hard, took a lot of time; so being a powerful max level character that could help run someone else who's still gearing or leveling up through those dungeons like a god was fun. I had built my character up to that point where he could do that and help others make the trip that much easier, and they'd be thankful and grateful for that help. Being max level meant something, building up a good set of gear even for just running dungeons meant something. All of that is gone in retail. That Classic is slow is the defining feature of the vanilla experience, it's the thing everyone fights against regardless of level or gear; and you're all the more grateful when someone helps you make it less slow, and others are all the more happy when you help them make it less slow. That's why people have this warm interaction when they are given drive by buffs, randomly helping with quests even if they themselves have already completed them, or completed it first: It's why people formed lines at classic launch of quest mobs.

    In the end, it's not a question if someone gets to max level in retail; it's a forgone conclusion. It is a question if someone gets to max level in classic, and that in of itself is a statement of how different the two games are. People could be playing for months happily in classic (and vanilla) and not have a single character at max level, and they to the shock of some, are having fun regardless. It's not max level, it's not about raiding, it's not about seeing all the content; it never was. It was always about logging in and asking the question "What can I do?" casting that question into the void, and seeing what your own head would answer with; and you did it, happily.

  • Is it weird that I look forward to Classic competing with Modern or the possibility of Classic catching up with the current build and a new Classic being released.

  • Coming from someone who has been playing WoW since 2005, this video isn't too bad, but you almost seem to be trying to tell people "Retail is better. Don't play Classic". Which simply is just not true. You claim everything in Retail is viable (and it sort of is), but you left out the point Blizzard has made almost everything in Retail mandatory. Do you want to raid? Better go do all your World Quests and get your rep grinds in for gear. Want to play the new races? Better enjoy rep grinding through World Quests and ONLY World Quests. Do you want gear that is good for you? Better go to some 3rd party website to find out as the game does a terrible job telling you that. Want to be able to fly in the current expac? Better enjoy mindless rep grinding. (Which is mostly done through World Quests)

    Now, is Classic better than Retail? No. Not at all. That is just an opinion as both games are fairly different enough from each other to be enjoyed more by different people. They are basically the same game designed for two different kinds of players. So play the one you want to play more.

  • What i love about classic is leveling up and how much a journey it felt and exploring the massive world. A lot of the balance complaints in the game stem in end game and raiding. Back in vanilla when i hit 60, i immediacy went on an alt, to see the zones and quests i missed the first time. I never raided once. The modern game sadly has lost the joy of the journey of leveling.

  • Remeber folks its not a grind if there is text in the game telling you to do it. I didnt do this same task for the 30th time this month beacause im grinding its because its a quest……

  • About the "hard" aspect of WoW Classic, I do agree that it is not hard. I remember very distinctly that back in 2004, when WoW came out, it was actually the easiest MMO, it was called a casual experience, back then. It happened for two big reasons: it was far easier and faster to level up compared to other MMOs of that era; and that dying had no consequences at all. In some of the games of that era, dying not only could mean loss of experience, but also loosing items you had, as people and mobs could simply loot your body.

    But I think what most people refer to when saying that Classic was "hard" was that it got progressively more casual with every expansion. A lot of things that made WoW an MMORPG are gone in retail, in the name of convenience: you don't need to group up as much as you did, as you can now easily kill multiple mobs at the same time, soloing entire zones and even dungeons; even when you do need a group, you can use the dungeon finder with people you never met to quickly set up a party; loot is irrelevant, as you have "heirlooms" that level up with you; gold is irrelevant, as you don't need to train your skills anymore; they removed most of what made each class unique (some unique skills, unique spells/abilities and, most of all, the different skill trees), in favor of balance.

    I think that Classic and BFA, despite sharing the WoW name, are two very different beasts: the former focuses on the leveling experience, while the latter focuses on the end-game experience. And it really is a question of opinion whether you consider that WoW Classic was really bad and inconvenient, due to its slow pace (no just leveling: no mounts till level 40! And even then, no flying mounts), lack of dungeon finder, having to train your skills, remembering to replace them in your action bar, having to put points in "useless" talents to progress your tree and get the talent you really want… Or if you think that all these mechanics actually make for a great and fun social experience, promoting interaction and bonds between players. Personally, I prefer WoW Classic.

  • Never played WoW i was the weirdo who played everquest cuz it was free when i was 12 so early to mid 2000s. My little brother did someone hacked his account and got my grandma's credit card stolen so that was fun.

  • I love this kind of video, I'm so happy every time there is a new one. Also, I've never played wow, but many other MMOs so I understand the lingo (I'm too old for this ) And it was interesting to see that the wow problems are repeated in many other games.

    Even in gw2 that was made to not leave people behind, there were instances when you had to do a boss that was at the end of a certain questline, without people doing the quests you couldn't get to it. Mostly you only had to wait for a week at most, or many ask some friends to help, it was never more drastic than that, but it was still annoying.

    And I noticed how much harder it got when you had a job and couldn't sink as much time into it. If you weren't at the forefront in some MMO's whenever the new expansion arrived, you had so much new stuff to do, and no idea how to do it that you got this fatigue just from looking at all the new stuff you had to do. And if you only have a certain time, you best to the daily quests, but then you basically just do the same thing every day, without really getting to the fun parts.

    The first games I played were Asia grinding games originally, and I remember people complaining about grinding in western MMO's and I thought to myself "All you casuals and your luxury expectations." Because I was so used to just go somewhere and kill the same things over and over again for five hours a day because you couldn't progress otherwise. But then that wasn't really fun then either. Few people loved it, but the rest just did it to get the right armor or level to get on the nice parts.

    I remember doing the first half of a dungeon for 5 hours with only my bf for help over and over, so you just needed to find people for the one boss in the middle that dropped the item you needed, because people wouldn't agree to the whole dungeon because it was 3 hours of grinding beforehand. Well five with two people, but we were in high school, it was doable.

    My point is, thank you for the vid, it's surprisingly applicable to most other MMOs as well.

  • This was actually really interesting, as someone who has never really gotten into WoW. I definitely get the idea of missing the sense of wonder and mystery that came with not only older MMO experiences, but really games in general. I find a lot of games are very eager to tell you where everything is nowadays, and I guess that makes sense. Games are targeting an older audience now, and we've all got shit to do and places to be. Even if you've got nothing going on, being an adult means being acutely aware of our finite time on this planet. But at the same time, as much as I do appreciate that convenience, I miss the sense of wonder that used to come from booting up a new game and having genuinely no idea what might lay behind any given hill or around any given corner.

    This video almost made me feel a bit nostalgic for a early WoW, even though the only times I've ever really gotten sucked into an MMO were the Matrix Online (for the roleplay community), and Final Fantasy XIV (for the story.) At the same time, though, I appreciate the modern convenience that has gone into not only modern WoW, but also games like Final Fantasy XIV, which very blatantly borrows heavily from many of the ideas WoW has implemented over its lifespan.

    While I'm not about to go clamouring out to play either WoW classic, or modern WoW (FFXIV is enough MMO for me and my wallet isn't bottomless), I genuinely appreciate the insight this has given me into both, and what people enjoy in each of them.

  • Man this took me back, I left EQ back in mid 2004 (played since 2000) for WoW and had Alpha invites from early Blizzard devs because they were players in my guild in EQ which we didn't know at the time so that was cool. But played WoW and was in top Horde guild on server, hardcore raiding wasn't as bad as EQ (we raided 4-6 hours a day M-S with sundays off) though so WoW was quite a relief in those regards. I played regularly till Naxxaramas came out and I eventually quit the game shortly after, got to see two wings done though.Thanks for this Dan, brought back good times and some frustrating times…

  • Dungeon Master II… Wow, that's been time. I was just curious about WoW nostalgia since I never played past MUDs, but you gave me a sad. I want the 90s back. MAYBE into the 00s IF I actually get to game during, instead of waiting…for decades…as the industry lost their minds and pretentiously destroy the hobby.

  • One thing about the massive variety of activities in modern WoW is that it splits the playerbase. Which is why people remember Classic so fondly: it had community, even if that community only formed because of the lack of options. Everybody was in it together, for the long haul, whether they liked it or not.

  • I think this video should of been made after you hit 60? correct me if im wrong but all your gameplay is no higher than level 40.

  • Watched for a few minutes before i heard something i didnt agree with and even though i wanted to, i didnt dislike the video.

    Now ive seen 40m 38 seconds and you are getting a dislike

  • Vanilla wow was all about the journey, and you had to invest huge amount of time, time which is finite for us humans. When you need to invest so much to get something out of it you feel greater sense of achievement when you get it. When other people you played with also had to invest so much time, the game became competitive because the hierarchical structure became very strong.

    Old school wow is about the journey, new wow is about repetitive dungeon play style, where you press the same buttons day in and day out without exploring different options or play style.

  • Been 7+ years WoW-sober. Nothing will convince me to try to go back. not after the stranglethorn gorilla droprate and the outland ogre necklace rep grind for talbuks. nothing.

  • I understand why the social solo experience is a thing in mmos, but I can't help but think there were other solutions that could have lead to preserving the social dependent experience. I prefer the social dependent experience to social solo, but they are all but absent from the mmo market these days. And that's how modern mmos left players like me behind.

  • This video largely reads to me like another huge MMO-Champion soapbox post about how Classic is "slow, inconvenient, not even that hard, and therefore kind of bad". And just like those soapbox posts, you fail to adress the true reasons for why the modern game might actually be worse than Classic, probably because you can only see them as "features" that undeniably makes the modern game better, and you justify this by saying that the game evolved the way it did to fix the "problems" you face in Classic today. You kinda touched upon it with the talk about self-direction, but that's only one point among several. The things people cite as "their reasons for playing Classic" are also largely put in a bad light to shift away from these otherwise obvious omissions.

    You did try to make a calm and fair analysis, but it wasn't exactly balanced.

  • Social Solo is such an oxymoronic thing but i guess it makes sense.
    I sometimes do wanna know other people's progress on some single player games

  • THANK YOU! Oh my god, someone else said it. Classic wasn't "hard", classic was slow. It took a long time to get things, that didn't make it challenging, it made it long-winded. I'm not saying it was BAD for that reason (personally that's not what im looking for, but each to their own), but I cannot agree that it was difficult.

  • Every time I hear talk about grinding and level discrepancies I go back to how smart the original Guild Wars was about it (not 2, that game is just sad).

    So from the beginning, GW had a level cap of 20, which is a small number (I mean… I was playing Disgaea earlier today). And though the original campaign was fairly drawn out, starting from the second game, Factions, they really embraced the fact that "level 20 is where the game starts". The game also didn't have super good equipment, at least not in any particularly relevant sense. You could just buy max defense armor from the merchant at the main hub. This allowed the game to focus much more on strategy and cooperation, since every non-city area was instantiated for a particular party consisting of 8 players (less in starter areas, more in some elite dungeons).

    If you didn't want to play with people you could just fill your party with NPCs from the town and I myself played alone 90% of my… three thousand hours or so?

    That level cap never changed. Newer content was just more skills and additional classes to adjust your strategies (in town you would "make a build" with 8 skills belonging to your main class and one secondary class you could change at will in town) so this feeling was never lost. Difficulty was really in figuring out how to be effective and optimise your effectiveness as a team.

    Good game was good. Still miss it occasionally

  • Can someone explain to me why hbomberguy doing these weird voiceover jokes on every essay channel i watch? Are all these people friends? Is this some wilhelm scream type of inside joke? Is every youtube channel I like connected through some weird concpiracy?

  • That music bit with the zeppelin at the end sparked a very nostalgic reaction in me; the kind that classic is supposed to tap into
    It was some kind of a moment for reflection on the video as a whole, the points made in it.
    Now I'm curious to know what I as a player and a member of the community really want from the future of World of Warcraft.

    Thanks for the video!

  • I feel like you confuse a negative with a posive. You talk about how thing take more time in classic, but that is kind of the point, that is a positive not a negative, taking longer to accomplish even small things like going lvl up, makes it feel more rewaring when you do accomplish it. I think the rest of what you talked about is spot on though.

  • I agree with a lot of this.
    But you've missed the main reason I enjoy Classic but cannot stomach retail: it's a game that you can finish (in a sense). You know what the endgame is, and they're not gonna move the goalposts every couple of years (except, you know, adding new raids).
    So if they ever patch BC into the classic servers, I'm out of there. Not because I didn't enjoy BC and LK at the time, I really did (Cata was what made me quit the first time, came back for Panda but quit again, then quit for the "final" time 1 month into Warlords). But because it was the start of a slippery slope.

  • Spell-batching is not spells still going off when cancelling — that is latency where the server wasn't able to get the acknowledgement you cancelled the spell in time before it went off on the server's end. Spell-batching is when a spell completes, but the server honors both as going off within the same time frame, or "batch" (instead separate even if just a few milliseconds apart — e.g.: two rouges gouging each other).

  • I really was interested in your idea about the self-directed play, I think that single-player RPG's, namely, the first or second time you play it cause you're not really sure what is the most efficient way to go about it, and you set your own goals and ways to go about it (thinking mostly of Bethesda

  • I like Folding Ideas. I just need to work out why. Maybe Folding Ideas could make a video explaining this to me why I like Folding Ideas.

  • 1) A syllogism only has 2 propositions, not three.
    2) As far as LEVELING UP is concerned, Classic is incontestably more difficult. Retail mobs die in <10 seconds and can never really kill you. I am engaged 100% of the time while questing in Classic.
    3) I'm stunned you did not mention class design/pruning, which got too clever for itself almost instantly. It was foolish on Blizz's part to try to make 30+ specs of similar strength while retaining identity. The few successes (spriest, unholy DK, demo lock) are stark against the background of the many bland or incomplete failures.

    Classic is an MMORPG. Each class is a relief to have on the team because they're incredibly unique and flavorful. Retail has good elements, but it started gnawing away its own RPG-ism after Cata…. and the MMO part, as you yourself admit, is long gone.

  • The problem with current World of Warcraft are its massive design flaws rooted deep in the game. The progression through levels for example. Like you mentioned, at one point, everyone will be at level cap. For current World of Warcraft, that's where all the fun is – at level cap. So to get there, leveling was made easier and faster. Over the years, Blizzard just kept adding stuff on top of the game, at level cap, instead of spreading it everywhere. There is no reason to go back to that level 20 zone and do quests, and so, that zone eventually dies out. That's a design flaw almost all MMORPGs have and for World of Warcraft, it started with The Burning Crusade. Right after you stepped through that portal, all your vanilla dungeon and raid progression was devaluated, since simple random drops or quest rewards were already better than what you got through months of work. And then, the level 60 zones and dungeons died out, because there was nothing to gain, all the fun was moved to level 70. Then to level 80, 90 and up to 120 now.
    Cataclysm tried to give players reason to visit the "old" zones, which were then replaced with new, changed versions. But since the end game at level cap was still more important than the journey there, the new old zones died out quickly again.
    Another problem is the devaluation of gold. Last year I tried to get back into WoW and wanted to buy a couple of bags for my new character. I was shocked to see that simple 6 or 8 slot bags cost several gold at the auction house when they were only a few silver when I played the last time. Money rewarded from quests didn't really change but when I finished my first dungeon, I already had 10 gold with me. That really put me off.
    I love Classic because stuff has meaning again. Gold is rare (even though I've heard people on my realm talk about how they already have thousands of gold…) and the journey to 60 is still an adventure and not a chore that you have to complete before the real fun starts. Yes, the grind is real and sometimes you have to wait quite a while for quest mobs to respawn, but I haven't had that much fun with an MMO in a very long time.

  • Was that TB ranting about badges at 18:20? Is he talking about how you could get some raid tokens by doing a daily heroic?


  • Fantastic video about a game I have never cared about. Of course, I do see a lot of parallels between WoW Classic and Maplestory 'Classic' Private servers.

  • I've never understood "the rush to get to level cap". To my mind, if the journey itself isn't enjoyable in some way, then what's the point of playing?

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