In a short amount of time, the gates of WoW Classic will be thrust upon the world, and we will bear witness to what is likely to simultaneously be one of the most illuminating, captivating, and painful moments ever to be experienced by the WoW Fanbase.
Yes, it seems that Blizzard is truly biting the bullet and giving fans what they’ve been asking for: good ol’ vanilla.
While we don’t know many of the specifics, the version of the game that Blizzard seem to be pitching is the last patch right before Burning Crusade launched back in the day. This means that when you plop your nostalgia-seeking self into the Old World for the first time, you’ll be futzing about with the version of Vanilla that was arguably most developed before BC came and opened up Outland.
Now, for those of you that may be unaware, this marks not only one of the largest concessions that Blizzard has made toward their fanbase’s demands, but also as the first time we’ll be able to relive classic WoW through legitimate means.
So, what exactly awaits us? While we can’t notch down and specifics, we’ll say this: it’s likely to be terrible.
Now, bear with us. There will undoubtedly be moments of fond remembrance, elation, and even re-discovery as players traipse through the original version of Azeroth once more. But what will happen once the initial hit of endorphins wears off? Reality begins to set in, and the inevitable comparisons to the current state of the game begin to arise.
Want a convenient way to store mounts? Sorry, no collections tab – gotta have them take up inventory space. Want your character to look just the way you want them to? Not gonna happen. Transmog happened years after vanilla, so you’re going to have to make do looking like cobbled-together technicolor disaster.
That’s all without mentioning un-updated textures, models, spell effects, or any of the other systems that were in play at the time. Such as class balance. While it will forever continue to be Blizzard’s greatest balancing act, class balance in Vanilla was far from remotely even. Want to have a good time during the Blizzcon demo? Roll a Paladin, Rogue, or Mage and watch as your gameplay feels as if you’ve injected code into the game to give yourself God Mode. And although the demo will be timed, there’s the entire question of what on earth will happen to the game once it’s officially re-released to the public.
Blizzard have made it explicitly clear that they have no plans to update WoW Classic when it’s released. This, of course, would lead us to believe that what you is what you’ll always get. Sure, they may stagger some old raid tiers like AQ40 and such, but it’s highly unlikely – and somewhat nonsensical to start re-releasing expansions. An MMO without regular content updates will languish and die on the vine, so to speak – and the same may apply to the classic servers.
Undoubtedly, Classic WoW will prove to be one of the most interesting undertakings that Blizzard have commenced upon in years – if only for the design decisions of how the game will continue to grow and thrive post-release. Whatever happens, we’re on the verge of history being made – again.