Do you hear the drums in the distance? Their beating will only get more frenetic. Oh, wait. Those aren’t war drums. They’re the heartbeat of every player salivating at the prospect of playing a piece of MMO history.
WoW Classic is coming, and Blizzard’s mega-hit MMO will never be the same for it.
It’s incredibly easy to underestimate what WoW Classic will bring.
For those far outside the reaches of the game, it might seem nothing more than a cute trip down memory lane. Hell, it may even seem like a ploy to appease rabid fanbase by others. But while WoW Classic may be a bit of both of those things, it is one thing above all: a brutal return to form.
Bear in mind, we do not use the term “brutal” here as simply a means to elicit imagery of Warcraft’s big bulky, and war-crazed heroes – no, WoW Classic will be like taking a step out of the current quality of life improvements and conveniences offered up by the retail version, and slapping yourself straight back into 2004 with a weapon on your hilt and not a damn clue what to do next.
Ironically, WoW Classic will have some of the most depth and complexity offered in a Blizzard MMO considering just how much was pruned from the game over the years. Some of the changes were rational and approved of over all – the others? Not so much.
One could argue that it’s for those changes alone that the horde (and alliances) of players are stomping their feet in preparation for the rush back to the promised land.
Questing and levelling took time. Much was opaque, hidden, or unexplained. Classes had abilities that very little use but filled out the fantasy of being the class.
Who cares if Eyes of the Beast didn’t have a practical use in dungeons or raids? We want to warg into our hunter’s pets goddamnit.
In fact, the majority of the player base’s desires for WoW Classic to even be a thing is largely rooted in a yearning for the mechanics and systems that the game initially had in place before Blizzard began tweaking things they should and shouldn’t.
Although playing through the original version of the game is likely to tickle nostalgia-laden fans and history buffs galore, it’s the promise of what the world will offer that truly matters – much like it did when it first released.
For those that have never stepped foot in Azeroth, it went a something a little like this: before the expansions were introduced to funnel players into newer, end-game zones, the world was two massive continents that could be explored freely – provided you were okay with dying a lot as a low level.
But without transdimensional portals, additional continents, and alternate-reality business, the gameworld existed largely unbroken.
Furthermore, without the inclusion of cross-server play to pad out the player population, reputation mattered on the server.
Were you the opportunistic ninja looter that sought to exploit the work of others for your own benefit? Well, we hope you’ve got a contingency plan once the entire server knows your name.
It might not seem like a big change, but even just those changes alone massively changed the scope of the game.
Even not allowing flying mounts would see the return of World PvP in a way not seen since – well, Classic.
The hype is most certainly real – and the beta feedback from players currently is highly positive – but Blizzard isn’t infallible. Mistakes will happen. Forum salt will abound.
But in the end, it’ll be worth it – because the long wait to finally step back through the Dark Portal is nearly here.