World of Warcraft Classic is an almost-one-to-one reimagining of the game circa-2006: an idealised version of its first edition a few patches down, built on modern infrastructure. It exists in the wake of its own success, wholly alien from the Azeroth that has shifted and changed countless times since launch.
This attention to detail has made sure players get the classic experience they’ve been asking for. The only thing different is Blizzard is using 2019 server architecture. However, even though Blizzard developers are using current generation sever hardware and software, the queue times at launch and at the time of this review are still 60-120 minutes. Some may argue that this is part of the authentic WoW Classic experience since it was like this for years when the game launched and through its first three expansions. However, waiting for two hours to play a 15-year-old version of a game is unacceptable. I do understand why Blizzard put caps on servers, but it would’ve been nice to see some cross-server integration, if only when your server queue was this long. I feel like this could’ve easily been avoided, but like I admitted before it does give you the authentic WoW Classic Experience.
I loved every second of its stupidity, and it’s something I’ve been able to experience again with the WoW community’s refreshing sarcasm and laid-back nature. I used the spitting emote on someone for stealing a quest mob — a non-player character you kill for a quest — only to have them tell me how they liked my brother better anyway. Which brother they’re referring to is a question I didn’t have the heart to ask.
But the difficulty of Classic leveling, in comparison with modern WoW, forces your attention onto the leveling itself rather than gunning for the endgame. If you’re not in a world-first guild, you’ll probably take a minimum of a few weeks to get to 60 and get yourself ready for raiding. And that’s a good thing.
World of Warcraft (and the MMORPGs it inspired) has long outgrown the punishingly slow pacing of its roots. Blizzard’s first stab at the genre might have been hailed (and condemned) as an accessibility revolution for the genre, but it’s only gone further since. Modern Warcraft may be bloated with superfluous systems, but the core loop has been stripped to a lean beast.
Retail WoW rewards you consistently and frequently where WoW Classic does the exact opposite. Leveling and getting uncommon items is much less frequent. Its this long heavy grind that adds a sense of greater accomplishment. Since your rewards are so few, each level feels like a huge milestone for your character, each 6-slot bag you find becomes a memorable moment in WoW Classic. Getting your first epic item feels, well, epic due to the amount of time and energy it takes to achieve. It feels earned when your rewards take longer to receive and are not handed out so frequently.
Many blame skill bloat, streamlining, and a lack of compelling content for the gradual decline of World of Warcraft. Classic is like a good old stat squish – necessary for things to run smoothly. Realistic transitions between zones will forever stand as a high point of the game’s unforgettable fantasy world. And while the combat may feel rather lifeless by today’s standards with a lack of solid feedback and plenty of fluff padding it out, it’s clear most of Azeroth’s denizens are happy to be home; they’re helpful, hilarious, and the obvious lifeblood of Blizzard’s finest creation.
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