Warcraft Fans Are Warring Over What WoW Classic Should Be

When World of Warcraft first came out, it meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Now that WoW Classic's been announced, that's become a problem - one that's forced Blizzard to step in and pry people's figurative hands off other people's figurative throats.

Image credit: Blizzard.

The central argument centres around how much current WoW people want in their WoW Classic. Some players are open to the idea of the game's current balance and graphical techniques seeping into old-school WoW's beloved but cracked foundation, while purists argue that Classic should represent the vanilla experience exactly as it was, annoyances and all, because that makes progress more rewarding in the end.

Many discussions on the official WoW Classic forums have turned into heated arguments. One thread about class balancing - that is, revamping old classes to make them less specialised and more broadly capable - got locked by Blizzard after things got out of hand.

"We do not want players on our forums attacking each other left and right. People are free to have their opinions, on both sides of these arguments, and we will be following them closely," wrote Blizzard community manager Bret "Ornyx" Forbus. "We will not, however, play into the hands of people directing their followers to make attacks against our community or otherwise conflagrate the community we have on these forums."

As of now, Forbus wrote, it seems like the majority of potential players are against class balance, something Blizzard will be taking into account as it irons out its vision for Classic servers.

Since then, however, other threads discussing the pros and cons of everything from more convenient travel options to threat management options for tanks have popped up, some more civil than others.

Kotaku reached out to Vaelanor, lead GM of the unofficial WoW legacy server Light's Hope (and, before that, Elysium, which lost most of its staffers after a major scandal), to ask why, in the days following Blizzard's simple announcement of Classic, things have already reached a boiling point.

"Passion," he said over Discord. "The purists have been fighting to get Blizzard to re-release Vanilla for 12 years. Most of us have dreamed of, fought for, and cried over being told this was happening. It's this passion that overwhelms many and prevents them from having a level-headed conversation over why a change isn't a good idea."

While WoW Classic is still an undefined quantity, this situation has been revealing in one concrete way: It's become clear that, no matter what, Blizzard's official take on the legacy server idea won't be able to please everyone. Vaelanor knows this from personal experience, having made changes to popular unofficial legacy servers, only to see some players get up in burly, green orc arms. As a result, he thinks it's possible that unofficial legacy servers such as Light's Hope will stick around even after Classic comes out.

"Some people will feel WoW Classic wasn't good enough," he said. "Every legacy player has a line in the sand. If Blizzard cross enough of those lines then yes, there will be a demand from the community for unofficial legacy servers that stick more true to Vanilla."

Vaelanor, though, is planning to get out of the legacy game as soon as WoW Classic launches, regardless of its quality. Right now, he just wants to see everybody be constructive, rather than combative. More craft, less war.

"I'd like to openly appeal to all members of the WoW family to be kinder to each other," he said. "Whether you're a purist or an enthusiast, you're still a WoW lover. We must be able to have conversations about things that we care about without devolving into insulting each other just because we don't agree."


    that's part of the problem with wanting Vanilla servers. the WoW that launched in 2004 is vastly different to the WoW at the end of 2006 just before TBC launched

    you're bound to not please everybody no matter where you draw the line

      I think the best scenario is to have it at the last patch of 1.X, where you have all of the class balancing, honour system, battlegrounds, etc., and stagger the releases of Onyxia, Molten Core, Zul'Gurub, Blacking Lair, AQ and Naxxrammas at 3-6 month intervals, and the only additions from later expansions are updates to character models and bug fixes.

      No LFG, no achievements, no pet battles, etc...

    Though I never got the chance to play Vanilla back in the day, I have to agree with purists. If you change it at all its no longer Vanilla, Warts and all that's what made the experience the way it is.

      Except for the fact that vanilla WoW had almost a dozen patches added to it from launch. Launch WoW vs Naxx WoW were fundamentally different. I still remember 1.6 being a major change in the game; balance and talent wise.

      This whole thing was always never going to please everyone and their version of rose tinted glasses. I loved vanilla, but it sure as hell had issues.

        That's true, and I suppose it depends on what everyone considers Vanilla, no ones ever gonna truly agree.
        But I have seen that some people have argued for Quality of life changes from even things like legion, which would not necessarily change the game, but definitely change the experience.

    Man the classic forums are hilarious right now and a prime trolling target. The classic fanboys are the easiest trolling targets. Even the simplest suggestion the hive mind does not like sends them all into a hissy fit.

    I think the things they should have in Classic is the Dungeon Finder. As someone who has never played Classic, I am willing to give things a go if they do this, but there still needs to be a few things from the newer updates, where quality of life is considered. Dungeon Finder being one. Maybe getting flying at top level as well as a bonuses.

    I think all the graphical changes most definitely need to be there, simply because the game will look dated as all hell. Blizz is probably thinking that, why you will ended up with mostly older players, you will end up with newer players wanting to see what the fuss is about aswell, and as such, they need to strike a balance between the old and the new.

      Sounds like what you want to play is World of Warcraft. Adding things like Dungeon Finder or flying to WoW Classic defeats the purpose of running the servers at all.

        I dunno.. I remember back in the day trying to get a group for VC in westfall (I also remember trying to two man it as I was unaware of what an instance was.... that went well) and man it was a pain in the ass. I think keeping in some of the new things that made the game more user friendly isn't a bad thing. Just keep the core experience and game play the same. People must be rose coloured glassing hard if they remember spending 4 hours trying to get an instance group as a good time.

          Classic WoW isn't for you then. Pretty simple really.

            As someone who actually played it almost every day for the entirety of its release it definitely was for me. But they improved on the formula. I guarantee you if they released 1.0 with nothing else people would be complaining and arguing about stuff they should include.

            I'm actually of the camp that if they're going to do it, might as well be 1.0 and leave it as that. Can't get any more purer then that. No patches. No raids. Just what was released day one. (No Dire Maul either! :P 1.02 Patch for those that don't remember)

          I'm not saying it wasn't tough but then the pain of finding a group kinda was the core experience. If you take that away and just include things like group finder, how is it really any different to modern WoW? You can still run the vanilla content (with the exception of level 60 Naxx) right now in the live game - you can even level lock yourself to keep doing it at 60 if you really want to.

          I'll be honest, having played during Vanilla, I don't really want to go back to that either but my understanding was that the main allure of a 'classic' realm is the feel of a close-knit community where you really get to know the rest of the server - and through that, are able to form guilds and raid groups. Things like LFG, Cross-Realm Zones, Server Transfers, etc (while great features) are what killed that feeling off.

            It's different because everything is different. Quests. Heck the entire WORLD was different back in Vanilla. Cataclysm literally changed the entire face of the world including the starting areas, NPC's and quest chains. PVP was different. I've played wow on and off since December 2004 and the people that are all "back in my day it was a better game" are seriously just remembering it wrong. And the fact people expect a 13 year old game to still be as amazing when it came out (and don't get me wrong it was amazing because nothing like it had existed before... that first griffon flight from SW to either Dusk/West (i forget which) was insane.

            Personally I think Wow should just die and let Wow 2 come out but I know they wont do that because they're still making bazillions off Wow 1 (or at least do a world of starcraft/diablo). People want something new and fresh that has that Blizzard of old quality about it.

        Well... do you remember meeting stones? They were basically the same thing.

          They're not remotely the same thing. Meeting Stones involved forming a group on your own (usually through chat), someone travelling to an actual place in the game world and interacting with other players to summon them to the instance.

          LFG involves clicking a button and waiting until you get thrown into an instance with random people you probably won't talk to.

          As I said elsewhere, I like the QoL changes of modern WoW (modern MMOs in general really) so I doubt I'll play Classic much but I can totally understand why others do want that experience again.

            They are the same thing, your memory is faulty. LFG queues existed.


            Implemented in 1.3, expanded upon in subsequent patches:

            Patch 1.5.0 (patch date:2005-06-07):
            Innkeepers around the world now have a gossip option that lets you join a meeting stone directly from the innkeeper rather than going to the location of the meeting stone. Also these Innkeepers will now have background lore about each of the dungeons.
            Levels Required for meeting stones have been increased. The intent is that a group will not receive party members from a meeting stone that don't really have a chance of completing the dungeon.
            Meeting Stones have had their rules for what players are grouped with what other players relaxed. This means groups who use meeting stones (or innkeepers) should have their groups formed much more quickly than they were previously.

    I sort of want them to buff certain classes and specs numbers so everyone isn't running around on rogues.

      Yeah I'm kinda torn on classes personally. I think they should try to keep things like the Shaman/Paladin faction-exclusivity from vanilla but at the same time, I remember playing a shaman back then... that meant I was a healer, and only a healer.

      I'm sure they could come to some compromise with the hardcore purists where they keep 99% of the vanilla class designs but tweak them so players have a bit more choice (like making Ret pallies playable lol).

        yeah best option is the TBC pre patch because it actually fixes those issues

      I'm looking forward to stunlocking people for hours.

    This would be one of my biggest concerns going in to the project.

    WoW was changed and updated for a ton of reasons, it's going to be tough to balance between the absolute purists and the purists who will be interested in change to enrich the vanilla experience, simply because it has official management and can.

    Will still be interesting, I think it's time the whole thing got a grand spanking new coat of paint and upgrade, the world is kinda worth it.
    (And another Warcraft RTS please, thank yooooou)

    As someone who wants to return to the pure experience (no Dungeon Finder, Pet Battles, etc.) The only argument I see is “1.11 or 1.12?”, since to include Naxx really limits the options.
    IMO the best would be 1.12 for the balancing, but remove Cross-Server Battlegrounds.

      I don't figure cross-server anything will be much of a big deal. I will be genuinely surprised if WoW classic is popular enough (outside of the first couple months tourism boost) to require more than one server per game type per region.

    Being stuck on one server and having to form groups for dungeons or even just questing was one of the reasons classic WoW was great. People didn't group together because it was more fun, people grouped together out of necessity and that was how communities were formed. If you were a jerk people would know this and sooner or later the server would shun you. When dungeon finder was introduced in Wrath the sense of community began to die off. I jump on the Frostmourne forums these days and only see guild recruitment threads with the only replies being "bump". You try to speak in general chat in game and people either reply with the latest lit fan meme or verbally abuse you for "ruining the immersion of the silence".

    All the drama on the forums is what Blizzard really want though. They half-arsed the announcement with nothing to show for it and now they want people to talk about classic, positive or negative, it doesn't matter because that has people thinking and talking about WoW. We don't even have a projected release window and they sound like they haven't even put together the development team yet.

    1.0, roll out the patches over the next.. year half to two years or so I guess? seems like a reasonable time frame. Y'all wanted classic, y'all get classic. If it was me, i'd be programming in server issues and artificially long maintenance times. Make it as true as possible.

    Last patch before BC, tweaked class balance to make it actually enjoyable (think of it was an extra 1.13 patch).

      iirc the last patch added a bunch of bc stuff and broke some classes (if im remembering right mutilate came out for rogues and i was one shotting clothies). I'd have one of the patches a little before that with no other changes.

      The people wanting a dungeon finder are missing the point, dungeon finder was a huge change that makes classic totally different.

    Well they can't roll out anything... cause they didn't keep the original source code or backups from 2004. They are rebuilding it with Vaelanor code and whatever earliest code they do have.

    I would like 2.X code with maybe a few select other expansion improvements in the code (seriously there are some great quality of life improvements we can't ignore), but the content has to be all original dungeons, no LFG, no cross server, original PvP etc.

    Having only one viable spec per class, healers and tanks requiring carry was a nightmare. Game would also probably have to run current mod code (since 1.X mod code was way different and so broken and exploitive)

    there is really only 2 patch options available for Classic WoW and that's The Nax patch and the pre TBC patch. The prepatch will most likely be the patch that blizzard goes with because its the patch that finally made it so that Prot Paladins could actually tank, Ret could do actual dps, Bears could finally tank properly and Kitty could also do proper dps, same for Enchanmcement shamans and Elemental Shamans.

    Thing that people dont remember or want to try and forget is that for all of vanilla raiding, if your class had a healing spec thats all you did otherwise you wouldn,t progress and Warriors were the only tanks even for dungeons

    Put simply it will not be Vanilla If any of the changes are retained. So all in or nothing for me.

    People are crazy if they think Blizzard, of all developers, is going to release a game that is functionally deficient when it comes to simple quality of life features by today's standards. Bnet chat integration is almost a given, and that alone will piss people off.

    I can't see them touching class balance a great deal... But I'll bet for sure there'll be some changes to the social aspects like a group finder, etc.

    Really though, the vanilla purists who think Blizzard is going to the effort of doing this just to please them and nobody else are absolutely kidding themselves.

    Typed a huge convoluted comment about how people are stupid and decided to erase it and just say "I'm happy playing Single player repacks of WoW 3.3.5".....Yep, highly illegal but I'm happy. WoW ended with WOTLK for me....makes me so very happy that I don't have to wait to enjoy "vanilla servers" that apparently blizzard conjured up by themselves.

    The discussion is moot, Blizzard has already said they're not making any changes to the game and are using the old Vanilla client as a base. The only point of contention that is actually up for debate is what patch version the Classic servers are on. Private servers generally start at 1.12.1, right before TBC pre-patch, and then phase in tiers as players clear content, which is one option, but you could be even more purist than that and start with older versions of the client itself as well.

    Keep it exactly the same as it was back in the day and just add the new character models and graphical improvements.

    I just want an RTS version again.

    Let's face it - only a fraction of the player base will actually play Vanilla server. I started playing WoW back in the day just a few months after its official release and I don't believe I will be playing Vanilla server for a long time. Now it is more than a decade alter - Classic should include some improvements like better graphics, provide end-game content for casual players, introduce some basic LFG tool that will simply replace the constant general and trade chat spamming, etc. Heck, even some Achievements could be nice for casual players. All these improvements will help keep the population and interest of the players that feel nostalgic and those who have never played Vanilla before. Keep most of the classic gameplay, just polish it a bit more. That's what I would like to see and then I will definitely invest some time and money in playing WoW Classic.

    40 man raids in Vanilla wow where actually really hard. The amount of teamwork and leadership required was tough. There is no way that Dungeon Finder will work for 40 man raids, unless you have a nearly full group looking for just a few extras. For regular dungeons, sure it'd be a great addition.

    I was a dedicated WoW player from release and absolutely loved it. I was part of a clan that was regularly amongst the first clans to beat most raids on our server. That being said, I couldn't think of anything worse than going back and playing vanilla WoW. It's time to move on lads!

    1.12, 6 months for major raid content release, 3 months for zg, start fresh servers 6 months after final nax release and let half the previous servers go to pre sunwell nerf bc.

    I'll be a subscriber for life.

    Maybe throw in dual Spec from bc, because Goddamn did respeccing get pricey when I wanted to pvp.

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