WoW Classic Brings The Community Back To World Of Warcraft

World of Warcraft Classic is teeming with life. Traders shout out their wares, offering much-needed magical items and equipment at reasonable prices. Adventurers form parties for protection against dangerous low-level foes. Earlier today a stranger came up to my mage and asked if I could conjure him water.

I can’t remember the last time a random player asked me for anything in World of Warcraft. It’s nice to feel needed again.

Blizzard’s spent the past decade and change stripping away the need for players to directly interact with each other in the non-classic version of World of Warcraft.

The difficulty of the game’s core questing content has been significantly reduced from where it was at launch, making it easy for players of all skill levels to chew through content quickly by their lonesome.

Features such as the dungeon finder, which automatically forms parties of random players for multiplayer content, made dungeon crawling much more efficient but impersonal at the same time.

Unless I decided to start raiding or engaging in hardcore player-versus-player content, there’s just no reason for me to rely on other people in modern World of Warcraft.

Oh god do I need other people in World of Warcraft Classic. Old-school Azeroth is not friendly to solo players at all. I’ve died a dozen or more times in Westfall, the level 10-20 zone outside of Stormwind, trying to play a 2004 online role-playing game as a player accustomed to life in 2019.

There are enemies everywhere, wandering the landscape and packed into crowded camps. They hit hard and are hard to kill.

Taking on an even-levelled creature eats most of my mage’s mana, forcing me to rest between every kill. Taking on two even-levelled creatures is risky. I’ve had to use my mage’s Sheep spell, temporarily turning an enemy into a harmless critter, for the first time in years. Taking on three or more even-levelled creatures is suicide.

I’d died four times at the murloc camp off the coast of Westfall, trying to take on too many of the fishman monsters at once, before a random player invited me to join their group. We gleefully stomped those aquatic bastards, rolling up and down the coastline casting spells and swinging swords. Players would join and leave our ramshackle party.

Our roving band of murloc murderers was the first taste I had of real camaraderie in World of Warcraft in a long time.

Killing murlocs makes us feel good.

It isn’t just the danger that brings World of Warcraft Classic players together. The difficult quests, tougher creatures and lack of fast travel options mean players are spending a lot more time in a single levelling zone.

In modern WoW I can tear through the quests in the Elwynn Forest starting area in a couple of hours, riding gryphons back and forth to Stormwind City for supplies and driving my heirloom mount between quest objectives.

There is no gryphon in Elwynn Forest in WoW Classic. There’s no such thing as an heirloom mount. There is a whole lot of walking and a whole lot of killing two dozen creatures to collect four or five quest items.

I spent a day and a half in Elwynn Forest in WoW Classic, just questing and talking, getting to know other players through the area chat, because they were right there with me.

Many of those players are still with me in Westfall. I’ll join a party to take down some Defias bandits, and there’s the one guy who keeps making inappropriate comments in chat, trying to rile the role-players on our role-playing server. Oh, and the priest is the nice woman who offered to sell me a wand for 20 silver only to realise she didn’t have all the materials she needed to craft it.

It just isn’t possible to speed through even the lowest level content, so we’re all stuck with each other. I love it.

The auction house in Stormwind is completely dead.

The start-up economy doesn’t hurt community relations either. There are no veteran crafters churning out items and dumping them in the auction house. Instead of going to the market for crafted goods, players are asking crafters to meet up and make them things in trade chat.

One item in huge demand is loot-carrying bags, crafted by tailors. My mage is a tailor and I’ve made many a bag for wandering adventurers over the past couple of days. Those players will remember me. I will remember them. It’s how MMO friendships start.

Oh wait, it was in a different place in vanilla. Still pretty dead.

During WoW Classic’s early demo days I called the game “the hell we asked for”. Compared to modern World of Warcraft, with all of its conveniences and shortcuts, yeah, it is hellish. But it’s also filled with like-minded players willing to band together to see it through.

It reminds me of the neighbourhoods I lived in growing up in the pre-internet age when I knew my neighbours’ names and everyone was willing to help each other out. It’s an amazing feeling.

The WoW Classic servers are crowded right now, but that crowding will die down as struggling players filter back to the main game. Eventually all that will be left are the people who embrace the game’s community spirit, banding together to make old-school Azeroth a friendly, more survivable sort of place. I’ll be there.


Comments

    Personally been playing WoW since original release. And I can't believe why people think it's a good idea to be playing the game from 15 years ago. Yes there are things they shouldn't have stopped using(skill trees), but most of the game has been fine since the 2nd expansion. (auto-grouping being the most responsible thing ever needed since original release). You cannot just rely on other guild members to run instances or make any progress. Let's see what they're planning for the next WoW announcement, cause it may be time to just ignore it completely.

      Dungeon Finder hurt the community spirit of the game. While I agree that BC and WotLK brought in some good quality of life changes, the sense of community I found in vanilla has never quite reached those heights again.

      To each their own though. :)

      "I don't enjoy this thing, therefore no one else is allowed to. I smart"

      People who like retail and people who like classic are a very different breed at this point.

      I fall very, very much into the latter group. Couldn't even make it through the first troll levelling zone in BFA.

        Yep, I can still see some things in BFA to enjoy but it's different than what I want from Classic...and I quit BFA about 2 months into the expansion.

        Until playing Classic I didn't realise just how much I loved about vanilla 15 years ago. I'm enjoying leveling and it's a first in the history of WoW for everyone to be starting all at once on a level playing field.

      Battle for Azeroth is molten garbage though. I played it in beta form and it was just so dull and uninteresting and all these characters I once liked did stupid dumb things that only the laziest of writers would get them to do.

      Not to mention those horrible pre-rendered-but-using-the-engine cutscenes that look so awful. Blizzard has one of the best CGI departments in the industry but they churn out that trash. Ugh.

      I think there was a point around Mists of Pandaria where a lot of the things I'd loved about WoW had been streamlined out of the game. Playing Classic reminds me of what those were, and why WoW was such a great experience to begin with.

      Going to Battle For Azeroth after a few hours in Classic and all I could think was "No wonder Final Fantasy XIV has been taking WoW's lunch money in the past couple of years."

    I'm glad you're having an awesome time in Classic. I've been running around on my Warrior, doing things like Wailing Caverns for the first time again. It's been so long since I did all this stuff, it almost feels like a completely new experience!

    I personally wonder how much of this is because it's classic wow and how much is because it's a launch moment for an MMO (the sweetest moment imo) where no one knows how to play well enough to chastise others and before the majority of people get high level and leave those lower levels empty.

    I hope all the positivity I hear from this relaunch will last. Might tempt me to jump back in.

    Last edited 31/08/19 2:53 pm

    Brilliant article, enjoyed reading it very much!

    As an old-school gamer who enjoys challenges more than graphics/animations/comfort and
    haven't played WoW seriously since WOTLK days, I'm struggling to stay away from the addictiveness of it today.

    The problem I have with playing WoW Classic is the problem I have with playing Destiny, of FF or any other MMO. I'm already playing "regular" WoW so playing another MMO is basically not possible at anything more than an incredibly casual degree. At that rate I wouldn't hit 60 for months (if ever!) and getting geared enough to raid would take even more time. So what's the point?

    Doesn't help that I played it back in the day, so it's not even like I'd be getting a "fresh" experience.

    I reckon it would be real good fun for some kind of seasonal server that goes up an expansion every few months and resets back each year. I guess the issue there is at what xpac would they reset, for me personally the game died with cata (mop and after just lost the magic for me) and talking to some old guildies vanilla to cata or vanilla to wotlk would be good fun to cycle through

      I'd love for them to take the game down a different path. Implement some of the ideas that were planned for Vanilla but never implemented, or that ended up being implemented differently later on.

      Stuff like the Emerald Dream raid, or the original Hyjal end-game zone, or Stormwind Prison, or player housing. It would be super cool to see them go in that direction.

      Also I really hope they do the Ahn'Qiraj opening event, which was one of the most amazing events in MMO history.

        Yep, Classic and Retail really are hugely different beasts. I'd love for them to take Classic further into development, keeping the core of it intact and expanding on it rather than stripping it back year by year like they did to Retail.

    I can't believe all the little things I'd forgotten in the years since vanilla. Like the fact that rogues start out without dual-wield, or hunters can't use bows until like level 10 (and HEY REMEMBER HUNTER DEADZONE?).

    I'd forgotten that talent points are assigned instantly and irreversibly unless you pay money to reset them. I'd forgotten that mounts cost 100 gold, and that 100 gold is a crazy amount of gold for a level 40 character. I'd forgotten that paladins basically can't tank at all, and neither can bear druids because LOL CRUSHING BLOWS.

    Then there's stuff like the insanely large number of goretusks in Westfall that happily go about their lives without livers, or all those blind murlocs on the beach, or HOLY HELL DID THAT DEFIAS PILLAGER'S FIREBALL JUST HIT ME FOR 100 DAMAGE?\

    Yeah WoW Classic is the experience I wanted.

    I'm glad people are enjoying classic. personally I can't get into, being a caster just feels too slow and punishing, I'm still in it playing every so often

    if anything though, classic has made me realise how much I've grown and change as a person and how important my limited free time is

      It depends on the caster class, but all of them feel punishing at the start, especially the poor priest. Once you get to level 10 and the new class abilities things become easier. I recommend giving it another go, the warlock is by far the easiest class in the game to level as, they can solo a lot of the content if they have to. Plus free mount.
      Limited free time is rough, fortunately I spend my free time playing classic with my partner,

        I started leveling a hunter then remembered they don't have a pet till like ?10? might have to give warlock a go...

        I also have a mage sitting around that's finished the newbie zone. free food and water might help heh

      Odd point of view here...but try a priest if you want a faster paced caster for leveling. I'm leveling a priest for the first time and in Classic they rely on wands and speccing into wand damage. Means I fire off 2 spells to start any encounter then wand the things to death.

      Does pretty good dps and since it's an auto attack there's no cast bar delays from being hit. Plus the bonus that due to shield, heals and fear I'm not a bad tank. Have soloed a couple elite areas with the mobs 1-2 levels below me.

        huh funny I was leveling my priest. granted it's not at 10 yet so I guess that's part of the problem. classes don't feel alive till some talents are unlocked.

        interesting about speccing into wand dmg, I'll have to play around with it once I find a wand lol

          Yeah, the feel of leveling between before and after wand is night and day. Really makes a big difference for priest. I think you can use the lesser wand that enchanters craft from level 5. Other than that or BoE drops your first wand is a quest chain in Westfall I think.

      Casters are really rough early on, I decided to do mage this time around and your spells feel quite weak and you dont really scale until you are able to start getting +damage gear. Once I crafted myself a few pieces of frost damage gear in the early 20's it got much much better.

      Having an up to date wand also helps a huge amount as others have said. Which server/faction do you play?

        I have both horde and alliance on Ashkandi. did you roll tailoring on your mage?

        I don't think I've touched professions yet lol

          I went tailoring, its really nice being able to make yourself upgrades. Ashkandi is an interesting choice for a server, are you american or wanting to play with american friends or something?

            ah nuhh I'm working in japan currently. it seems to be the congregating server my current and former guild members happen to be on.

            I don't think I'll get serious about classic so I don't see any harm playing at 100 to 200ms. I mean it certainly isn't as horrible as 2004 when I peaked at 650ms haha

            I'll poke around tailoring when I get a chance, if nothing else the ability to craft much needed bags would be awesome

    I was pretty lukewarm on Classic before I started playing it, now I'm enjoying it a lot. I think part of it comes down to this being a unique event. It's the first time everyone has started all at once on an even playing field. At WoW release people trickled in and each expansion people start at different levels and quickly diverge off onto their own path. BFA release for example the first 1-2 hours people were near me and then after that I was isolated off on my own with no-one else around except the guildies that were in a party with me.

    Due to the world being more punishing, Classic also feels like its "us vs the world". Each area I wander into I quickly get group invites to team up with others and knock out quest objectives. People are very polite, and even un-grouped are happy to help each other out. I've lost count of the number of people I've saved with a quick heal or help finish off their mob. I rezzed one guy last night who succumbed to a wave of murlocs...he then immediately attacked another one at 50% hp after the rez so I healed him up until he killed it and stepped back to get himself sorted out.

    I find I'm also playing Classic differently to Retail. In Retail it's all "go go go" and I try to do everything as fast and efficiently as possible. In Classic I'm happy to sit back and chill, to run/fly between zones either hopping quest hubs or just because a quest sent me from dun morogh to wetlands and then back to dun morogh...or from redridge to stormwind, to redridge to westfall to redridge to duskwood to redridge...yep I forgot about that questline until I did it.

    I feel absolutely no compulsion to level quickly and for once am just going at my own pace. For me personally at least it's really opening my eyes to the mechanics in retail that are designed to keep you logging in and pushing you to go faster all the time.

    WoW classic is like the Dark Souls of WoW, I love it, just all the difficulties and the fact you have to interact with other players.

    World of Warcraft Classic makes you work, Retail doesn't. Things you work for have a greater sense of worth that things given or easily won.

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