WoW: Classic

  1. The Grind

Some people’s favorite flavor, is vanilla, and Me, I’ve recentely finished my first run to max level in WOW in about 14 years.

I talked once before about WoW classic, but now that I’ve actually played it for a pretty stupid quantity of days, I wanted to both chip away at the nostalgia and talk about what I want to do when classic comes out.

The Grind

Dinging 60 for the first time in a decade and a half was a surreal thing. I’d played 11 days in game, which is better than the average (12) but it is still a whole huge pile of time. I ground out nights and weekends, when I could, logging in for 2+hours a night on several nights a week. At the start, I even held back and waited a few times, not leveling at the maximum possible pace. I did, however, have a lot of time-saving habits, like banking on an alt, or logging out instead of going AFK.

I’d leveled alliance the first time, as a paladin, and I never had the opportinity to tank or feel the rigors of a tanking lifestyle, even, when I leveled up. I don’t remember if I leveled up as Protection or Retribution, but I knew enough, barely, not to level as a healer. It was a strange and wonderus journey discovering all that there was to discover about how the game world worked and played.

This time, in order to recapture that feeling of wonder and exploration and experince the world as if I had never been in it, I decided to roll horde, and because I wanted to tank, I decided to pick up a warrior. As it turns out, I picked the worst warrior for endgame, but one of the better ones for leveling. Having an on-tap ability to heal was great, but the Undead just aren’t considered top tier. Rolling as horde and playing a completely different class from the first run through did exactly what I wanted it to do, and leveling through the horde zones and horde storylines and being in the horde cities made it seem like I was playing a very, very different game than I did years and years ago.

First and foremost, Warrior leveling is much more enjoyable than I remember paladin leveling being, as once you get to the middle tiers of play, and you have the glorious Whirlwind Axe, it feels so good to just crush your enemies!

You do slow down as you get to the higher levels, though, and that was a pretty huge problem. I’d been used to the damage from Whirlwind and Ice Barbed Spear carrying me through, and that just wasn’t the case towards the end.

Secondly, the horde experience was a bit more enjoyable than that of the Alliance. There are always the idiots and fools who populate the darker recesses of video games, but what are you going to do, except block them. I enjoyed questing, which is pretty much why I picked up the game again, as raiding when I’m a father of a 5-year-old, write these articles, work a full-time job, have an awesome wife and multiple other hobbies, is difficult at best. But, on the other side, part of me wants to raid and see the content I never got to before the ‘Crusade. I won’t say that the Horde side was better people, what I will say was that it felt like a more cohesive community of people, instead of a bunch of randos. I was able to find groups almost every time I wanted to (until around 58, actually) and I was able to get dungeon and elite quests done without much worry.

The biggest difference between this time and my original experience, however, is that I played on a PvP server. In this realm, there is a continual check for survival against anything moving and red. Seeing an alliance player across the screen, just grinding away, is a time for reflection and concern. How are you grinding? Are you making yourself vulnerable by going to low on HP? are there other quests you can do? is he focused on other players? All these things and more race through your head before you realize that they are probably just out there leveling as well. but even then, you often end up in vulnerable positions simply by questing. Do you want to do any quests in Hillsbrad? Want to finish up that questline in Stromgarde? Do you like Stranglethorn Vale? these places are chock full of alliance and horde PvPers, and it gets frustrating pretty quickly. I’ve checked Hillsbrad on a PvP server off my checklist, now, though, so I’ll be doing that shit somewhere else next time. I don’t need that type of grief, no sir.

That said, there is something to be said about the population that chooses to engage with a private server. They have to be basic computer literate, they have to be willing to research and find a server, and they have to be willing to put aside questionable legality in order to play the game. This likely creates a more welcoming environment where everyone is here because they want to be, much more than they can be, as in WoW retail.

It is strange to me, though, that after all of this, after the grind and crush of getting to 60, of the PvP battles and the zone issues, and staying up longer than I needed to on more than one occasion, that I’ve pretty much ceased playing all together now that I’ve hit 60. I did 1 and 2/3 of a dungeon, and then… that’s it. I want to get into a guild and maybe raid, but it seems like a bit to much work to actually do that. I want to see Molten Core, and I want to get my Pre-Raid BIS, but I just have to much other stuff going on. Maybe, by the time that WoW classic comes around this summer, I’ll have a few more things off my plate. Maybe not. I don’t however, regret picking it back up. Some of the coolest videogame moments I’ve had in the last while, that of hanging out all night doing quests and getting a whirlwind axe, gaming with my brother and one of my best friends for hours at a time, it was all great fun, and even if they didn’t stick with the grind, it was really awesome.

Along the way, I also engaged with the Classic WoW community, a group of players and content creators on Youtube and elsewhere that are really engaged in this 14-year-old game. Tips Out, Staysafe and Esfand are three of the most prolific, they make both a group podcast and individual youtube videos. Frostadamus and Classic Winds are also classic casters that I pay attention to but in a much lesser orbit. It is amusing that the set of videos that Hirumaredx made drew me in, but he’s not really part of the scene.

While the WoW Community screams “No Changes” at the top of their lungs, it is worth it to note that there were tons of changes made to the “blizzlike” private servers, and that they are strangely imbalanced in their own ways. Most of them are very technical things, like World buff timers and cooldowns, black lotus spawn rate repercussions, unknown drop rates, timer rates, resist values and armor values, but they add up to an experince that will not be, in any sense of the world, like classic. Instead, the way that classic functions, and the way that the classic meta functions, will be so different from the current private servers as to be a completely different game.

Well, except for all the parts from 2005.

I know that not everyone I used to play with back in 2004 and 2005 onward will be able to play the game, or will even want to, but it is nice to be back in a game world that is pretty, that is living, and that allows me to interact with people in a generally pleasant way, most of the time. I don’t know how long I’ll pay for WoW, and I don’t know if I’ll raid, though I really want to. What I do know, though, is that I am going to level to 60, likely again as a tank, when the game finally comes out this summer.

If you want to play Classic WoW, very slowly and grindily with me, let me know. I’ll be rolling horde on some server, sometime, and we should coordinate that!