World of Warcraft: Classic is a great game
World of Warcraft: Classic is a great game. It always has been. But I definitely think Blizzard might have missed the mark when it comes to securing the interest of their player base in the future. Right now, many players are still holding onto the core story because they have been there from the beginning and just want to see it have a satisfying close. Our lore has changed hands, been ret-conned, and ultimately thrown out the window so many times that the player base no longer feels like they can trust Blizzard with their favorite characters. For the time-being, Classic gives us a wonderful escape from the butchered characters and questionable changes happening in Retail. It’s nostalgic, of course. There’s nothing wrong with that. It has brought back so many old guilds and friends, and given us the opportunity to make new memories with these old friends. I just hope that it lasts. Is World of Warcraft: Classic fun? It depends on what your definition of fun is. For veterans I would say yes. Hell yes. If you like challenging, it is extremely fun. For newcomers to the game, it really depends. Nostalgia won’t be impacting your game experience so it all comes down to preference.
Since the game is so dated, you are dealing with a mind-numbing combat experience. Many players started with WoW combat and became used to it. Any “action-based” combat that might have been brought into the fold from shiney new MMOs was a pleasant surprise and improvement on the typical combat system. Because of this, going back to the old WoW combat wasn’t difficult for us. For newcomers, it might prove to be a little boring. You are essentially stepping back in time, before combat was as engaging as you find it in more modern MMOs today. If dated combat doesn’t bother you, then I would argue that there is still far more for you to sink your teeth into that still makes the game fun. A big draw to the combat system in Classic is the return of the talent trees. Talent trees were all but banished from Retail WoW, and gives a sense of customization to the class you’re playing. There are always going to be builds that optimize for certain situations or damage output, but I’ve always found experimenting to be half of the fun. If you have enough gold to respect later down the road, of course. In Classic, you are given a choice to toggle on the environmental graphics from 2004, which is fantastic, but something still feels missing. Many would argue that the original Vanilla/Classic experience is rooted in its terrible 2004 graphics and if you can’t get past the login screen because of the graphics, “then you’re bad, and probably won’t even get past level 10.” I don’t think that’s the case at all. There’s something to be said about experiencing the game, really experiencing it through its original intended graphics. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it. I loved going back through Stormwind and Brill and seeing how different the buildings looked. (The structure of buildings is a whole other ballpark for graphics, I realize that, but what I would have been interested in is keeping the integrity of the old models with some slight updates.) But, I’m all for choice as well when it comes to character models and environment textures. It feels like a missed opportunity to provide a new, unique experience, that still holds true to that nostalgia we were all looking for.
Oh good lord the music. When I first booted up my client and logged in to hear the old music, I immediately had chills. One of my favorite things about World of Warcraft has to be the soundtrack. Even when I’m at work or doing some creative writing, oftentimes I’ll pull up a World of Warcraft album on my music player and just let it run through the songs as I write. The music of WoW is so wonderfully immersive, and iconic. Blizzard has invested so much into the music itself, defining themes for specific zones, areas, and encounters, that you could probably close your eyes while running through the world and just by the change in music know what you’re getting yourself into. Replayability is another tricky topic to handle. While it could be argued that Classic has high replayability, there are so many other contributing factors to take into account when reviewing it. If you enjoy learning about lore, quests have also changed substantially over WoW’s progression. In Classic, you’ll find yourself maneuvering through quest lines whose plot seems to have shifted dramatically and will be surprised to find new and old characters missing. So while there are definitely some elements of replayability here, it depends entirely on your relationship with World of Warcraft going into Classic. Part of me wishes that Blizzard would have taken this opportunity to find some way to merge Classic with some of the elements that we love about the game today such as transmog and better graphics. If I recall correctly, even back then, transmogrification was called for frequently amongst players who were tired of having to carry around a cosmetic set just to look decent. Classic is an exact copy of the game and experience we had when it first launched, but while we can replicate some of those memories and reconnect with old friends, I just don’t think it’s possible to completely re-immerse ourselves in that world. We already know what happens next in the story. We have touched the sky and dived down into the depths of the deepest oceans. There are no more surprises to be had here. Because of that, if we do not have any more content updates, I worry that the game will grow stale and players will once again start to drift towards newer releases.
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