World of Warcraft Classic And What We Left Behind

Alright, we’re going to be talking about
World of Warcraft: Classic and as these things go I’ve gotta lay down my bona fides. I
have been playing World of Warcraft since launch. I have been playing World of Warcraft
a lot since launch. I have the Ivory Raptor, which involved farming
up one thousand gold within the first six months the game was out, and I did that in,
like, three. A few years ago Blizzard sent me this nice
little statuette commemorating ten years of unbroken subscription to the game, which means
that this is a cute little gesture from a company that made a game I really like, but
also kinda yikes. I have this in-game windrider pet because
it came with this windrider plush doll that I keep on the shelf behind my streaming setup. I’ve done server-first raiding, I helped
three people grind to High Warlord, I have my Brawler’s Guild rewards, Mage Tower rewards,
Swift Flight Form, and even the absurd Realm First Illustrious Jewelcrafter. Why did I get this? Why did I do what needed
to be done to get this?! Point is, yes, I have played a lot of World
of Warcraft. In August 2019 Blizzard Entertainment launched
World of Warcraft: Classic, a re-creation of World of Warcraft more or less as it existed
in 2006, towards the end of the vanilla game’s lifespan, after all the new content was released,
but before any expansions were added. While not a pure recreation the deviations
are small and few, most being concessions to the fact that WoW itself changed dramatically
over the course of its first year. For example one of the more dramatic anachronistic changes
is the inclusion of the in-game clock, a feature that originally wasn’t added to the game
until June 2008, almost four years after launch. Care has even been taken to recreate period-authentic
inconvenience, such as the bespoke recreation of spell batching originally designed to work
within the limits of dial-up internet, which will, in turn lead to things like cancelling
an ability only for the ability to cast anyway, or being well out of range of monsters while
they continue to hit you in the back of the head. But returning to the Azeroth-that-was fifteen
years later is an interesting experience. It lays bare all the strengths and flaws of
the game and really calls attention to the fact that World of Warcraft was kinda bad. Alright I’m gonna just oh are you stuck? yup are you kidding me? Well, it’s bad, but it’s also really good?
I mean, it’s still a lot of fun, but it’s also pretty garbage. It’s garbage, but still
a classic. Here, since I’m already in this hole let
me dig my way out. I really like to revisit old computer role
playing games. The genre has, through most of the history of electronic gaming, found
itself at the locus of gaming technology, pushing both graphical capabilities and systems
complexity. They were, in their heyday, often at the cutting edge of what the personal computer
could do and what a video game could even be. This, however, also means that they’re often
quite experimental, which in turn brings with it a lot of compromises that modern players
need to make in order to engage. Controls are typically unusual, frustrating, unintuitive,
or unresponsive, and it’s likely there’s at least one vital game system that is utterly
inscrutable, the game assuming you have the time, patience, and inclination to devise
its operation through brute trial and error. Ultima Underworld is the first retail game
with a fully 3D environment, but the underlying systems for character movement are pretty
immature. It’s not very precise with how facing translates to direction, leading to
a lot of times where the player character is walking forwards, but at a kind of slanted
angle. Dungeon Master 2 has a magic system revolving
around combinations of symbols representing abstract concepts, with no guidance on what
anything actually does. The manual gives a bit of help by at least telling you that the
first set of symbols indicate power level, but at the end straight up tells the player
to literally trial and error their way through. Most of these games will allow you to just
casually soft lock all progression by throwing away something vital, either on purpose or
by accident. But it’s not impossible for a modern audience
to submerge themselves in the games, and once you’re over the hump it’s generally pretty
rewarding to see what originally sold players on Lands of Lore, Ultima Underworld, or Elder
Scrolls: Arena, to peek into the history of modern games and see the genesis of ideas,
systems, controls, and vocabulary that persist to this day. Just, you know, maybe keep a walk through
or strategy guide handy. This is much of the WoW Classic experience.
There’s several distinct humps for a modern player to get over, things that are, by today’s
standards, hostile, unintuitive, and obnoxious, but adapt to them and there’s an interesting
and rewarding game on the other side. I have also found that it’s actually easier
to adjust to now than it was in 2004 specifically because Classic is essentially a complete
product. While Blizzard hasn’t activated all the content that Classic will contain,
we know what all of it is, which has the odd effect of making it feel a lot more self-contained
and easier to accept the jank as just part of the package and charm. Just before we jump deeper into the jank of
Classic, I do think it bears mentioning that WoW itself exists in the context of the game
it was meant to compete with but ultimately all but crushed: Everquest. WoW was, from conception onwards, meant to
be the “friendly” version of Everquest, and elements of Classic that feel exhausting
today, such as the relatively small number of quick travel flight points scattered around
the world, were positively indulgent compared to Everquest. You mean you can just fly all the way across
the world? Let me go get my monocle and top hat! Will they be serving hors d’oeuvres on
this flight? Oh, you think there aren’t enough spiders
in Dustwallow, that it’s going to take forever to get all the venom you need for that damn
shield quest? Yeah, well, out here in Crescent Reach there
are three snakes! Three! Three snakes! Sure, by modern standards it feels like a
pointless waste of time to make the player return to a class trainer and spend silver
in order to acquire new abilities and improve old ones, but when you put it in the context
of EverQuest where buying spells and learning spells were two different things, and it was
possible to buy a spell you couldn’t learn, and also some spells you needed to find as
drops from random monsters, World of Warcraft was very much the “noob friendly” approach.
Why, look, you can even see all the spells that you’ll eventually be able to learn! Oh go, they’re so expensive Game, please, please game, I just, I just
want to buy my raptor! I just need a raptor! That’s not to say that all the humps are
contextual improvements over EverQuest. Some of it is just bad on its own or obviously
incomplete. World of Warcraft was pushed out the door
probably a good six months early leading to a pretty substantial and well-documented disparity
in quality between the stuff the developers had been working on the longest, namely Eastern
Kingdoms and the Alliance starting zones, and the stuff they had been working on the
least, Kalimdor and the Horde starting zones. There’s a few standout examples, like the
area around Blackfathom Deeps in western Ashenvale being little more than a rough draft, which
maybe looks just kinda old and junky at first glance, but is a stark contrast when compared
to areas like Shadowfang Keep or The Wailing Caverns. The entire zone of Azshara is largely devoid
of quests, not completely empty but hardly the number or density that you would expect
from a zone of its size. There’s even a substantial number of NPC camps scattered
throughout, staged with furniture and flags, but never populated. and, oh god, this character is too low to
be here, oh god F’s in chat The Paladin talent trees weren’t implemented
until the game finally launched, and were clearly a last minute rush job, with notable
highlights being the Holy tree, ostensibly a single-target healing specialization. Let’s
just take a short tour through this. The first tier contains Improved Lay On Hands,
which adds a small 1 minute armour buff to an emergency heal with an hour long cooldown,
the second tier has Revelation which reduces the cooldown of Lay on Hands by up to 20 minutes,
giving it a mere 40 minute cooldown. The third tier begins the chain of talents leading to
the tree’s capstone ability, and those three talents are a damage boost to a single ability,
an aura that increases holy damage dealt by your party, and the capstone ability Holy
Shock, an instant cast, medium range damage spell. In the healing tree. There was a lot of stuff like this floating
around, some of it easier to change than others, and in a lot of ways the first year of World
of Warcraft’s life was spent just kinda getting the game finished. Some of the abrasive moments really just come
down to different expectations. The “massive” in “Massively Multiplayer” was always
a lot smaller than it ever felt, most of the heavy lifting being done by clever design
pressing players into interactions that felt more substantial than they really were. WoW
just wasn’t actually built to have that many players doing something in the same area
at the same time. Single quest areas can typically only support three to eight players at a time.
Any more than that and it quickly leads to over-competition, with players standing around
just waiting for more opponents to spawn. While this encourages grouping up, it only
does so to a point. You can’t get credit for most quests if there are more than five
players in your group, and a second full group is enough to strip a quest area bare like
locusts, so paradoxically there’s a lot of time in the Massively Multiplayer game
spent looking for places to play alone. not for any other reason than just to like
know that you holy crap oh my god see like that right there, there’s the line!
That’s, that’s the line! So Dan, queue it up. I wanna die. This is. All that said, returning to WoW as it used
to be is also an enchanting experience in many ways. It reveals the flaws, yes, but
also the things that have held up surprisingly well. The cartoonish, exaggerated aesthetic of the
Warcraft universe, always praised as a strength of the series, continues to shine. Even the
chunky, blatantly low-poly assets have their own charm, and after a few minutes of play
quickly blend into the scenery. And there are some moments of windowing, places
where the game creates a frame to guide the player’s view, that remain stellar. One that really stands out to me is actually
something that I had forgotten about, because it was replaced in the changes to the game
over the years. The opening hours of the Orc and Troll quest
lines lead the player out of the Valley of Trials, down the road to Razor Hill, through
the pass in Drygulch Ravine, culminating in their entrance to Orgimmar, the capital city
of the Horde. The path leading into the city leads the player to this frame at the threshold,
the wide open space of the Valley of Honor with the bank, flight tower, and zeppelin
framed against the sky. It is a compelling composition. Evocative, fantastical, it’s
a moment that really strikes the imagination and makes the world feel so much bigger than
you ever thought it would be. The version of this moment, as it exists now,
was put into the game in 2010 with the Cataclysm expansion. A huge portion of that expansion
was dedicated to revamping the original world’s content, since most of it was at least six
years old, with some art assets being as old as 2003 or even 2002. The resolution disparity
between launch content and stuff from the second and upcoming third expansions was stark,
and it was a gulf that was only likely to grow wider as more content was added. Additionally players had been clamouring for
freeform flight to be added to the original continents, a much loved feature integral
to both The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions, but the original environments
had never been designed for freeform flight. The old world ultimately consisted of a series
of valleys scooped out of a giant mass, with questing areas joined by large blocks of featureless
terrain, carefully hidden behind impassable rocks and hills. The flight paths all wound
through hand-crafted vistas, designed to make the world look fully formed and sculpted while
obscuring the giant empty spaces in between. It was very much an amusement park facade,
and while some players enjoyed taking a peek behind the scenery, the out-of-bounds areas
weren’t acceptable if it was going to be something all players could access just by
flying up over the tops of the hills. A revamp was, in a lot of ways, needed, but
a lot of what they revamped things to was kinda questionable. Cataclysm, as a whole, is not a fondly remembered
expansion, and a big part of that is in the details of the decisions that were made. Blizzard decided that rather than merely updating
the terrain and cities to look more cohesive with newer, higher-resolution content and
rather than just filling the voids between zones in a way that would look boring but
presentable when flying, they would instead dramatically alter the world itself in a massive
cataclysm and advance the timeline so that the state of the entire main world was concurrent
with the end game content. This had some side-effects. By advancing the timeline many of the new
zones were now sequels to their original versions, following up on the storylines that played
out before the Cataclysm. But these new storylines only made sense if you were already familiar
with the previous story, which was now no longer accessible. This kind of self-referential storytelling
is ultimately the blood of Cataclysm, with a lot of moments in the expansion being retreads
of older moments from WoW’s history, delivered with a cheeky smile and a wink to the camera. Mortals that fancy themselves heroes have
entered the broken hall. Oh I do hope this “raid” will amuse me. In this regard the new entrance to Orgimmar
is no longer intended to welcome new players to a wide open world, no longer framed to
spark the imagination, but a blunt shock for old players, an overhaul of layout and aesthetic
signalling the change in leadership from Thrall to Garrosh, a mulletted electric guitar solo
screaming “this ain’t your daddy’s Horde”. It is incredibly trivial, but it is emblematic
of a fair criticism of how the game has evolved over a decade and a half: increasingly focusing
inwards. I’m not even sure I should be saying “criticism”
though, because it’s not even critical as much as it is merely descriptive. World of Warcraft has undeniably changed over
the years, but the “goodness” or “badness” of most of the changes really comes down to
a question of values: what do the players and creators like in the game, what do they
want out of the game, and what does an ideal evening of play look like? They’re not really questions with right
and wrong answers, and no matter what answer you pick it probably doesn’t have some moral
implication underneath. You’re not a bad person if you want to quietly solo queue for
dungeons and go through the game with an absolute minimum of social friction. Likewise it’s
not a superior tier of gaming to prefer a game with aggressive social dependency and
time-sink gatekeeping. This is where I feel I need to acknowledge
that lot of the clamour for WoW Classic has been controversial, fraught with ego and drama,
as a number of the high-profile personalities leading the charge are known for their toxicity
and vitriol, having made something of a career in the very small, but highly competitive,
niche of complaining about World of Warcraft. they wanna make it different, they want to
do things just a little bit different! Oh, maybe I just want group finder, hey my gear
doesn’t match maybe I’ll just transmog this helmet, f* you! You’re going to wear that
pink helmet and you’re gonna like it. Those chromatic boots looking like a goddamn clown
with your DPS warrior? That’s you! Your f* face? It’s a square! Alright? Eight pixels?
You’re gonna love it. It’s gonna be the exact same. We’re not gonna give up, we’re not gonna
stop. No changes! The basic argument from these outrage merchants
is that WoW as it currently exists, is bad unlike some point in the past where WoW was
good. And I really need to point out that this argument has been working for over a
decade. It is not a new phenomenon by any means. Why having badges be given by every single
frikkin instance in the entire game is an absolutely awful idea. Possibly, in fact,
the worst idea I have ever seen Blizzard come up with in their entire history. Alright?
this goes beyond everything. This goes beyond putting Naxx version 2 in the game. This goes
beyond every stupid thing they have ever done. I mean, really. This goes beyond the whole
“hey let’s give ’em some Black Temple level epics for running Kharazan.” No it goes beyond
that. It’s incredibly, pants-on-head-r* in every possible respect. There’s no consensus on when that peak was,
when WoW was truly the best, but it’s generally agreed by that community to be somewhere during
the first three phases of the game, between 2004 and 2010. This has created an environment where WoW
Classic has been positioned explicitly in contrast to Battle for Azeroth as “the real
World of Warcraft”. The pure experience, spiritually untainted, the mythological prelapsarian
version. An experience so perfect that it will restore World of Warcraft to the position
of cultural relevance that it held when seemingly everyone and their dog had a subscription. It’s effectively a church schism in video
game form. That level of intensity in the conversation
can make productive analysis somewhat difficult, as the arguments for that position aren’t
always coherent. A big hitch in these kinds of public conversations
is that there’s a performance angle, and people tend to skew towards the answers that
they believe are correct, or the answers that they believe the audience wants to hear. The
opinion that you’re supposed to have, rather than the answers that are true. They tend to lean really heavily on value
statements, appeals to the things that the wider social group believe are superior qualities,
which can lead to some hot nonsense like saying that World of Warcraft was best when it was
hardest back in Classic which is a comical statement because Classic just isn’t very
hard. Now I do want to walk a fine line here because
when it comes to talking about video games and difficulty the conversation turns into
a swamp super fast because the language that we use to talk about the systems and interactions
isn’t particularly well developed, so people end up just shouting the same words at each
other with different implicit meanings and it goes nowhere. Mainstream video games bias towards tests
of reflexes or the ability to execute a complex pattern consistently or with precision, and
this is a thing that you’re supposed to like and desire and appreciate. The vast majority of the challenge in World
of Warcraft Classic, however, is extremely simple from an execution standpoint, and is
really more of a test of patience. I’m not saying that as a bad thing, by the way. Tests
of endurance, tests of patience, are a form of difficulty. It is a skill that is being
tested, but it’s still not what people are typically referring to when they say “hard
games.” WoW Classic is a very slow game, and it punishes
mistakes with heavy time costs, but even then it’s not exactly as taxing as a marathon,
most of the content can be trivialized, the vast majority of it is not particularly difficult
to execute, there’s no requirement to do it in a single sitting or a tight timespan,
and it is certainly not more difficult to execute than basically anything that came
afterwards. All the difficulty is piled into a willingness
to wait, to be cautious, to spend time recovering after every. Single. Fight. And a failure
of patience is typically met with a time sink as punishment. So there’s this syllogism at play where
we take three suppositions A – hard games are good, B – I liked World of Warcraft in
2006, C – I like good games. I liked World of Warcraft and I like good
games, therefore World of Warcraft was good, and good games are hard games, therefore World
of Warcraft must have been hard, because I like it and I like good games. This isn’t really that weird, people do
tend to be pretty bad at figuring out why they like the things they like, so they just
assume that their stated values apply to the things they enjoy. And yes, to bring this back around, World
of Warcraft has undeniably changed over the years, and the changes have collectively been
dramatic. Not just changes in terms of graphical updates, large swaths of new content, or the
world overhaul of Cataclysm, but philosophically. The ideas answering questions like “what
makes good content” have shifted and morphed over the years, often subtly, sometimes drastically. I want to remove the outrage merchants from
the equation and contrast some of these changes honestly, because while, on a personal level,
I think a lot of people have been hoodwinked by outrage merchants into parroting bad, syllogistic
arguments, I don’t think people are being disingenuous when they say they enjoyed WoW
more in the past than they do in the present and that it’s not all nostalgia. Nostalgia is, of course, an important part
of the overall picture: World of Warcraft landed at a really formative time for a lot
of people, a time when they were in high school or college and had a lot of free time, and
all their friends had a lot of free time, and their life meshed well with the pace of
the game and the game became their shared social space. That is a potent element, but
it’s not the whole story. The Hashtag No Changes crowd has an entire
warehouse of rose coloured glasses, but that doesn’t mean classic is devoid of value if
you aren’t wearing them. We can’t un-cross a river, but if we walk
through this we can maybe put together a reasonable portrait of the differences and understand
why some players justifiably feel like they’ve been left behind by the changes over the years
and in turn what Classic has to offer. World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is a
very busy game. There is a lot to do and the game has a tremendous array of content for
players of all stripes, ranging from player versus player competition to skill-testing
group content to trivial minigames and ARG-style community treasure hunts. With fifteen years
of iteration there are very few styles of play that aren’t accounted for, in particular
if you are in the majority of players that prefer a social solo experience, meaning that
you like having other people around, you like the multiplayer elements being seamlessly
integrated and not a separate game mode, but you still prefer to spend the majority of
your time playing alone. You don’t want to have to coordinate multiple schedules just
to play the game. Not only is there a lot to do, but most of
it can be completed in ten to twenty minute chunks, with group activities taking bigger
commitments of around 30-45 minutes in the case of dungeons or a couple hours in the
case of raids, so it’s an environment where depending on how much time you have to play
there’s almost certainly something to do that is a structured task with concrete rewards. Island expeditions, arena, battlegrounds,
mythic dungeons, raiding, pet battles, world quests, professions, achievements, collections,
special events, oh my. In contrast WoW Classic has relatively little
variety when it comes to structured tasks. There’s dungeons, there’s quests, there’s
professions, there’s raids, and eventually there will be PvP battlegrounds. Though, once
you get to max level, well, quests are a finite resource, it’s not even super difficult
to complete every possible high level quest in the game. There is a very narrow, and deliberate
channel that players find themselves in: questing leads to dungeons, and dungeons lead to raids,
and raids in Classic mostly require 40 players, so they’re not exactly the kind of thing
you just casually toss together with the lads. In fact, really, in order to field a raid
of 40 players you need a pool of sixty to eighty players, minimum, to cover for different
roles, people who need to leave early, people who can be there on Tuesday and Thursday,
but not Wednesday, people who aren’t part of the core group but are basically the supply
line for the raid, providing materials and consumables. So there’s this pretty self-evident contrast:
between the game as it used to exist, with relatively few defined activities, and the
game as it currently exists, awash in things to do. But that’s just a surface level analysis,
and this is where I think things get interesting, where we see something of what has been left
behind. All of that content, all the different tasks
and parallel progression streams, they have been added bit by bit over the years to free
players up so that they don’t feel trapped in that narrow channel of progression where
you either found a group of people you could raid with, or you kind of ran out of things
to do. That’s good, because there are absolutely things about that arrangement that really,
really suck. The requirements in terms of time, players,
and materials, effectively creates a corporate environment, where guilds that have the resources
to raid accrue a lot of social power. Back in 2006 it wasn’t really that unusual
for a given server to only be able to support one or two active raids per faction. Actually, in 2005 the server hardware itself
literally couldn’t support more than one raid engaging Nefarion at the same time, and
groups would need to coordinate across factions because if two groups pulled the latency would
spike, and if three or more pulled the instance server would crash. Hashtag no changes! which meant that you needed to bend to their
schedule and maybe needed to put up with a lot of toxicity and harassment just to play
a video game. Because of the way that the various mechanics interact, success one week
sets players up for more success next week, so guilds that are doing well tend to attract
more players than they actually need, while failure can quickly lead to a social death
spiral as experienced and geared players quit or leave, increasing the odds of further failure. Given that these raids represent a huge time
commitment it’s not unusual for guilds to focus on hedging their bets and playing it
safe, only bringing the best geared players with the most optimal classes. This can make
it difficult, if not impossible, for players coming in late, who don’t already have the
best gear and only have a few hours per week to play, to even get an invite to a group. So there are very good reasons for a lot of
the changes, in particular providing comparable progression tracks for players who want to
play mostly alone or just with a small group of four, nine, ten friends instead of listening
to thirty nine assholes screaming whenever someone pulls whelps in Onyxia’s Lair. The next idiot f* who goes and aggros something
they ain’t supposed to is not getting any f*ing item for the next two f*ing weeks not
to mention 200 minus f*ing DKP is that enough f*ing motivation for you to f*ing play proper?! This toxicity is actually a deliberate design
choice, in a sense. EverQuest, and World of Warcraft were built on a concept of social
dependency, the idea that the game was explicitly hostile to solo play and that it was basically
impossible for a player to be truly self-sustaining. World of Warcraft, as the friendlier version
of EverQuest, tempered that a lot, you can get through most of the game solo, but it’s
definitely still there. Questing with one or two other people is substantially
faster, and much safer. Since characters often provide a force-multiplying factor to one
another the increase in speed is more than simply linear. With a friend you can do higher level quests
a lot earlier, which reduces the amount of time spent moving between questing zones and
makes it a little less likely that you’ll have to resort to grinding just to be able
to move on to a new area. This social dependency is kinda compelling
and interesting in its own right, but it has a few big weaknesses, namely that it means
players are essentially at the mercy of other players, who may or may not be nice people,
and it relies on there being other players in the same space as one another. Right now, in the first months after release,
WoW Classic is a lot of fun to level through because it’s in the sweet spot where there’s
a lot of players all kind of spread throughout the whole level range, so no matter what level
you’re at or which stage of a quest chain you’re on there’s probably someone else
nearby who’s either at the exact same spot or pretty close to it. If you need help with an elite opponent that
you can’t take on solo then during prime time it’s probably only going to take a
few minutes or so before someone else comes along looking to do the same quest. But as time goes on more and more players
accumulate at the level cap, and while some players compulsively level new characters
over and over, most players focus on a single character. The result is that as the overall
population caps out the local population in the lower and mid-level zones drops dramatically,
and social dependency only works if there’s other players around to be dependent on. Back in 2006 it wasn’t even particularly
weird to be literally the only player in Stonetalon or Desolace at any given time. So it definitely needs to be kept in mind
that while a lot of changes have been made to speed up leveling, to reduce social dependency,
these changes have been made to address real problems that emerge as MMOs mature, and a
lot of these problems loom over the future of Classic. So Blizzard has added all of this other stuff
to provide more dynamic alternatives, to widen the ranges that characters can quest together,
to speed up the journey from level 1 to level 120, and to ensure that players at level cap
aren’t trapped on a dead server or held hostage by the only assholes with a raiding
guild or simply excluded entirely from group play because they chose a class that is less
optimal than another. But with all of that added stuff, it is possible
to reach a point where there’s simply too much to do, where there’s so many parallel
choices, all of which are at least somewhat comparable in terms of their worth, that it
becomes paralyzing and difficult to focus. You can get a decent amount done even if you
only have twenty to thirty minutes to play, but that also means that over the course of
an hour you might be rapidly pinballing between a dozen small tasks, and the line between
variety and chaos is a fine one. What’s more, if everything is meaningful,
if it’s all significant content that provides a reward of appropriate value, and they’re
all on daily or weekly reset timers, well, at a certain point it stops feeling like options
and starts to feel like an obligation. You’re running low on runes, you should
really do your Looking For Raid runs for the week. Have you done your emissary quests for the
day? Gotta get at least a +10 in for the weekly
cache. Don’t forget your island expeditions. Trial of Style ends at midnight. Mythic raid Tuesday Wednesday, Heroic alt
run on Thursday Can’t forget your PvP cache Are you ever going to finish that achievement? Here’s where Classic has an unexpected strength:
if there’s nothing to do, if nothing is “meaningful”, then you are free to self-direct. [big pause] Let’s talk about grinding. Oh okay, so GravyCast wants to know what is
grinding? Well. WoW slang with Crystal! so, grinding is when you keep killing the
same mobs in a particular area just over and over again without the guidance of a quest oh, that didn’t work out well F’s in chat Grinding is something of a hallmark of early
MMOs. It was pretty much taken for granted that at some point in playing the game you
would find yourself standing in a field, killing the same enemies over and over and over again.
Just an endless, rhythmic process that only ends when your bags are full and you decide
“yeah, I guess I should head back to town”. If you needed money to buy skills or a mount
or new equipment, this wasn’t the most efficient way to get it, but it was the most straightforward. I just want my raptor! If a questing area was too competitive, if
there were line-ups for a quest target, maybe it was a better idea to just go over to the
less popular spot with no quests and just grind out a level or two so you can move on. Oh my god! Grinding isn’t something that anyone would
really describe as compelling gameplay. It’s not very dynamic. It is, by definition, repetitive.
It’s the kind of thing that, intellectually, everyone feels is kinda bad in a game because
while it’s not truly pointless it’s definitely low on point. But that aimlessness is maybe not all bad. Grinding is, in essence, the purest distillation
of self-directed play. There’s no diegetic authority telling the player what to do or
how to do it, there’s just a vague incentive and the player’s own discretion about how
to get there. Now, this is the same incentive set that led
to the addition of all those other tasks and options to the game, and in a sense players
in 2019 have far, far more freedom in how they go about achieving their general goals.
So at present players have more structured options to engage with, but what we find in
the comparison between Classic and Battle for Azeroth is that paradoxically adding more
content, more structured activities, can make it feel like there are fewer options. This happens because as you add more direction,
more structure, the emotional value of self-direction goes down, and even if self-directed, freeform
play boils down to only a few viable options, the fact that there’s nothing telling you
to do it, well that does a lot for the illusion of openness. And I should say that I’m not using “illusion”
here as a pejorative. I love illusions. I crave a well-crafted illusion, and Classic
delivers them in spades. For a while, at least. At some point in the last 15 years, gradually,
bit by bit, the game has discarded most of these illusions, in a lot of ways because
the players grew past them. Spend enough time with an illusion and you start to see through
it, you figure it out, and at a certain point you just want it to be honest with you. And that honesty, laying out mechanics, revealing
the nuts and bolts of how it all works, just telling players where the quests are and how
to complete them, providing a dozen alternate ways to level, letting them fly over every
hill, it’s not a bad approach, but it’s mutually exclusive with mystery and the illusion
of a wide-open world. You can, in Battle for Azeroth, level up by
running around in circles endlessly killing murlocs, but the whole time that you do it
there’s the overhanging knowledge that there’s so many better, more efficient, structured,
organized, sanctioned, fun ways of doing it, so why are you bothering? In Classic, well, everything sucks, so…
you’re free: do whatever you want. Is aimless grinding better experience than questing?
Generally no, buuuuuuut… it’s not that much worse, either. There is a kind of freedom
in the lack of structured options. Anything you choose to do is about as good as anything
else. There’s a simplicity to that, a clarity
that the game has definitely moved away from. And, again, that’s not bad. Leveling in
Battle for Azeroth is a lot more dynamic and less punishing, but it’s also a lot more
dense, more noisy, and less meditative. It’s a rush to get to level cap, because that’s
where all the players are. And the thing is that for most players, that’s
what they want. The aimless, self-directed play of Classic
is cute and interesting, but wears out quickly. There’s only so many times you can grief
Alliance at Marris Stead before you’re just done with it. The first time you have to wait
thirty minutes for a party member to get to the dungeon, because they were on the other
side of the world and it just takes that long to get anywhere, it’s a drinking game style
moment. But, by the third or fourth time you just
really, really wish they’d turn the damn summoning stones back on. However, for players who not only enjoy that
illusion of open ended freedom and the pace that comes with it, but prefer it, it makes
sense that they maybe feel like the game has left them behind over the years. Horse doovres F’s in chat

100 thoughts on “World of Warcraft Classic And What We Left Behind

  1. He missed the entire point of why the new WoW has lost so many subs. Loot pinata's, Raiding is irrelevant when 20+ ppl can just cue up mash buttons till the big thing drops and collect the rewards, makes the end game a pointless and unskilled loot grab. Seeing as you can now hit level cap on a new xpak in 4 days raiding was a way to play on till the next thing came along, now you can run these raids in minimal time, very easy mechanics no thinking very hard or discovering how to do it. Classic was a pain and a real grind and while I think even with all it's bugs it was overall a much better experience than this current line of hand holding crap. I don't think classic was harder by any means outside of the raids just a lot more tedious however back in classic if you got an epic or a legendary it meant something, it was treasured and you felt awesome to have gotten it, today they actually give you legendaries and the rest fall from the sky's like a skittles rainbow bursting.

  2. To this day i don't know why people watch Asmongold. I played many years of WoW and i met more than one person exactly like him. He's the archetype of a alphanerd who basically does not function in the real world.

  3. i might be petty but, the nail in the coffin for me was when they took away my gun sounds.. i understand why they did it. it can be pretty hard on others ears in raids and stuff. but i feel they could have just made it a menu toggle. with classic i am happy to say im that noisy dwarf again in classic! pew pew for life!!

  4. good points, personally I can't listen to ppl dictate how the game should be so i can't watch asmongold and normally i'd skip a video like this but. I think that when it comes right down to it, the best part of the game is progress with a guild when you've been in a guild for years, there is value in seeing it succeed and being part of that success. this doesn't happen so much when you're a solo actor pugging your way through the content, its very similar to how if you were given a max level character you have less vested interest in that character, because you didn't spend hours levelling it up. I'm enjoying classic but i'm not as patient as i was. raiding has been fun I guess its just difficult to balance the whole concept of progression, in classic that was dictated by raids past dungeon bis, so you had to log on a specific day to progress, then tbc had heroics so you could get epic gear by doing harder 5 man content, this was great btw, no more standing around waiting for raid day, then we also had 10 mans so, making a small raid was also pretty damn easy to do compared with the monumental cat herding of 40. since then this pace of progression has snowballed to the point that, you don't get that feeling of excitement when you progress as it happens likely too often. this could be a fault of the game but i'd argue a lot of the ppl who complain about the way wow is or was are simply jaded, they sound that way. playing the same game for over a decade has burnt ppl out and thats totally understandable.

    I don't think titan-forging is to blame completely, titan-forging to me was always like a combination of valour upgrades and 1% drop rates. but it has created a mentality that makes it feel like anything but the best is bad. ahh this is a big complex issue, on the bright side now that classic exists and is playable without wondering if your private server hoster with get a cease and desist letter. you can play both. largely I think the game at a fundamental level hasn't really changed all that much, the actual things that you do are largely the same. the classic experience heavily relies on you finding a place within a guild and showing up to raid, helping ppl out, the same can be said for modern wow, but its much easier to forego the whole guild aspect entirely and simply pug raid upto heroic without too much trouble. I can easily say that I've enjoyed the game more when i've been part of a guild of friends and logging in to progress with them, enjoying seeing them progress as much as enjoying my own progress. you just don't get this when you're going through the game by yourself with no core group of buddies. I raided with one guild in classic from zg to vael, and then in tbc I raided t5 to illidan and upto the 4th boss in icc where I burnt out and started playing eve online, I think when you've been part of a guild for so long and when that is gone its a bit of a noticeable loss. you can still enjoy the game, but its almost like the death of a family member. it takes a lot of raids to grow a bond with a guild but ultimately that is what I enjoyed the most.

    its weird when you've seen both times, there is value in the social long haul of classic, there is convenience in retail. if you have the time, ie not much of a social life, play classic, if you don't have much time in your life, play retail. that would be my advice, or hell don't play wow at all, that works too.

  5. this video is like a first year university essay – chats absolute shit but reckons it's deep analysis because it uses the same terminology as the academics

  6. Subs don't lie.
    WotLK had something like 12 million active subs
    WoD shrank to something like 5.6 million active subs, and that's the last time we got an official sub count from blizzard. The game has clearly taken a turn for the worst over the last 10 years or so. And the subs, or rather the lack of subs supports that. You can play as many exaggerated clips of people being upset about the direction of the game to make yourself look calm and collected and perhaps even more valid. The fact remains, we the many, do not like the direction of the game.

  7. It’s about the social interaction, server reputation, class identity. Yes wow tempered to a more casual style gameplay, but it was damn close to balancing all these aspects. And why are we hating on a game that rewards its players? I don’t want to play a game that rewards players for just logging in. That’s retail wow. Everything I do in classic has a lasting impact. What’s the last decision you made in bfa that made any impact on your experience that wasn’t fixed by leaving group, rolling a new toon to get to max level in a week, xfering servers or something like that. I’d rather be dead in classic than alive in any other game.

  8. This is the classic wow analysis equivalent of a mindfuck movie. I have to watch this 2 more times to really get it, maybe more.
    I also love the political ambiguous approach you took here. It seemed like you appealed to both casual and no changes players so well that it took neutrality to an artform.
    100% worth watching. Thank you.

  9. While I don't necessarily agree with your opinion and there are several areas where I think you are ostensibly wrong on a few areas and do overreach, I can respect your opinion and did enjoy the long-form video. I won't spend time saying how you're wrong or spouting my opinion, merely that I can respect that we do have differing opinions.

  10. Some are valid and relevant points.
    This classic rerun definitely requires more patience, and at least for now, people are more humble (at least from leveling point of view), as oppose to zero tolerance to learning in BfA dungeons ("do it fast and zero deaths, or don't do it at all).
    Also, it does feel that classic is harder, in term that some content, requires you to seek the help of others, while in BfA grouping is just convenience and with addons running it, you don't really have to put any effort into saying "hi".
    Guess we just have to wait and see how it all unravels. 🙂

  11. It isn´t something you can put into words, other than the "mysterious cloud 7" feeling.

    No other game made me feel even remotely the same.

    And i personaly am through with WoW as much as i am with the genre itself.

    Neither is evolving nor reinventing themselves…

    The difference between Wow vanilla and all what came past it is that vanilla had a GIANT amount of unlinear content and mystery designed for everyone…
    And during its early stages, all of that could be retained for a long long time.

    Social aspect?
    Its a game, not a platform for nerdsausages who still up to this date, have no friends other than the ones they adventured through vanilla.
    Despite what they are thinking, they are 1/10 of the initial playerbase, but act like they are the majority.
    And that is why why we got ourselves a classic remaster instead of a game that is running under classic conditions with different content.

    You just wont create anything longlasting if you leave it to people that have a horizon of their spitrange.

  12. Classic is far, far, far better than retail.

    Are the early raids "easy"? Sure.
    Is the class balance not there? Of course.
    Is the community dead? Far from it.

    Is the entire game fun? Of course.
    Is the entire of retail fun? Nope.

  13. This whole video is just someones inner dialogue justifying the time spent playing a shitty game, when in actuality the game they wanted to play has already passed. Retail WoW is just such an awful game, and is also the reason why (in my opinion) the MMO genre as a whole is dying. Classic WoW has that feel of wanting to innovate and try new things. Retail has the feel of keeping people busy so that don't notice how stagnant and dull the game has become.

  14. Ironically you've used far more exploitative examples and logically invalid reasoning to present his PoV. Some of the things you say are pretty insightful, don't get me wrong, but you seriously used -50DKP as a legitimate example of what a 40-man raid would be like, just because it has people other than 'your 10 buddies', and then brought up server lag to counter the NoChanges crowd.

    You make a hypocritical argument at ~ 41:00 where you brings up the ABC stuff. Your argument is that because players made an unreasonable conclusion, therefore, they are wrong. No. You don't have to have flawless logic to understand something, or to form a reasonable, agreeable opinion. Essentially you are saying that Columbus never re-discovered the New World because the means in which he tried to get there was incorrect, or that Kafka's stories weren't any good because he never meant for them to be published.

    Then you leave out massive factors such as immersion of the game being broken, the greatly disliked class design in BFA, the not very well received Sylvanas plot-line that seems like a second attempt at Garrosh, and the fact that people who want to do everything in the game in retail can't even do so, because a lot of the old content has been removed including but obviously not up to Benediction, Rhok'delar, Pandaria Cloaks/WoD Rings. BFA is 'limitless' in the same vein that in classic, you can grind a technically limitless amount of mobs.
    What I'm saying here is, it's not just the systems that you have to compare here.

    Literally no-one that I've talked to since even before the Nostalrius shutdown believed that Classic was more mechanically intensive than retail, and that was during WoD, which so many people hated. Sure, maybe some of the people I haven't talked to feel this way, but you saying that "people are wrong because classic wow is not mechanically taxing" feels like a misrepresentation of the people you try to criticise.

    This video is tantamount to saying "The increase in demand for meat is largely driven by the increase in size of the vegetarian population, because they're both increasing and most people that I know likes meat. We also know that vegetarians want to be healthy, like most people, and protein is healthy. There are a lot of upset vegetarians saying that they don't want red meat, but they're all loud and obnoxious so their voice doesn't really matter, they just want to appease the seafood eating demographic. Based on my research I've found that raw meat actually might contain germs and insects that can kill you, so maybe meat isn't that good after all."

    Clearly you are very passionate about WoW and Classic WoW, and I am too, but bashing the very community that pushed the creation of Classic WoW seems very misguided.

  15. Your claim that Classic WoW wasn't harder is objectively false.

    I've seen level 20's soloing deadmines without help in modern WoW, and it was quick and mindless.

    In Classic, a 3-4 man group would be strained to clear DM even at a slow and deliberate pace.

  16. The whole video is like you were reading some convoluted article, try to use a conversation pace with some relaxed words. And god the whole structure of the video its like chasing down a giant rabbit hole and then find another rabbit hole in it

  17. I understand your view on the value statement coming from the playerbase when they're critizing the game. However, many of these outcries are also heading towards a company that's leaning towards the opposite of what the community proposed they'd like. Blizzard (Activision) is renowned for ignoring their playerbase. It's not only that the community ''thinks'' what the game needs or what would allow WoW to relive its prime. It's also Blizzard ignoring what values could be met and a middle-ground for a connecting game. I think you were a bit one-sided on this one.

  18. I know what this is like 27:40. Currently all 4 of the major raiding guilds on my classic server have a witch hunt out for me. Incredible amount of social power as all the raiding guilds are all GM'ed by real life friends, almost like a gang/mob or like he said corporate dictatorship. I am excluded from all of them and they hold the raiding scene hostage.

  19. A short term solution would be to cap AP and have non-AP rewards for content.

    In Classic I can work my ass off and be 'done'. Strut my stuff in Orgrimmar.

    In BFA, there's always more I could be acheiving, and by spending my time fishing I'm not helping out my raid team.


  20. The "performance" element is active in retail chat, where many players seem to mimic the opinions shouted by prominent Youtubers etc. That kind of annoys me when people make up their mind about something based on what other people have told them about it. I can't say I haven't done the same in the past, but in this instance it's people who still play retail deriving their opinion of it from somebody else. Maybe they simply found someone else's words to describe their own experiences, but every time I read someone trashing retail in trade chat or whatever they seem to be quoting somebody else.

  21. Let's take a moment to mourn TotalBiscuit: a man whose attitude was so toxic it manifested as cancer and literally killed him.

    Rest in piss you British pitstain.

  22. It wasn't the "difficulty" I missed from older WoW, but the nuance and complexity. Having to manufacture my own arrows, poisons and trick powders made the world feel more immersive. Magical bows that generate their own arrows and rogue tricks that require no reagents just remind me at every turn that I'm not in a world, I'm in a game.

    I used to play big games like WoW, but they and I have grown apart. Now I play games with very small (private) servers of 70 or so individuals like Conan Exiles, which has a deep crafting system, housing, dungeons, exploration and craftable arrows for my damn bows!

  23. For me WOTLK was when WoW was at it's apex. BC took what made WoW classic appealing and gave us more of it, and WOTLK added onto that and slightly tweaking a few things. There was no cataclysm that changed the entire game yet.

  24. Look, I played vanilla -BC and I basically quit during wrath and I tried each expansion after that for a few weeks… I came to the conclusion in my head that I just outgrew wow and I just really liked it cause I was a kid… but when the Nost server launched I played classic for the first time in years and you know what? The game was just THAT DAMN GOOD. I felt the way I did the first time and I realize I never outgrew the game.. the game just got worse. Vanilla and BC were incredible and wrath was good, but you could start feeling it going down hill.. it just got worse and worse and worse and groomed people over time to enjoy a game with no substance.

    Vanilla was just more rewarding.. it didn’t hand everything to you on a silver platter… that’s why we love it, that’s why it is better. We like that feeling if accomplishment when you finally get that piece of gear or kill that boss. The game from wrath on has groomed players to feel like they don’t have to do much for anything.. hell they just let you buy a close to max level character now..

    Also for anyone wondering.. Questing is BY FAR the fastest way to 60.. quest and kill everything you see on the way to new quests.

  25. I feel like the more recent iteration of wow provides less variation in character creation. Talent trees allowed for a broader set of options for each character type.

  26. Oh shit. The part about more practical (yet prescribed) ways to achieve goals, vs fewer practical (but technically more options) ways… suddenly really reminded me about people who passionately argue against highly regulating certain industries or systems (like healthcare, education). You've got to mesh strongly enough with the actual emergent system, and feel it was your choice from a wider theoretical range of systems, to really enjoy it. I see certain Americans online saying things like "you Europeans like your governments to tell you what to do, like what hospital you choose when you get sick", and while I'm not presuming that's a particularly widespread view, I think it is a very interesting one. Plenty of Americans also only have one genuine choice for what hospital they use, or the choice may be out of 0 hospitals for them. So the technical distinction of which part of their life circumstances, their government or some company, is actually making that restriction.

    Kind of just ran out of ramble there, don't have a big overarching point or anything, but uh yeah.

  27. Oh dear, YouTube just recommended me a response video from the guy who talked about no changes, your face will be a square, that guy. It's almost twice as long as your video, and the thumbnail says VS in big letters like you're some opponent.. and he chose a picture of you mid saying something while he gets a selfie looking thoughtful. I'm not going to bother to watch it, shouty men tire me – your clips were borderline tolerable for me – but those are all red flags on their own. If anyone watches it and finds out it's not a "clip – quick response – clip – another quick response" style video, hey let me know and I'll be pleasantly surprised.

  28. i havent watched yet but if you don't mention city of heroes in this video even once, I'm going to feel really lonely about that


    New viewer, not gonna spend 40 minutes of my life on this and you failed to capture a new viewer interested in your content

  30. 29:50 "This toxicity is actually a deliberate design choice"… Sooo they want poeple to be hostile to eachother, why would they otherwise make poeple interact?
    His comment makes no sense. People can just be nice you know.

  31. The comparison is kind of weird with EQ, if only because EQ2 came out around the same time as WoW. And it did carry a lot of the QoL features that WoW had, only the vast majority of EQ players rejected it. Like, starting as a warrior archetype lead to just going to the warrior trainer and learning from them till level 20 or whatever before moving/finding the proper class trainer for the more minutia spells at higher levels.

  32. I think I liked classic WoW, not because the new game is bad, but because I stopped playing for over ten years and when I came back i did not recognise anything, I didn't know how to play optimally, what the good classes, spells, items were. It's not that the game left me behind, I left the game behind and it just went on without me.

  33. I played WoW , have max lvl characters and played ESO and i think ESO is 5x times better mmo rpg then wow !

  34. After having played classic now, there is no doubt in my mind that some where along the way wow lost its charm. Because i have not enjoyed wow this much since early wrath

  35. The good thing about classic wow is that it wasn't as streamlined or bogged down with stupid shit like modern wow is.

  36. I played WoW in the day and come and gone from it. My lament is a few things that felt like they left them behind story wise or a few mechanic effects. Like a ranged slot and hunters having specialty ammunition. Some of the current feels like it has been simplified. And I get informed of full resets of my skills pretty much every time something new comes along it seems. Because they changed it, again. So classic has some appeal. I just hope they kept the new textures.
    I have heard that some aspects that pop up from the game like the stat 'squishing' comes from it having an older engine and it can't handle big numbers. That is an 'I heard' not and 'I know'. Please put away the pitchforks.
    But there is one thing about WoW I do still love. Take your level 100+ character where the foes are less than 60. They are not magically made to match you or you watered down so they are a 'challenge'. You curbstomp them. So you can see that levelling to the top meant something.

  37. Great video. Your rule of 3rds talking head composition is bothering me though because you're not overlaying the negative space with any additional graphic so it appears under-utilized.

  38. You try to create the illusion that you are neutral but you seem to have a grip against those wanting to return to classic WoW which are demonstrated in your straw man jabs at them. Such as when you point out the servers where limited to one raid group at a time or they might crash if two groups do the raid then poke fun of the Change Nothing slogan.

    You are presenting the Straw man of those who don't want change as not wanting better servers or connection speeds on the back end. And then including it as part of a false dichotomy by implying that new servers are a change to the game and thus if they want classic wow they must also want poor servers and inet infrastructure as well.

    Yeah sure classic had it's flaws, along with every other MMO, but that doesn't mean that in Blizzard's constant quest to reinvent the wheel they didn't lose some things along the way. Though I think the thing it and many others lost was that sense of wander of open world as all the hand holding quest shuffle players from one point to another when combined with the inherent issue of lowers zones becoming ghost towns as the game matures.

    It is in this regard that many MMOs become more like cultural events where you can't really go back. It's like any other cultural event such as when a show is really popular, like Game of Thrones or Walking Dead, everyone is talking about it and you just click with those around you also in the know. But if you stumble across them later there is no longer the same feeling as you may talk to those who were engaged at the height of it but now it's old news and the experience feels more solitary. This is an issue with pretty much all MMOs as they mature. GW2 tried to combat that with lvl scaling but the result was everything felt easy and bland.

    As for the daily task which are heavily used in mobile and F2P games as a way to keep people invested with the feeling they will lose out if they don't do it every day. As you mention in your video though things eventually start to feel like an obligation rather than a choice. This along with various other changes to the genre is why I don't play MMOs anymore.

    I would love to see a non-theme park MMO. EQ Next looked like a great chance to get something along those lines as it had the tools to let player make whatever in a sort of Minecraft building system.

  39. The trend for games to turn into just a job troubles me. I played WoW back when it came out thought one or two expansions. But I became utterly bored. I don't know why it is seemingly impossible for game makers to make a world where it's not on a structured script, just do the thing you want to do and you progress. Some ways move faster than others but do what you like and you still move on. And it's not impossible UO and Asherons call were very close. I played UO as a miner and blacksmith for 2 years. First just mining for cash and then later teaching people to mine for me so I could blacksmith. Protecting my miners from PvP players when thy had troubles at the mine and calling in Guilds for which I repair and replace thier gear to help me protect the miners as needed. And I had a blast doing it. UO could have used some structured paths as well but I remember that game much more fondly. Had they done just a bit more to take away the advantages of being a player killer it would have had sequels going to this day.

  40. Ive had this discussion with friends more times then I can count, but the thing about Vanilla and retail is the old difference between who wants more hardcore gaming and who wants casual play. And I think Dan kinda brush away what I thing are the real strugles in Vanilla, it is not the game play but the fact that even if you leveled uo fast, sometimes you couldn't pay for new skills. Other stuff that made Vanilla more hard is that if you want to change your skills it cost something. Im not a hardcore gamer, but when I play RPGs (mmo,JRPG, Table RPG) I don't mind some challenges along the way.

  41. One thing I've found fascinating about retail & classic is how it almost reflects the development of society. Today we have much depression in society which might be partly due to too much instant gratification but probably also because of lower social interaction as a result of technology. And isn't that much of the problem with retail which is why people like classic better? That we get everything handed to us and there is no interaction with other players.

  42. I'll pick it up and play again if they implement BC talents with a level cap of 60, and if they go back and finish some storylines and zones that were never finished cough azshara *cough*.
    Add some way of mixing it up. As much as I liked the content from 2004 – 2006…. i've been there… I've done that. I don't really need to go back and do it all over again.
    But give me some twists to it…. without changing the fundamentals… and I'm all over that.
    They could easily just designate servers this way, if you want ZERO changes… play on the zero changes server (complete with fake loot lag and everything)…. if you want some remixing and tweaks that objectively make the game better (more tanking classes than just warriors)…. then play on another type of server.

  43. Classic is so bad that it tripled subscriptions for blizzard… Everything in bfa is amazing and there is soooo much to do? Having a bunch of dumb and boring stuff to do where you are an overpowered "hero" doesn't make for a good time. Retail wow is a bad game currently, hopefully they catch on and stop pushing this hollow feeling content.

  44. subbed. I have no complaints about this video, this is SO well spoken. It's nice to have games be slower because I really don't enjoy the players who are "GOGOGOGOGO". The ZOOMERS! The ones that have no patience at all. That's my biggest complaint, the community. I love to go fast but it's like some kids don't understand pacing and they only understand one speed. These ZOOMERS don't seem to understand that you can sustain great time without being cracked out on 5 redbulls saying "GOGOGOGOGO". That's my only complaint, the damn ZOOMERS!

  45. The biggest issue I think modern WoW faces is that in a single player MMO, you can leave your mark on the world. Your decisions matter and they have game altering consequences. This is simply not possible in an MMO without making the world incredibly disconnected and takes away form the multiplayer experience. If you need an example look no further than Garrisons.
    This is further observed in how the story integrates into the game. Because Blizzard have a story they want to tell, you end up being a relatively minor character in their story rather than forging your own story. And due to this even when they do try to give your character a major role it actually makes even less sense due to the same lack of agency.

    How can I be the champion of Azeroth and still be running around killing murlocs for some guy who has no idea who I am?
    Why do other major characters have their own named weapons and distinctive armour, yet I, the champion, basically end up wearing whatever mishmash of shit that happens to have the highest ilvl?

    I don't think that everything needs to make 100% logical sense, but it's quite often you find that changes don't make sense at one level or another. Such as changes made for gameplay reasons which don't make much sense within the lore or the class/spec. Or the opposite, where changes are made for lore reasons which make little sense mechanically. An example of either/both depending on how you look at it could be void elves, while they've tried their best to have it make some sort of sense. To me, it feels extremely forced and rushed as if they just needed something to balance against the horde having the Nightborne.

    Where Classic is too loose with the concepts of how classes should play, retail is far too tight. There's very little room for theorycrafting and experimentation because Blizzard have done the bulk of it for you. Itemisation and professions have been simplified to the point where you're just looking at stat weights and there's barely any (if any) soft caps which might make you think about your items.

    I do object to one other thing in this video though, and that is the grinding aspect. The main difference between Classic and Retail is that the grinding is spread out across the experience more in Classic. In retail they can't have that because if they did you would have far less to do once you hit max level which comprises 99% of your playtime. So the way I see it, once you hit max level all of the grinding hits you at once. Repetitively doing world Quests for rep is a grind, repetitively doing islands for AP is a grind, repetitively doing dungeons for titanforges is a grind. And most of these grinds in retail have some combination of RNG, diminishing returns or timegates of one sort or another.

    The way I would sum up retail is that never has there been so many options for things to do that I've cared so little about. Grinding away at time-gated content only for it to effectively reset once the timegate lifts is not appealing to me.

    I'm not here to say that Classic doesn't have a long list of faults of which many were resolved and improved upon throughout the expansions, but there are definitely things that have been introduced which take away from the experience too, and one of those things is definitely the heavily curated nature of the content provided.

    I feel like retail WoW is caught between two worlds where it will offer the best of neither.

  46. The player conveniences in the game, reduce player interaction. It does suck and there is little engagement in a social game when you take the path of least resistance in which designedsystems in the game let you do so. So yes, in the end, there is something wrong, not with the player, but with the game itself when you can just quietly jump into dungeon finder and say nothing, hacking away at almost nothing.

  47. Why is it a problem that people who put more time in the game get rewarded with more stuff? I don't see that also necessarily being a problem. There are already lockouts, new dungeons and equipment in vanilla that act as roadblocks or catch up progression in the game. I thought the best middleground was BC where players that spent immense amount of time can get attuned for some of the hardest content and players that cannot have the time simply couldn't access or are limited to the content/loot/etc that can get to.

    I understand there needs to be some curb, but what it was is just fine. Now everyone can get anything outside of a few aesthetic rarities.

  48. The Syllogism:-

    A – Hard games are good

    B – I like wow

    C – I like good games

    Conclusion: Because I like WoW it must be good. Therefor difficult


    Either premise A is malformed or the conclusion doesn't neccesarily follow from the premises.


    1. I think Premise A may have a hidden "Only" in the beginning of the premise, so it says "Only hard games are god", but if that is the case, then I disagree with premise A and therefor I reject the syllogism.

    2. If there is not supposed to be a hidden "only" in the beginning of premise A, then the conclusion doesn't neccesarily follow from the premises and thus we can reject the conclusion. Because the premise doesn't exclude easy games. Iif premise A does not limit the "good games" go "hard games" you cannot conclude that WoW MUST be hard because it is good.

    Unless the syllogism is mended, I reject it.

  49. You misunderstood a few things about classic and, I think, about MMOs. Let me lay out my thoughts.

    Grinding means killing enemies over and over again rather than doing something else. I've read the WoW Diary, so I know that killing enemies and getting loot was the core gameplay loop. Grinding, whether as an individual or grinding dungeons, is the purest form of that. Learning an area, getting better and better at handling the enemies and predicting spawns, has a unique entertainment to it. It's why so many players loved the Gnoll Fangs quest in EverQuest – it gave them a perfect excuse to grind. And grinding shows up in other beloved games that aren't MMOs, such as Diablo 2. There's a reason why grinding is a lasting, core mechanic in JRPGs. If grinding doesn't feel good in your MMORPG, then that means either your combat or your loot system needs work. You may not personally enjoy grinding, but many people do.

    You correctly noted that classic wow contains many illusions. Included in those is the illusion of choice. The developers deliberately created bad items so that players would feel good about finding and choosing to use good ones. Again, this is in the WoW Diary. But just because it's an illusion doesn't mean it's a good idea to dismantle it. I've never heard of anyone getting tired of watching movies or reading novels just because they know it isn't "real." Modern WoW has gotten rid of bad items, and as a result there are no good items. You cannot have good items without bad items.

    The same point applies to class balance. In classic, every class is overpowered in at least one regard and absolutely trash in at least one other. Warriors are great if you have a healer at all times. Rogues are great at dealing damage, but only to one target at a time and only in melee. Mages are great if you don't mind that one mistake will get you killed faster than you can "blink." Because classes have strengths and weaknesses, there are such things as good dps classes, good solo classes, good node farming classes. In modern WoW, everyone is good at every role they can fill, and therefore no one is.

    You correctly noted that modern WoW has so much content that it feels overwhelming. What you didn't note is that Blizzard decides ahead of time exactly how you're supposed to tackle that content and how long it's going to take you. Whether through adding additional tasks that you can only complete once per week or day (such as heroics and daily quests) or carefully controlling drop rates on items, Blizzard has gotten the practice of directing play down to a science. What that means is that you, the player, don't get to make choices. Blizzard already made them for you. And that feels awful. In classic, Blizzard never decided that there were going to be BRD arena runs, or that it should be possible for players to do princess or tribute runs, or that it should be possible for rogues and druids to group for a stealth LBRS key run. Players figured that stuff out themselves. More control means less fun. Less control means more chaos and more potential for game breaking shenanigans, but also more fun. Just look at the success of Skyrim to understand this.

    Lastly, classic WoW had tons of hidden content and hidden mechanics. These things are wonderful not only for creating a sense of mystery but also a sense of mastery. Make no mistake; games should allow players to master them and should be difficult enough for players to feel great doing it. You don't realize how hard classic WoW was at the time for someone who never played it before. You don't remember how good it felt to learn the secrets and master the mechanics. WoW was like Dark Souls in this regard, a punishing but fair game that felt great to master. It could have been more like that, and it would have been to the game's credit. But Blizzard slowly took away the system mastery and de-emphasized the mystery in order to streamline players down predetermined paths.

    Classic WoW is far from perfect. But people are willing to play it because it has soemthing that the modern version of WoW lacks. For lack of a better way to put it, classic WoW has soul, and that soul was lost over time.

  50. Interesting vid, but I disagree with some of the points regarding classic. I personally much prefer it to retail and the whole honesty with its content thing struck me only as a negative

  51. The problem with modern WoW is too much things going on. People don't have the time to create natural content, player induced content (like world pvp, City raids etc.).
    You don't have anything to do? Well boost some of your friends, do things for other players = BOOM COMMUNITY. People can't relax and enjoy just loggin in, without having milions of small chores.

  52. Long, drawn out video beating every dead horse that should've been left in archived forum posts. Nothing new or interesting here.

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