Classic servers were announced a long while ago at BlizzCon along with the Battle for Azeroth announcment. But I think that slowly my thoughts on them are starting to crystallize as someone who played on a private Classic server.
In the end I’ll probably check Legion out as well, though as usual it’ll probably be mostly to see the leveling experience and checking out the dungeons a few times. Sure, maybe I’ll poke my head in to LFR as well, but eh, it doesn’t really seem all that interesting. Might as well watch some of the livestreams for that.Me, 2015
How little I knew at the time.
Are Classic servers a good idea?
I think so, yes. There’s clearly quite a lot of pent up demand from them considering how much the community has been clamoring for them for a long time. Also considering that new private Classic servers keep popping up as old ones get closed clearly shows it’s something people are willing to work on to keep alive and something people want to play.
They also provide an outlet for people who love World of Warcraft and want to keep playing it, but have gotten tired of the current content or mechanics. Being able to play the original form might very well re-ignite their love for the game—looking at the quote above, that’s certainly what it did for me. Playing Classic on Nostalrius was what made me have another proper go at Warlords of Draenor and actually try to like it and learn the new mechanics. Here we are a couple of years later with Legion accounting for something like half of my /played on my main that I’ve had since Classic.
Sure that’s also down to Legion being a really good expansion and the people I’ve met while playing, but without Nostalrius and being able to play something I know I love I’m not sure I’d given Legion (and Warlords) the same chance.
What could go wrong?
The implementation. This is something Blizzard is extremely aware off, but it might still go wrong. The question is: what, if anything, do you change? Now with StarCraft: Remastered, they changed a few things: the lobby system for multiplayer (from what I know) is now integrated with the new Battle.net, Battle.net friends are now to a degree accessible in-game through whispers and the like, and finally the big obvious thing: the graphics.
Now the graphics along with better resolution support were the obvious change that people wanted with SC:R and that’s what they got and from what I know people are quite happy with that. With WoW however, the situation might be different since we have already gotten new textures and character models with expansions and they are not universally loved and would quite significantly alter the feel of the game. Resolution support is already up to par from what I know, since WoW is a 3D game anyway so resolution restrictions aren’t a thing in the same extent as with a sprite-based game. I personally would hope for updated textures in higher resolution with no model changes.
Another innocent seeming change might be Battle.net integration, I mean who wouldn’t want to be able to talk to their friends? At the same time, that was unavailable in Classic and actually really encouraged server communities. And if we have Battle.net, do we get cross-server group support? While it is a really nice feature to have, it does erode the importance of the server and the reputation one can build there. So seemingly innocent changes can come with big consequences for the feel of the game which makes the whole thing something of a mine-field which is probably why it has taken Blizzard so long to start working on this. I would like Battle.net integration in order to be able to keep chatting with people who aren’t necessarily playing on a Classic server but any cross-realm features beyond that I don’t think fit.
Then we come to the less innocent changes, like LFD and LFR. Both of those seem like a somewhat obvious “no way” to me, but at the same time they might be something people expect. And what about the LFG-tool, does that belong in the same category? It’s a lot more convenient than spamming chat channels but it also doesn’t allow for the same kind of spontaneous activity. Most of my dungeon runs in Classic came from chilling in a city and seeing some group going somewhere looking for more and me just deciding to join. That doesn’t really happen with the LFG-tool in the same way as I have to actively open the tool and decide what I’m looking for (the category if nothing else). I don’t really see a place for any of these tools on a Classic server, but we’ll see what Blizzard comes up with along with the community.
Am I going to play on a Classic server?
Now for the real question. I think the short of it is: no. That comes with some caveats however—am I going to at least try a Classic server? Yes, almost definitely. However I do not see myself playing on a Classic server long term at the moment as playing two MMOs at the same is just a huge time investment and I have kind of done most of the things I wanted to achieve in Classic.
Sure, there are things I never did that would be nice to achieve—like clearing the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj and Naxxramas—however the path to those things would include doing all of the content I’ve done which would require regular raiding which depends on a guild. And I’m really enjoying only having three raid-days at the moment, introducing another guild with more raid-days is not really something I’m planning on. Now if the Classic servers get released at the end-lull of Battle for Azeroth where I only have one day a week of farm left, that might change. But I highly doubt Classic servers would take priority over the current expansion servers for me which would make it difficulty to do the content I’m interested in and enjoy.
Unless maybe I decide I hate the current direction of the game and decide to go back to something old and familiar again, but I hope I have grown past that and that I can be a bit less stubborn these days. Sometimes being stubborn is good, but when it’s preventing one from enjoying something one wants to enjoy it’s not very helpful.
Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing how Classic servers turn out and at least taking them for a spin—I’ll let future-me be the final judge and keep an open mind for now.