With the popularity of remasters over the past few years, gamers have received gifts of nostalgia, wrapped in shiny new features. Thanks to developers we are seeing some of our favourite childhood games with enhanced graphics, re-recorded soundtracks, and even reworked controls and interfaces. With games like Dark Souls, Crash Bandicoot, and the soon to be released Spyro Reignited Trilogy; the remaster trend does not seem to be faltering anytime soon.
Blizzard has recently jumped on the bandwagon with their own announcement of Warcraft III: Reforged. With Blizzard’s vast library of games and hordes of die hard fans, it’s easy to see why the company has chosen to capitalise on the remaster trend – not including the fan disappointment around the lack of a Diablo remaster announcement this year.
However, Blizzard has also deviated from this trend in their own way. Due to the fact that some WoW fans prefer to reminisce about the days of Vanilla WoW, Blizzard decided to announce the release of World of Warcraft Classic.
Introducing the World of Warcraft Classic Demo
Instead of having the updated systems of modern WoW, players get to experience the good old days with dedicated servers that say goodbye to all the graphical improvements, quality-of-life updates, and the other changes made to long-standing game since its release in 2004.
Thanks to the WoW Classic demo being included in the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, I was able to dive into this famously nostalgic version of the MMORPG with a distinct lack of nostalgia. I am relatively new to the world of Azeroth in comparison to many other players and I didn’t have the opportunity to experience WoW in its younger days.
Friends have told me of the adventures they had during World of Warcraft‘s early life and most of the time, I nod and wish I could share in those memories as it seems to be a great example of a game that influenced many players to eventually love gaming.
Round One – The Human Paladin
When I loaded up WoW Classic and sat in the character creation menu, I breathed a sigh of relief as I knew I wouldn’t spent over an hour creating my character. With such a limited amount of customisation options, I was able to dive into the game relatively quickly. With my newly created Human Paladin, I was ready to take on the mobs in Westfall.
Little did I know, I would become painfully aware of how brutal Vanilla WoW can be. I was warned that choosing Paladin wasn’t the best choice early on, as players zone into the game at the low level of 15, but I was determined to play a class I was familiar with.
After about an hour of trying to collect eight Gnoll paws and collecting only three, plus too many deaths to a pack of Riverpaw Brutes and Bandits, I gave up. None of the holy blessings were going to save me.
Round 2 – The Gnome Warrior
I had seen the complaints from other reviewers about the lack of quest markers, the painstaking time it took to kill mobs, and the journey that was trying to get from Point A to Point B.
As someone who is accustomed to the fast-paced nature of the current game, WoW Classic was jarring at first. However, as time passed I came to realise the benefits of a slower gaming experience.
I was able to take in the vastness of Westfall’s landscape – especially the grassy fields of Sentinel Hill and the rocky interior of Jangolode Mine. I was able to appreciate certain details in the world, while few and far between, as whenever I came across a haystack or a building, I truly looked at it.
The quests themselves were a grind, requiring me to read and sit through the scrolling text from each NPC, but the satisfaction felt from finally slaying 15 Defias Trappers, 15 Defias Smugglers and leveling up was refreshing.
The longer I played, the more I felt immersed in the environment and gameplay, and the more I wanted to play.
WoW Classic is indeed directed at the more hardcore player looking to have a bit more difficulty in their gaming experience, with combat sitting on the more challenging end of the scale and talents and skills requiring more thought. Some players, like myself, who aren’t familiar with the old class setup may find the game to be a bit too different in some aspects. However, it is something that can be learned and appreciated with a bit of practice.
I recognise that I am definitely a casual player of World of Warcraft and being able to sit back and take the game in at my own pace is fine with me. While that may not be the preferred type of playstyle for others, as a person who does not mind the level grind in MMOs, WoW Classic seems to be something I would consider playing more of, especially with friends.
The chance to go on an adventure with your friends and to actually find and talk to other players in order to tackle dungeons is appealing. What I mean is that, by fostering and being able to experience that sense of community which veteran players seem to reflect on when talking about WoW back in 2004, even non-veteran and new players can possibly find a new experience that will make this old version of WoW appealing.
When World of Warcraft Classic releases in full next Winter, it will be released in staggered patches, with raids and content being released over time. To get more details on what will be coming in WoW Classic make sure to have a look at Blizzard’s official recap of the game’s BlizzCon panel.