Sunday, 17 February 2019

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Blizzard Has Some Major Decisions to make About Classic WoW

The World of Warcraft community is buzzing about the recent announcement for Classic Servers for World of Warcraft. There is a lot of discussion going around about how they should be implemented down to the most minute details of leaving bugs in the game that were there all those years ago.


Currently, WoW is a completely different game and a vast majority of the players currently subscribed probably didn’t play during Vanilla. Generally, people don’t understand the incredible grinds you had to do back in the day. The game was new and revolutionary at the time and firmly cemented it’s place as the most played MMO for over a decade.


There is a debate going around with varying opinions on how the Classic Servers should be implemented. For one section of people called purists by Preach Gaming, they will want the game experience unchanged. Be sure to check out his great analysis of the situation here.


 One person on this end of the discussion is popular WoW content creator and Twitch streamer Asmongold. Another section of people will want minor changes such as bug fixes, but leave the core game content in place. The final group will want a modernized version of Classic WoW. You can see his opinion here.


The underlying question at the core of this debate seems to be this. Will Vanilla WoW’s revolutionary and groundbreaking game play experience hold up today? I think that is a fair question, but has a complicated, but definitive answer. Yes, but there are a couple things I want to explore to help give a better perspective. This is my opinion, just to be clear.


The game play experience will hold up, but not for the majority of players. You can take looks at other games like Runescape 2007 to get a good representation of how this will play out. Many people will play the game and try it out, but a vast majority of those players won’t stick around. The game is too clunky, old, or time consuming for them. I do think think that the amount of people that will enjoy pure Classic WoW will be larger than people think. Nostalgia is a strong thing.


Another example is people who speedrun. They are playing games that are vastly outdated. I don’t think being outdated makes a game bad. I still regularly go back and play games such as Ocarina of Time. Which in this case had a remake done for the Nintendo 3ds. Nintendo made a near perfect remake with a few, small, important changes.


There is an obvious fear of change. Many players make the case that if anything is changed it isn’t Vanilla WoW anymore. It’s something else. Where should the line be drawn if changes are made? If you look at Blizzard’s HD rendition of StarCraft you will get a good idea of what route they will probably take. I think that Blizzard will be able to make solid decisions regarding this.


Blizzard doesn’t have a perfect option here. The crowd that worked the hardest to make this happen is now in the minority on this subject it seems. I find it most likely that Blizzard will make small noninvasive changes to their Classic Servers. I am certain Blizzard will do nothing to make the content easier. This would be an awful decision. I don’t think Blizzard will do anything to affect the core game play, but Blizzard has the complete right to make balance changes.


For Blizzard, it seems like the best option is to appeal to the majority crowd, slightly. By this I mean to make small changes to the game that improve quality of life, but to not add new features. Players want the old experience and anything like LFD or other features would ruin that experience. Asking the question “Would players want this?” when they run into something would be a good strategy. For example with mages. “Would players find it fun to not learn their final ranking of a spell because it costs too much mana?” Probably not, but then it’s not Vanilla. Hopefully, you see the conflict now.


I think this a chance for Blizzard to revisit their starting point for World of Warcraft, and to make small, noninvasive changes and bug fixes to make a modern day classic WoW experience that new and old players will both enjoy. I think that the purists will still play Classic WoW even if changes are made. I don’t think the majority of people will play Classic WoW if no changes are made. Those changes shouldn’t be massive and shouldn’t change the core gameplay, but should improve the experience and fun for players all the while not adding new features.


I wanted to leave you with a video of a SoupaSoka’s opinion on Youtube. He had not played World of Warcraft since about 6 months into The Burning Crusade, and hopped on to play Legion in March of this year. If there is any true purist out there it is this guy. I found his opinion really insightful and smart. He doesn’t want any changes, but here are the changes he expects.


Whatever Blizzard decides to do, they won’t be able to make everyone happy. It will be exciting to see how they proceed with the design process for Classic WoW. What are your opinions on how Classic WoW servers should be implemented. Zero changes, minor tweaks, or massive changes? Let me know in the comments.



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