Most of the blogging and Twittering MMO world is talking about World of Warcraft Classic, with all the recent hubbub about name reservations. My advanced Googling skills tell me that it launches on August 27th.
I personally have never been interested in WoW Classic, have never yearned for the “good old days” of World of Warcraft, and have no idea why anyone would want such a thing. The Vanilla game engine was clearly inferior to the modern engine, which leaves nostalgia as the only reason to play. But I never played in a WoW guild, never did any raiding or dungeons, never formed any lifelong Internet friendships or married anyone in-game. WoW came along well *after* my “nostalgia days” of Internet gaming. I’ve been ignoring the whole thing.
Yesterday I thought, “You know, it only costs $15 for a subscription, and then I too can witness the train wreck … I mean, glorious splendor that will be the first couple of days of WoW Classic in real time.”
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see the opening days of these servers, which will be the best part. As we observed from RIFT Prime and Legendary Lord of the Rings Online, 75% of the fun of a “progression” server takes place in the first two days, 20% of the fun takes place in the remainder of the first week, and the last 5% of the fun oozes out over the remainder of the player’s time before they eventually leave from boredom, typically between one and two months later.
Note: Percentages are approximate.
I wish there was a way to buy a one week subscription for WoW, because I’m sure I won’t play longer than that. I loved Vanilla RIFT a lot more than WoW but I only played RIFT Prime for a week or so before I couldn’t take it anymore. (In my defense, they messed up the leveling curve which made it far more of chore to play beyond level 25 than it ever was in the original game.)
I will probably play a Hunter in WoW Classic, because I remember that being the only class that was possible to play solo in Vanilla WoW. It will probably take a very, very long time to get through the first zones because of overcrowding and competition for resources, and it will probably be annoying and frustrating.
The only good that will come from this is perhaps a couple of hours of videos to document the experience for me to look at 20 years from now. I can’t even really imagine writing a blog post about it, because I can’t think of any angle to approach the subject that wouldn’t sound identical to every other blog post. Happy, sad, grateful, comical, angry, zealous, nostalgic, idealistic, realistic, cynical, ironic-there will be hundreds of blog posts and videos covering the entire spectrum of reactions.
But the first day or two will probably be really fun to play, and it’s hard to resist that. It’s a significant MMO cultural event, along the lines of the Lord of the Rings Mordor expansion, or the City of Heroes rogue servers (or so I imagine, since I haven’t played on them). This one is probably the most significant MMO cultural event. It’s like missing a total solar eclipse.
And this is one of the rare opportunities to get in on a World of Warcraft launch event where you don’t have to buy a $50 expansion. You only have to subscribe for a month. $15 seems pretty steep for a two-day or a one-week gaming event-at least for me, who doesn’t actually have a job at the moment-but in relative terms it’s pretty cheap. And hey, I can play “real” WoW as well. Ha! Just kidding. I obviously won’t do that. Ha! Or maybe I will. I don’t know if I will or not.
For reference, if memory serves, the first time I played World of Warcraft was right around the time of the version that they are using for this WoW Classic release. I first played soon after that South Park episode, which was toward the end of the Vanilla era. (Oh yeah, I forgot I recovered my first posts about WoW from 2006, which was the first time I had played an MMORPG since an online hiatus starting in about 2000.) So I’ll be starting out in 2019 almost exactly the way I started in 2006.
I stopped playing Vanilla as soon as I scrimped and scraped enough gold to buy a level 40 mount, which took me until about level 45. The game did not magically change or improve in any way after obtaining a mount, it was an entirely artificial milestone that I had constructed in my head, and the massive disappointment in the lack of a transformative experience was enough to drive me away from the game for many years.
I don’t really have a point with this post, except to write about a current game and publicly announce that I will most likely subscribe and play WoW Classic on the 27th.
But I won’t be preparing for it in any way, I won’t be reading up on the best classes to play, I won’t be looking at any guides or videos or streams. I won’t be hanging out on any forums or reddits. I won’t be joining any guilds, because I won’t be the slightest bit helpful to a group with my Hunter’s pet accidentally pulling mobs right and left, so there’s no point. I won’t be doing any dungeons or raids. I won’t have the slightest bit of emotional investment in whether I’m Alliance or Horde. I will just run WoW on the launch day and passively observe the cultural phenomenon with a cold, distant, scientific detachment.