It’s time for another installment of Unpopular Opinion Hour with your host, Fussypants! Today, we discuss a topic that had some responding with cries of joy and others responding with howls of hate. You guessed it, we’re discussing World of Warcraft: Classic!
I’ve avoided the topic thus far, but I think it’s time to finally address one of the larger announcements from Blizzcon – Classic servers. For many, this was the biggest highlight of the Blizzcon weekend, culminating years of impassioned pleas and perhaps even private servers. My opinion on this piece of news, however, is rather… mixed.
Personally, and this is truly a purely personal view that I do not wish to force on anyone else, I don’t really see the point of Classic servers. The game has evolved, changed, and, I would argue, gotten hundreds of times better over the years and I just don’t get the excitement in going back. However, I want to be clear here, what I’m writing about is absolutely and completely my own opinion. You may agree or disagree with me as much as you’d like. I know the Vanilla Warcraft discussion is one that frequently becomes vitriolic, and I want to do my best to avoid that here. This is Unpopular Opinion Hour after all, so I totally realize that not all feel the same way I do.
A lot of my disinterest in Vanilla probably stems from the fact that, despite playing since the Burning Crusade, I don’t have a lot of nostalgic feelings for the older expansions of the games. They were fun while I was playing them, absolutely, but inevitably, whatever came after them was even more fun. Burning Crusade, for example, was fun because it was new to me, not because the game itself was all that fun. I have distinct memories of spending hours trying to find quest locations, selling off gear so I could pay to buy arrows, and struggling to find food that my pet would eat. I loved the world and I loved the atmosphere of the game, but the mechanics themselves were clunky and, at times, frustrating.
However, I will readily admit, I was definitely younger back in the Burning Crusade. A lot younger. Some stuff that found difficult then, I most likely would be able to do with ease now. Not just because of my experience in the game, but because it’s a lot more difficult for a kid to figure out the intricacies of a video game than it is for a young adult to do so. I recognize this. But, I also don’t think that my opinion is any less valid for this. Nostalgia is predominantly based off of emotional impact rather than logic, after all, and the emotional impact that I got from the older expansions in Warcraft was not nearly as rosy-colored.
I strongly believe that every expansion has brought better and better quality of life changes to the game, to the point where I don’t think I could go back to playing without them. Things like dual specialization and the mount tab, cross-account items and the dungeon journal, transmogrification and the new character models, all of that would be gone on a true Vanilla server. That’s like… having a sports car and then going back to your Big Wheel. Sure, there’s a lot of charm and memories to your Big Wheel. But your sports car can go farther, faster, and is arguably more fun to take out for a spin.
Before Blizzard had announced Classic realms, my lack of nostalgia paired with a solidly Lawful Good alignment had meant that I was very much against the use of private vanilla servers. I wrote a rather fiery piece about it many moons ago (which I am not going to link now because it was perhaps a touch too zealous). I stand by what I said then, although I might amend the tone to be less antagonistic. But now that Blizzard themselves is creating a Classic Warcraft expansion, a lot of my earlier concerns about property theft go out the window.
I suppose in that sense, I am actually happy that Blizzard has decided to make an official version. Private servers really, really bothered me on an ethical level, which was only heightened by the way in which people tried to defend them. Now that Vanilla WoW is being made by the company who actually owns the intellectual property, I feel a big part of that problem is immediately gone. Private server membership will undoubtedly shrink. That sort of black market for the Classic WoW experience will be greatly reduced by the presence of a sanctioned version.
One thing still bothers me though. When talking to a friend about the introduction of Classic servers, he mentioned something along the lines that the people who’d produced a major (illegal) Vanilla Legacy server had been brought onto the team to help develop World of Warcraft: Classic (I do not know if this information is factual or not, but the point was compelling enough to bring up now). While it makes sense from a logistical standpoint, it doesn’t sit well with me that the people who knowingly broke the rules to create a private server are now being rewarded by working on this with Blizzard. Their past actions aren’t retroactively in the right.
That, however, is an issue for another day.
All in all, I think one essential question remains: “Will I poke around on Classic Servers at all?” My response is a solid Maybe. I definitely know I won’t end up transferring over full time. Largely due to the reasons given above, but also, I can’t play a draenei in Vanilla WoW! I need mah purple space lady! But I might potentially create a toon just to see the original quests (since I hardly remember any of them). That’s a big ‘If’ though; I haven’t even gotten around to leveling up a Horde character for the past two expansions and a Classic toon would be even lower priority. I’m simply not all that excited for the Vanilla experience.
But hey, if Classic servers are your jam, definitely go wild! Just because I don’t like a thing, doesn’t mean I want to keep everyone else from liking it. And once you either decide to come return or just come visit the world of Draenei, Pandaren, Death Knights, Demon Hunters, and more, I’ll still be here. 🙂