A Classic Walk Back in Time

This is likely to be the only post I make on the topic of WoW Classic, but I am very happy with this video and had a great time making it. It was fun to go back and get as close as I could to recreating a memorable – and tedious – moment from Warcraft history. I am a person who is heavily affected my nostalgia, and I definitely felt it when I remade Aurashot as she was about 14 years ago and logged into the Night Elf starting zone of Shadowglen. Even though all the WoW Classic videos that show the original game developers talking about the magic of “coming home” are totally cheesy, there is a bit of magic when you log back into a world that’s as close of a recreation of the original as it’s going to get. It brings to mind the memories that I made and places I got to explore because of this character I made one day in what was, at least at the time, just an MMORPG. In a lot of ways I grew up with this game that at the same time also grew and evolved with each new expansion and story development. Even though I do not see myself playing WoW Classic in any serious capacity, for reasons that I will talk about, the nostalgia effect has definitely worked on me and has brought with it some emotions.

The Point of it All

First off, before I delve into the deeper part of this post, I should probably explain why I made this video. Back in 2005 there were only 2 major continents on Azeroth – Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. Each race in World of Warcraft has a starting zone located on one of those two continents, and Eastern Kingdoms has some major hubs like Stormwind City and Ironforge. Now, back in those days, players couldn’t learn the Riding skill until level 40 and even when they did become eligible to ride mounts they had to pay for both the skill and a mount. I don’t remember how much it cost to learn the skill but I believe a mount – say a horse – cost around 100 gold, which was a lot. My point is that being able to get increased movement speed was much more difficult than it is in WoW today. I’m not even going to talk about the mount that level 1 characters can use, although it has decreased speed than a normal mount.

Players who created Night Elf characters and wanted to get over to where Stormwind City and Elwynn Forest was, had to run there on foot from the Kalimdor continent. Many people made this journey at a very low level, much lower than the levels of enemies inhabiting the zones they had to run through. In the video we started our run on fresh level 1 characters, but in usually people waited until about level 5 when they were finished with the beginning tutorial area. PvP added to the danger of this run for players who were on PvP realms, which meant that when they ran through Contested zones they were easy prey for members of the opposing faction. We created characters on a PvP realm for this video but never ran into any Horde, although we were on a low population realm.

We also commonly had to “corpse-run” through the Wetlands zone, which was probably the most dangerous place we had to run through given that enemies there were around level 20. Corpse-running means that every time you die you pick the maximum distance from your body to resurrect, and do that over and over again until you make it out of whatever bad situation you were in. Another thing to note is that aggro range was brutal back in the day, especially for a low-level, and you really had to stick to the road and hope a bad buy didn’t spot you. Once you finally made it to Stormwind, it felt like quite the accomplishment.

The Test

The whole goal of this video was to see if the difficulty of this run in Classic is similar to the one I made many times back then. There are definitely similarities, like how slow and tedious it was, and how big the world seemed when you had to run from one continent to the other. But there were too many differences, like how there weren’t enough enemies close enough to the road to see us, or how some enemies that would attack on sight wouldn’t attack us in Classic unless we attacked them first. There were also only three deaths, which seemed like too low of a number to me. There was only one corpse-run where we had to get far enough away from an enemy, and no Horde waiting by the road to kill weak lowbie characters. Although the Horde thing is understandable since we were playing on a low population server. This run has always been boring, but it was largely uneventful in Classic. The accomplishment this time around for me was when I made the video, and not when we reached our goal of the Human starting zone.

WoW Classic is not Vanilla WoW

Classic was a great idea, and probably a really fun project for Blizzard to work on. I would love to hear stories of the developers and designers trying to recreate a nearly 15 year-old game. But it’s just that – a recreation. Blizzard did a really great job making the game look like it did. There are things they had to approximate, like the old character models. Their game engine has gone through many changes and iterations throughout the years, and those original models couldn’t be replicated. You can tell by looking at the faces and noticing that they look just slightly off. However, it’s not because of any character models that I don’t find myself very interested in Classic.

I will never be able to recreate my sense of wonder and adventure from when I first started playing WoW. Like I said, back then WoW was just a game to me, and I had no way to predict all the memories I would go on to experience. I was a noob, I knew nothing about the game. Even more, I hardly knew how to play an MMO as I was pretty young at the time. I can never “go home” again because that home has changed. My “home” in WoW isn’t a singular place way back in 2005 that I can return to. My home is the place that I have spent countless hours in, and made so many great memories and met so many awesome people. I can’t experience those things again through WoW Classic, and that’s what makes those moments special. I made the video as a funny tribute to an infamous experience back in the day, but even that isn’t the same as I remember it. It never can be, and I’m not blaming Classic for that.

I am happy for those who are having a blast in Classic and have groups of friends leveling characters together. Personally, I’m really not ready to return to the days where I had to buy arrows as a Hunter and resort to melee when I ran out in the middle of a dungeon.