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BlizzCon > WoW ClassicNov 3, 2018 5:15 pm CT

WoW Classic will keep the group experience authentic and dungeon-finder free

Since it was announced, we’ve wondered just how true to the original game WoW Classic would be. While players want to experience the game as authentically as possible, vanilla WoW had frustrations aplenty — frustrations that have been fixed with quality of life improvements over the years. Some of those improvements will make it into WoW Classic, but when it comes to running dungeons, Blizzard is keeping the authentic experience, which means no group finder and no cross-realm grouping.

That’s going to make group content a lot different than it is today — and if you didn’t play back then, it will be quite a system shock. Without group finder, you would either group entirely with your friends or you would sit in a capital city and say “LFM Scholo, need healer” in general chat, repeating it until someone whispered you. Then you and your new healer buddy would have to run to the Scholomance entrance — no automatic teleports and no summoning stones. Going through that process meant deciding to run a group and actually entering the dungeon would take an hour if you were lucky. And if you weren’t lucky, you would be spamming group chat until other members of your group got bored and left, leaving you with even more players to find.

And PUG raids like the kind we run every week in LFR? Forget about it. If you wanted to raid, you had to be in a raiding guild that could field 40 well-geared players every week.

As someone who lived through vanilla (and played a healer), I can confidently say this made grouping a slow and painful process. But at the same time, it also made for a tight-knit server community. If you met a reliable player — particularly a tank or healer — you would add them to your friends list and pester them to group with you later. And because there was no cross-realm grouping, servers were isolated islands — everyone on your friends list had to be on your realm.

Despite the system’s frustrations, that community feeling is mostly gone from WoW. You can find a group with just a few clicks, and you’ll probably never speak to your groupmates during or after the run. It’s very anonymous. Killing LFG shifts the game’s social elements to small server communities, which a lot of players miss.

While I think a lot us look back on those days with rose-colored glasses — remembering the fun of being part of a community but not spending hours sitting in Stormwind trying to find a group — it will be interesting to rejoin the community that existed back in vanilla.

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