WoW Classic won’t have any of today’s conveniences, and that’s okay
Now gather round, my friends. I see you’re all excited about those Classic servers coming this summer. You have no idea how good you have it. See, the thing about it is, we ain’t so good at remembering when things got added to game. Already the devs have had to remind us that not all the things that looked like bugs in the Classic demo were actually bugs.
We think things were always the way they are now. Let Ole Grand Pappy Honor’s Hammer spin you tale of yesterday, how things were back in the day. I’ll tell you how it was, how it really was, when we walked to Ironforge, for miles we walked, in the snow, six feet of snow, uphill, both ways.
These are the biggest quality of life improvements that hit the game since launch — and that we may miss when Classic comes around.
Objectives on the map
Added in Wrath of the Lich King
Nowadays, when you get a quest, there’s a giant freaking arrow pointing where you’re supposed to go. When you get there, you get this pretty outline of exactly where the bad guys will be hanging out, waiting for you to come and say “I’ma chargin’ my fireball.” If there are important items like portals to bring in the enemies or pylons you need to shut down, those are marked on your map, too.
None of this existed in my day. Classic was more of an adventure. When we got a quest, we read every word, sometimes twice, to try to figure where in the blazing core we were supposed to go. We’d explore around, maybe find another quest we didn’t even know about. When we got lost or couldn’t find something, we asked our guild or the other heroes around us. Sometimes they’d help if they weren’t too busy singing the praises of Chuck Norris, whoever that was.
If other heroes couldn’t help, we’d offer a prayer for wisdom to the Thottbot, though some people thought seeking Thottbot’s help wasn’t right, I kid you not.
Added in Mists of Pandaria
In those days of old, I was a warrior of the Light, a Paladin. One of my great joys was attacking whole villages of murlocs in Dustwallow Marsh, or wiping out entire camps of pirates in Tanaris. There’d be this whole pile of bodies all shiny with loot. For you, my modern hero, you just kneel down to loot and everything around flies into your bags. Not me, no sir. I’d loot one mob, and then I’d loot another. I’d kneel and loot the next one, and another, and another. If I was fast enough, I’d get them all looted before they disappeared, but most of the time I’d lose a few.
Limited, limited bag space
Improved every expansion
While you’re looting, I hope you’ve got some space in your bags. Classic bags tended to be smaller than we have now, stack sizes tended to be less, and your backpack had fewer slots as well. Multiple times, I’d be looking at vendor prices to figure out what to destroy so I could get my loot. Portable vendors like the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth wouldn’t be seen until Wrath of the Lich King.
By end game, most heroes had 14-slot Runecloth Bags. You’d need some of those slots for your resistance gear, which made certain types of magic do less damage to you — and was absolutely essential. Guilds progressing in Molten Core and Blackwing Lair, not to mention deep breathing Onyxia, needed fire resistance gear. Guilds taking down bosses in Ahn’Qiraj needed nature resistance. Combined, that’s a lot of bag slots.
Vanilla WoW still had many elements from traditional table top role playing games, like reagents to cast spells. Those reagents also took up bag space. Druids, Mages, Priests, and Paladins all needed reagents to cast their raid buffs. No reagent, no spell, no buff. Hunters needed ammo, and Rogues even needed a reagent for Blind. We laugh about it now, but the stories of stopping the raid so the Warlock could farm Soul Shards were no myth. Reagents wouldn’t fully go away until Mists of Pandaria
Your bank had to hold everything including crafting materials. Void Storage would be added in Cataclysm, but the crafting bank didn’t show up until Warlords of Draenor. You had to have the materials in your bags and not in your bank if you wanted to craft an item. Sometimes inventory management felt like one of those slide puzzles.
I vendored so much gear during Classic. If I had known transmog would one day be in the game, I would have tried to keep more of it, especially my Soulforge set. This is one reason why I’d like to see Classic obtained appearances added to your live Transmog collection — I had all that stuff once, the game just doesn’t have a way to know it. The next best thing would be letting me get it again.
Pets and mounts
Pet and mount in spell book added in Wrath of the Lich King
You know what else needed bag space? Mounts and pets. I know some of you love to collect. You enjoy all those mounts and all your cute little pets. You have hundreds of them. Well, back in my day, that would mean hundreds of bag slots. You kept your pets and your mounts in your bag thank you very much, and no, don’t ask me how a White Ram fits in your bag next to the Ice Cold Milk which is still cold after a month.
We live in a magical world. Ask the Titans next time you’re hanging out in the Seat of the Pantheon.
Flying and travel
Flying and Meeting Stones added in Burning Crusade
Those mounts you get at 20 now, or shoot, right from the start if you’ve got the Chauffeured Chopper? Try getting them at level 40 and level 60. Desolace is a big ole place when you’re hoofing it everywhere, and trust me, you’ll be hoofing it everywhere, especially if you’re a Tauren. Even Meeting Stones didn’t allow summons until Burning Crusade so you had to travel to all your instances and most of them had elite trash even before you zoned in.
Classic has fewer flight points, and you had to walk to get them first. I’ll remember my first death run from Ironforge to Menethil Harbor until they turn the servers off. That’s part of the allure of Classic: the sense of adventure and accomplishment in something as simple as getting from point A to point B. Especially when point B led you through zones with higher level mobs ready to run across half the zone to eat you.
Excuse me a second, I need to get this crocolisk off my leg.
Added in Cataclysm
Ever since them Ethereals showed up, we are so concerned with our looks. Does my belt match my cape? We search all over the map for just the right look to finish our ensemble. I killed Ragnaros wearing armor “affectionately” called Banana Shoulders. That, my friends, is beating a raid with style. I liked it.
Actually, I hated it, but there wasn’t a void-wrapped Ethereal in Stormwind to change it.
Dual talent specialization
Added in Wrath of the Lich King
You think reforging Azerite is bad? My friends, in my day, when you committed to your spec, you committed to it. If you were a Holy Paladin, by George, you were Holy all the time unless you wanted to have a Mage portal your happy Dwarf arse back to Ironforge, and pay your trainer gold each time you wanted to switch. They didn’t like you being so wishy-washy about your chosen path in life so each time you came back to them, they charged you more.
If you needed to heal for your raid, but wanted to be Retribution to farm some Argent Dawn reputation in Eastern Plaugelands, that’s two trips to the trainer. If you chose the wrong spell (misclicked), sorry, you got to start over and it’ll cost even more gold. Hopefully, your guild helped pay for it.
Don’t be thinking it will be like Opulence is following you around raining gold from the sky like it does today. Gold is going to be precious. You might not even have enough to buy all the ranks of your spells as you level up, much less your mounts right away.
Added in Wrath of the Lich King
In Classic times, every fight in the open world became part of your ongoing adventure. Pulling a group meant devising a strategy: maybe using a little CC, a little kiting, and your cooldowns. At any point you could run into a patrol, or have one of the monsters run off and bring more friends and you’d have a quick trip to the Spirit Healer. Even if you survived, often you’d need to sit for a spell to eat and drink. You’d have moments of excitement punctuated by periods of monotonous downtime. This got old fast.
Now, the Darkmoon Faire and other places sell those fancy heirlooms. We’ve replaced the monotony of downtime with the monotony of being an unstoppable killing machine mowing everything down. There are days I miss the open world being a bit dangerous. When you saw a fellow adventurer, you tended to group up to help each other to survive. Many a decades long friendship and even some marriages started this way.
Shared tagging for quest mobs added in Cataclysm, world bosses no longer tapping to faction added in Mists of Pandaria
You and group of your friends delve deep into enemy territory, fighting off elite mobs to reach their leader for a quest. The moment before you pull, another group bursts through, and hits the boss. He’s now ‘tagged’ to the other group and his portrait goes grey to you.
You have two options at this point. Help the other group kill him quickly, or hope he defeats them. If you help them kill the boss, you’ll get no loot and no quest credit, but you’ll start the respawn timer sooner. Classic outdoor bosses sometimes took as long as five minutes or more to respawn while the trash around you was also respawning, and you had to worry of yet another group showing up. With multiple groups waiting, players would spams their instants, hoping they’d be the first to damage the boss, thus tagging him to their group. Mines and herbs worked the same way. The first player who hit the node got the materials and then it disappeared. Many times, I’d clear to an ore only to have another player come behind and mine it while I fought the final mob.
Escort quests had similar issues. One person would start the quest and if you were on it, you got credit, but if the first person was a little trigger happy and didn’t wait for the group to get the quest, then some of your party wouldn’t get credit. Quest sharing didn’t exist yet either. Considering one of the main quests to attune to Molten Core was, in fact, an escort, this was a big deal. Every raid and many late game dungeons had attunements. If you weren’t attuned, you couldn’t get in.
Still, I’m signing up
You want to know the craziest part? I know all of this. By the Shadowlands, I lived it. Still, I’ve been pestering Chromie and Bronze dragons every day to open the portal and let me go back to Classic. Soon, she says. Wait til summer, she says. Classic was a different game, a different experience. It was more of adventure and one I’m looking forward to starting again.
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