I love WoW Classic because it is awful and strange
I can’t get over how much I love WoW Classic not despite its warts, but because of them. I love WoW Classic entirely because it preserves — like that proverbial insect in amber — every single thing that was weird, awful, or confusing about the original game.
It’s gotten to the point where players who weren’t there are actually making bug reports about things that are, in fact, intended. Is it schadenfreude? No, not really, because I’m not taking pleasure in someone being unhappy, but rather I’m happy because you get to finally see what we were all talking about when we said you didn’t really want to do this.
I’ve never been happier to be wrong in my life, because my being wrong means I get to be right even harder.
The old days of WoW were weird
Let’s take a look at just the current list of reported things that are not bugs but modern players think are bugs.
As we’ve discussed before, the nature of WoW Classic sometimes invokes different memories for different players, and this leads to certain misconceptions for some about what is or isn’t working as intended.
The following is a list of commonly-reported gameplay in WoW Classic that is not actually a bug, and is working as we expect it to:
- Tauren’s hitboxes and their melee reach is slightly larger than other races.
- Being critically struck while using /sit to sit does not cause abilities like Enrage, Blood Craze, and Reckoning to activate.
- Using the “Automatic Quest Tracking” option does not auto-track newly accepted quests. (It instead will start to track an existing quest once progress towards an objective is started.)
- Warrior health Regeneration is working at the expected rate.
- Quests objectives and points of interests are not tracked on the map or minimap.
- Completed quests are marked on the minimap with a dot. (and not a “?”)
- Feared players and NPCs run fast.
- Standing on top of other players while facing away allows spells and attacks to be used.
- Creature respawn rates are much slower than in Battle for Azeroth.
- NPCs which offer multiple quests may inconsistently display them as a dot or a “!” on the available quests list. They were inconsistent in 1.12, and we’ve reproduced the exact inconsistency they had back then.
- Quests that are too low level for do not show up as a “!” in the game world.
- Available quests do not display a “!” on the minimap.
- On level up, the message: “Your skill in Protection increased to 15” was added in 1.12.1, and we’re intending to keep that.
We appreciate all of your feedback!
I played a Tauren as my main from late 2006 to 2009 or so, and then switched between him and my Alliance characters pretty regularly up until Mists of Pandaria finally ruined playing Horde for me. I remember that hit box issue vividly — it made tank swap fights with anyone who wasn’t a Tauren brutal, especially fights where the two tanks had to share a debuff like the bear boss in the original Zul’Aman.
I saw so many Paladins die trying to tank with me since they’d be up at their hitbox range, and I’d be back at mine, and so they ended up taking all of the swipe damage and die. Over and over again. That was just the way the game worked back then.
The past had sharp edges
Getting crit while sitting down didn’t activate abilities that supposedly activate when crit, respawn rates were utter garbage, quest givers displayed weirdly — all of this and more are things I’m sure players will encounter in the next few weeks. But they aren’t bugs. That was just how the game was back when it first came out.
Remember, WoW in its original iteration hadn’t gone through fifteen years of active play. The game we have today has been polished smooth by millions and millions of players who came, played it, loved it, and eventually left it, like a rock in a riverbed being worn down by the flow of the river. The game you’re getting in WoW Classic? That rock just crashed into the river and is still sticking up, all weird angles and broken sections.
Now, I love World of Warcraft and I have loved it since 2004 when I was first introduced to it. I wouldn’t have loved the game so much for so long if it didn’t grab me back then. I remember being shocked at how immersive the game was.
Here’s a dirty little secret: the game was even weirder and had even more strange artifacts in 2004 than it did in 2006 when patch 1.12 — the patch WoW Classic is built on — came out. Just ask anyone who played a Paladin at launch how weird the seals and judgments were, and how much they got changed almost immediately after, nerfing the class significantly. You’re getting a version of early WoW that benefits from two years of game development and has been significantly improved in that time. And it still has weird things in it like absolutely no map help at all in finding quest objectives. That wasn’t a thing for years.
Time wears down the sharpest stone
I would be lying if I said my enjoyment of WoW Classic is in any way related to watching people experience this. Quite frankly, I’m shocked at how much I’ve loved just running around as a level 3 Tauren with no heirlooms, exploring a world I haven’t seen since the Cataclysm expansion.
It’s nostalgic, yes, but it’s also a different game than I remember. It’s a far more open world that rewards exploration and frankly, in some ways, is a lot better than I remember it. My problem was that I was hyper aware of all the weirdness and oddity of those old days precisely because I was embroiled in arguments with people who argued for classic servers in bad faith. People who dismissed these issues, who argued that I was overstating or even inventing them. Well, here we are in 2019, and I’m simultaneously wrong and right. I’m wrong because WoW Classic is far more enjoyable as a game than I expected it to be, and I’m right because every single issue I said would be there is there and people are confused and put off by them as I said they would be.
But Wow Classic is more than these issues. It’s more than these not-bugs (far, far more). It’s more than the nostalgia trip. It’s fun.
Despite all the grinding, all the grouping, all the quests you won’t be able to do solo, all the dungeons you’ll run without any form of group finder, all the raids that will need 39 other people to run, it’s still a broad, expansive, amazing world to get lost in. It’s still that first time you take a boat across the ocean or see a blimp coming in to Thunder Bluff. It’s still this great big place you never really expected to get to see. It’s still Azeroth, with all its mysteries in its future. It’s a lot of fun, warts and all. When it comes out, I expect I’ll have a few low key alts I’ll noodle around on when I’m in the mood to see the old homestead again.
This really was the best MMORPG ever. And it still kind of is. Even if every bear aggros when you skin a bear.
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