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WoW ClassicJan 22, 2020 10:00 am CT

Why hasn’t WoW Classic been as challenging as it was the first time around?

Look, there’s no gentle way to say this — Naxxramas was cleared in WoW Classic in like an hour and a half. 

An hour and a half.

That is not how long it took people to clear the raid back in the original days of its release. I know, because I was in a guild that was working on Naxx at the time, and even the guilds that were pushing world first content took weeks to clear it. So why are guilds blowing up Naxx in WoW Classic? Are we just so much better now than we were then?

Well, yes.

Not only are we better, our machines are too

We’re better at World of Warcraft now than we were in 2006. We’re specifically fourteen years better at WoW now than we were then. There have been fourteen years worth of dungeon and raid content that we’ve consumed over the years, many of which used many of the same mechanics as Naxxramas did in its initial debut. We’ve also had fourteen years of study and information about Naxxramas itself — videos, detailed scenario write-ups, and the like — to give us information about the exact mechanics of the encounters and how to counter them. None of this raid is new, and unlike in 2006, none of it can possibly surprise players.

Also, and this must be said, Naxxramas in WoW Classic is being run on far more powerful servers, accessed by faster internet connections, and run on far, far more powerful computers than it was in 2006. I tanked Naxxramas on what would be considered a potato by today’s standards — I doubt my Dell laptop from 2005 (the laptop I used in Naxx, that’s right, I tanked a raid on a Dell laptop) could possibly run the game today. The latency that destroyed so many guilds on Loatheb? Not an issue anymore. I’m not saying lag doesn’t exist, but the entire server shuddering at the strain of running multiple Four Horseman attempts is not going to happen this time.

So these things combined — more powerful hardware across the board, both in our homes and at the company end alongside fourteen years of training in how to beat WoW mechanics and a far greater access to exactly what’s going to happen and how to counter it — plus a lot more well geared players in WoW Classic than we had in the original game means that there’s just not going to be the learning curve we saw in the original game. People don’t have to walk into Naxx blind and fling themselves into the meat grinder to figure out what the fight does. Top guilds in 2006 kept their strategies tightly under wraps and didn’t share anything. Top guilds today release a complete video guide to every boss in sequence and stream their attempts.

Time doesn’t stand still

In short, WoW Classic exists in 2020, not 2006. The ecosystem surrounding the game is wholly different than it was fourteen years ago when the raid originally came out. That’s just a fact — the game may have stayed the same, but the players have changed radically. There are people raiding Naxxramas on WoW Classic who were not alive when the raid originally came out. There are raiders now who were fourteen when it came out, who are nearly thirty. And there are raiders who were in their thirties back then who are closing in on fifty. None of us are the same, and its that which has led to such a disparate set of results in terms of WoW Classic’s raid game. It’s not the raids that have changed — it’s us.

So don’t be upset that the original raids, the ones every talked up as so challenging, the ones which generated such legendary stories of raid wipes and hours upon hours spent learning them, have seemingly become such paper tigers. They’re the same as they were. That’s exactly why they get defeated so quickly — they don’t have any surprises anymore. And that’s fine. That’s what people wanted — they wanted as close a recreation of original World of Warcraft as could be arranged.

So get out there and enjoy Naxxramas, and do so knowing you get the benefit of the experience of so many WoW players over the years.

Originally published 12/8/2020. Updated 1/22/2021.

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