I’ve been thinking a lot recently about a simple question that, until recently, has continued to confuse me: “why am I not more excited for WoW classic?” It’s a return to the days when MMORPG’s were simpler yet more difficult. Quality of life improvements were nonexistent but that was part of the allure. The hardcore environment that vanilla WoW fostered is one that dedicated players have been begging for ever since World of Warcraft released it’s first expansion pack.
So what gives? What I discovered was not that there was anything lacking in the game itself but more so an annoyance at Blizzard’s intentions in releasing WoW classic.
It seems to me that Blizzard is unfocused on what they want WoW to be. With every expansion pack and patch (major and minor) there are changes added to the game that seem to gradually divert WoW from the path it originally was on. Blizzard continually releases new features that the playerbase has never asked for nor wanted but they nonetheless must accept and adapt to these features because there’s no reason not to. They serve as distractions that bandaid a long-stemming issue WoW has created for itself: new content for the sake of new content isn’t necessarily good content. It offers refreshing new experiences to the game but they hardly sustain players interest for any extended period of time. Case in point: garrisons, ashran, and the RNG mechanics of the azurite system.
Introduce WoW Classic: an attempt to bring back what WoW once was. However, what I don’t understand is why Blizzard felt the need to release WoW classic rather than attempt to change the already existing version of WoW to something that is more familiar and similar to what players enjoyed in Classic, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, etc.
I have no doubt that WoW classic will be an enjoyable experience, but it doesn’t address the issues that the current version of WoW is dealing with. Why create a completely separate client when you can look into the past at vanilla and other old expansion packs for inspiration when creating content? WoW classic is meant to be a substitute, not a replacement for the current version of WoW. But it’s upcoming release seemingly isolates old WoW from the new version of WoW, essentially creating the message from Blizzard to its playerbase: “this is no longer the same game.”
So while nothing about the game elements of WoW Classic is an issue, it’s timing and message are. WoW Classic feels like a shortcut to try to build off of previous success instead of introducing new game elements that the playerbase actually wants. The road far less traveled is the one where developers understand what made their game great and why their playerbase longs for the “good old days.”