It has been a very long time now since I was finally able to successfully escape the clutches of World of Warcraft and, quite frankly, I have never looked back since. I’d had a lot of fun (for a very long time), but I started to dislike the direction the game was going in. Frankly, after killing the Lich King, I saw very little point playing afterwards.
When it was revealed that a ‘classic’ version was on the way, however, damn you Blizzard but you managed to get a single, but solid, hook back into me!
Since its announcement in November 2017, I have made it pretty clear that the release of a ‘classic’ version could go a long way into getting people back into a franchise that has been on life support for well over 5 years now.
So, with the launch of the ‘pre-launch’ demo version, I was finally tempted into paying for a monthly subscription (for the first time in 4 years) to see how it was. The short answer is, while it has potential, it is going to have some big problems!
I have to say that when I first booted it up, I was met with a lot of nostalgia. You see, I first starting playing World of Warcraft back in 2005. Not quite at the launch, but not long after either. It was, as a matter of fact, the first thing I bought after finally getting broadband. A whole 2mbps worth of it!
So, did this immediately give me some warm comforting feelings? Yes, it did. Having played the game for a couple of hours though, it did highlight one of the biggest problems this version will have. Put simply, World of Warcraft, as great as it was, did improve significantly over time. Well, perhaps more accurately, the game began to hold your hand a lot more!
What do I mean by this? Well, playing World of Warcraft today, the game pretty much tells you what you’ve got to do, where you’ve got to go, what you’ve got to kill or collect and where you go from there. That didn’t exactly exist in the original game. You had to sometimes (with great scrutiny) really read the quest you were accepting. Even then, sometimes it was often quite hard to know exactly what you had to do. This led to many users having around 5-10 addons loaded into the game to try and make things simpler. Threat meters, quest helpers, party organisers, all things that Blizzard ended up largely introducing as part of the actual game.
In it’s most basic terms, while the franchise may have stagnated, its frankly a lot more fun (or should that be easier?) to play now than it was then. I suspect, however, that many will have forgotten that fact! Well, at least until they try this version out!
The biggest issue in this regard is going to be players. As above, even I had to make some readjustments as my memory recalled exactly how World of Warcraft used to be. Blizzard, quite rightly, said that a lot of people had rose-tinted spectacles regarding this game and, having played this now, I agree entirely.
I can, therefore, expect the following. For the first couple of weeks, the classic servers are going to be mobbed. That will, however, very quickly drop off as players (particularly those who came to the game more recently) will note just how clunky it used to be. I can’t see too many people being willing to wait until level 40 to get a mount anymore. Especially since newer versions now (pretty much) let you have one straight away.
So, I guess the big question is – Is this good enough to get me to take out a subscription for a few months? The short answer is probably. I have, however, said on multiple occasions that the method in which they are ‘selling this’ (essentially for free with a main WoW subscription) is a huge error. What they should’ve done was to also give an option for people to solely opt into the classic version. An option made available at a lower price than their standard subscription package (which includes the main game). Instead, Blizzard got greedy…
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, one of the biggest mistakes Blizzard made with WoW was when they put the subscription price up! It’s business 101, you don’t put prices up when you’re losing customers!
I have literally no wish what-so-ever to play the latest version of WoW. Yet, seemingly, are tied into it regardless. As such, I’m not really feeling like I’m entirely getting my money’s worth here… I know for a fact that many of my friends (who used to play WoW) feel the same way too. The key difference is that none of them are bothering with this, despite a sincere wish to try it out.
Put simply, I think Blizzard had an opportunity here to tempt many who left the game years ago to come back. If this classic version was solely available for a price of, let’s say… £4.99 a month, this would significantly boost income and also player count levels. A figure which, incidentally has dwindled from 14 million to less than 4.
I have to say though, despite all the problems, I am enjoying it again. Largely due to it throwing me back to a much simpler (if more challenging) time. I can, however, see a lot of people (having asked for this for years) suddenly realising, as Blizzard told them, that this might not have been everything they remembered it to be! In addition, the pricing structure in which you access this is (still?) a major problem! – Sadly though, I suspect this will be the cause of its downfall.
World of Warcraft classic could’ve been the cure to restore the number of people playing, instead, it’s yet another band-aid!
WoW Classic will do alright. Hell, it may even outlive or outperform the most recent version. It isn’t, however, the Messiah either and the worst part is, it could’ve been if Blizzard had an ounce of sense!
WoW Classic is available to play now with an active subscription on demo servers. Albeit please note that at present, it is only a demo. As such, nothing you do (characters, levelling etc.) will be retained for the launch. The full game will release on August 27th.
What do you think? Have you played WoW Classic yet? What do you think about it? Should Blizzard have offered a better price structure for this? – Let us know in the comments!
Did you enjoy Mikes Rant and want to check out more? – Well, for all of his rants you can check out the link here!
Which one is your favourite? – Let us know in the comments!