This past week we not only found out WoW Classic will be live worldwide August 27th, but the Beta test for it has also officially started. There’s no NDA or streaming restriction on this Beta test, as is generally the case with Blizzard, but I’m hopeful this will function as a real Beta where issues which arise can be dealt with before the game goes live instead of Beta being treated more like marketing for their upcoming thing. To qualify for Beta, you do need to have active game time or a current sub and opt-in on your account’s Beta options. For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention to what Classic is, this post on the official forums is a great rundown of everything we currently know about it.
One of the more hilarious things which have arisen since Beta started is this list of “bugs” players have reported which aren’t actually bugs. Honestly, I’ve been waiting for this list since Classic was announced. As someone who was a Warrior Main through both Vanilla and BC, my personal favorite is “Warrior health Regeneration is working at the expected rate.” Honestly, leveling a warrior, as a fury warrior to be specific, is why I have never leveled a warrior ever again. It was PAINFUL. And yea, health regen was extremely slow.
I’m sure this list will grow even longer as testing goes on as well. Memories are faulty, so even those of us who were there don’t always remember everything which was different back then. Back when I played the demo at Blizzcon last year, I was instantly annoyed by how many of the problems I had forgotten about. For example, I had utterly forgotten inter-faction tagging was a thing. Meaning if someone else of the same faction as you tagged a mob before you got to it, well you could help them kill it if you want, but you wouldn’t get anything from it. Added to the fact mobs generally spawned much slower back then, this can make completing quests frustrating. Your best bet was to always roll with a group back then.
I think that is probably going to be the biggest shock for players, especially players who never played during vanilla. Sure, you can go it on your own and get things done, but it’ll be much slower going than if you were to group up with others who are at the same level as you. This is not only true for dungeons but also for just camping spawns of particular creatures who are targets of quests. Most of them not only have a slow spawn timer, but they also roam around. So, get ready to make friends with the people around you, or convince enough of your friends to roll on Classic with you. It honestly is a much better way to experience it, especially if you plan to play on a PvP server.
Another interesting aspect of Classic is how they are recreating spell batching. For anyone who isn’t familiar with how spell batching worked the super simple explanation is, all abilities/spells which are activated within a specific window of time are sent as a batch together. Everything which is in the same batch is considered to have happened at the same time. Overall, the reduction in the amount of time, which makes up one batch has improved the game overall as it made the results of your actions more predictable. However, there is something to be said for some of the randomnesses which resulted from some weird combinations of spells. I mean, it certainly was frustrating especially in PvP, but it could also be quite hilarious.
Unfortunately, I’ve also seen people arguing people who have accounts which were created in Vanilla should be invited to Beta first. This is just a ridiculous suggestion. The most crucial thing in Beta is for people to give feedback not only on bugs but how the experience feels so Blizzard can tell if they are accurately recreating the Vanilla feel or not. To accomplish this, they need not only the perspectives of people who were there but also people who never were there in the first place. As we already discussed, memories can be misleading, so someone who played in Vanilla wouldn’t necessarily give more valuable feedback than someone who is new. A new person can provide feedback on how things feel and seem with a fresh perspective, and since Blizzard knows the target they are aiming for it will still be valuable feedback.
Of course, the elephant in the room is no matter how accurately Vanilla is recreated; nothing will be able to recreate those original feelings. Even if you were able to get all the people you played with originally, and did all the same things again, it wouldn’t be the same. You’ve changed (dear god I hope you have changed at least a bit in 15 years) and the people you played with will have changed as well. Although you may feel the tugs of nostalgia, it won’t feel like it did before. I honestly hope everyone is setting their expectations on this aspect appropriately. There’s no going back in time.
Anyway, I’ll be paying close attention to how everything plays out with the Beta and launch of Classic. So far, things seem to be going well. For those of you in the Beta, how do you like it so far?