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Heading Back To WoW Classic Has An Unexpected Effect On Retail Experience

Robin Baird Updated: Posted:
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Back when WoW Classic first launched, I went ahead and rolled a character to run around on. I initially decided to go with Horde this time because the people I originally played World of Warcraft with all had wanted to be Alliance. This time though, I wanted to be Horde. I always enjoyed them, and the brief stint when I got to be Horde back in Cata was a blast. Plus, I wasn’t looking to recreate the experiences of my early years playing WoW. It was my first MMO, so there’s no recreating that experience. Everything is different, heck even what mods and resources are available is entirely different. Not to mention, I have changed a lot as a person as well. Trying to recreate that experience would be throwing effort after foolishness.

At first, everything went well. I was enjoying the early Tauren experience and playing with no real goal in mind. This freed me to do whatever I wanted without feeling like I was wasting my time. I also took this method because I have no intention to raid in Classic. I did all of that, and it was great for then, but not now. Also, Classic is essentially a solved game. Part of what I enjoyed about it back then was figuring things out. However, since I had no real goals, I quickly became an infrequent player and honestly hadn’t logged in for months.

WoW Classic

It was no surprise when I returned, my friends in my guild had all either moved on or stopped playing altogether. I kept on for a bit on my own, but it was far less fun than it had been previously. Spending hours standing around in cities trying to get a group together isn’t fun. I mean, I used to do that all the time. Heck, I used to organize regular pug raids. However, one side effect of having much less time per day to play is I found the time it took to put a group together to be incredibly frustrating, and it felt like a huge waste of time.

I knew the solution was I needed to find a new guild, but I also knew I was mainly interested in Classic again because I’m bored waiting on Shadowlands. I didn’t want to join a guild and have them help me with things when I know I’m going to disappear for a while in a month or so, and I’ll probably never reach a point where I am any help to anyone. Thankfully, it turned out some friends I used to play SWTOR and GW2 with have a stable guild going in Classic, and they didn’t care if I’d be a raider or not. Unfortunately, it did mean I’d have to head back to Alliance, which also meant I’d have to be a Night Elf again.

World of Warcraft Classic

I’ve never really liked the other core Alliance races very much; I mean, I don’t hate them or anything, but they aren’t appealing to me. Humans in fantasy settings are often a hard sell because they are often dreadfully dull. Additionally, the female human models are not all that appealing either, and even worse, I have always really disliked the human female jokes. They are just REALLY not my type of humor at all. Dwarves and Gnomes are ok, but also, I tend to not like short races, which leaves me with Night Elves. Additionally, I wanted to level a Druid, so Night Elves are the only Alliance option for me.

I’ve always loved the Night Elf starting area. It’s beautiful, and just a fun series of quests, and I was happy to find the years had dulled my love of this experience, though I did find my memory of locations of things was very questionable. Or even which quests had similar locations so I could stack them together. Nonetheless, being back in this zone and hearing all the great music again has been a wonderful experience and far better than I had expected.

World of Warcraft Classic

What I was not prepared for was the feeling of going back into Darnassus again for the first time. I had forgotten how the music changes as you enter, and that first beautiful vista of the entire city revealed itself as I reached the top of the ramp at the Warrior’s Terrace. You see, Darnassus has always been my favorite Alliance city. Despite it being so far away from everything, it was where I would go to use the AH or if I just wanted to hang out in a city that wasn’t the current expansion’s city. I would go so far as passing through Dalaran or Stormwind on my way to Darnassus to use the AH. It just always felt like home to me.

With all of this in mind, I found myself flying around Stormwind after visiting the AH, and I ended up at the docks. The ship over to Rut’theran Village was, of course, not running, but I noticed that there was a portal open there. So, I decided to take it and see what happened. The last time I took a portal to Darnassus, it deposited me at Darkshore overlooking the burning remains of Teldrassil, which was sad but also made sense. When I took this portal, I expected it to take me once again to the Darkshore and perhaps the burnt remains of Teldrassil? I mean, after all, it couldn’t still be burning, could it?

Teldrassil Burning

However, to my surprise, I wasn’t transported to Darkshore this time, but rather to Rut’theran Village. I noticed right away that Rut’theran Village isn’t quite the same as it once was. The buildings are still there, but parts of the island are underwater, and one hut also is. While it may not look exactly like a fire had taken place there, it was clear something terrible had happened. That’s when I noticed it. The pinkish/purple glow of the teleporter between the village and Darnassus itself. I hesitated for a minute, unsure of what I would find once I stepped through it. I didn’t know if I could take seeing Darnassus in complete ruin, but I had to find out. So I stepped through and was wholly unprepared for what I found on the other side.

I stepped through to find Darnassus precisely as I remembered it. Everything was there, and all of the NPCs were going about their daily lives as if nothing happened. I didn’t want to see the city destroyed, but I didn’t want this even more. In an instant, it was as if I was told all the sadness I felt when Teldrassil burned didn’t matter. My sadness was not only for losing the city I loved, but all the NPCs I wasn’t able to save. The cruelty of putting the players who loved Darnassus through all that and then have it not even actually matter just hit me like a ton of bricks.

WoW Classic

I know there are all kinds of issues when destroying something that old in the game, but I was disappointed just the same. Maybe I had unfair expectations after parts of Stormwind were destroyed and rebuilt. This would have been on a whole different level; after all, it wasn’t just one part of the city that was unusable. However, it was good to see the actual effects Deathwing had out in the world, and having it right there anytime I went to Stormwind was perfect. It reinforced how terrible he was in a way that’s more personal and a consistent reminder for players—having Darnassus still exist in-game like that underminds pretty much everything from the BfA expansion.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an issue with it existing in some form for a variety of reasons. I wish there had been some indication that I was going to a time-locked version of Darnassus before I went through the portal. For example, in other areas of the game world, players can talk to NPCs to visit old versions of the place they are in. I like that a lot because it makes it straightforward for everyone involved what’s going on. It would have been even better if there was a destroyed version and a time-locked version, but even there only being the time-locked version is ok. I just wish it was communicated in-game.

WoW Classic

Anyway, my jaunt back into Classic took me in an unexpected direction and dredged up some feelings I hadn’t realized I was still harboring. How does everyone else feel about the current state of Darnassus in-game? Would you rather there be a destroyed version available as well? Let me know; I’m curious about how other players feel about this.


Robin Baird

Robin loves RPGs, MMOs, JRPGs, Action, and Adventure games... also puzzle games... and platformers... and exploration games... there are very few games she isn't interested in. When it comes to MMOs she focuses on WoW and GW2 but will pick-up other games as they catch her fancy. She's a habitual returner to FFXIV because that game is an all-around great MMO.