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Blizzard Entertainment | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 11/23/04)  | Pub:Blizzard Entertainment
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Can Classic World of Warcraft Hold Up in Today's Market?

By Garrett Fuller on May 03, 2019 | Columns | Comments

Can Classic World of Warcraft Hold Up in Today's Market?

Blizzard is capitalizing on the launch of Classic World of Warcraft this year as a way to bring players back into the subscription model from their favorite MMO. If you are already playing WoW, you are covered. Classic WoW will build the world before the massive success of Burning Crusade. Burning Crusade was the high time of WoW as it jumped well into the millions of players range over those years. However, many forget the early times, the struggles, and most of all the fun of attacking each other in PvP. Warcraft in its original form had a ton to offer MMOers, but will it hold up in today’s market?

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There was a version of vanilla WoW that existed for a long time on a shard or free-shard as we like to call them. It hosted a large community and did reasonably well. However, the executives at Blizzard shut it down to then launch their own. Rumors of about 50,000 interested people was the number and not a bad revenue for Blizzard going back to a classic WoW for fans.

There are some limits on characters, which are reasonably generous with about ten per realm. Guilds will play a big part returning the flavor to core MMO communities as we know them. This is a set up to help with some of the early problems in WoW. Players used to steal a lot of epic loot, which was really hard to get. Loot is not the only problem; the challenges of forty-man raids come up again and will Guilds be able to pull in enough people? 

Pacing is a huge issue. How will they pace the game in its early form? Games have moved into a hyper fast-paced 2019 world of Fortnite and Rocket League. Will players be able to go back to the movement and attacks of 2004-2005? We are talking fifteen years ago. Older players will be okay, but bringing in new players may take some adjustment.

Remember going all over to level? Like many, did you have a leveling map on your wall next to your PC? We all did. Jumping around to level will make the journey frustrating in today's achievement environment. The fun of exploring the world was always part of it. Hopefully, the charm remains. The other thing to bring up is leveling itself. The pace will be much slower. Level meant something for many months early on in the launch of the game. No one got to 60 in the first weekend. Blizzard has made it clear there will be no short cuts. So, if you see an epic weapon, it will mean a lot.

Back to factions, yes, the original hatred that inspired the Horde and Alliance cheers at Blizzcon will be reignited. This is part of the fun. No one is crazy, everyone loves the game, think of it more like fans of sports teams. Returning to a faction that meant so much to you is important. How the balance will shape up will be interesting to watch. 

The return to this world has a broad appeal to WoW fans. For many of us, it is the WoW we remember. The numbers will tell the full story. If Blizzard can show that Classic WoW comes in with large numbers, then suddenly you may see a move to the old school style of MMOs again. If it launches as a niche product for old fans, it will still do very well. Jagex has had significant success with classic Runescape in recent years, and this attempt by Blizzard will be fun to watch. 

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