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What World of Warcraft Classic Has That Retail Doesn't

By Robin Baird on September 23, 2019 | Columns | Comments

What World of Warcraft Classic Has That Retail Doesn't

Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed an odd and surprising issue arise for me. It’s one I certainly never thought I’d be experiencing, but it’s time to look the problem directly in the eyes. Whenever I think about logging into World of Warcraft it’s I always want to play Classic not Battle for Azeroth. As I’ve said multiple times before I never wanted Classic. It has been a bit of a curiosity for me since it was initially announced, heck I wasn’t even planning on playing it. Somehow my mild disinterest has given way to pure enjoyment which is perplexing. Why am I so hung-up on Classic? What is it about this old version of the game which has me wanting to play?


Usually, I’d just happily play whatever game I want, and I wouldn’t think twice about it. However, I am a main tank in my guild, so there are certain things I need to be working on in BfA. My Heart level is an anemic 62, which isn’t terrible but it’s also nowhere near where I’d be if I could be bothered to log on more often. Heck even just adding in Island Expeditions to my routine would make a big difference in my AP gain. I can’t be bothered though. It’s just not fun.

In fact, my primary sources of AP at this point are table missions, because they take almost no time or effort to do when I’m already logged in, and from killing bosses in raid. I’m actually enjoying raiding again, so that’s a plus in favor of BfA and a significant change from last tier. However, since we are working on progression right now we are only killing a few bosses consistently, so the amount of AP I’m getting from raiding is limited. As a casual guild who only raid twice a week there isn’t time to spend on normal every week as well. I still wish there were skips in the raids to help facilitate doing some of normal while we work on heroic, but there’s no point in hoping for the pot at the end of the rainbow.

I’m not only behind on AP gains, but also, I’m barely into revered with both the Ankoan and Rustbolt Resistance. When I do log on outside of raid, I only really have time to do one of them rather than both, and most of the time it’s the Ankoans because sometimes there’s an emissary for them and I just like Nazjatar more. I should be focusing on the Rustbolt Resistance more though. From the Ankoans I only really get increased rank on some of my essences but none of the most important ones as I already have Rank 3 on those. I should also run the Mechagon dungeon more often to get that essence up to Rank 3, but aside from it taking a significant amount of time the fact no rep is earned in it makes it feel pointless. You might be wondering why I need to get exalted with the Rustbolt Resistance. I need the two-star recipe for the new feasts, so I can then use the three-star recipe which has been sitting in my bags for weeks. Let’s not even get into how mind-boggling it is to require exalted for a two-star recipe when then three-star one drops in a dungeon.

There are of course other tasks I should be doing in BfA as well, but these are the main ones. These are the things which make me feel like I’m failing my guild because when I do have time to play, all I want to do is play Classic. And do you know what the most depressing part about this is? Most of the time I feel so guilty about wanting to play Classic I don’t even log onto it. I mostly end-up playing Final Fantasy VIII instead. It’s completely ridiculous.

So, I got to thinking about why I want to play Classic so much. The slow leveling experience doesn’t bother me because I’m in no hurry to get to level 60. I don’t have any desire to raid because I did that when it was all new. It was fun figuring out the fights out back then, but all of those fights are simple compared to the fights we currently have. Since I’m not in a hurry to level I feel entirely free to wander around zones and explore without focusing on getting quests done asap. I can sit and watch a sunset if I want. Or run back and forth between the barrier between Thunder Bluff and Mulgore because it’s raining in Mulgore but not in Thunder Bluff, and the abruptness of that change amuses me. Or I can stand around in town casting Mark of the Wild on whoever wanders by. To just have fun.

I can play Classic just to have fun. That’s the answer I was searching for. From the beginning of WoW I’ve always had goals while playing. First it was to get to at least Commander in PvP. Then it was to do all the raids. In Wrath it became hard modes and then heroic raids. I did try briefly to do mythic raiding when it became an option, but at that point I didn’t have the time in my life to prepare the way I need to for mythic raiding. So, I’ve been happy to do heroic raiding instead. The goals aren’t the issue; it’s the ratio of time I have to play and how much is spent on working on those goals vs. how much is spent just having fun. I honestly can’t remember the last time I did anything in BfA just for fun.

As an adult with a full-time job, a part-time job, and all kinds of other responsibilities to my friends and family, my available playtime is much more restricted than it used to be. For the most part WoW has been accommodating to this and has changed over the years to allow for more restrictive hours of play. The feeling like I am always behind the curve is what’s wearing on me. So much of the focus is on people who are playing at the highest levels, and it’s easy to think they are the baseline. To forget most players don’t have their Hearts maxed out already. Or have a bunch of mythic+ gear to even out holes in gearing from raids.

Which all brings me to a simple question, what metrics are the Blizzard devs balancing heroic raiding to? Do they expect heroic raiders also to be doing multiple mythic+ runs a week? Do they think by the time a guild gets to the second half of the raid most raiders will have their Hearts fully unlocked? These are the sort of things it makes sense to expect from mythic raiders, but I’m not sure the argument holds with heroic. I know there are casual guilds who do mythic raiding, but the casual guilds who do heroic are a good bit more relaxed than that. A bit more transparency in the balance philosophy here would be helpful because it’d help us all to know what the expectations are.

I’m not making the argument heroic raiding should be easy. In fact, I love the fact the first boss in heroic Eternal Palace isn’t a total pushover. It’s about time the first boss is decently hard. There is an achievement for clearing heroic when it’s current, so yes it should be decently hard. However, if heroic raiding is genuinely balanced with the expectation of having all your Rank 3 essences, all slots on your Heart open, and mythic+ gear then that metric feels off to me. I’m sure the skill range in heroic is much more extensive than it is in mythic so finding the sweet spot is probably really difficult.

As for the things I do have control over, I’m going to focus a bit more on not beating myself up so much for not wanting to do things which are incredibly dull. I’m going to allow myself to work on everything at my own pace, and let myself have fun even if it doesn’t further one of my goals. To just take some time and enjoy the game a bit more. Oh, and if I want to play Classic I’m just going to play Classic.


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