World of Warcraft Classic – review
Fifteen years ago, on the World of Warcraft box they should have put a big warning, like with cigarettes. Warning: danger of total dependence for those at risk. Here, I am one of those subjects.
Hi, my name is Marco, and I have a problem with video games. Not all, however. I play them as much as I can, of course, but I can’t seem to like them all or lose myself completely, always and in any case, even in the most acclaimed ones. Friends told me, play Metal Gear Solid V! Play Chrono Trigger! Play at .
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There are games into which I fall as I could fall into a very deep dark pit, in which I disappear and re-emerge months or years later. Stronger, wiser? I resurface, it is already something. Over the years I have learned to recognize those games, it becomes much easier for me because typically they are the ones my wife hates: Destiny, for example, all the various Souls starting with Demon’s, but also things like No Man’s Sky, or Symphony of the Night (how many hours you waste to have two Runeswords each time, as if they were of any use!).
I remember glancing at Minecraf’s very first alpha, and recognizing him for the dangerous animal he was: he stood there, looking out the manhole, bragging about how many balloons there were with him. We fixed each other for a long time and we continued each on his own path.
I haven’t been that lucky with World of Warcraft. Many years ago, yours and ours Stefano Silvestri approached me and offered me to try a new Blizzard game for which he had received an account. You play with it, he says, it’s nice but I don’t have time. I admit that at the time I didn’t know anything about that game and I wasn’t even that tied to Blizzard production: in the past I had only finished the Warcraft 3 campaign thanks to cheats. P.
For those who know the history of WoW, the alpha version “Friends & Family” had just finished, the one to which only Blizzard employees, their families and their friends could access. In the game there was only the alliance, the maximum achievable level was 20, the quests were a bit scattered at random, the interface had large sections barely sketched. The game world was littered with immortal creatures who kept you on sight if you tried to approach forbidden areas. It was already a masterpiece.
So it was that I found myself creating a Night Elf in my first ever MMORPG. At that moment it was all new to me: a persistent, huge, varied world, populated by hundreds (thousands?) Of other players, quests, objects to be recovered, secrets to find. There had never been a game like this, or rather, there were, but they were all ugly. Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot (Stefano Silvestri at the time entertained us with epic tales of his exploits in this one) (Hibernia, o mia Hibernia … ndSS), Runescape.
The fury against murlocs is understandable, but here perhaps we are exaggerating. There are more players than beasts to kill.
A separate discussion for Ultima Online, for many a game never equaled again. All with that 90s lo-fi gaming face traditionally associated (back then) with MMORPGs, accepted as a retaliation for huge software populated by hundreds, thousands of players living their story. But here is Blizzard in the role of the elephant in the glassware, which smashes everything with an aesthetically exceptional video game (for the time), with a simple and captivating interface, complex mechanics but easy to digest and the same load of characters, places and situations to discover other games with much more lacking packaging.
Such a resounding success as to forever mark the MMORPG landscape, breaking record after record and converting millions of players around the world to voluntary slavery. My social life was over, all other games were gone, along with contacts with the outside world and any instincts of self-preservation (I did things for WoW that I am quite ashamed of today. But what do you remember! NdSS). I was saved about four years later, but someone up there hates me and it is time to return to tread the paths of Azeroth.
But what were we talking about? Ah yes, World of Wacraft Classic. Have you forgotten about it? Over the years, the succession of expansions, additions and revolutions, the Word of Warcraft star has inevitably faded. I guess it’s still the most played MMORPG, also because there have been no more noteworthy attempts to unseat it from the throne. They’ve tried so many in different ways, Star Wars Galaxies, Guild Wars, Final Fantasy XI and XIV, Lord of The Rings Online and many more, but no one has ever caught that “lightning in a bottle” as they say across the Channel. Meanwhile, World of Warcraft is still heavily played but is certainly no longer the prom queen. In its evolutions, many players have been left behind by an increasingly rationalized and simplified form, and by additions more and more times to scorn the original experience.
Stormwind is always a very busy city, at all hours of the day and night. Seeing it full of players dressed in rags, however, almost never happens.
Since the release of Burning Crusade, the very first expansion, nostalgics of the “good old days” have begun to call for a return to the original form, and voila, not even thirteen years later (because it all comes to those who know how to wait!) Here is this version Classic, which turns back the hands of the clock and restores World of Warcraft as it was in the beginning, to version 1.13, without Death Knight or Demon Hunter, without Northrend or Archeology, without Pandaren, Draenor or Blood Elf, in short, without everything that has been added since 2006.
On the other hand, there is still First Aid, there is the need to learn how to use the various types of weapons, there are talents (in a very different form from those present today). There is still Teldrassil, not yet reduced to a smoking ember. And then you can’t select certain combinations of races and classes: for example, you can’t have a Druid Troll, or a Night Elf wizard. It is, in short, that game released fifteen years ago of which you can find a lot of old reviews from all over. The only concessions concern the technical side, because the graphics engine supports some measures introduced during the development of the various expansions, such as downsampling.
At this point I should do a comparison, telling you that Classic is more or less beautiful than the updated version can be. Here, this will not happen, because I have no idea. I have vague memories of Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, which I tried briefly for work, and I can tell you that compared to those versions (which date back too many years) leveling a character is a process that requires much more patience than quests are scattered in a less homogeneous way, that the character models are a lot uglier (humans all have some kind of unspecified deformity) and that, in terms of mechanics and all, we are back to what was there in the box in the first few days, without the three discs to install.
Playing with a Hunter in the Classic version is not easy, also because the game does not teach you anything. The first levels of my orange warthog were not easy, as I had no idea how to learn new skills or where to look for them. Luckily there are guides …
After all, what did you expect? This is World of Warcraft of 2004. And with a game from fifteen years ago, we have to play as we did fifteen years ago. To fully restore that atmosphere of sociability apparently suffocated by the evolutions of the contemporary World of Warcraft, all automatic systems have been removed to create and facilitate groups and therefore tackle the most demanding contents. So not only via the support for voice chat and the Dungeon Finder, but also via the stones to gather at the entrance of the same dungeons, and above all via the support for mods that can make up for these shortcomings.
If you want to find a group for Razorfen Kraul (but who makes you!) Or the Scarlet Monastery, you will need to arm yourself with general chat and manners or, even better, join a guild and participate in its social life. Perfect if you are a person with a lot of free time, a little less if you are of a certain age and a family life.
The community welcomed this return to the bright past very enthusiastically, and the first week of World of Warcraft Classic unfolded in a very inspiring way. Interest skyrocketed from the first day, with monstrous queues at login despite the good number of servers made available (number immediately doubled and strengthened thanks to the use of layering, a technology that basically allows you to cram more characters without stepping on your feet. each other), hordes of players crowding the starting areas with clogging of all the hot areas (the mines in Elwyn as the Mediaworld for Black Friday, the same amount of corpses and precious drops as the real offers: numbers close to zero), more philosophical disquisitions in chat between players who advocate a more “pure” experience possible and who instead immediately adopts all existing mods (how to survive without timer for buffs, without additional bars, without quest guides? Without Peggle?) .
Darnassus is still untouched, and in this particular World of Warcraft timeline it may never burn. A good opportunity to take some photos to send to relatives!
As in the good old days I’ve seen brawls at Tarren Mill in PVP, I’ve seen echoes of the general Barrens chat on the Horde side and found that there are still people looking for Mankirk’s wife. The community flocked to recreate the same kind of vibe from launch days, and some truly hardcore players have shown unparalleled dedication and self-denial, scoring a “World first” of Molten Core and Onyxia in just five days. But then what will happen? Blizzard plans to gradually add subsequent content in chronological order, up to C’thun and Sillithus, but we don’t know what will happen next. Will it all stop? Will the various expansions be integrated? Will it start all over again? How long will this World of Warcraft time travel last? At some point will we have a server crystallized over time, with no more patches, updates, new content? How will the players react?
Here, at some point in the real reviews (and this is not a real review) comes the moment of evaluation. If it were a real review, it would be a difficult task, because we should start by remembering that it is a fifteen year old game, which makes its fidelity to the original version its strong point. We should also note that WoW Classic is not an instant game, it is not technologically advanced, and that its appeal lies between the wit of the operation and the nostalgia.
The only real indisputable advantage is that it is an online game without micro-transactions (think about it!). I don’t think it’s designed to attract new players, other than a spin into recent video game history, and I don’t know how much it can hold back returning players. I’m pretty sure that if you are a WoW player, or have been, you risk regaining the lost charm of a real milestone with this Classic, but I can’t tell you for how long.
In the end, I applaud the intelligence of Blizzard, capable of transforming a repechage of this kind into an event. The Classicwow subreddit is growing in popularity, memes with Ragnaros are being wasted, and WoW Classic is on everyone’s lips. It can’t be easy to break through twice in a row with the exact same game.