After a night of server errors, transaction failures, and emergency maintenance, World of Warcraft Classic is now live and ready to explore. Old and new players can quest through a recreation of the original game as it was 15 years ago.
First released in 2004, World of Warcraft came to define online gaming for more than a decade. At its peak, the title held over 12 million active players. Many other games would try to follow in its footsteps, but very few remain active today.
World of Warcraft has players explore a huge world with hundreds of other people, both allies and enemies, to slay monsters, complete quests, and gather loot. Although it wasn’t the first of its kind, its explosive popularity shot the genre into the mainstream.
Over the years, the game world has grown though expansions. With new continents to explore, extra character classes and abilities, and a continually growing storyline, modern World of Warcraft is a very place from its beginnings.
But many players have longed for a simpler time, and to play the game as it was 15 years ago.
Don’t games get better?
Aside from simple nostalgia, many players feel that the game has phased out key elements over the years to pander to changing audiences.
Many aspects of World of Warcraft have become easier over the years. Highlights, waypoints, and markers litter the map, reducing the need to explore. Player characters are much more powerful, removing the need for teamwork and communication. Currency and materials are far easier to obtain, so there’s little reason to trade, bargain, and haggle with other players.
These changes improve accessibility, letting people achieve more in-game by doing less. But this has damaged what was so enticing about World of Warcraft to begin with – a virtual world with a rich community of real people behind it.
In 2013, J. Allen Brack, a producer for the game, famously derided these players during a developer Q&A session.
When asked about the possibility of playing on official servers for older versions of World of Warcraft, Brack replied:
“No. You don’t want to do that either. You think you do, but you don’t.”
Lots of people think they do
World of Warcraft Classic is a slightly modified version of the original release of World of Warcraft. As well as a few extra fixes and tweaks, Classic is optimised to perform much better on PCs, support more players on a server, and improve connections overall.
It’s been beefed up under the hood, but all the zones, characters, quests, music, and inconveniences are exactly like you’d remember.
The launch of Classic last night caused many errors and crashes as far more players than expected tried to log into the game. Additional game servers have been brought online to support the surprising demand.
Classic can be played with a standard World of Warcraft subscription, for £9.99 a month. There is no need to purchase the game separately, so all you need is a subscription to start exploring.
You can learn more about World of Warcraft Classic over at the official website.