It’s been almost 14 years since World of Warcraft released and quickly became a cultural phenomenon, going on to become one of the highest-grossing game franchises yet, with millions of regular players still logging in each week, and millions more checking back in every time a new expansion pack is released.
Sure, recent addition Battle for Azeroth is keeping some players happy, but there are plenty of others who wish they could turn back the clock on the countless changes made to the game over the years, and relive their memories of the game in its earliest state – the game they fell in love with.
Enter World of Warcraft Classic, the official remake that promises to give players exactly that: a remaster of that original version of the game, with only the slightest tweaks made for the sake of modernity. But with the weight of expectation on its shoulders, can it live up to the many varied expectations of a group of seriously dedicated players?
The demo version is currently giving a lucky few the chance to turn back the clock ahead of the game’s official release mid-2019, and confines players to the early-game zones of the Barrens and Westfall. With that in mind, here are just a few takeaways from the small chunk of game we’ve been shown so far that’ll bring back fond memories for older players, and let newbies know exactly what they’re in for.
Barrens chat is alive and well
Even dedicated Alliance players would have had a brush with the legendary ‘Barrens chat’, the discussion channel that Horde players would encounter when they stumbled into the 10-20 levelling zone of The Barrens.
Of course, it was renowned for being a ridiculous spam-hole of Chuck Norris references or arguments about Metallica, and the good news is that – so far – much of that spirit seems to be preserved.
When you were ignoring the chat, the Barrens could actually be a desolate, beautiful place…
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aimless wandering actual adventuring?
Sure, plenty of players dipping their toes into World of Warcraft Classic will know these early quests like the backs of their hands, but if you’re a newer player checking in to see what all of the fuss was about, prepare to spend a lot of time walking in the wrong direction.
There are no shiny arrows directing you to your quest here, and a lot of the joy of the game comes from finally tracking your quarry after hours in the wilderness. Whether or not people still have the patience for that sort of thing in the era of waypoints and fast-travel, we’ll see.
You’ll be hunting for Mankrik’s Wife all over again
Back to Barrens chat for a moment, another popular gag will no doubt be making its return, as we turn the dial back to the days of Mankrik’s Wife.
A near-impossible quest objective to find in the sprawling Barrens in the days before objective markers, poor Mankrik’s Wife caused many desperate players to turn to Barrens chat for help, only to be sent on many a wild goose chase by chat trolls. Time to do it all over again.
If you’re still struggling, there, this guy ruined the fun.
Do I really need to kill all of these…?
Nowadays, if a quest-giver asks you for three tiger pelts to complete a quest, you’d only expect to have to kill three tigers. Bah, too easy! No, back in the day, if you wanted three parts of any animal, you’d probably have to kill twenty of them, so low was the drop rate on most items.
Even worse, the various bits and pieces would always end up in the hands of the first player to attack the prey, meaning that if another player was farming the area for items, you’d be in a constant battle to get any loot drops at all. Finally tracking down that last Quilboar only to have it picked off by a nearby hunter was just one of WoW’s many glorious frustrations.
Relive all of the biggest, toughest moments from the history of World of Warcraft
While modern WoW lets you find a group of players to raid with automatically, back in the day we had to actually chat to our fellow players to find others who were up for the adventure and form a makeshift posse.
Expect to do that all over again, with the very first dungeons and raids being rolled out in ‘stages’ over the life of WoW Classic. Stage one brings Molten Core and Onyxia’s Lair raids, The Dire Maul dungeon, and world bosses Lord Kazzak and Azuregos ready to be slain.
Stage two adds 40-player raid Blackwing Lair and Zul’Gurub, while the opening of Ahn’Qiraj will take place in stage three. Finally, stage four brings to life the Naxxramas raid and the invasion of the Scourge, rounding out for many the glory days of PvE adventuring in Azeroth.
A fan-made trailer remembering the original and the best: Naxxramas.