Tobold's Blog
Monday, April 23, 2012
 
Which patch version of WoW would you play if you could?

Imagine when logging into World of Warcraft, you would have a screen on which you could select which patch version of WoW you wanted to play. On offer would be a late vanilla WoW version, a late Burning Crusade version, a late Wrath of the Lich King version, or the current Cataclysm version. Which of these would you play?

Now to completely change this discussion around, let's consider the high likelihood that you actually had an answer to my question. And that this answer isn't necessarily the same as somebody else's. The player base would be split into 4 groups of unequal size. While one day Blizzard might open up a nostalgia server with vanilla rules, there are good reasons for not offering too many versions of the same game at the same time. But then Blizzard is in a rather fortunate situation: Except for badly running versions on private servers, Blizzard is in complete control over what version of World of Warcraft players have access to. Even the players who don't buy the expansions need to live with the rules changes the new patch versions bring. The same is not true for all other games.

Which brings me to the observation that when reading about Dungeons & Dragons, I stumble quite often over blog posts and forum entries discussing the edition wars. Telwyn of GamingSF wrote a nice post with links to a detailed description of the edition wars on The Escapist. Just like you could easily imagine WoW players heatedly discussing which version of World of Warcraft is best, the players of Dungeons & Dragons discuss which of the 4+ editions is best. Only that the old editions never really went away, and the people who think that first edition AD&D was the best can still play it. You can even buy a "premium" reprint of the rulebooks from Wizards of the Coast themselves.

So just like our theoretical World of Warcraft example, the real D&D player base is split into at least 4 groups of unequal size playing different editions of the game. Not to mention versions like 3.5, or Open Game License games like Pathfinder, or 4E Essentials, or millions of house rules versions. Wizards of the Coast is working on a 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, called D&D Next. But a much bigger percentage of people calling themselves "World of Warcraft players" will buy Mists of Pandaria than the percentage of "Dungeons & Dragons players" that will buy D&D Next. Especially if you bought a lot of rulebooks of one edition, the advantage of buying the next edition, which isn't downward compatible, isn't all that obvious.

Personally I am a huge fan of tactical RPG combat, which is why 4th edition works for me. But I wouldn't claim that it is "better" or "worse" than other editions in absolute terms. And I played most of them, starting from 1st edition back in the 80s. Each edition worked for its time, and each new edition brought some improvements and some stuff I liked less than the previous edition. And much of D&D depends on how the DM runs it anyway. For example even if a printed adventure mostly describes combat encounters, every DM will insert a different amount of roleplaying between these fights.

Ultimately which edition you play doesn't change the core of what Dungeons & Dragons is. The last adventure I played with my group was one of my favorites back in the 1990, The Standing Stones of Sundown, and it still works perfectly well after having been updated from 2nd edition to 4th edition. The edition wars of Dungeons & Dragons are not for me, I think all the editions had their strong points. As did all the patch versions of World of Warcraft.

Comments:
Version 2.4. No doubt.

Of course, I'm still running a Shadowrun 2.5 campaign, although 4.x has aaaaaalmost got the kinks worked out. And I've assimilated a lot of the 4.x stuff, especially matrix-wise.
 
1.12 vanilla closed eyes :P But 2.4 is also good! Basically I am playing in a private server with 1.12 patch and I love it!
 
wrong wrong and wrong. nostalgy goggles make you unaware what flaws classic wow had compared to current day wow. its the repetition thats killing it. you just cant bring back that epic feeling of your first level 60 or the first raid boss kill by simply bringing back the old (grindy) content.
 
late BC. I loved the mechanics back then.

that said, the difference between playing DnD and playing WoW - is DnD is home hosted, so you are not constrained by other people's rules. when it comes to games like WoW though? its not hosted on our computers, not really - its all blizzard side and we are just visiting. that's the beauty of small pen and paper games. the world is your Oyster.
 
I'd play the latest and greatest WoW, because it's constantly iterating and making itself better. A plit playerbase isn't much fun in an MMO.

In say, D&D, at least 3.5/Pathfinder and 4th Ed differentiate themselves somewhat, so there's enough of a difference to call them separate games rather than patches. It's also not as big a deal to be fragmented, unlike an MMO, because the important people are the group of 4 to 8 DM+Players that you have in a self-contained world, whereas an MMO is built on the assumption of a very populated world.
 
Everyone's view of which patch was best is going to be colored by so much more than the "state of the game" at that patch though.

Were they in a guild and enjoying it? Were they a class that was powerful in PvP/PvE?

I mean, late TBC for a PvP Druid probably is remembered fondly, but for a Hunter it'd be hell on Earth.

I mean me personally, I think of pre-TBC fondly..I was in a MC raid with a group of people I enjoyed, I still enjoyed going into AV...but when I look back without the nostalgia glasses I recall all the things that were broken at the time...all the negatives that my nostalgia glosses over.
 
Anything before 3.0. or more precisely before the huge talent/class changes and introduction of achievements. ironically called the patch of (echoes of) doom which couldn't have been any more fitting.

it's when TBC died and BGs died for me and everything went downhill after that. never thought they'd come up with something worse than achis, but lo and behold LFG tool followed.
 
I think I'd go for a late BC patch. In terms of when I had the most fun, that was during vanilla. But given that time has passed and I've changed, BC is probably a better fit for me now.

Though ideally I'd get to pick and choose, to bring along Ulduar, the rogue legendary quest, Shadowmourne, and Quel'danar.
 
I do believe that Clockwork has the most likely interpretation; I, personally, would never turn back the clock before 3.0, because my beloved Retribution was useless in PVE before that.
 
Yeah looking back on Vanilla wow there were quite a few things that would strike me as major problems now that I am jaded.

1) Really wretched and uninteresting zones that are really dreary compared to what is the norm now.
2) Molten Bore. Too long, and too many fights that were tank and spank or nearly so.
3) it was very classist. Paladins, priests, druids--- heal. Warriors tank. I played alliance so I don't know how shamans were treated at that time. Good luck finding a guild that would let a paladin tank, or a spot as a shadow priest or what have you. This was a source of a lot of unhappiness and guild drama.
4) Pvp was pretty weird. It was more or less who crit first. Remember getting one shot by a shaman as his hand of rag proceed windfury of his wind fury and it was all crit? You were dead in an instant.


I mean in terms of my experience it was the high point of the game. But that is more because it was new to me, not because it was genuinely better.
 
I would prob go back to WoW classic when you could still use Quickheal (I think that was the mod where you could spam one key and it would throw heal on whatever char needed a heal). You could then focus on looking at what went on instead of focusing on what to heal :)
 
In every discusion of such type there are people who say Vanilla/TBC and then there are the others who don't just say what they want but they criticize the others that vote for Vanilla/TBC. They try to tell them that they don't know what type of game they like and how bad wow was back then...

They do not understand that there are people that seeking different things in games!

1)What do you believe is "Broken" I believe is "perfect"...
2)you may think that traveling a lot with ground mount is a waste of time but I love it
3)You may think that to craft your own poisons and arrows and have to constantly feeding your companion is bad and time waste and costly and unfair because mage don't do that, but this is why I loved Hunters and rogues.
4)You may think that a game is very classist with every class have his role and you hate that but I hate the homogenization of the classes and that everyone can do anything

Blizzard announced that there were more players played wow in the past and now don't play it than players play now. That mean that A whole player base have left and a new one came in. Don't try to judge the old player base or to understand their likes. I play lotro now because is the best "simulation" MMORPG for now..In your eyes it will be Broken, classist and too much time for traveling..
 
2.2, before the first of the big experience curve nerfs in patch 2.3

I only leveled one character before that came in and it already made a mockery of the then open world questing content.

I actually agree that progression servers or time-locked servers would be bad for what's left of WoW's community as it'd split them across multiple chosen servers.

Why not have an XP gain slider based on that same choice? That would allow us to experience the current Cataclysm revamp at a sensible pace. Most Blizzard games have a difficulty slider, well in WoW's case I'd want an XP slider instead.
 
WOTLK, no doubt. I loved the landscapes and the overall "Nordic" feeling.
 
When WotC bring out a new edition of D&D rules, it's just a dry rulebook.

When Blizzard bring out a new expansion, as well as the dry rulebook changes, they bring out a whole new set of adventures.

To make the comparison fair, you need to compare just the rules changes in WoW, without the adventure changes. Once you look at it like this, you can see that the rules don't really matter much, compared with the story. We bought TBC for Outland and its related stories, not for spacegoats, bloodelves, or other even more trivial rules changes. We bought WotLK for the epic story, not the class changes and new abilities.
 
4c22cb52-3723-11e0-95c0-000bcdcb2996 said...

1) Really wretched and uninteresting zones that are really dreary compared to what is the norm now.
2) Molten Bore. Too long, and too many fights that were tank and spank or nearly so.
3) it was very classist. Paladins, priests, druids--- heal. Warriors tank. I played alliance so I don't know how shamans were treated at that time. Good luck finding a guild that would let a paladin tank, or a spot as a shadow priest or what have you. This was a source of a lot of unhappiness and guild drama.
4) Pvp was pretty weird. It was more or less who crit first. Remember getting one shot by a shaman as his hand of rag proceed windfury of his wind fury and it was all crit? You were dead in an instant.


1. Matter of opinion. I happened to find the zones very interesting.

2. True enough, but it was also the first raid. BWL was an "improvement" in this respect.

3. So? This complaint is the #1 reason there is so much class imbalance to this day. Blizzard keeps trying to make every class viable at almost everything, keeps utterly failing, and has finally given up and done away with talent trees altogether. If you want to play a class that can tank, PLAY ONE. Don't play a healing class and not expect to be asked to do what your class is good at. Sheesh. I just don't understand this fierce resistance to choosing a class and then being asked to, you know, utilize its strengths.

4. Not true. Yes, shamans in particular had it VERY good with an Arcanite Reaper Windfury proc, but that lasted all of 6 months at most. Early vanilla PvP was extremely fun and a lot more balanced than most people give it credit for. Trust me, I would know--I PvPed constantly before the honor system even existed. I had 50k kills on one character and got to rank 12 (back when ranking up existed and required an embarrassing time commitment) on another before the first 8 months of the game were up. There were a few very glaring imbalances, but Blizzard made a habit of inexplicable overcorrection in almost every instance in attempting to address imbalance issues--a practice they continue to this day, to the detriment of the game and everyone who plays it.

Me? Late-vanilla. And not just because of nostalgia. The game was better. More interesting. More possibilities. It's been distilled down to a clinical experience through 7 years of Blizzard's constant scrubbing (once called "polishing").
 
Eh. The zones and quests were much more primitive. You can't seriously claim that the vanilla zones had better quests or production values than currently exist. But whatever.

As far as paladins and druids and priests... what exactly is the point of these hybrid classes when two out of the three talent trees are totally worthless?

Blizzard is the one who made these classes. I don't think it's unreasonable for each of the trees to be viable for the primary end game activity. Expecting people to invest 10-20 days of their live leveling a character that promises multi-use functionality only to have you end up being permanently forced into one role is crap.

There were a lot of nice things about vanilla. But I can certainly say that you could easily get as jaded about it as you could about just about any period in WoW's history.
 
"Eh. The zones and quests were much more primitive. You can't seriously claim that the vanilla zones had better quests or production values than currently exist. But whatever."

Newer zones have better quests? That's news to me. I recently leveled a character from 60 to 85 and 95% of the quests were the same as the ones that came before. Go kill this, go collect that, go escort this guy. Sorry, not buying it.

As far as paladins and druids and priests... what exactly is the point of these hybrid classes when two out of the three talent trees are totally worthless?

Blizzard is the one who made these classes. I don't think it's unreasonable for each of the trees to be viable for the primary end game activity. Expecting people to invest 10-20 days of their live leveling a character that promises multi-use functionality only to have you end up being permanently forced into one role is crap.


But you're missing the point. Blizzard made the hybrid style inviable through bad end-game PvE design. The hybrid classes worked spectacularly well in non-end-game PvE and in PvP (again, I was there, I played with them, as them and against them), but since they couldn't tank as well or heal as well as the dedicated classes in end-game PvE, Blizzard saw fit to "rebalance" the classes instead of the part of their game that was actually causing the problem. Blizzard has, at the worst times, been inexplicably intractable when it comes to PvE design throughout the life of the game. Modifying perfectly functional class design to accomodate obviously flawed PvE design was an indefensible violation of design integrity. It was an utterly lazy solution, pure and simple.
 
World of warcraft
Patch 2.4.3
Vanilla patch 1.12

im currently playing on a 2.4.3 private server and i LOVE it. burning crusade was for me the peak of my wow career
 
Tough call. I think 2.4.3 The thing I dislike so strongly about WotLK and Cata is the grindy point system for tier rading gear. It's basically put me off the game entirely because the magic of getting the right boss drop is gone. I would really enjoy playing on a 2.4.3 server to get a full set of T6 the old-fashioned way.
 
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