Thursday, September 05, 2019
If you keep up with gaming news, streams, and videos, WoW Classic has become impossible to ignore. The first guy hit level 60 after only 79 hours of /played time, got accused of using layering to cheat, then deleted his character. Many people are playing, but most are still on their way to 60. And so I come across lots of gameplay videos and streams, watch other people play World of Warcraft, and realize: I am cured! I feel absolutely no desire to play World of Warcraft in any form, Classic or not.
In fact my typical reaction on watching somebody leveling in WoW Classic by doing some quest is "Oh my god is that boring!". I have a hard time understanding how I could have spent thousands of hours doing just that. I assume that at some point it was exciting because it was new, interesting to explore a virtual world. But now all these quests seem so terribly trivial to me. It isn't as if you needed any skill to do them.
Of course at level 60 a part of the game opens up that requires more skill. But that comes with a lot of baggage. Dragon Kill Points, guild drama, and all the joy of playing in a large raid group in which not everybody has the same level of skill, leading to endless sources of conflict. I don't have very fond memories of my time raiding, although I sure spent a lot of hours doing so.
But the saddest thing about WoW Classic is that it is such a poignant reminder of how little the whole genre has evolved in 15 years. A stream of WoW Battle for Azeroth doesn't look all that different from a WoW Classic stream. And there isn't any other game out there either that comes much closer to the initial promise of offering you a chance to live in a fantasy world. It turns out all these fantasy worlds are populated by NPCs and monsters stuck in a time loop that never goes anywhere. Which is why it is possible to redo a 15-year old game and it becomes the hottest MMORPG of the year. Sad!