Tobold's Blog
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Would you play WoW on a classic server?

Supposedly still this year the second expansion for World of Warcraft comes out, Wrath of the Lich King. While that expansion will be very popular, and bring new content, other parts of the existing content will become obsolete. Just like nobody is doing Scholomance or Stratholme or UBRS now, nobody will visit the level 70 Outlands dungeons after WotLK is there. Only if people are at the level cap are they visiting dungeons and raid dungeons of that level cap. Once the level cap is lifted, it becomes easier and more profitable to solo in the new lands than to group in the old dungeons. But you can't turn back time. Or can you? In this case it might just be possible: What if Blizzard introduced "classic servers", which had all the improvements of TBC (including the new races) and WotLK (including Deathknights), but not the new continents, and where the level was capped at 60. After a certain time, lets say a year or two, the level cap could go up to 70 and Outlands would open up.

With everyone limited to the old content, it would be a lot easier to find groups for there. The old level 60 dungeons would be viable again, because there wouldn't be anything better. Raid guilds could do Molten Core and Blackwing Lair again. New players, who have never seen the old level 60 content could finally see it. And nostalgic veterans could go back to the good old days, if they think of them as that. But there wouldn't be a complete rollback to before patch 2.0 or 1.13, because it would be too complicated to run with servers with different patch versions. The classic servers would have all the improvements from recent patches, like the new cooking recipes of 2.4, or the improved Duskwallow Marsh from patch 2.3. The only difference to a normal server would be the different level cap and not having access to Outlands / Northrend.

So, if you are bored now, or imagine getting bored a few months after WotLK comes out, would you play on a classic server with a level 60 cap?
I would play on a classic server, due to the fact that I never raid the old content (and missed most of the level 60 dungeons, also).
Although not a bad idea in essence, I honestly doubt it would pick up well enough to be viable. I base this opinion on the fact that people aren't generally willing to pay the same price and get less... I suppose it would be possible to set a different pay scale at which point it could be plausible.
Yes, I would resubscribe to WoW if Blizzard would open a classic server. The current TBC incarnation cannot hold my interest any longer. I miss the old, big, cohesive fantasy world.

I don't want any TBC 'improvements' like new gear, consumables, or recepies on this classic server. I also don't want battlegrounds and arena, and I absolutely don't want Resilience and PvP-specific gear.

I do want the access requirements to end-game raids (such as keys, attunements, elemental protection gear, lockouts) to be greatly relaxed. I want the consumables to be easily and cheaply obtainable. I want raid bosses to drop much more loot, so that the players don't have to 'farm' the dungeons they've beaten for weeks on end and can move on to greater challenges faster. In short, I want the PvE endgame that is no less difficult but much less 'grindy'.

I want all PvP action to take place in the open world, not in instances. I want meaningful world PvP objectives. I want a rule system that encourages confrotations between the players of similar level and discourages 'ganking'.

Sigh... a man can dream, can't he? Something tells me I'll get to keep my subscription money. By all idications so far, WotLK won't offer anything that will lure me back.
I've seen this request multiple times on the forums with official Blizzard responses that they are not considering it as an option.

I can understand why they would not want to do this--it would be a separate server configuration that only a minority of users would even consider. Also there would be more splits of opinion between people who want "true classic" gameplay (exactly as it was pre-TBC), semi-classic (as it is now without TBC enabled), and "improved" classic play (like mr. gamer requests).

Personally, I think something like heroic dungeons would be a great way of reusing the old content. Maybe a future patch will include "legendary" versions of old instances tuned to level-80 difficulty.
If I thought I could get enough friends together and do the old content maybe. But otherwise no. I just imagine everyone would get to around 40ish or 50 and fade away or transfer to a BC server.

Now if I could play on a server with no Arena's and now Battle grounds I'd be all over that. In fact I'd go a step further. I want to play on a server with no instanced PVP where every gaurd and every NPC can drop stuff.
no way, classis server would not be much fun. I've been there, done that. I quit Wow originally after I was tired of boring MC runs. I think a large problem in wow is the randomness of drops. It isn't much fun if you need a certain piece to improve your gear and you are down to only one boss left that has it. You spend 3hrs clearing a zone and what you need never drops. boring, & I don't think it would be successful.
I'd stay far away from it. As a casual player nothing is more enjoyable to me than BC over pre-BC.

I can PVP now and get decent gear without devoting my life to it. I can casually run a 10-man raid and get badges and epics without devoting my life to a guild. Once I outgear level 70 dungeons I can re-run them as heroics, and raiding guild members actually want to join.

In old world, especially one year into the game, I found it nearly impossible to find a guild that was not raiding, and guild members that wanted to actually run old instances. Pugs were just as bad then as they are now.

I also really don't believe you'd get enough people who actually want to play a lesser game to support the economy. It'd be a completely niche server with maybe a few thousand total people, and it would probably be full of clicks that isolate anyone not in their guild.

Of course, I wouldn't be against the idea, as it makes no difference to me what other people do. I can completely understand blizzard's point of view though. If droves of people started leaving, all demanding a classic server, then it would be worth their pocket book to create one. Until that time i'm sure they will keep the idea in their back pocket, ready to pull out when the numbers start dropping.
I would love that. I know that my Skill has very much improved in the last year and I often ask myself how I would do if I could transfer my knowledge from now to myself in classic.
Also a server who is simply about two years behind the rest would have some advantages. Sure, you would see new content two years later. But you could play in a absolutely bug-free environment, because millions of "beta-testers" spent two whole years reporting all the bugs.
And lets face it: Most high-end instances start very hard and then get nerfed because Joe Normal wants to play it too. Two years behind could mean that classic-players get those nerfed raids right from the start.
I would switch. I think there would be certain advantages for hardcore casuals..
I'm in a guild that runs old-world instances for fun (we're going to be hitting Naxx soon) and I think there's nothing particularly interesting about a "classic" server. Maybe it's just because I wasn't part of that endgame, but I'm not nostalgic for it at all.
There's a better way. Simply have servers for different level ranges. Once you hit the cap, you either get a free transfer or you stop gaining exp.

Yeah, I know my example is screwed up, sorry. It should be 1-15, 16-30, etc.
I already ran Molten Core and BWL for months and months and months; I've seen the insides of Scholo and Strath enough times to have memorized their layouts. There's just no way that I'd ever consider a classic server.

I need more new content, not nostalgia! I've come to realize that Blizzard isn't going to add anything new to the game really... they're going to cash in on what they have until their next big product comes out. I don't think we should let them off the hook even more by clamoring for classic servers. Sure, Dire Maul was fun in 2006. Maybe people who haven't been playing very long are missing out by not being able to run those old instances. But even though nostalgia makes us look back so fondly at the old stuff, nothing about those instances is superior to TBC, really. (Except for BRD-- I really wish they'd made at least one instance that was as vast and varied as that place!)
I would renew my account (cancelled for the past 14 months atm) if they introduced classic servers. I have little to no desire to participate in the gear arms race/arenas/new raid dungeons. Pre-BC WoW was the most fun I ever had in an MMOG (possibly the most fun I've ever had in a game). I'd go so far as to say leave out BWL and MC and just introduce new loot to the 5/10-man dungeons every so often (note I didn't say better loot.. more like just different loot, like different sets with different bonuses and strengths and weaknesses etc).

I would play that in a heartbeat. I wouldn't even transfer over a character if the option was there. I'd start all over.
Oh and as for PvP, leave in battlegrounds with the honor system right before BC.. ie honor continually accumulates and can be spent. make the rewards slightly better than dungeon gear for PvP, but not overly so, and again, rotate the gear. Give us new and interesting (in terms of how it looks and its quality) armor to get every so often.
I would love a "classic" server. As a casual player with a real life, I missed a lot of the old content, including opening up the gate and all that.
I like the idea of having to transfer servers at certain level ranges. It sure would kill twinking.
Hi, it's Abomminog from Thrall.

The idea is good, but I would prefer if Blizzrd stop doing new continents and start doing more things on many places around Azeroth, like Uldum. I started playing a few months before TBC went out and just managed to take a quick look at Molten Core (once). Went to see UBRS when I was 70 already. No Onyxia for me.

No need for a classic server. Blizzard only have to make old end-game instances up to lvl 70/80.

But then... I don't see Blizzard going back to old days. It seems soon there will be no more PvE.

I would have stopped playing my Tank (TBC sucks if you're not into a Raid Guild), if I didn't managed to create a frost Mage to have some fun back. I'm leaving the Tank for Kara and up instances (PvE). And the Mage for PvP. Let's see what happens... hoping the light in the end of the tunnel is not a train.
CoH/V has a nice feature called mentoring, where you intentionally lower your level to that of a friend to be able to run dungeons with him again. You lose the skils/powers of higher levels while mentoring, but you get the xp proportionnal to your level though.
Effectively this means that high level characters who are not capped gain the same benefit of running lowbie instances than any other other instance.
Blizz could do that too, but WoW would have the problem of how to affectively rebalance gear to a lower level...(there could be default values for lvl 10,20,30etc f. ex; which would be slightly more powerfull than the good blues available at that level).

(P.S.:It also works the other way around; a low level character can run higher level instances. That's called side-kicking and effectively boosts you level/attributes/powers while you are with a high level character)

That way, everyone can just group up with anyone and do any instance/quest, without losing out on the challenge nor on the rewards
Speaking as a 3yr 'vet' of WOW (who has seen both 60 and 70 raid instances) I doubt I'll even consider trying it out even if it was free. It could be due to the fact that I've officially quit, but I think it ties down to how much of that content you missed. I doubt people who have done them to death would wanna go back to the old instances/raids.
Blizz might start one up though, when their numbers start falling and the veterans start whining about the increasingly retarded patches etc. etc.
"I doubt people who have done them to death would wanna go back to the old instances/raids."

I did MC, BWL and AQ40 for quite some time, but I would go back. There was a time when I was fed up, but thats gone now.
But I don't like the actual "classic raids" aka "lfm BWL, lvl70 & and epic equipment required". Usually only few people know the tactics, and when the rest notices that tactics aren't necessary with 10k hp, everything goes downhill. And in the end, when everything got zerged a single rogue goes "lol BWL is easy, everyone can do it".
Honestly if the gear in the instances was tweaked to BC standards there would be a reason to do them. People could raid and level at the same time.

But thats a pipe dream.
Like the last poster said...

If there were any incentive to go back and do lvl 60 end-game instances, then I could easily see others using the old instances without need to create a classic server.

It would only need to be changed slightly to make it challenging.

Improving Loot rewards or special items (like mount drops or armor dyes or learn a new dance graphic or new cape graphic, contacts to change your eye color, etc..) and limiting the number of players to (2 level 70's?) may still keep it challenging without the need to upgrade the bosses.
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Well think about alts, in essence it would be a great idea for alts, although limiting twinking capabilities. I have about 6 friends in real life that JUST started playing WoW in the last 3 months, and we all play pretty casually so there is really no reason to have the expansion for them, none have even hit 60 yet.
Actually, I think Blizzard should create such "classic" servers, for free. Make the WoW pre-BC available for free, or for a ridiculously low monthly fee like $4.95.
@Sam and others who pointed out that updating old instances and raids would render 'classic' servers unnecessary:

To me (and perhaps others) experiencing the old end-game content again is not the sole reason for wanting a 'classic' server. I want to see many design decisions made with TBC (and some even prior) and subsequent patches reversed:

1. I want the lower level cap of 60. 70 is too many. 80 is way too many. Too many levels to separate any given player from another. Too many trips to the trainer. Too many buttons. Too many boars slain. 60 was about right. Any more is too much. I like the new reduced XP leveling curve though: keep it.

2. I want the sci-fi-meets-steampunk visual style of TBC scrubbed from the game world. It was fun when it was new, but now that the dust has settled, I find it inferior to the classic fantasy look. It's too bombastic, too colorful, too garish. This is especially true of the equipment graphics: In their quest for more 'epic' appearance Blizzard artists made gear that looks like a collection on neon-lighted sex toys. I want it all gone from my sight!

3. I want to see "world" put back into World of Warcraft. I want to see the continents of Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms, made up of contiguous zones flowing smoothly into each other, vast and wonderful to explore, dotted with outposts and dungeons, to be once again filled with people questing, helping each other, fighting, engaging in buffoonery, bringing life to the world. Anathema to portals to other lands, mini-games, battlegrounds, arenas, and other non-PvE instances that fragment the world and separate the players from each other!

4. I want to see "war" put back into World of Warcraft. I want Allied and Horde factions clearly represented in the zones throughout the world, creating the sense of danger and conflict. I want to see world PvP again: battles that can happen anytime anywhere that anyone can join, faction-controlled zone intrusions, cities under attack, fighting not for points but for guts and glory, for the Alliance, for the Horde! Death to the mad elite guard spawn! Let there be WAAAARGH!

If I could somehow turn back time and change the direction that WoW development took, there never would have been the TBC expansion. There would be an ongoing effort to improve the existing world and add more quests and events to the old zones, especially the more desoltate ones. There would have been a few more zones that would nonetheless be seamlessly integrated into the existing continent geography.

There would be no more levels: the game would be gradually expanded laterally across all level ranges and not vertically, giving incentive to start over and create an alt character. There would be other incentives to do that too, so that the world would always be filled with other characters to play with no matter what your level. Every bit of effort would be put into making sure that the path from level 1-60 felt like an adventure instead of a grind, even when done many times over.

There would be developed a much more extensive PvP framework and objectives that encouraged factional animosity and world PvP and all levels. There would not be a 'grind' of any sort associated with PvP. There would not be any instanced PvP like arena or battlegrounds.

There would be more end-game raids of varied group sizes introduced over time. These would be parallel in difficulty and rewards to the existing ones, so that players had a variety of challenges to attempt at any given point in gear progression instead of moving lenearly from one dungeon to another. Access requirements for raids and the gear 'grind' aspect of raiding would be eased, focusing on the social and challenge aspects of raiding.

Revenue would be generated via charging the subscribers for some of the new end-game content, but some of it would be free. New mid-game content would be free to encourage 'alts' to populate the world.

Maybe me wanting a 'classic' server is a misnomer. A true 'rollback' to a pre-TBC world would attract me and occupy me for a while, but ultimately I would want that world to move forward -- just not in the same direction Blizzard has chosen to take it with TBC and WotLK.

I hope the WoW of my dreams will come along soon, perhaps in a different guise and not from Blizzard. I'm tempted to project my wishes on the upcoming Warhammer Online, but I realize that would be unjustified. I'll just have to wait and see how that turns out.
I agree with Clifford. Just look at all these comments -- everyone wants WoW tweaked to their own preferences. And no way is Blizzard going to debug and patch multiple versions of real-time MMO software. They seem to have their hands full already with current content patches and developing their new games.
no changed what everyone wants I think is the dynamic ever changing world we were promised. It never materialized and almost every complaint since has had a nugget of that angst in it. Of course when people complain and offer thier ideas it would be a tweak in thier playstyles direction. But if the devs really put effort into regular content patches and shook things up I don't think you'd hear so much complaining.

After all these years only 3 things have generated a buzz that people still fondly remember, The AQ event, The invasion, and the Halloween bosses in the old instances. Two of those things were tiny easy to do things and everyone loved them. Where is that kind of stuff on a monthly or quarterly basis. Instead we get the same xmas and other holiday quests over and over because they are too damn lazy to have some quest designer freshen them up.
Rather than a classic server, I would like to see the option to run all instances at the max level- or the ability to select difficulty settings that correspond to player levels. Gear could drop that matches the level selected and then the old world wouldn't be completely dead as it is now.
I would love to play on a classic server. The Burning Crusade lost a lot of the wit and humor of the original. The BC music is dreary, the landscape depressing. In Blades Edge sadistic bird creature torture ogres who say, me no want to die, me be good just make the pain stop. On and on. Lich King may be worse. The have added an achievement system, with petty accomplishments, that everyone can inspect, like boy scouts with merit badges. How childish! I want the original game.
I started playing WoW shortly after TBC came out. So the low level areas in Azeroth weren't completely dead. I'd be at Lakeshire leveling up my recently made warrior and see anywhere from 5 to 15 other allies leveling in the area, and all of a sudden Lakeshire was under attack by higher level horde. Granted this was sometimes annoying, as a new comer it was often very exciting and gave me a sense of "fear" while playing. World PvP was sweet, and I didn't even get to see it in classic WoW! I can only imagine how sweet that would be.

I am now level 80 and am running heroics, trying to beef up my gear, and it is fun. But when I think back, the most fun I had playing WoW was between level 1 and 58...especially around level 50 when I first ran BRD. I had the best time doing that and was looking forward to running LBRS, then UBRS, and hoping to work my way to the level 60 instances. But then being a noob like I was, I would be LFG for those instances and people would whisper me: "dude go to outland noob." I was pissed! I was soooo looking forward to more cool instances that followed BRD. So instead I gave up and went to outland, only to become too bored to play at around level 64 or 65... Then once WoTLK came out I figured I'd start up again to give it a chance, and I am enjoying it, but still wish I could do the classic WoW stuff...but not me going through it as level 80 solo or whatever, actually doing it at the correct levels. All my friends who played WoW before TBC say they miss classic WoW so much and would be stoked as all hell to play it again, the exact same way it was before TBC. Private classic WoW servers suck because you can start at level 60 and get all the cool gear just by donating a little money to the people who made the servers...LAME! I would love to see classic WoW servers made by blizzard, and have no tweeks whatsoever to them, just the way it was in 2.0 or whatever the patch was.

Classic WoW was for hardcore gamers, not average joe gamers. Leave the new TBC and WoTLK stuff for average joe gamers and people who really like WoTLK, and then make classic servers for the real hardcore gamers.
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