BlizzCon 2018: World of Warcraft Classic Hands-On Review
Those with a BlizzCon Ticket or Virtual Ticket have access to download and play the World of Warcraft Classic demo at home or at the computer stations. Only Westfall is available for testing at the moment.
When creating a new character, you are automatically level 15 in the demo. The character creation screen looks exactly like it did back in 2004; and you can only obtain the old models.
After login, my character spawned at Sentinel Hill. I gathered two quests, and the first thing I noticed with dread is that the quest tracker isn’t interactive, and you can only track what you shift-click in the Quest Log. Opening the map doesn’t show any markers to inform you where the quest objectives are located at.
So like a good boyscout as you were in 2004, if you played back then, you have three options:
1. Go to Thottbot– oh wait, nevermind.
2. Ask in general chat where to find X or Y.
3. Scout and spend 30+ minutes searching where the mobs are.
It took me 32 minutes to figure out where the Defias Trappers and Smugglers were, and a lot of walk to search for the Gnolls. There seems to be only one graveyard and it is a long ghost walk.
I became annoyed to find out that when you are not grouped with another player(s), if they hit a mob, they are flagged or grayed out. That means you can’t loot that mob, nor gives you credit for the current quest you are in. I had forgotten that’s how gameplay life was back in 2004.
When I completed the quest which was killing 15 Defias Smugglers and 15 Defias Trappers, as usual you open the map to see where the NPC is to turn in. The quest NPC is not marked on the map. I knew where Sentinel Hill is, so no problem. But grab more than 5 quests, and complete them, and you will soon realize that if you don’t have a good memory to know where each quest giver NPC is located, then you are out of luck.
Within a few minutes it crossed my mind: Why in the world do people want World of Warcraft Classic? Life is so easy in Legion and Battle for Azeroth. Everything is taken for granted and intuitive with all these game systems put in place that allow you to interact with the world, and allows you to know your way from point A to point B.
Reliving my 2004-2006 experience in World of Warcraft Classic for mere 60 minutes made me appreciate what the WoW Team has built over the past 10 years to enhance gamers’ experience.
I have to say I felt a bit annoyed the first 40 minutes of gameplay. Then I realized something that I rarely see in World of Warcraft nowadays. I soon realized that because mobs are flagged by players that aggro them, the space is small and respawn time is longer than usual, that you can only progress if you group up and work together.
You become more caring about people around you. As I was navigating near packs of Gnolls, trying hard to avoid aggroing them, a couple of players ran by. They were running away from a pack of gnolls. In Battle for Azeroth you can figh 5+ mobs at once, but back in 2004 you were really in deep trouble if you aggroed a pack of mobs.
As both players ran past me, I quickly cast Frost Nova, rooting the gnolls in place, and giving the players time to outrun them. I ran in their direction knowing I pissed off the gnolls. Once we broke aggro after putting some distance, they both thanked me and sent a group invite.
I only had 10 minutes more of gameplay before the demo automatically kicked me out of the server for 30 minutes. I prepared water and food and opened Trade with both players. They thanked me again, and shared with me how useful in Classic it is to have a mage with you.
Make no mistake. I hate World of Warcraft Classic. Not the demo, just the way things were before… after I experienced the new systems and quality of life enhancements made to the game. However, these 60 minutes of World of Warcraft Classic demo gameplay reminded me how special it felt to work together with strangers. Made me feel kinder to others, and made me feel special to be thanked so often for things that come out naturally… to try to help others.
Three minutes before the demo’s countdown timer expired to kick me out of the server, I informed them where the Defias Trappers and Smugglers were at. That way they wouldn’t have to spend 30 minutes walking around aimlessly trying to figure out where the objective was.
I used those three minutes to keep killing gnolls for both players. The server kicked me out before I could say goodbye one last time.
I exited the game with a sense of accomplishment, and kindness that I hadn’t felt in a while. That’s how it felt like back in 2004-2006. The sense of community, of helping others, of being helped out of the blue by a wandering stranger. Working together to face and overcome obstacles. That’s how it all started.
World of Warcraft Classic is slated to ship on Summer 2019.