WoW Classic Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
 
Rating: M15+
 
Release Date: 27th August, 2019
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/5


 

Positives


- It’s what we all asked for and it’s almost exactly how we remember it
- Some minor quality-of-life features makes the leveling experience a little less tedious
- A great community of like-minded players seeking nostalgia.

Negatives


- Nagging server issues throughout the launch window
- Lots of players aren’t playing in the spirit of the vanilla experience.


Posted September 10, 2019 by

 
Full Article
 
 

It’s been over a decade since the 10-14 hour daily sessions of raiding and PvP that was my experience in vanilla World of Warcraft (WoW), and now Blizzard has unleashed the base game officially once more in all its glory in the guise of WoW Classic. Whether you began to play WoW during Cataclysm or haven’t touched it since Mists of Pandaria, WoW Classic is a temptation for anyone looking to get lost once more in the quests and dungeons that saw Blizzard’s MMORPG become the most successful of all time.

Reviewing WoW Classic after just a couple of weeks of the official servers being live is no small feat. We put in countless hours checking out different race and class combos, making sure everything played as we remember, and we can confirm that this is an authentic vanilla WoW experience with a few minor quality-of-life improvements. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard that Blizzard had an undoubtedly hugely successful WoW Classic launch, with many servers being frustratingly full on launch day with lengthy queues. Whether this was by design will remain a Blizzard secret, though they were very quick to provide new servers to relieve congestion, as well as look at additional ways to shorten those queue times such as increasing server population and free character transfers to low pop or new servers.

Read our full write-up of the events that took place over the first week of WoW Classic.

WoW Classic

Oceanic PVP players were perhaps worst affected around the globe given Blizzard had provided just one PVP server at launch (Arugal) which had instant 4-5 hour queues when the game went live. A mere two hours later, a second PVP server (Yojamba) appeared, and by the end of the launch day there was a third PVP server (Felstriker) for Oceanic players to choose from, as well as the Normal server (Remulos) which remained at high population but not full.

For reference sake, we hit up Yojamba and played as Alliance. Starter areas were absolutely filled to the brim with new characters as expected, but plenty of people were happily assisting one another with quest objectives in busy areas. We heard stories of a US server where players formed a line to hand a quest in; a true demonstration of what a WoW community can look like at its best. Half of the reason WoW was so successful back in its heyday was because of the community, and for that reason it was very important for us that the community was on point and as friendly as we remember. Sure, there’s the competitive nature of the game, but without the overwhelming support through groups and (usually) getting answers for most questions in general or trade chat whether publicly or by whisper, vanilla WoW really was the quintessential pinnacle of massively multiplayer online gaming.

WoW Classic

It felt surreal running exploring the original zones throughout Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor once more, unaffected by the events that have greatly changed the landscape of today’s live version. There was something reassuring about seeing a Night Elf and knowing they’re not a mage, or not having a shaman want to tank an instance since there is no shaman class on alliance. We’re really looking forward to the phases which will introduce the PVP honor system, battlegrounds, more raids and content, and eventually world PVP. WoW Classic is shaping up to be the authentic experience that we all remembered, regardless of how some people might be attempting to exploit it which we’ll get in to a little later.

For those unfamiliar with what WoW was like before any expansions, here’s a quick rundown. The maximum level is 60, you can get a ‘normal’ 60% speed mount at level 40 and an ‘epic’ 100% speed mount at level 60. There are seven classes across both factions, and one unique class in each (Paladin for Alliance, Shaman for Horde). Both factions have just four races (Human, Dwarf, Gnome and Night Elf for Alliance / Orc, Troll, Undead and Tauran for Horde) and the race you choose has its own racial benefits which definitely help you decide which one to be once you’ve chosen a class. Your class is the core foundation of your character. Whether you’re a tanking class (Warrior, Paladin, Druid) or a healing class (Priest, Paladin, Shaman, Druid) or any of the other damage-per-second (DPS) classes (Rogue, Warlock, Mage, Hunter), all classes bring something to the table for groups whether it be for PVE dungeons and raids or PVP battlegrounds. The talent trees are incredibly important, and you receive one talent point per level. Some classes can choose to be a tank, healer or DPS while other classes can choose what type of DPS they will be. There was little that hardcore vanilla WoW fans complained about when it came to class, race and faction balances, and that’s one of the reasons why the original game was so overwhelmingly successful to the point that we’re soon going to see its seventh expansion.

WoW Classic

Despite players demanding the authentic vanilla WoW feel, WoW Classic comes with its own assortment of quality of life features which weren’t in the base game back in 2004-2006. One feature allows you to request your flight stops at the next location instead of continuing to where you may have originally clicked. This feature was not in the original game, though players knew they could relog into the game as a trick to land early. There’s also voice chat, though many players are still opting for Discord (though for a true experience, players should be on Ventrilo or TeamSpeak), and there’s also an overlay server group chat feature meaning you can create a large group chatroom for things like global trade and looking for groups. The server we played on quickly built a Looking For Group chat with over 1,000 people, which just simply wasn’t an option in vanilla WoW.

Almost all our interactions with the opposing faction were friendly in the leveling zones, waving and laughing at each other, and we actually found most of the negative experiences were with our own faction. The auction house was a complete mess with people spamming single stack items like linen and wool cloth making it frustrating to buy and sell basic trade goods from other players. Some players seemed to be overly aggressive for no apparent reason, though the reporting system is very much in place and you can soon block out any offensive behaviour.

WoW Classic

When you first log in to WoW Classic you’ll notice the original load screen is in a pillarbox resolution despite the fact you’re most likely on a wide (or ultrawide) screen. The game initially loads in a basic resolution with basic graphics settings. This was vanilla WoW. Fortunately, Blizzard allows you to amp up all settings to suit 2019’s monitors and gaming PC’s meaning the game soon looks as good as it does in the latest expansion Battle for Azeroth. While this once again improves the quality of life, we don’t remember things like rain and other weather effects in the base game, though it is kind of nice to see the skies open up as you’re questing through beautiful zones like Stranglethorn Vale or Feralas. The soundtrack is also current, and vanilla players will notice new or updated music in some zones.

WoW Classic’s continued success will largely depend on its community. We noticed plenty of toxicity, but also plenty of kindness, jokes and sharing while questing and completing various instances. As the player levels inevitably drop off and servers possibly merge together, hopefully WoW Classic will become a beacon of what an online gaming community can be, though we do think at this stage Blizzard needs to hurry up and get the battlegrounds up and running to make the real battle for Azeroth about Alliance vs Horde again.

Rocket Chainsaw reviewed WoW Classic using an EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW Gaming graphics card and a Samsung C32HG70 32” 1440p QLED Curved Gaming Monitor on maximum settings and experienced no framerate drops or other graphical issues. For more information on WoW Classic head to the official website.


David Latham

 
David has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) from a Group of Eight university, but only uses his very unique set of skills writing about video games. By day he's a stay-at-home dad, by night he's literally Batman. Where does he find the time?