World Of Warcraft Classic Review (Part 1)
When World Of Warcraft originally released in 2004, it quickly became a cultural phenomenon. As a kid that wholly enjoyed Warcraft III, I was excited for another game like that. Unfortunately, I did not realize that WoW was an entirely different game that required an internet connection and a subscription to play. I had asked for the game for Christmas, and when I popped it into my disc drive, I quickly saw the error of my ways. At the time, I had no internet, and even if I did, there was no way I would be able to convince my mom or dad to pay monthly for a video game when I already had so many games on my consoles. As time passed, I only had very limited MMO experience.
Fast forward to 2019 and Blizzard have released World Of Warcraft Classic. The original servers that launched and made the game the hit it is today, but with better performance. With WoW being such an old game, anyone who has played the game will know what they are getting into. That’s why with this review, I am going in seeing if the classic holds up today and if it is worth your time if you have never given it a try in the past. Also, I will be doing this review with NO experience in the current day WoW to make sure I am not comparing the two. Finally, this is part one of what will be a split-up review, to ensure I am not judging the entire game on one certain portion of what is an enormous experience. This part will cover my time from character level 1-10.
Starting off, I was disappointed to see that there is no free trial of the classic version. The current WoW allows players to play for free until they reach level 20 before they need to pay the $15 a month subscription. For this review, I was going to pay that subscription anyway but would have liked to see Blizzard allow new players that want to check out the very beginning at least a quick taste before diving into the paid model. Regardless, I paid the subscription and jumped in without touching the current WoW.
Graphics And Character Creation
Launching up the game immediately gave me a rush of nostalgia even though I had never played it before. The graphics look like they are from the early to mid-2000s and booting up a Warcraft game for the first time in probably 13 or so years had me nerding out hard. By today’s standards, the game does not hold up properly, but that is not the intention here. WoW Classic is specifically made to bring back a gem of the past and allow players to experience how it was 15 years ago. That is not to say the game looks bad; you just cannot compare a game made 15 years ago graphically to what we have today. Also, more people can run the game on better running hardware than back then. My first moments in the game I noticed people mentioning in chat how much better the game runs compared to when they first started it.
When I announced on social media that I was going to be covering WoW Classic, I had many people try and persuade me to join either the Horde or the Alliance. This is the two sides fighting it out against each other, and every WoW fan has their idea of which side is better. In the Horde, you can play as either an Orc, Undead, Troll, or Tauren. In the Alliance, you can choose from Human, Night Elf, Dwarf, or Gnomes. After a bit of debate between choosing Night Elf or Orc, I decided to go with Night Elf. Next I needed to choose my class. The choices here are Hunter, Warrior, Rogue, Shaman, Priest, or Mage. I was getting impatient and did not look at the classes and chose Hunter and thus, Vintaspoomp the Night Elf Hunter was born.
Upon entering the game, the camera swoops through a wooded area explaining the situation the Night Elves are in and lands on your character with a quest giver standing directly in front of you. I like the game getting right down to business. Off the bat, I am tasked with killing some boars and wildcats that are overpopulating the area. This is where you are introduced to combat. Combat consists of right-clicking on your target and moving into range to damage them. Spells and abilities you unlock can be added to your action bar of numbers, dash, and equals sign for easy, quick activation.
As I started taking out these level one enemies, I notice a level 4 demon come into view. This is when I quickly learned that your level progression matters. The battle was close, but within the first ten minutes of me playing I died and became a spirit. Like in almost every other video game, do not jump into battles you are not ready for.
There is no permadeath in World Of Warcraft (at least that I know of), so when I died, I became a small ball called a Wisp, and I needed to find my deceased body before I was brought back to life. Since I had only moved about 200 feet away from the original spawn, it was easy to find my body. However, later on when you die you are transported to the nearest town you have visited before. During one quest, I was required to kill Harpies and hope for a certain drop, but I kept dying from the higher-level enemies. Continuously becoming a spirit and tracking down my body wasn’t hard, but it was very annoying to the point that I finally moved on to another quest. While, being a Wisp is a good way to get back to where you died without dying again, respawning in the middle of enemies with only half health left me set for another death — a truly aggravating experience.
One thing that I quickly noticed with the quests is you need to carefully read them to understand what it is you are doing. After gaining a quest, I would skim it and find that there was no waypoint or objective marker showing me where to go (I’ll come back to that in a second). One early quest had me collect eight samples of a specific herb, but I did not read the rest of the quest, so I was wandering around the forest looking for a herb to pick up only to find out the quest let me know a specific creature was carrying it the whole time about 20 feet away from the quest giver. I have learned I need to be more patient with MMOs.
Having no quest markers or directions to where you are supposed to go besides being told a direction to walk in really made me want to stop playing this game. I would spend what felt like forever walking in wooded areas to only find a dead-end or somehow get turned the wrong way. It wasn’t until a friend suggested an addon called Questie that I started having a better time exploring the world. Questie gives you icons on your map that show you where enemies that hold items you need are located and where you need to go for your objectives. It is not always accurate (it is still in beta), but it made the experience so much better. I would fully recommend anyone new to WoW to download it and give it a try and maybe look into other addons that might make the game better for you.
Patience particularly comes in handy when dealing with the number of backtracking it takes between quests. Early in the game, I had a mission to kill spiders and retrieve ten items from them. After walking to the cave, spending about 20 minutes on getting the right items to drop, and then coming back, I handed in my mission only to receive another mission asking me to go back to the same cave and grab an egg to bring back to the quest giver. This is the kind of unneeded “padding” I think you receive in almost any MMO and is one reason why I tend to stay away from them.
This brings me to the drop rates of items. Almost every quest in the first ten levels tasks you with retrieving items from fallen enemies. To get XP and a chance at getting the items you need, you need to be attacking one of the beasts before anyone else puts a claim on it. If you do this, you have a slight chance at getting the item needed to complete the quest. One mission had me searching for a Voodoo Charm from a Shaman enemy in a cave. After defeating at least 20 Shaman, I still did not have the charm, and my weapon broke, forcing me to leave and repair my weapons. I have yet to go back to the area because the drop rates made the mission completely not worth the time to complete the mission.
There is so much walking around World Of Warcraft Classic. The environments are beautiful, but the big open spaces with nothing but annoying enemies placed throughout gets so boring to avoid constantly. It got to a point where I started holding down “W” with one hand and looking at my phone with the other to pass the time. I love the world and environments in it, but I feel for how slow your character moves, they made the landscapes too big.
After running around and looking for the items each quest had me retrieve, I found myself losing interest in the combat more. I imagine this largely has to do with the shallow abilities you have at a low level but to continue to come back to the game quickly started to feel like a challenge. To keep things simple, early game quests and combat are not rewarding and do not feel good. Almost every quest involves finding a specific enemy, killing it, and hoping it has the item you need on it. Early game is such a slog, with not much in the way of teaching you something new.
While I found much of my early game to be slow and boring, I will say when I was randomly invited to party up with people, the experience became much better. One quest had me seeking down an enemy and bringing his head back as proof that I killed him. When getting into his lair, I was greeted by enemies that I could have taken out on my own but would have taken a much longer time. It was at this time that two random players invited me to their party to take on the cave together. The experience was much faster, and while I did not stay with them further, I enjoyed the quick experience of seeing the community reach out and try to help me.
The community is and will forever be WoW’s biggest weapon. Whether it is playing with a friend you know or meeting someone new, that cooperative gameplay is always going to be the main selling point of WoW. Of course, with any online game there will be trolls and people looking to start a fight, but largely I found the community to be most welcoming to a person who had never touched the game before.
Overall, the first ten levels in World Of Warcraft Classic are a slog and can be aggravating. At level 10, my hero has unlocked the power to tame a pet, and I have an owl that follows me at all times now, so I am hoping the game begins to open up and allow more fun quests and more rewarding combat experiences. Be sure to keep an eye out for my future review sections