Perfect Ten: Suggestions to make World of Warcraft Classic feel more authentic

    
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One of the things that I tell people going back to Final Fantasy XI now is that the game is, well, a different animal – not just because of patches but because you can’t really transport you back in time to 2003 and replicate that precise experience. I can intellectually remember what it was like to play that game on a dial-up connection, for example, but I can’t really bring that experience back, nor can I flash back to a cultural zeitgeist surrounding the game.

There’s no talk of FFXI Classic on the horizon, naturally. But there is World of Warcraft Classic in our near future. And it’s clear that the designers are hard at work trying their level best to make sure that the game itself is in a classic state. But there’s a whole lot of additional cultural cruft that I’d really like back for the game’s overall classic experience, so here’s an additional chunk of ways that we could get closer to the truly authentic Classic feel.

1. A return to Cosmos

Back in the day, add-ons for WoW were not optional, because the default interface didn’t include things like multiple action bars. No, really, if you wanted to use more than 12 actions (in the days when every class had roughly four hundred), you put those things on multiple pages and you paged through! Or you installed Cosmos, the absolutely vital add-on pack that added dozens of vital things to your game experience and could entirely prevent you from playing if it wasn’t updated and working on patch day.

I’m not saying that Classic should prevent you from having multiple action bars set up. I’m saying that it should make you download Cosmos, every time. Sometimes it just won’t be updated and you’ll have to wait like a week. That’ll be a fresh new experience.

2. Server queues

Do you remember this at all? Do you remember the days when the big prevailing joke about WoW was that you had a queue to get in? And this was somehow a mark against the game? “What a garbage title, all these people want to play it at the same time and it can’t handle it, that’s stupid and dumb.”

This one is easy to replicate by just hiring someone to yank cords periodically or set login numbers to absurd figures. You haven’t had the true launch experience until you’re digging out a GameBoy Advance to play while you wait for the queue. (If you don’t have a GameBoy Advance, you’re obviously not really committed to this project.)

It was a different time.

3. Only Thottbot, market fresh

Let’s not mince words, Thottbot was amazing. It was a thing of beauty that used addons – including the aforementioned Cosmos – to just pull all of the information you needed right from the game. If you like Wowhead, you are enjoying Thottbot’s spiritual successor, and there’s a reason there’s a Thottbot skin for the Classic version.

But that’s not what I’m saying I want. I want the game to force you to use an original, factory-fresh version of Thottbot. No looking up information anywhere else. Where is Mankirk’s Wife? You have to check on Thottbot. And if no one has found her yet, well, get looking. Have fun.

Maybe some weird error will have her location listed as the middle of the ocean. Have fun.

4. Torrenting patch downloads

If that brings a twitch to your eye… well, yeah, mine too. But remember, authentic.

5. Classic forum arguments

I don’t just want forums for Classic. I want forums that are dead-set on bringing back arguments that players had from the very day. I want people to complain about the endgame consisting only of Molten Core and Onyxia. I want more stupid unfunny memes that existed in the early days of the game. I want Horde vs. Alliance blood feuds on the forums.

Basically I want no one to have learned everything and for no one to visit the forums at all. Which sort of eliminates the points of the forums bringing back pointless old arguments, but it’s all about that classic feel.

I'm definitely out of the question.

6. Mandatory EverQuest playtime

Danny DeVito once said, “You’ve got to pay the troll toll if you want to get in this boy’s soul.” Similarly, you have to do your time in EverQuest before you can play WoW Classic. You can choose between three options: playing for two hours one weekend before quitting in disgust, playing for three months and getting bored, or playing for three years and developing very strong opinions about how you level.

Obviously, the last one will require you avoiding the classic servers until 2022 at the earliest. But you can really taste the authentic experience of playing the only other MMO that existed at the time, right?

(Note: That would be a joke. I am well aware there were many other MMOs running at the time. It’s called hyperbole, look it up.)

7. Tseric

Hey, as long as we’re bringing back pointless old forum arguments, let’s bring back the endpoint of pointless old forum arguments! I’m sure he’ll be all over it.

And STILL champEEEEN

8. Embittered MMO veterans

Every Wailing Caverns run will be accompanied by at least one player who has seen all of the other MMOs on the market and will happily expound at length about how WoW does all of these things wrong and thus will never last to 2006. Bonus points if he’s supposed to be healing but is too busy griping about how quests have ruined the leveling experience.

Did everyone not get that? Just me? Dang.

9. Azshara Crater

Psst. Look, yes, I know, Azshara Crater wasn’t a thing in Classic. It was something people datamined out that never actually went live. But the way I see it, here’s the perfect opportunity to convince the design team that it was in there and we all loved it and it needs to be brought back.

This one’s going to be really tough to do, but I think a concentrated effort would be enough that we could pull this off and run around in Azshara Crater. And hey, those of you convinced that this will be the salvation of up-to-date WoW, it’s the first step toward producing a splinter timeline wherein Cataclysm never happened. Don’t we all want that?

10. A sense of pure novelty

Oh, gosh, this is the big one that we really need to bring back that classic feeling. Like, sure, we all know intellectually that a big chunk of why WoW made such a huge impact was that it didn’t just deliver a big, sprawling, open virtual world, but it did so in such a way that was accessible to everyone. But we need to get that sense of wonder back. I need to have that feeling of walking around and questing and realizing that for the first time since I’d started playing FFXI this game let me play and just enjoy the game. No fussing with forming parties, no waiting for lengthy and tedious events, no pointless rigamarole, just playing the game.

So, yeah, I’ll take one box of wonder to transport me back to age 22 to accompany the server launch. Make it a big one. Include some Transformers: Energon toys in there too, could you? Those were cool.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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powerfist4
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powerfist4

I stopped reading half way through point number 1. It’s just factually incorrect. Vanilla had the option to turn on 4 additional action bars in the default UI options.

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Carebear

another “trying to be funny” useless article about classic wow.

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Skoryy

Here I had a suggestion in GIF form, and you beat me to it with #10.

giphy (1).gif
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Crowe

I played after launch but before the first expansion and I remember multiple hot bars. But Cosmos was the first thing I thought of when I saw the article title!

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Oleg Chebeneev

1. Thats false info. I have my old screenshots from 2004 and there are additional hotbars, both top and right. And I didnt use addons.

Harry Koala
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Harry Koala

Yup, the default UI allowed you to have up to 10 (or was it 8) action bars, but they were at fixed positions and sizes if I remember correctly. Cosmos UI was useful because it allowed you to resize and move them around (as well as adding a lot of other customistation tweaks).

powerfist4
Reader
powerfist4

Default UI has 4 additional action bars, so total of 5. Left bottom, right bottom, and two side by side all the way to the right, but yes, they were fixed positions

hurbster
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hurbster

Saw the article title and was quite looking forward to reading it….

Then I read it.

With Ironwu on this one.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

Elliott is at his best when he’s being smarmy about something I agree with.

Classic will no-doubt be a booster shot for an ailing studio, and much fun will be had by all, but I don’t want to relive old memories in a game. We have forums for that.

Still, if I had something to add to the list, I suggest we get Healbot/Heart back. There was nothing more fun than one-button macroing an entire 40-man raid healing team with efficiency and precision.

Argantaelle
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Argantaelle

I wish Eliot stopped writing about Classic as he stopped writing about Destiny II.

xpsync
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xpsync

The problem i find with progression servers is you already know how it’s going to turn out, not good, that’s why there is a progression server in the first place.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

Agree. Another problem is you just can’t revert the balance patches and systems. The ‘classic’ experience for me in any MMO was integral with the meta game.

xpsync
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xpsync

A huge part of the classic (when the game was new, just launched, OG) was the unknown, hope, starting from scratch, everything added from that day forward is new, and such a bright future for the game i have to wear shades.

Well been down that road and well… why are we taking this trip again? lol.

I mean this for any mmo, i did a couple, well probably a few in EQ2 and they f them over in the end, great example fresh start all new toons, absolutely no toons from other servers allowed, then the cry babies start well i really need my 600 billion from the other server, the whole thing got so bad was like what was the point i could have just stayed where i was.

Another one; oh man we going hard core like the OG, and yea at first was like, i’m home baby, then a day later guy flies by on a mount, i’m out! ffs they are shiny at first but, like i said you already know how it turns out, not good, so bad in fact it’s why they are making these progression servers in the first place.

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Armsman

The need to bring back the old “Loot Bug” – where looting an item would hold you in place for a LOOONG time, yet still allow you to be attacked (and possibly killed) because the server was still transferring the loot to your inventory. ;)