Since the formal announcement this week that WoW Classic is launching in August, I’ve seen multiple mainstream games journos opine that, well, you think you want it, but you don’t. This line of thinking says that a ton of people will show up for the launch, pay their fee, conclude they didn’t want vanilla, and quit again. As one IGN writer put it, “World of Warcraft Classic will be the biggest, most high-profile example of gamers not actually wanting the thing they think they want.”
Of course, we also know how positively massive the WoW vanilla emulator community is and how much demand there is. Blizzard knows it too, else it wouldn’t be doing this; it’s not taking all this risk just to fail in order to prove J. Allen Brack was right. Sure, it’s possible a lot of those would-be players are just angling to avoid a sub by going the emu route, but it’s equally possible still others will be more than happy to pay to avoid being shunted off to shady overseas servers under constant legal threat. So even if all the looky-loos come and have their look and leave again, there’s a solid core that will stay a long time.
The whole idea rubs me the wrong way personally too, and not because of WoW. I also play several old and sunsetted MMOs on emulators, and I’m perfectly content to do that for a really long time, and pay for it too. So I know personally that the “it’s just nostalgia talking and you don’t really want it” is not only deliberately insulting but often wrong.
Then again, World of Warcraft’s playerbase – and its vanilla fans – are definitely a special breed of player.
Do you think WoW Classic is destined for greatness or utterly doomed? How many players do you see it having at launch versus three months out – or 12 months along?