Casually Classic: The WoW Classic vanilla era is over, and I won’t miss it

These references, however, remain.

With the launch of World of Warcraft Classic’s Burning Crusade this past week, the door has been (mostly) closed on what is now being called the “Classic era” — or what we used to call, simply, “vanilla.” Sure, there are some toons and hardcore guilds left to dwell in a world stuck in time, but a vast majority of us have moved on to Outland.

For me, I’ll never look back.

Oh, I had a great time in both the original vanilla period and over the past two years of WoW Classic, don’t get me wrong. Leveling felt like a genuine accomplishment, and I fell in love with the old world design of Azeroth all over again. But it was also the most unfriendly WoW environment for any casual to experience, and moving into Burning Crusade is a massive relief.

A lot of what I re-learned in WoW Classic is how the game wasn’t really designed for the solo adventurer. The devs back then were heavily influenced by the old school MMO pattern of expected groups and raiding focus, so while vanilla would technically let you get to the max level and get so-so gear, you’d hit a hard wall after which there was no progression or growth. If you weren’t a part of a raiding guild — and I never have been — endgame was the end of the game. Might as well reroll.

This time around, there was a lot of sight-seeing, a side excursion into crafting, and the general fun of being part of a large nostalgic community coming back for one more ride. Again, I don’t regret it. I had a whole lot of fun, but by the start of this year, I was ready to be fully done with it.

You know how we’ve been talking about how WoW Classic can’t replicate exactly how it was back in the day? That’s not always the case; in certain situations, it’s eerily similar to how it was in the past. Both vanilla and WoW Classic functioned in almost the exact same way (in retrospect) as primer to get us pumped for the much more streamlined expansion to follow. When I entered Burning Crusade Classic, I felt this palpable joy of “finally” getting to the good stuff. Getting to a place where a casual player isn’t at such a disadvantage.

The difference between Classic and Burning Crusade is extremely noticeable, especially with how zones are designed. The sprawling, messy, unorganized world of Azeroth — which had its charm — is traded up for the more concise and purposeful Outland. We’re not spending half of our time on pointless travel to complete quest chains, as most quests are handed out in hubs and take place in the immediate world around them. There are more flight paths and conveniently located dungeons, which also cuts down on wasted game time.

And the loot… I’m serious, I felt tears prickle the corner of my eyes when I started to get actually good gear to replace all of the questing greens I’d had for ages. Sure, raiders are still going to have the better stuff, but now I don’t feel as far behind.

Of course, Burning Crusade isn’t the most casual friendly expansion. In fact, in retail WoW, it’s considered one of the worst expansions to go through when you’re given the choice. I keenly feel the absence of the LFG tool when looking to jump into a dungeon. As I sit there spamming LFG chat and zone chat with requests, I cynically wonder when all of this famed “socialization” is going to kick in. Just feels like driving a car without A/C through a Nevada desert while someone is telling me from the backseat how much better road trips were without that convenience.

In any case, the first week of Burning Crusade pumped me up with so much enthusiasm and enjoyment for Classic. It seems like most people around me are rushing, rushing for attunement and level 70 and all that, but I’m personally content to savor this expansion one bite at a time. We have the foresight of knowing what the next two years will hold, so I’m in no particular rush to be done with the meal on Week Three.

I’d love to hear your experiences and observations about Burning Crusade so far! Sound off in the comments and let us know how many times the Fel Reaver stomped you flat.

Stepping back into the MMO time machine of WoW Classic, Justin Olivetti offers up observations and ground-level analysis as a Gnome with a view. Casually Classic is a more laid-back look at this legacy ruleset for those of us who’ve never stepped into a raid or seen more than 200 gold to our names.

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Scorp Gang

Any Themepark MMORPG without LFD/LFG is Garbage. I played Vanilla when it was New. Sorry. I won’t go back to no LFG/LFD. It was exposed for the trash it is. Blame WoW for exposing it. 🤷🏼‍♂️

Lily Cheng

So the best part of moving into BC is the fact that you don’t need to play the second M of MMORPG?

And people start to wonder why we no longer have any MMORPGs, because they have all become MSORPG, Massively Solo Online RPGs, and in my mind the genre has become far worse as a result for original fans of MMORPGs but far better for businesses raking it in from players who would be much better served in single player games that have optional multiplayer side content with friends.


And thus, people begin to realize once they revisit where they been, that current WoW isn’t so bad after all.


Sorry, I don’t buy this. No one I know came to this realization. Every single person that I have played with, in both versions, have stopped playing both.
For the most part, not happy with “current wow” and not happy with how they planned on progressing with wow classic.

Malcolm Swoboda

I’ll play WoW Classic-Classic and Turtle-WoW pretty happily.

I just also like Blood Elves and Draenei.

And Wrath is fun for my casual sense.

Jake Boller

Classic will live on through private servers (there’s a really promising one launching soon called Darrowshire) . And those of us who love it will continue playing just as we had many years before Blizz decided they could cash in on nostalgia. I don’t hate TBC, I just think Classic is the best version.

IronSalamander8 .

Part of several reasons why I haven’t touched classic is that I never found vanilla WoW all that fun. I did have more fun in BC and especially Wrath, but not enough to try to go back as a huge part of that was the people I was playing with. I was mostly playing EQ and CoH back then, and WoW was a sideshow at most until BC and then again at Wrath, but it never holds my attention long for various reasons.

Even my one friend who I’ve mentioned before, that wouldn’t hear a single negative thing about the game back when we played pre-cata, isn’t even bothering with classic after trying it early on, and even less so with retail.

I think the Reaver got my once way back when, I tend to be fairly paranoid when questing, largely thanks to EQ being my first MMO experience, so I usually saw it coming and got out of there. I did see a lot of people get smushed by the thing back in the day though!

maydrock .

I enjoyed Vanilla and looked forward to TBC. Now that New World is just around the corner, I’ve already packed my bags. TBC is just a time sink for now until closed beta starts. Here’s to hoping it’s not a flop, but I’ve watched a lot of videos recently and think I can get quite a bit of time out of it.

Oleg Chebeneev

I dont know Justin why you insist there is huge difference between vanilla and TBC. It is the same shit. And Hellfire Peninsula is a chore to level in. Probably my most hated zone ever in WoW. Even talents are almost exactly the same.

Bruno Brito

Depends on your point of view. I do consider TBC pretty much Vanilla+, but some things were absolute boons. 2.3 was the best patch for melee classes, because it was the item revamp patch. It literally made Fury DW the best leveling spec ( and people are dumb enough today to not realize that ). It made Shamans bearable ( specially considering talent changes ), it made time required to stay in Azeroth smaller, and it made questing in Outland better.

HPF is bad if you consider it’s a goddamn desert, it flows terribly without flying mounts ( altho all of Outland has this issue ), but the upgrades feel good.

Bree Royce
Bree Royce

Hellfire is terrible, but the good zones in TBC do a lot to make up for it. You probably think I’m going to say Nagrand, but NOPE. Zangarmarsh is one of the best quest-flow zones Blizzard ever built.

Dave Smithson

I feel the reason behind not wanting a group finder is simply a reputation thing. We’ve all had groups that failed because of bad communication, behavior, or team disagreements. If certain players cause problems repeatedly, it should be no surprise that others don’t want to group with them. Reputation actually means something!
TBC is great. While I patiently wait for WotLK there is a sense of impending sadness. I left Classic behind with no regrets. I’m not going to be able to do that with TBC. If the “copy character” option is still available, I will certainly make use of it. If the world is emptier after WotLK, it will be sad, but at least I can stay in an era of WoW untainted by too many “improvements”.


There will be an LFG tool releasing soon. The LFG tool was introduced in a later patch in TBC, which will most likely be the case now as well. I suspect we will see the LFG tool from retail, don’t mix this up with the group/raid finder though.. This tool is just to list your group, avoiding all chat spam.


Yes I think this is an important distinction.
Most players like a lfg tool that help but keeps you in control. It is the auto-grouping that many think is bad.