WoW Classic Demo Coverage

I mentioned that I didn't buy a BlizzCon ticket myself but was very curious about what other people would have to say about the demo.

Somewhat to my surprise, the various private server players whose channels I follow, and a lot of whom had been heavily lobbying for classic servers for years, turned out to be utterly useless in that regard. I had been hoping that maybe they'd have some interesting insights on details that still weren't quite right in the demo, or would comment on where it revealed that private servers had maybe gotten certain things wrong due to lack of data. Instead, every single one of them went on hour-long rants about how being allowed to trade a mislooted item without a GM ticket in Classic was going to ruin everything and similar nonsense. Seriously, there was more than one video that I tried to watch and eventually had to close down halfway through because it was just so boring and petty. I guess being super knowledgeable about Vanilla doesn't necessarily correlate with understanding what most people actually care about in regards to Classic. Hint: It's not whether some no-lifer's progression will be "messed up" because a drop from Dire Maul is available at the same time as Molten Core.

So yeah, interestingly it was regular news outlets and retail WoW players who provided the most entertaining and insightful content about the Classic demo. For example I had to chuckle at the headline of this Kotaku article: The WoW Classic Demo Is The Hell We Asked For. The author basically keeps talking about how much fun he had while interspersing it with negative adjectives: The experience was "an inescapable nightmare, which is to say it’s perfect". It was "horrible, but also beautiful". I'm not entirely sure why exactly... I guess because we're not supposed to say that something old and slow can simply be enjoyable as it is; it must be portrayed as some sort of guilty pleasure?

My favourite take on the demo on YouTube was this video by Preach. One of the things I really appreciate about him is that he's one of the few people still active who a) were actually there back in Vanilla and b) that he doesn't assume that everyone likes the same things he does. He's not wrong when he says that the moment-to-moment gameplay in combat is slow and simplistic and not something that can hold his attention anymore these days, but he also recognises how much more immersive the overall experience is due to slow travel and most mobs actually being dangerous opponents.

Bellular, who is a Wrath baby I believe, similarly goes into detail about how the talents and the way combat works made everything feel more meaningful for him.

An unexpected gem in terms of entertainment was "First and Last Time Playing WoW Classic" by Hazelnutty Games. She went into the demo without much enthusiasm and feeling tired to boot and basically made an utter mess of everything. She didn't even manage to pick up any quests because she didn't understand that she'd have to wait for the text to finish scrolling before the accept button becomes clickable! While this got her many downvotes and negative comments about being "dumb", I thought it perfectly illustrated that feeling of utter noobishness that many experienced in Vanilla WoW the first time around. Also, the way she got carried away messing about with her hunter pet and wondering about the kinds of things it would eat was strangely adorable.

LazyPeon's take on the demo instantly earned a thumbs up from me the moment he commented on how he didn't understand why so many people had trouble finding Mankrik's wife back in the day, because that's something I honestly always wondered myself. It's amazing just how much people struggle with basic reading comprehension apparently! Other than that he too manages to capture a lot of that Vanilla spirit in his demo footage, constantly challenging random people to duels everywhere (people like that were definitely a thing) and editing his hunt for quillboar tusks in the Barrens into an epic montage reminiscent of the WoW South Park episode.

On a more serious note, the BlizzCon panel in which they talk about just how they went about restoring Classic from a technical point of view as well as how they set their design goalposts is also up on YouTube and really interesting.


  1. I really enjoyed this post, not because it was much better than your normal posts, Shintar, but because you did the hard work of listening to all the rants of the overentitled videos.

    But I do have to admit that I thought that the Hazelnutty Games post was funny as hell. If you're used to the "modern" way of doing things in video games, the old school mentality of doing something as simple as accepting a quest is going to be over your head.

    constantly challenging random people to duels everywhere (people like that were definitely a thing)

    I laughed at this comment. I still remember the time when an L10 player challenged me to a duel on the airship from The Undercity to Org. I, being somewhere in the mid-40s or 50s, just laughed. He kept taunting me with comments like "chicken" and "pussy" and "wimp", but I just ignored him. (It happened again when I reached L80 in Wrath, and at that point I just put the toon on ignore.)

  2. I still think that loot trading is worse than LFD and will destroy the game the same way LFD destroyed WoW before. (Yes, there are still people playing retail but it's a different game with different player.)

    In retail, Blizzard just gave up the mess they made with loot trading. They couldn't get it working and chickened out with their "always personal loot" solution. With Classic it's going to be much worse because Classic is about the community (which will be poisoned by this) plus the temptation to abuse it is going to be much bigger after e.g. a multi hour long UBRS run or your 39th Strat Undead for the cape.

    I would be fine with enforced personal loot in Classic. I don't think loot trading will work for me.

    1. And I still think you are barking up the wrong tree on this one, Kring. :)

      People keep worrying about loot trading giving groups the opportunity to be mean to someone, but there were already plenty of ways to be a jerk to someone in Vanilla without that. You could need on things you couldn't even use. ("We all NEED gold, right?") You could suddenly change to master looter on the last boss etc. And yes, sometimes that did happen. But most of the time it simply wasn't worth it, because you wanted to make friends and find people to play with repeatedly more than you wanted a single piece of loot. I don't see why loot trading would be any different.