Time Waits for No Man... Or Does It?

Even though we still don't have a release date, the Classic Crusade looms ever closer. Last week's patch added a big badge to the character selection screen to make sure players who don't follow outside news sources wouldn't be caught by surprise by what's coming.

It also was a big patch in another way though, in the sense that after one and a half years of (mostly) #nochanges it introduced what I consider the first big deviation from Vanilla to Classic by adding the Chronoboon Displacer to the game, an item intended to address the worst issues with the world buff meta.

It's a consumable that's available for purchase from Chromie in Andorhal at ten gold a pop (if you've done the quests for her), and what it does is bottle up any world buffs you have on you at the time of using it and safely preserves them in an item inside your bags. For PvP servers, this means no more griefing by dispelling or otherwise causing people to lose their lovingly gathered world buffs, and for us PvE carebears it simply means that we're freed of the pressure of having to plan so much of our play time around just when to pick up which buff and then making sure to stay logged out until raid start. Now we are able to pick them up early in the week even, bottle them up, and then go about our business grinding, running dungeons or what have you, without having to worry about losing buff duration. Once we're actually ready to pull the first boss, the buffs can be unleashed with the click of a button and we're good to go.

The thing is, I really don't know how I feel about it. I've written about my changing relationship with the world buff meta, and honestly from a practical point of view I absolutely love this change. Especially since I often used to gather buffs on both my hunter and paladin, just to watch one character's go to waste if that one wasn't actually needed (much) on the night. Now I can just pick up the buffs whenever it's convenient and then just not worry about them anymore until they are actually needed. I don't even need to get fidgety about wasted buff time anymore if the raid leaders get caught up in some sort of discussion at raid start. The ten gold price is worth it but simultaneously encourages you to think about when you want to use it, so you don't just mindlessly capture and release buffs all the time.

On the other hand though... this is a pretty big change. I've mostly been on board with the #nochanges movement, never mind things like tweaking the spawn rate of herbs to adjust for larger server populations. This item didn't exist in Vanilla and it introduces a whole new level of gameplay for raiders. Sure, it feels good now, but I've been playing these games for long enough to know that there are always long-term consequences that may result in the final experience not being quite as expected. For example I've started picking up the songflower buff now, when previously I usually didn't bother since it was the shortest, most fickle and most out of the way of all the world buffs. If I can pick it up at my convenience and then bottle it instantly until I'm actually at the boss though... there's no real excuse not to get it now, is there?

It also changes the way raids can approach certain bosses. People might argue about when they think it's best to use or preserve their buffs. A friend got quite cross when he died and lost his own buffs in Naxx after pulling aggro from the main tank, who'd quietly decided to bottle his own buffs after Patchwerk and was therefore suddenly generating a lot less threat. On the other hand, the very same friend was able to stow his buffs away before Vael in BWL, correctly predicting that he was going to die from the boss's unavoidable kill mechanic, and could then whip them out again for the later bosses.

Our last Naxx farm night we managed to hit a new personal record by clearing twelve bosses in one night, largely due to the Chronoboon Displacer allowing us to use a different kill order and strategy. Usually we'd start fully buffed at Patchwerk and then just keep going, with more and more people losing their buffs to deaths etc. as we continued, so that we had to save Loatheb for the next night or else we wouldn't be able to approach him sufficiently buffed. This time around we banked our buffs safely, started by doing Noth and Heigan without them (so we wouldn't randomly lose them to dancing fails) and then got them out for Loatheb and proceeded to Patchwerk right afterwards.

New buff release animation

It just feels a bit like the end of an era, as it's Blizzard more or less acknowledging that purity of vision and accurate preservation of how Vanilla used to work is less important to Classic now than keeping the game fun for the current player base, which simply isn't approaching WoW the same way as people did back in Vanilla. I'm not saying that's wrong, but it does make you wonder where they'll draw the line, and what other changes may end up being implemented later on. Retail-style connected servers seem almost inevitable already, considering that the game keeps trying to add the server name to character names whenever you whisper or mail people since the patch (e.g. "Shintar-HydraxianWaterlords" instead of just Shintar). I just don't want to watch history repeat itself.


  1. I suspect Classic will end up being "Vanilla with some changes" given that is how they've pitched Crusade Classic. Since Blizzard wants to keep players engaged with these versions of Wow it feels somewhat inevitable that Classic will evolve over time.

    Btw, I do like Crusade Classic as a name. :) That's nice and tidy.

  2. I have to think that they're trying to utilize the Retail version of the naming convention to identify which server your toon is on, "Forever Classic" or "BC or Bust". I'd imagine they're prepping for the possibility of needing to do cross server things for the "Classic Forever" crowd, which is likely much smaller than those waiting BC.

    But to hell with that, gratz on downing 12 in one night!! You've beaten our 11, so that's awesome!

    1. I have to think that they're trying to utilize the Retail version of the naming convention to identify which server your toon is on, "Forever Classic" or "BC or Bust".

      I'm not sure how that would work, seeing how they've said that the Classic and BC version of each server will have the same name. So Shintar-HyrdaxianWaterlords will be Shintar-HydraxianWaterlords on both Classic and BC.