Classic Era

When I cloned my nelf hunter to the Classic era version of Hydraxian Waterlords on Burning Crusade pre-patch day, I noted that it was kind of sad to see only 32 people online there. Three months later, seeing 32 players online feels like a good night, as there've been times when I logged on and the concurrent player count revealed by /who was in the single digits. Not that I've logged on that often.

I first poked my head into Classic era on a Sunday afternoon shortly after the split, because I suddenly had the whimsical idea that I might be able to win the Stranglethorn fishing tournament a second time without competition. As it turned out, I wasn't completely by myself - there were a few other anglers there - but as it happened I did get lucky with my casts and won anyway. That was fun.

Someone whispered me then and invited me to their guild, aspirationally called <Choose Life>, where I recognised a few names from a number of different raiding guilds. Sadly the guild hasn't been able to live up to its aspirations as far as I can tell... of the 160+ characters in it, less than thirty have actually been online in the past week - not that I can cast stones, having moved on to Burning Crusade myself. Then again, I'd never planned to make "Classic era" my permanent home anyway.

One of the people who remained active on era was a guy that used to join my guild's community raids sometimes, which is why he was still on our guild Discord. A couple of weeks ago he suddenly whispered me to ask if I wanted to come kill Azuregos on Classic era (he's in <Choose Life> too, so he knew I had a character there). I said yes because the idea had novelty value to me - I'd been interested in killing Azuregos back when I was hunting for a Mature Blue Dragon Sinew for my epic quiver, but he was very heavily camped for most of Classic.

What I didn't expect was that there'd only be five of us, with the tank being a hunter pet. I also had to switch to my paladin (whom I'd cloned too at some point) so that we'd have two healers. I remembered hearing back in the vanilla WoW days that Azuregos could be tanked by a hunter pet if the hunter was specifically specced and geared for it, but I never expected to see that in action myself.

The experience managed to be both fun and boring: fun because it was novel and weird to kill a Classic world boss with only five people, but also boring because with only five of us the fight took half an hour.

Since then I've been back to help with killing Azuregos two more times, though I'm not even sure why. A lot of the loot gets thrown away with such a small group, which feels a bit pointless, and after the novelty wore off, spamming Flash of Light for twenty to thirty minutes straight is now just kind of boring. But I guess it's a tenuous connection to the WoW Classic I enjoyed so much, plus I can't deny that it makes me feel good to be wanted for something (even when I know the reasons behind it are purely utilitarian).

More generally speaking though, the state of Classic era makes me a bit sad. It was a no-brainer that most people would move on to Burning Crusade in my opinion, but I didn't expect the servers we left behind to be quite so desolate. The cities that once bustled with crowds waiting for world buffs are now just empty set pieces, and with auction house listings barely exceeding the single digits, the player economy has effectively ceased to exist.

From what I hear from the connected server clusters it isn't quite as bad there (as mentioned previously Hydraxian Waterlords wasn't connected to anything due to its status of the sole European English RP-PvE server), and while numbers are still small compared to what they used to be, things like pugs and raiding are still somewhat feasible on other servers. In fact, I've heard some people praise the atmosphere for being so much purer and friendlier now that the only ones left playing are those who really, really love Classic era, and I can believe that. Hydraxian Waterlords already had a pretty good community as it was though.

It does make me wonder what the future will bring for Classic. Will the BC servers suffer a similar fate once Wrath of the Lich King Classic comes around? And assuming the Classic train ends with that expansion (which I'm not so sure about anymore, considering Holly Longdale's Everquest background), what's going to happen to those servers once the Lich King (or should I say Halion?) is dead?

I suppose I just feel a little disappointed that the way Classic has been going is feeling more and more like just another new MMO release, where there's big crowds on launch day, but then massive drop-off over time, and once everyone's done the content once or twice they just move on to something else. I'm not sure what I expected exactly, but I guess I thought more people would be happy to stick around and simply exist in this beautiful virtual world that they missed so much when it went away. Currently it doesn't really look like it though.


  1. Sigh. Yes, the TBC Classic Era servers will suffer the same fate. People have gotten too sucked into the TBC lure for me to believe that when Wrath comes most everyone will jump as well.

    At least mid-August has come and gone without the rumored Phase 2 drop happening, and for that I'm very grateful. I'm still hoping for mid-October, but right now mid-September is more likely.

    As for the Azuregos kill.... That's still an awesome achievement! We killed Azuregos one Sunday morning with only 10, so I can appreciate the dedication it took.

  2. Playing on Hydraxian Waterlords myself (mainly TBC for now), I wonder about the server's future too. I suppose we'll either get merged with an PvE server or we'll get merged into a single world-wide multilanguage RP server. Hard to say though, especially considering what's going on with Blizzard in general currently.

  3. Pvp west coast cluster has 1 horde and one alliance guild raiding. Great community.