Classic Era Is Not Just Naxx

Most of the conversation about Classic era revolves around its population. How many people are playing on which servers? However, in the past couple of weeks I've encountered another... misconception about era that I've found interesting. The first time I really noticed it was in a troll comment in reply to a reddit thread about era. It was rightfully downvoted, but I still found it oddly intriguing. After first expressing annoyance with the era-focused thread, the commenter finished with a sarcastic: "Enjoy your never-ending runs of Naxx though!"

As it goes with these kinds of things, once you spot a certain trend for the first time, you suddenly notice it everywhere. First it came up in conversation with a friend, and then on the era Discord when a disgruntled player complained that everyone on era seemed to be all about min-maxing their Naxx speed runs. (When I asked him which server he was playing on, he said he hadn't made a character yet and didn't know where to go, so what he was even basing his complaints on, I have no idea.)

The common theme among all of these conversations is that people seem to think that Classic era is simply an exact continuation of the state of Classic as it was in May 2021 when the servers were split into era and Classic BC, with the majority of the player base being focused on Naxx. That is simply not the case.

That server split was effectively a social cataclysm for era. The world may have technically stayed the same, but all guilds disappeared, and 99% of the population effectively vanished in a form of rapture. You can't just go on as if nothing happened after that; doesn't matter if all the content is unlocked and your character is fully kitted out in T3.

I remember when I was chatting with the few who remained on Hydraxian Waterlords before the free transfers to Pyrewood Village were introduced, and hearing about how some had tried to continue their Naxx runs but had to give up eventually after barely being able to scrape twenty people together. In terms of social structures, everything was reset and couldn't just be rebuilt in a day.

From what I gather from comments by those who played era during that time, it was a slow process of scraping enough people together to even do ZG or MC again. Of course, nearly two years have passed since then, and yes, there are people who are running Naxx now, but they are by no means the majority of the player base.

New players are joining all the time, and old players stop playing (whether temporarily or permanently). Guilds that used to raid successfully fold and new ones arise as social groups that formed during levelling decide to try out raiding for the first time. People play the content at all levels, and I smile whenever I see someone post on the era Discord that their guild killed Hakkar or Nef for the first time. The content is static, and there's no "patch momentum" to carry a majority along at the same pace. Instead it's the fluidity of the small community that determines which content is run the most in any given month, depending on who shows up.

Don't get me wrong, if you want to step into Classic and play like it's 2020, speed-running all the raids with maxed out world buffs and most of the raid being warriors, you can probably find a guild that does that if you roll up on the right faction and server. However, you can just as easily find a guild that's focused on socialising, levelling, or maybe just starting out with raiding. You might have to shop around a bit, since not all servers are the same, but the important thing is that while there are obviously a lot of characters at level 60, there isn't a meta in terms of how to play, an "it's what everybody does". 

I think this is important to state for people who are worried about perhaps being late to the party, that it's all been done and that they won't have anyone to play with if they don't want to jump straight into Naxx. Era may not be everyone's cup of tea, but just like Vanilla WoW back in 2005 it accommodates people with lots of different interests.


  1. I think one important thing to consider --and the source of a lot of misconceptions-- is that people assume Era's players are the same as those who moved to TBC Classic and then Wrath Classic. What I have seen in my time spent on the latter and passively observing in Era on the times I'm in there, it's that the majority of min/max metagame followers all went to the progression servers of TBC and Wrath Classic. Even in Wrath Classic on Myzrael-US I've found the people left behind to be not as hardcore in general as found on Atiesh-US. That doesn't mean that hardcore guilds aren't there --there are, and I can name about 5-6 off the top of my head-- but the hardcore progression scene no longer dominates the server to the extent it does in Atiesh-US.

    And that's perfectly fine that Era is the way it is. It's far too easy to be caught up in the rat race and think that everybody behaves as you do, because that's who you associate with. And Era seems to be perfect for you, Shintar.

    1. This. I think the resurgence of Era is not exactly driven by the "min-max"-y type of players. While there is still a lot of players who do min-max in Era, I think a lot of the people who are leveling right now are looking for a social experience rather than competition.

    2. The EU-PvE cluster is definitely pretty casual as a whole - even more so than my old RP server I would say. Only two guilds/groups clear Naxx at all, and they are not speed-running it.

      My understanding is that the PvP clusters tend to be a bit sweatier on average, but I wouldn't expect that to go to the same level as we saw in OG Classic. With such a small community you just can't afford to be too exclusionary.

      It makes me think of this post I wrote in 2021 about how 40-man raiding requires a certain degree of tolerance for other people's quirks, and I would say the situation on era is similar, just on a larger scale.

    3. It makes me think of this post I wrote in 2021 about how 40-man raiding requires a certain degree of tolerance for other people's quirks, and I would say the situation on era is similar, just on a larger scale.

      Hmm... And now I'm thinking of the Folding Ideas video of Why It's Rude to Suck at Warcraft and how their experience of tolerating player quirks even back in original Vanilla turned bad real fast. I honestly don't know why people can't simply be more tolerant, because in the end it's just a game and if you have such a bug up your ass about it go play with likeminded people rather than kick those quirky people out.

  2. I wonder if so many doing progression just can't imagine folks in Classic Era being there for the journey and not just getting the ultimate in BiS? It just seems there is a subset of vocal player who just won't / don't / can't consider people actually like playing the game for reasons other than their reasons.

    1. In Classic I suspect that by now it's heavily reliant upon what server you play on. The self selection that went on in TBC meant that vocal crowd has moved to the megaservers, and the quieter groups are the ones left behind and on Era.