For those unaware, Blizzard has finally decided to bring back the long-awaited and long-requested official classic servers for World of Warcraft. There is natural excitement being exclaimed by the community, perhaps even more than for the next Battle for Azeroth expansion pack. However, the vanilla experience might not be what majority of veterans have in mind.
Before climbing the corporate ranks at Blizzard to become the current game director for Overwatch, Jeff Kaplan served as a lead designer for World of Warcraft in the early years. He was responsible for majority of the quests featured in the base game, up till the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack in 2008.
When asked about World of Warcraft Classic in a recent interview with community members from Reddit, Kaplan stated that “people need to be careful about what they think the magic was versus what it actually was” for what is often referred to as the golden era of the game.
“I don’t think it was my old crappy quests that made World of Warcraft great,” Kaplan said. “What I think made old World of Warcraft great was the sense of community.”
He explained that World of Warcraft had to face great technological limitations back then, which meant fewer features and a smaller batch of players. Everyone had to work closely together and put in much effort in their daily routines compared to now. In that light, most players are likely going to be “shocked at some of the things” that were in the game back then.
“I think it’s less about black and white or what’s right or wrong, people mostly just think about what they’re gaining,” Kaplan concluded. “But the thing players really need to think about is what asking for certain changes forces them to give up.”
The classic or vanilla World of Wacraft experience refers to the content and gameplay from prior to the Burning Crusade expansion pack. This was when the game was typically harder and very different from what it has evolved into over multiple expansion packs and updates. In fact, the Cataclysm expansion pack from 2010 removed pretty much all the remaining vanilla elements from the game.
There is no word on when the official classic servers will go live but based on what Blizzard has revealed so far, it will take time.