“World of Warcraft” (WoW) by the famous Blizzard Entertainment first saw the light of day back in 2004. The original game was vastly different than its modern counterpart in all aspects. The sequel to the famous and fan-favorite strategies in “Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos” and “Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne” came at the perfect time, when third-person RPG games were the most dominant form of video games. Taking a step further, the creators developed the game as an MMORPG, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. As such, it drew millions of players almost instantly, as millions more opened accounts and joined in on the fun during the following 16 years.
Back to the Old Ways
Over this time, eight expansion came out, last of which is scheduled to arrive in October of 2024, titled “Shadowlands.” However, as more and more changes and advancements came into the game, original fans of Warcraft and the first game, since dubbed “Vanilla WoW”, have increasingly started to miss the old days and their first-ever adventures. Developers paid no attention to these pleads so a number of private servers with previous expansions appeared. Blizzard managed to have some of them closed down, but they did nothing relating to their own version of old game content.
That was true until the long-awaited announcement at BlizzCon 2017 when it was revealed that an official Vanilla WoW game was coming, titled “World of Warcraft Classic.” The fans lost their minds with excitement and could not wait to get back to the original content once again. Classic was released in August of 2019 and remains extremely popular to this day. It has received numerous updates and content additions already, in the same sense that the original game had back in 2004 and 2005.
The question in this article is this: why is a 16-year old game so popular today, and what makes the players go back to the first iteration of this beloved cultural phenomenon? We will attempt to answer this right here, right now. If you have tried Classic and experienced trouble with accumulating gold in the game, buy wow gold and safe wow gold on lootwowgold.com.
1. Original Game Experience
The majority of the new players were very young when the first WoW appeared. Some were not even born yet. This is enough reason for them to wonder what the in-game world and the gameplay were like in the original game. Without an answer being provided, they were left to imagine it until Classic was announced. In reality, the original game was much harder and more challenging than its expansions. Everything moved and happened slower, there was more grinding towards any kind of goal, and so many people were inexperienced and simply bad at the game that it took communities months to complete new endgame content. For anyone brave enough to try their luck in the original world of Azeroth, Classic is there to throw everything it has at them.
2. Limitations Galore
As with most other things, the original game had much less to offer in terms of choices, options, and mechanics than today’s “Battle for Azeroth” expansion, soon to be replaced with “Shadowlands.” For example, each faction, both Horde and Alliance, only had four playable races. The Horde had Orcs, Trolls, Tauren, and Undead, while the Alliance had Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, and Night Elves. Furthermore, not all races could play all races. For example, the Shaman class was exclusive to the Horde, while only the Alliance could have Paladins. Similarly, not as many races could play as many classes within the faction.
All of this changed with each coming expansion, and now there are many more choices available for everyone. Other mechanics like raids and dungeons were also simpler, there were fewer items and equipment to create and find. While creating your character, you were met with very limited customizable options, and class-specific talent trees were vastly different from today’s WoW. In a sense, it was better because it was more special, but it could also be said that that was the game’s biggest drawback then. It depends on what the player expects from a game really, but the fact is that anyone who missed it can now go back to it and play their favorite edition of WoW.
3. Smaller and Simpler World
In-game graphics and art has come a long way since 2004. Multiple generations of consoles and hardware changed, and most practices of how games are run changed and updated. This means that not only the game itself was different, but the general community and the whole phenomenon. If you could not figure something out in the game, the forums were your only source of information. Today, guides, content creators, and even developers are there to help the players. Regarding the world in the game, there were only two continents, Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms, one Horde dominated and the other Alliance Dominated.
This made the players more devoted to their chosen factions. In the modern game, there are four continents and numerous islands in the main world, as well as different planes of existence you can visit. The world is more diverse and fleshed out, and far more playable and NPC species have been added. This was too overwhelming to many players and combined with the new mechanics and the simplifications of the old ones, more and more started leaving longing for the good old days. Well, now the good old days are here to stay, and the developers are even promising to update the game with the same old expansions while making them separately playable.
The reasons why WoW Classic is so popular in 2024 are simple really. They mostly have to do with nostalgia and the longing for a simpler time when everything seemed carefree and easier. Players tend to associate prior times with the feeling of security and comfort, as the most active Vanilla WoW veterans were teenagers or early adolescents when the game came out. Their lives largely differed from their current work and family-oriented realities, which is why they often recalled the mid-2000s as the best WoW had to offer. Now they can call their old guild buddies from a decade ago, level up together once again, and storm those old, larger than life dungeons and instances while fighting legendary bosses all over again!