World of Warcraft Classic’s community is all about kindness ... for the most part

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WHY THIS IS SO REFRESHING

When I fire up Battle for Azeroth, the most recent World of Warcraft expansion, I do things exclusively on my own. I farm cosmetic gear, check out some quests, and then log off again. I certainly see many players in raids, warfronts, and island expeditions, but I don’t hang out with them. I’m a Paladin on a mission; I’m not here to make friends.

It’s this current design that has led to much of the excitement about Classic. The 15 year-old game was built to force players to work together, and all of the cushy quality-of-life bonuses we’ve come to expect are gone. There’s no more flying, and no more experience-boosted heirloom gear. Many monsters require a team to take them out; without one you’ll spend a lot of time running back to your corpse.

I spent hours and hours in Azeroth when I was a teenager, and I experienced the Classicsense of community. I knew all of the big names on Alliance and in trade chat, and would /wave to friends in Ironforge. I had a guild full of friends, some of whom I would go on to meet in real life. I still remember having heated rivalries with Horde, and going wild when I saw their name in Alterac Valley. I’d wade through the sea of bodies to go toe to toe with them, and they would recognize me in turn.

Molten Core, as depicted in World of Warcraft Classic

The main question I had going into Classic — beyond hoping I could get past the launch queues — was whether this experience would hold up. It has been a decade and a half since those simple, straightforward days, and, at the risk of sounding like an old woman yelling at cloud, I wondered if the gaming zeitgeist has just moved on. Could the kids with their Fortnite understand an experience like Classic?

Despite my concerns, the cities are thriving, and players are working together. Miners hand piles of ore over to be smelted and crafted into gear, tailors are stitching bags and shirts and handing them out en masse, and players are crowding into dungeons and getting lost in Wailing Caverns just like old times.

THIS CAN’T LAST ... CAN IT?

My only concern is whether this atmosphere is sustainable. It’s all fun and games when people are excited about six slot linen bags and copper ore, but needs will ramp up when players get to the end game. Will players be content to farm Felwood for rare herbs? Will guilds be able to get 40 people to log on regularly?

Launch is the honeymoon period. You haven’t played real Classic until you are farming Nature Resist for Ahn’Qiraj, you cowards.

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