Saturday, November 4, 2017

No Need for Coffee Today

This is what I get for focusing too much on work* during the big announcement yesterday:

Yep, that's right. Vanilla WoW is officially returning with officially sanctioned Blizzard servers.

Apparently this dropped during the Blizzcon keynote address, and for people like me who miss the pre-Cataclysm WoW, this was the announcement of the day. 

No details, which isn't a surprise, but the fact that there was an announcement** is a big thing. Blizz has finally committed to resurrecting the old Vanilla environment.


Aside from the announcement itself, the most interesting part was how some of the major internet outlets reported on the announcement. You can get a glimpse of that from the titles:

To say that people didn't see this coming --and even Steven Messner of PC Gaming admitted it as much when he sat down beforehand to interview Blizz' J. Allen Brack-- is a bit of an understatement.

I know I didn't.

No more than a few weeks ago, I'd commented on Shintar's Priest with a Cause that I don't buy the explanation that Blizzard doesn't have the source code. There may be technical challenges, but any decent development house keeps their source code around for versioning purposes.

But now, things are looking up.


The cynic in me says "Blizz must be hurting for money to bring this back", but I'm not so sure. Bobby Kotick aside, I really do believe that the Blizz people want to do this sort of thing for the fans. If it makes them money, so much the better. But still, it must be cautioned that modern MMOs are not what we're getting with Vanilla WoW. Vanilla WoW is still very much a quirky translation of the pencil and paper RPG genre into a computer screen, with items such as ammo for ranged weapons and weapon proficiency leveling coming back. If you play Old School D&D and other Old School inspired games, that might not be an issue, but for people raised on the action MMO or newer pencil and paper RPGs this might be a bit of a shock. Kind of like switching from Dragon Age: Inquisition or Witcher 3 to Baldur's Gate.

But if you're like me, I'm down with this.***

Like Shintar said, I might have to start giving Blizzard some of my money again.

*In my defense that's what I'm supposed to do while I'm at work, but like the first and second rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tourney --Men's and Women's-- I typically keep an eye out for what's going on. For some reason I thought that the big item of the day was going to be the next WoW expac and I figured I could read about that later.

**As opposed to Titan, which was never officially announced.

***Other Old School MMOs, such as D&D Online or LOTRO, ought to be cheering this move by Blizzard. As more new fans are exposed to the original Vanilla WoW, they will likely be checking out other old MMOs.


  1. I’m glad the big news for you too is the Classic servers. You make it sound even more appealing. My first Hunter needed a whole bag for ammo. On the one hand I hated losing a bag slot, on the other hand I thought having ammo was cool. I was disappointed when I finally made a rogue that the lockpicking skill was simply level dependent when I knew it had been more. I still miss the old talent trees. I’m super curious all around.

    1. I'm looking forward to the return of the talent trees and quirky things like ammo and class quests. I started a Hunter in Wrath and got to the point where I'd need to go hunt down a companion, and I stopped to focus on my Pally. When I came back to the Hunter midway through Mists, all that was gone, and I found that I really missed it.

      I do realize that Vanilla WoW will be harder in some respects than current MMOs (WoW included), but I'm fine with that. Right now I'm not so interested in "go go go" culture, and I'd be happy to take a step back and deal with having to

      a) go to Ironforge and then to the docks by the Wetlands if I wanted to get to Kalimdor. (Vanilla WoW had no docks in Stormwind.)

      b) Play a Shaman on Horde only and Pally on Alliance only.

      c) Finally get the original Blackrock Depths and Stratholme back. Sure, if you're grinding they suck, but the rare times I actually got to go from one end of BD to the other it was an exhilarating experience.

      d) Deal with massive fights in Alterac Valley. I've heard stories about multihour fights where you leave and come back hours later to find it still going on.

      e) Learn to use skills by training multiple times. I haven't seen that since Wrath, where I learned a trick of not using the most recent version of a skill so that I don't use up so much mana at one time, and with the return of skill ranks that'll be a viable option again.

      The drawback? No idea when Classic WoW will actually happen. My guess is by 2019, give or take a few months.