With the Classic beta earlier this year giving many players and streamers a chance to look back and let the nostalgic love flow back into their hearts, it seemed like everyone was ready for launch day. Indeed, too many were ready for launch day.
There were too many people in line, more than 20,000 people, waiting for half a day on some servers. Some people are lucky, and some people are unfortunate. The queue spins faster when the server crashes, but those who crash find themselves being sent to the back of the queue. Blizzard introduced additional servers to spread the load and help people enter the game and have fun. But the reason why so many people stay in line instead of jumping to a simple server is a big part, and it is people returning to the traditional search. During the first few days of WoW Classic, with everyone at low levels, sharing scant resources and mobs in the earliest areas of the game, spontaneous groups would form as people helped each other complete quests to progress a little faster and with minimal loss of life. I was invited to group while on my very first quest at level one--"Hey, we need to kill some stuff. Let's kill stuff together."
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Unlike the latest retail expansion, WoW Classic doesn’t need to be purchased upfront before you can play. All you need to play is an active subscription to WoW – which means that most people who are interested either don’t need to do anything to gain access to WoW Classic since they’re already subscribed or simply renew their subscription. Subscriptions to World of Warcraft run $14.99 per month, and while monthly subscriptions are a rarity here in 2019, WoW is still popular enough for Blizzard to justify requiring them.
Classic is all about community. Even in those early levels the game plays in ways akin to why people are falling in love with more recent games that are lauded for their difficulty. Yes, World of Warcraft isn't really a 'hard' game in the same way something like Dark Souls is, but to succeed with minimal delay, you need friends to get by. My experience with MMOs is that unusual situations or servers can bring out a greater sense of community in players, and this has certainly proved true in WoW Classic. People seem to have this “we’re in this together!” mentality and adjust their behavior accordingly.
In WoW Classic, it feels like drops actually matter. Greens can be a goldmine, either to wear as an upgrade or to sell for much-needed cash on the auction house. Classic has all the sharper angles and the less expressive character models, but I continue to be really amazed at how well the game has aged visually. The cartoony design is one of the best decisions that Blizzard ever made for the game, because it takes relatively low polygon objects and infuses them with personality and charm. As a result, I like being in this world rather than repulsed by it.