I have been insanely busy recently, but somehow between all the reading and new friends and panic attacks, I did manage to watch a little bit of footage of the new World of Warcraft Classic servers. It hit me deep with a pang of nostalgia, but not deep enough for me to head to my local electronics store (you know, because those definitely still exist) to purchase a gaming computer so that I could joyously pay Blizzard $15 a month for the game. Instead, it made me realize that 2007 was a really long time ago, and it is never coming back.
World of Warcraft Classic is a special set of servers released on August 27, 2019 that allowed users to go back to vanilla WoW, even before Burning Crusade. The game reverts itself in every conceivable way – graphically, gameplay-wise, system-wise, and even bug-wise. This game mode is a direct response to the criticism (or even louder apathy) about WoW’s current trajectory. Basically, people think the game is boring now. They miss when it was fun and good and a huge part of their lives. And since we can’t take the people back to 2007, we can bring 2007 to the people.
From the limited amount of gameplay I watched, it definitely looks the same. The gameplay seems identical, all the way down to the starting quests (anybody remember killing the wolves near Ironforge??) But for me, I just realized that I will never get to re-enter that mindset again.
I played World of Warcraft for a very intense, short period of time. It was probably less than 6 months when looking back on it, but it felt like a lifetime to me. My brother and I would swap back and forth on the computer all day long. We were in the same guild, and people even knew we were siblings in real life! (Side note: I was also stupid). It was a social thing for me, a way to kill time and bond with my brother in the most dopamine-fueling way you could imagine. I played Burning Crusade during the summer of 2007, and then my brother ran out of money, and then his account got hacked and terminated, and that was that. I moved on with my life. I would still get consumed by a game or two every once in a while, but never again so completely.
The thing holding me back from enjoying WoW Classic or any other deeply time consuming game isn’t my gaming hardware. It’s my lifestyle. I worked for 12 straight hours today before I came home and started brainstorming for this piece. I have got maybe 10 hours of work on my plate for tomorrow before we all log on and start recording our next podcast episode. And I absolutely love what I do. I’ve found new ways to fill my time, more satisfying and gratifying than watching my virtual numbers go up in a game that’s sucking my bank account dry. So even though I miss the simple days of sitting in front of my brother’s homemade desktop, Paramore’s “Riot!” on repeat, running Alterac Valley for the 15th time, that’s just not in the cards for me anymore. And honestly, I’m glad.