It’s been over a week now and I still can’t quite get my head around the commitment of ActiBlizz to making Classic (TM) a reality. However, the more I think about the concept, the more sense it makes. A very good friend of mine (and a proper game Dev) @Talarianjs wrote a brilliant piece on his blog around what you might expect from the title. What I take from this starts with the quote that J. Allen Brack made which I’m gonna simply copy from Tala’s own Blog :D
Now, that quote is very, VERY well worded. This is NOT ActiBlizz giving a very particular subset of my Twitter timeline what they THINK they’re going to get with a Classic reboot. Watching the complaints about bugs, bad design and terrible… well, everything… I hate to break this to you people but I think you are are simply using your own thoughts as facts, and that is just DUMB. Yes, I said it. If you honestly believe this company will ship what you remember as the actual launch experience? Well, Unkie J told you and everybody else, that is NOT what you’ll get. Please stop complaining, especially as this thing isn’t even made yet.
What we will get, according to the quote, is ‘the game experience.’ ActiBlizz already possesses a phenomenal amount of feedback on what makes Private Servers so popular, most importantly the gameplay elements that people enjoy (despite all the whining that must obviously go on in reference to shortcomings.) That means, in my mind, one of two things is now going to happen. We will either a) get a version of the game which both visually and narratively is a pretty decent facsimile of the Original, including low-quality graphics or b) this is the opportunity for the Warcraft team to finally upgrade visually all of the existing in-game assets, and then use them as a framework not simply for the current UI, but a return to the 1-60 experience.
In other words, ‘Classic’ might not end up being anything like the game most of us remember visually at all.
Honestly, I feel a graphical upgrade is a more likely way forward, for one overriding reason. This will allow the current iteration of Azeroth to evolve finally from the shackles of a past that Classic will then come to define: the game can be an entry point for new players or a haven for those tired of the continual grind to max level, plus any effort and assets used will be truly interchangeable between titles. If I understand @Talarianjs’ game speak correctly, that is exactly what is already happening :D
I can hear a bunch of people saying, with a smugness that is neither big nor clever, ‘that isn’t Classic, to begin with.’ If you genuinely believe a company of ActiBlizz’s stature and significance is planning anything approaching a Private Server experience and taking people’s money for it, I’m not sure you’re even going to be listening to reason at this point. In fact, the more I think about it, the more laughter and genuine amazement I have for the company who’ve effectively repurposed the idea that a bunch of opportunistic individuals ripped off from their own UI to begin with before pulling the rug out completely from under them. All that publicity that these guys made from using the Warcraft name, and the smugness they held that somehow their version of the past was better because it wasn’t a part of the ‘official’ product.
These guys were owned, yet I suspect will continue to proclaim that without them, it would never have happened to begin with.
The problem already with the perception of Classic is nothing to do with the product, which doesn’t exist. It is everything to do with a population of the existing player base that remains staunchly resistant to change in any form. So, if these individuals hate the concept of Classic, wouldn’t it be tantamount to suicide to link all the assets together and allow both titles to share their space? Well, that is going to depend on whether we all trust the people making the game enough to understand what ‘the game experience’ really meant back then… and what it has come to represent over a decade later.
Looking at social media right now, they have most definitely got their work cut out.
I’m not paying good money to go back to a Warcraft ‘Classic’ experience that looks the same as Azeroth does now. I already played that game, and handed over my cash. What I will look for in the Classic experience, is in effect, nothing to do with producing a copy of the past. I’m looking for ActiBlizz presenting a journey I recall, and narratives I enjoyed, but with a better backdrop. However, until there are visuals available, and a beta to test? I see no point in either speculation or complaint. Therefore, this is my first (and last) word on Classic until someone shows me some in-game footage, and I suspect that time may be some way off.