We all know the gag…
How do you know someone played in Vanilla?
Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.
We’re all well aware that ‘Classic’ is coming, but when is still a nebulous, uncertain variable. However, a line of text from the 8.0 PTR indicates that the team responsible for collecting and reconstructing the Classic Assets are already on the case. As of right now, all professions on 8.0 are marked on a per-expansion basis. Everything that currently remains from Classic Leatherworking, Blacksmithing and all the others has been identified and separated from the rest. The process of recreating the glory days is already underway, and if you think it will have no relevance to Battle for Azeroth, I would think again.
I suspect there will be reminders of Classic scattered all over this Expansion.
I got myself into a bit of trouble after the PTR data was leaked over the suggestion that the upcoming Kul Tiras skins for both men and women aren’t just there to add some variety to looks and variance over body shape. I’m firmly of the opinion that, in time, these could be offered as alternative appearances for Humans. Please note that I didn’t state that they could be an Allied Race, but with the number of people now pushing for other new skins to do the same… well, I suppose (in some cases) it is how much Azeroth wants to try and pretend its a Final Fantasy wannabe (yes I said it.)
I don’t think these new races are really as indicative of Azerothian history as say an arrakoa or a kobold would be. I do think however they’ve been included to test the waters on what current audiences find popular. More importantly, they further distance this Expansion from the look and feel of Classic Warcraft. They make a certain group of players feel even more aggrieved that ‘their’ game is looking less and less like the story it began as, where diversity came down to Orcs or Elves over Humans. So, there will be a real division in look and feel from past to present, which undoubtedly will become a selling point for the Vanilla version of affairs.
Most crucially of all, the redesign of levelling (which isn’t to appease classic players in any way and is only presented now as a means to entice new players to level simply) will further demonstrate the gulf of change between 1-60 and… well, everything else. The high-quality nature of BfA graphics shoves everything else before that, including Legion, into stark relief. My graphics card is already woefully out of date for the Broken isles and if the future is a continuation of this push, I’m going to be visually shoved out of the game. Although I’m confident Classic won’t return to a look that duplicates the original, I GUARANTEE you somewhere there’s an art team remodelling the Old World, and once Classic launches, that version of the ‘updated’ terrain will be introduced into Warcraft.
Vanilla remains a benchmark for many things in the minds of players, but the heart of that is the journey from 1-60. Raiding gets pretty boring after a while, it is all about the adventure that surrounds that. In a sense, Classic reimagined will be the equivalent of a PS4 game for some: you’ll buy it, play it once and return to it from time to time. For many, it will become a chat client with RP thrown in. There will be a second-generation Classic community who’ll live in it as it stands forever, as is the case with Private servers now… and then, if Blizzard are smart, after three years they’ll leave the Classic Servers as they are and launch a TBC reboot… and so it will begin again.
I’ll be looking quite closely tonight at the Q&A (but not commenting because you know, SPOILERS) to see if there are further separations of Classic elements from the new Expansion. For now, I can be comfortable in the belief that the two projects are far more closely associated than we might already realise.
I’m still not sure whether I’ll play Classic either…