Would you play on an expansion locked server? If so, which expansion would you pick? How would you answer the class and grouping questions above? What other logistical problems would you expect to have to be overcome?
via Community Blog Topic: Would you play on an expansion specific server?, Robin Torres, WoW Insider, 9/8/13.
Nope! It sounds interesting, and I completely understand the fascination with the idea, but players idealize previous expansions.
How would expansion-locked servers work exactly? Would they really be exactly like they were during that expansion? Let’s not even get into specifics on exact tuning. I’ll assume experience curve, required level to use a mount, the lack of a LFR/LFD, and similar aspects of the game on a vanilla-locked server would be like they were during the end of vanilla. We’d have the old talent system – the really old one. Classes would play like they did in vanilla, and you couldn’t be Blood Elf, dranei, worgen, goblin, pandaren, death knight, or monk.
It sounds fascinating to get to experience that game. The problem is, that’s a different game. Maybe it’d be easy for Blizzard. They must have backup copies of their old software, right? I don’t know, but let’s continue. What would it be like for a player? I’d find it incredibly frustrating. It’s not that I’m a worse player. It’s simply that vanilla was, honestly, worse in a lot of ways. We can argue lore, flavor, and raids, but mechanically it was a bit archaic. World of Warcraft was still one of the early MMOs even if it was definitely not the first. The genre has come a long way. Also, don’t forget how confusing it would be to play a game that looked the same but felt different. If you played the same class on both a vanilla-locked server and the current server, it would be pretty confusing.
What if Blizzard decided to use the current mechanics in every way but lock newer content and impose a level-cap. A vanilla-locked server in this case would have a level cap of 60. It would the dungeon finder, the current class mechanics, and the current talent system. The problem is that classes aren’t currently tuned to be balanced across the board at level 60. I don’t Blizzard worries too much about lower level balance. They’d have to continually balance everything for multiple endgames, and that just doesn’t seem realistic. I suppose I’d be a little more likely to check that out, but I could do the same by finding a guild that turns off XP at level 60. In addition, the backlash would be just as bad as not having expansion-locked servers. “This isn’t what it was like in vanilla at all! All these kids think they’re hardcore like we were, but they’re not!”
Blizzard would be in a lose-lose situation. Raid tiers are more like PVP seasons (or seasons in sports for that matter) than we think. Yes, you can go back and run an old raid, but it’s different. You can never truly go back. The majesty of an MMO is that the world, the game, the players change. Past expansions are in the past, and I want to move forward.
Edit: Here’s the results post on WoW Insider: Community Blog Topic Results: Expansion specific servers, Robin Torres, WoW Insider, 9/13/13.
Yeah, I think there are legitimately a lot of folks who believe they want those servers and I legitimately believe that 98% of them wouldn’t last a week.
Either I think players underestimate just how much the conveniences of today improve the WoW experience or they, for some reason, think that they’ll still get those conveniences on a retro server. What would be the benefit of a BC server if you have all current conveniences? Just XP lock your toon at 70 on the current live server, not sure how that would differ.
Can you imagine anyone currently playing the game going back to a “3 months to 60” leveling pace? End-game that consisted of grinding mobs? Where 10g was a LOT OF MONEY. Where it took 2 months to save up for a mount. Where you don’t get a mount until level 40. Where the best gear you can reasonably get is BLUE (or maybe GREEN). Where it could take you 3 days to put a group together, just to fall apart because nobody remembers how to CC? Tanks that have almost no AoE theat abilities. Healers with spell ranks. Warriors wearing cloth for itemization purposes.
I’m making myself nauseous just making that list and it’s not even close to done. That’ll do, though. I just can’t imagine anyone would actually want that. They may THINK they do, but I think they’re wrong.
On the other hand, I’d love for Blizzard to put together a “Put Up or Shut Up” kickstarter for retro servers… set a minimum number of players to make each viable (I would think 10K would be a good number) and set the price commitments at a 12mth subscription. Offer them as completely separate spin-offs of WoW with separate accounts (WoW: Vanilla, WoW: BC, etc) and be VERY clear that they’ll be getting the game as it was, or at least as close as they’re able to make it.
I’d be really interested to see what actual interest people have when there’s more than just forum trolling involved. No, I don’t think many are intending to troll but that’s basically what they’re doing, pushing for something that nobody would actually want.