Well, it happened. I got sucked in. More than two weeks later and I still haven’t touched a game that doesn’t go by the name of World of Warcraft: Classic. I haven’t logged into retail a single time. I don’t know how long this is going to last, but for the time being, Classic has its claws hooked deep. It’s been an addiction and also somewhat of an oasis over the last few weeks, which have been chaotic between attending DragonCon to moving to a night in the emergency room. Logging in has the comfort level of putting on your favorite sweater or wrapping your hands around a warm cup of tea. It’s cozy. It’s soothing. It feels good.
And I didn’t even play vanilla. I can only imagine what the nostalgia trip is like right now for pre-Cata folks. It’s not the nostalgia that’s getting me; I obviously have no memories of playing WoW earlier than 2017. No, the quality that’s so enticing to me about Classic has nothing to do with personal association: it’s the people.
Of course there are the usual trolls, the Barrens-chatty memeing that feels more like clearing the throat of old, clogged phlegm than actual humor, and the vanilla elitists–but those flow by like cool water, barely felt and then gone. The majority of the people I’ve interacted with on Bloodsail Buccaneers (as a reminder, an RP-PVE server) have been excitable, friendly, and kind. Random people have given me free shit. They’ve helped me out on quests. They’ve stopped and given me advice that wasn’t snarky or tongue-in-cheek because they know not everyone playing Classic knows what it’s like. But most important of all, they’re *there*.
My experience so far of playing retail WoW has been a relatively solitary one. Yes, I actively sought out a guild and spent a decent amount of time socializing with them, but I had to go out of my way to meet up with them. Questing/leveling has been a somewhat lonely experience, though I don’t think I realized just how lonely until now. I’ve been stuck in Northrend for some time (due to my low amounts of play time and of course hiatus) and it’s rare I come across another player. Sure, city hubs are populated enough, but walking up to a stranger and trying to start a conversation or ask for help feels totally impenetrable. I’m way more introverted on retail, because I’m playing it more like a regular RPG, instead of an MMO. I feel leagues behind everyone else, since I started so late. I’m sure it’s a different story when it comes to BfA, but I’m just not there yet.
That’s not to say I won’t ever go back to retail. I’m sure I will, especially when a new expansion gets announced. But right now Classic is giving me something it feels like only it can give: a community. Not only that, a community that’s on the same page as me. We all started on the same day at the same time, queues notwithstanding. There are tons of people running around in the starter zones, at my level, willing to group, willing to chat and hang out. YMMV, but so far the vibe for me has been convivial and cooperative, two qualities I really love in an MMORPG (arguably two necessary qualities for a good one). I’ve just joined an RP guild and am excited to see how that scene continues to develop as the leveling frenzy evens out and people turn to other outlets of entertainment.
I’m going to do a more detailed post on my specific characters, but for now my main is a night elf hunter named Elentariel, and I’m around level 12, putzing around Darkshore. I still haven’t quite gotten the hang of the pet thing yet, but I’m working on it. I’m wearing some derpy green shorts that are the bane of my existence. And I’m loving it. I’ll be in Classic for a while yet, folks–hope to see you there!