Overcrowded starting areas, login queues in the tens of thousands, rampant lag, server disconnects – oh yeah, I am feeling that old school MMO vibe in World of Warcraft Classic.
I've just taken my first steps 15 years back in time. My gnome rogue, Gerbil, entered the Coldridge Valley starting zone within minutes of the WoW Classic servers going live, along with every other dwarven and gnomish character on the Faerlina server.
The zone’s initial quest, requiring characters to collect meat from wolves, made it a very bad day to be a wolf. It wasn’t a great day to be a rogue either. Every time I got near a wolf, some spellcaster’s bolt or hunter’s arrow would hit it. Since this is vanilla WoW, rolled back to the early days, taking credit for killing a creature means hitting it first, and that’s it. No communal kills.
Eventually, the wholesale wolf slaughter subsided and I was able to progress. Keen on working together to overcome the initial crowding, players started forming lines for creatures and monsters required to finish quests. The neat little queues were like tiny communities. People jumping ahead were shunned. People getting in line were welcomed with open arms. It was kind of beautiful.
There are plus sides to every character on a server being in the same zone at the same time. I chose skinning and leatherworking as my professions. The dwarf and gnome starting areas are filled to the brim with skinnable creatures. Wolves, bears, cats, boars, and even yetis, their abandoned corpses in tidy piles, waiting for me to come along and strip them of their gruesome fruit.
In three hours I made it to level eight on my rogue. On a regular, up-to-date World of Warcraft server, I would be raiding already. OK, not raiding, but at least going through some level 16 dungeons. Anyway, once I hit level eight I logged out for a snack.
Bad move. World of Warcraft Classic differs from regular MMORPG launches in that everyone who already plays World of Warcraft gained access as soon as the servers went live. There was no ramp up to the massive queues. They were immediate. It doesn’t help that the server I picked, player-versus-player realm Faerlina, is apparently a popular streamer server.
Determined to play, I hopped over to one of the newer servers Blizzard opened last night to deal with overflow, PVP role-playing server Deviate Delight, whose name is destined to make it a popular destination for “adult” role-players. I rolled a human mage and set off on a grand adventure.
The World of Warcraft Classic server rush should subside quickly. Right now it’s a fascinating new/old thing that’s garnering a lot of attention, but old school WoW is hard, and it’s certainly not going to be for everyone.