Saturday 19 October 2019

WoW almost unrecognisable from its former self

Game review: World of Warcraft Classic, PC, 10/10

Chris Hayes - Game Review

Fifteen years later, no game ever released has quite emulated the original incarnation of World of Warcraft.

Sure, many developers have borrowed heavily and even imitated the venerable MMO, but none have captured the ethereal spirit of a game that some would enter into the discussion for the greatest of all time, at least those who played WoW's earlier iterations.

WoW, now on its seventh expansion - Battle for Azeroth - is almost totally unrecognisable from the former version of itself released fifteen years ago. WoW is now the Las Vegas version of itself, a game dominated by wealth, excess, convenience and bright neon apparel in abundance, a monument standing in memory of something that feels half the world away.

For many of you, downloading World of Warcraft Classic and playing it will feel surreal. Make no mistake, WoW is an addictive game, which makes going back to it feel almost clandestine. DIrty. Any such misgivings will, of course, be gradually washed away as you submerge yourself into not just a game, but a time of your life that occurred in a hazy quagmire some fifteen years ago.

Many more of you will have forgotten just how hard WoW used to be. There's very little portal stuff going on, the world is absolutely massive and the fastest epic mounts are prohibitively expensive. The monsters are tougher and pulling any more than two at a time into a brawl is almost certain death.

Almost all of the pieces of gear in the game look like absolute rubbish bar some tiered gear that drops in the hardest dungeon in the game, which also requires forty willing players to run.

Levelling takes a very, very long time and sometimes a player from the opposing faction might decide to kill you and camp your body for hours, effectively stopping you from playing the actual game. And every single minute of it all is sheer brilliance. It is quite obvious why Blizzard would want to make such a well-known game accessible to a wider audience.

That being said, it has been very sad to see what once was a proper trial of endurance through the absurd, the hilarious and the masterful turn in to something that reeks of a throway moneymaker that ostracized its original audience.

World of Warcraft: Classic feels like Blizzard's atonement for their sins. Besides a few graphical adjustments and some very, very small quality of life improvements, everything offered by vanilla WoW is there, and it's all beautiful. Blizzard have knocked it out of the park, again.

Gorey Guardian