The year is 2004. The gaming world steels itself for the highly-anticipated launch of the fourth-released game in the Warcraft universe from a little-known company called Blizzard Entertainment. What happened on that first day, as 200,000 eager explorers took the leap into the wonder of World of Warcraft, is a moment that changed the RPG industry forever.
And now, Blizzard has given players the opportunity to relive the wide-eyed magic and awe of those original days with WoW Classic. Initially announced at BlizCon 2017, the long-awaited, highly requested expansion is slated to release on August 27, 2019.
Here are 10 nostalgic, old-but-new features to look forward to with WoW Classic.
10 Flight Paths
Flight paths have returned. In order to travel across the world, whether it’s for a quest, to meet up with friends, or to repair gear and buy from the auction house, gamers must collect flight paths by visiting each path and adding it to their list.
Although some take the auto-pilot flight mode as a chance to zone out or do something else while AFK, gamers now have the ability to return back to the usefulness of one of the best features of World of Warcraft: Its massive, beautiful world. Flying over The Barrens or Stranglethorn Vale is an experience not to be missed. It connects players to the game on a more intimate level, and makes for an absolutely gorgeous view from above. It’s these arduous tasks of collecting flight paths and strategizing travel that players will remember and cherish.
9 Character Creation
Whether fueled by Mountain Dew, or simply the excitement of diving into a newly immersive world, the character creation page is sure to bring back fond memories. This was before the days of Blood Elves, Draenei, Gnomes, and Worgen. Before the Death Knight and Demon Hunter classes. Heck, to choose the Paladin class, Alliance is the only option (and the same goes for Shamans and the Horde).
Yes, with WoW Classic comes all of the old-but-good features of race and class specs. Not only that, but the interface itself is enough to cast the mind's eye back into a dimly lit room on a desktop computer that sounds like an airplane. The fonts, colors, and race backgrounds remind gamers of simpler times. Choose a randomized name, or create a new name, and get playing.
8 Starter Areas
Another huge blast from the past comes immediately after loading into the game. The cinematic intro that welcomes eager players with a bird's eye view and soothing narration will set them amidst the arid dust of Durotar, or the deep purple twilight of Teldrassil.
It's in these starter areas that players will receive the initial doses of nostalgia. Oh yeah - and a lot of running. Whether a brand new player to the game or a seasoned veteran, the Mindless Zombies of Deathknell for the undead Horde - or the trogg raiders of Coldridge Valley for dwarves and gnomes of the Alliance - will shake the very foundation stones with yellow exclamation points above the heads of NPCs who share their stories, as well as their burdens.
7 Forming Bonds With Fellow Players
Another solid throwback that WoW Classic brings to the table includes actually interacting with in-game players. Seem like a bit of a foreign concept? Well, that makes sense in today's World of Warcraft experience. That's in large part due to the "Looking for Group" and "Looking for Raid" functions that been incorporated nowadays.
Sure, these make it easier to run through instances and get quest experience. However, WoW Classic players will now be encouraged to team up and create relationships with people in-game. No more grouping up and forgetting about teammates immediately after the instance. And frankly, good riddance. World of Warcraft was built on forming bonds. Guilds, parties, and world PvP come to life when slaying baddies with others. The more the merrier.
6 Quests Are Immersive And Take Time
Additionally, it stands to reason that players are encouraged to meet others. Because in WoW Classic, another feature that gets the boot is all of the quest-helping add-ons that have been implemented since the game's inception.
Original gamers remember reading quest text and triple-checking the line that says "to the north behind the big hill." Is it frustrating at times? Sure. But with simplicity comes a greater sense of fulfillment. No more zooming through text or mindlessly slaying mobs. Take the time, absorb the surroundings, and enjoy. The immersive world of Azeroth was built to be appreciated and explored to its fullest, one Space Bar jump at a time.
5 Earning A Mount
Speaking of Space Bar jumps, gamers will be doing more of that (and more walking, too) thanks to WoW Classic's revert back to original rules. That's right. Mounts are well-earned, not easily handed out at low levels. Players will be excited (and probably angry) to realize that mounts, which increase movement speed, are bought with a substantial amount of gold.
At level 40, for 100 gold, players can learn the Apprentice riding skill. There are discounts associated with Reputation and PvP rank. However, being able to ride will become an honored, well-sought-after prize cherished by players who do quests, pick up professions, and master the Auction House. Acquire the Journeyman riding skill at level 60 for 1000 gold to increase movement speeds even further. Yes, the classic system that is sure to stir up memories of buying the first raptor or first wolf at level 40 has returned. Oh, sweet sweet accomplishment.
4 Gorgeous Original Faction Cities
Whether riding, walking, or teleporting (if playing a mage), gamers of WoW Classic will enter faction cities and be amazed by the original splendor. Throughout the expansions, new cities have been added, and old cities have been revamped. With WoW Classic, those will become a thing of the past (or future, depending on how the chronology is interpreted).
Jump atop the Orgrimmar bank and sell lockpicking as a rogue! Yell into the throngs of players that a rare item is willing to be traded! It's often the little things that bring back the most joy, and these original cityscapes are no exception. Simple, quaint, and just right. Open the map and become acclimated to the faction city as it was originally created. Take a flight path to a separate part of the city to get a skill trained or to find that NPC and complete a quest.
3 Class Training
Speaking of skills, with WoW Classic comes another favorite from times of old: Upgrading skills. As the game originally stood, when characters level up, they must be trained to the next level of their skills. This is done with Class Trainers, who reside in major cities, as well as through class quests that make Warlocks and Shamans that much more fun to play.
Head to Thunder Bluff, Stormwind, or even Shadowglen, and locate a class trainer with the magnifying glass atop the mini-map. Revel in the newly acquired Conjure Refreshment skill that regenerates health and mana quicker, or the Level 3 Intimidating Shout that increases the length of time in which enemies run askew. Maybe it's an upgrade in Wrath spell damage that will add the upper hand in completing quests and fighting bosses. Whichever it may be, class training is another gem from WoW Classic that will bring back epic memories.
2 Early Instances Become Great Again
Once all skills are upgraded to the max, players can test their spell rotations on arguably some of the greatest content the game has to offer: Instances. These include Ragefire Chasm within the Horde city of Orgrimmar, Deadmines under the Westfall region, the coveted Wailing Caverns located in The Barrens, or even Shadowfang Keep in southern Silverpine Forest.
With engaging questlines, deep lore, and complicated boss encounters, gamers will be entertained, surprised, and delighted by the revitalization of the importance of early instances like these. Gather friends, call out in /Trade within a faction city, and summon fellow party members, because it takes more than two to tango with the likes of Edwin VanCleef and Archmage Arugal. Oh, and once leveled up, ride in with a mount, making quick goldpiece, or two running lower-level players through dungeons.
1 Hard-Fought Battleground Wins
Finally, after collecting flight paths, forming bonds with fellow players, and exploring all that Azeroth has to offer, get ready to jump into a battleground. That's right, some good old PvP mode. Become a Grand Marshal (Alliance) or High Warlord (Horde) by battling it out in Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and Alterac Valley.
Slice and dice, or polymorph enemies with groups of friends, capturing three flags to win in Warsong Gulch. Jump off a cliff with Slow Fall and partner up with a stealthed rogue to secure the Gold Mine in Arathi Basin. Or collect resources in Alterac Valley and emerge victorious. All of this and more awaits in Blizzard's installment of WoW Classsic.