Over the course of the past few months, I’ve had a ton of time to play World of Warcraft. Being cooped up inside has given me the chance to rediscover my love for the game like never before. As I’ve swapped back and forth between Retail and Classic a few times, I’ve come to the conclusion that both games have their appeals, and I’m enjoying my time balancing characters on both versions of the game.
As of late, I’ve been making strides in Classic WoW, taking a ton of time to myself to level alts and experience what the game has to offer on a broader scale. But what I find so perplexing as a player is how quickly the game has been moving. We’re not even a full year into the game’s life-cycle, and Classic WoW is already on its fifth out of six content phases. I understand that content needs to be pumped through the pipeline at a quick rate in the modern era of gaming, but as we progress towards the literal “endgame” of Classic WoW, my biggest hope for the game is that it doesn’t rush itself to the finish line just for the sake of wrapping things up.
At this time last year, it was hard to even imagine what the launch of WoW Classic would bring. Now, it’s becoming a mystery what the final days of the game will look like. My only prayer is that we don’t get shuffled along to the end. Of course, it’s fair to say that content is being released at a similar rate to how it was back in the mid-2000’s, but even now, when most major modern games on the market release huge updates, we tend to see them implemented at a relatively quick pace when compared to the days of gaming past.
To further that point, Classic WoW is in a bit of a weird spot considering it looks, feels, and plays like a game from 2005, but needs to be treated like a game that’s actively combating the landscape of 2020. The content release schedule needs to be molded and altered to fit the modern era, and it’s quite commendable how Blizzard has kept Classic alive with fresh content every few months.
What I worry about, though, is how Classic will fare in a post-phase 6 landscape. We all know that the game’s finale will take place in tandem with the completion of the final raid, but how long will it last beyond that point? Will we see Classic WoW’s popularity numbers dwindle as the game becomes a cult classic? Will Blizzard announce a Burning Crusade expansion pack for Classic servers at Blizzcon this year or next? If they do, will vanilla servers remain intact, allowing players to pick between Classic WoW and TBC? So many questions, and even more problems to be solved.
Still, though, it’s going to be important for Classic to further establish a destination moving forward. While the game has already built up quite the identity (I mean, come on, it’s been around for years. It even launched twice!), it’s still going to be imperative that the fate of Classic WoW is determined sooner rather than later.
I understand that finding that endpoint sort of goes against the overall theme of “not rushing to the finish line”, but still, finding that endpoint and reaching it are going to be two very different battles that Classic will have to overcome at some point in 2020 or beyond. With the end of the game in sight, knowing the journey beyond the final phase of content might just give a whole slew of players the incentive to continue to adventure into whatever the retro version of WoW has in store for us next.
Featured image via Blizzard Entertainment.