In all honesty the title of this piece isn’t really a question as it is the ‘end of WoW as we have known it’ for a very ling time. Whatever develops once the dust settles after the launch hype, it’s clear that the game won’t ever again be what it was when retail was our only outlet.
Now, as you will know by now, the end of August sees the launch of the new classic wow servers when players can once again live or more often, relive their classic experience. Canned nostalgia at its best.
Now, the user base is pretty much split between those who think this is an awesome idea and they can’t wait to eat the “Memberberries” and those that think it’s not for them having lived that period and perhaps wisely refusing to see it with rose-tinted specs or ignore the sage saying that “you can’t step in the same river twice”.
No prizes for guessing which camp I sit in.
However, in this piece I’m not going to look at who is wrong or right, or if there can be such a concept where opinions and tastes are concerned but rather the more easily debatable question of what this new era means for a guild like Weekend Warriors.
As Classic approaches and we look at the game again through the universal access to the stress test and discuss it on Discord and the wider WoW social scene, it’s become obvious that a fairly significant number of players want to at least try the experience again and others have plans to perhaps go the whole hog and have raiding as an end goal in classic.
This is why we’re founding a Weekend Warriors guild on the Pyrewood Village server, to at least cater for those that want the more causal friendly experience of a social classic guild on a non PvP server and want to do it in the company of familiar faces. This sadly still excludes meeting the needs of those who want the real gank feels of PvP spawn camping or 40 man raiding, but it’s at least a home from home.
World of Warcraft, of whatever flavour, is a time-sink. This is deliberate of course as players require engagement and targets or rewards for playing the game to keep subs coming in and people playing together.
Now whilst the nature of those time sinks may be different between retail and classic, with the first being focused on goals and the end-game and the latter on the journey, the fact of the matter is that as there are only so many hours in the day that you can (let alone should!) dedicate to WoW doing both becomes pretty much impossible when you want to do both to serious or semi-serious levels unless you truly want to go the ‘Make Love Not Warcraft’ route.
This will present a notable problem for guilds that seek to play retail at the fixed size Mythic difficulty level as losing even 20% of your team to a more ‘casual’ approach due to Classic commitments basically calls into question your ability to maintain the necessary numbers able to dedicate sufficient time and dedication to keep Mythic raiding viable.
People can of course take a more casual approach to one or both of the flavours and indeed it’s unlikely that social guilds will have as many issues beyond the issue of online numbers if their player base is split between two games, but with Mythic raiding guilds where the grind is a real thing for all of us day in day out, then the need to focus on both types of content will most likely end with people choosing the one they enjoy most and neglecting or dropping the other. Personally I doubt that with social interaction and slow burn rewards on the one hand and grinding currency daily through mindless, repetitive WQs to upgrade items on the other, that retail’s going to have an easy time of things.
Now, I hope that Blizzard will see this already (at least I hope they do as plenty of unpaid scrubs already can) and that retail will soon get hit with a huge reduction in grind curves back to earlier more, balanced iterations for those of us that want to raid at the high end difficulty to keep things viable.
I’m not sure about you and I know that WoD is often panned by players as an expansion, but right now, being able to sit in my garrison and not grind dailies once I am raid geared and still raid the highest content looks pretty sweet and nostalgia tinted to me.
If they don’t act soon however, and they continue to treat the two games as if they are played by different people rather than actually splitting their existing player base, then something is going to have to give and that I fear will lead to a general lowering of the expectations bar for most retail players that will leave Mythic as something for eSports teams and multi-raid night guilds only.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see and hope for the best, but I for one could do without the extra work and uncertainty and I’d be lying if I said I was confident things will get better before they get worse.
Thanks for reading.