WoW Classic Realm Capacity Increased in Order to Tackle Queues

Blizzard has announced that it will be easier to get in the WoW Classic realms after a few hotfixes that will substantially increase the number of players that can be simultaneously logged in and playing. This should, according to the forum post, result in smaller queues for realms with large queues and some realms shouldn’t have any queues anymore at all.

Queues for WoW Classic realms have at some points peaked at 30,000 plus waiting to get in. Streamer Asmongold had to end a live stream early when he got disconnected and put into a queue 20,000 long that took 6 hours to get through. He didn’t actually turn the stream off though, he kept it going while he slept 80,000 people tuned in to watch.

But the login queue isn’t the only one you’ll find in WoW Classic. Reddit user artemsaetg posted a screenshot to r/gaming showing a line of people waiting to kill a quest mob in WoW Classic. This is something I remember seeing in the early days of Everquest.

Of course, all of these queues will go away before long. The tourists who were just there to see what all the hype was about will leave and the masses of people lining up to kill mobs will spread out. The challenge right now is getting through this time when the game is seeing incredible popularity. For now, expect the queues to be especially bad on the weekends. We may even see them make a return in the realms that are expected to lose them with this hotfix.

 

Source: WoW Official Forums

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WoW Wednesday: A Classic Community Debate

I find myself in a very odd and unique position this year.

I’m one of a few select players that has had the pleasure of playing both Vanilla, what we now call Classic World of Warcraft, and current live World of Warcraft. We covered the distinctions between the two in may of this year, as well as why I never really wish to return to it. Recently, however, I’ve seen particular discussions surrounding major differences between the two that I thought were interesting enough to share. While we briefly discussed this particular point in ‘A Classic Take,’ this week let’s discuss about the ties of community and how they impact both Classic as we knew it and Live as we know it now.

So what is a community, at least as it pertains to the World of Warcraft? For the purposes of our discussion, we’ll define it as a group of like-minded individuals. These days that term is used interchangeably between the Community Feature, your group of RealID friends, your guild, your faction, your server, or even your particular gameplay fashion. In Classic’s day it was often used to refer to one of three things.


First you would have your collection of friends. Due to Classic’s higher string of difficulty in comparison to modern, or Live, Warcraft, you would often be forced into socializing and cooperating with other players frequently. Playing alone was simply a slower, if not often unsuccessful, method of questing and playing Warcraft. Finding a few people to connect with and make memories made the experience more entertaining overall.

Secondly, you would have your guild community. As Classic only had one major source of endgame at its launch, your guild was a major part of the experience. Often your group of friends would morph into a guild of its own. This was the vehicle for which to move through Warcraft’s higher-level challenges and, for some aspects like raiding, was necessary. That being said, Guilds were not mandatory aspects of the Classic community.

Instead that was relegated to your Server or Realm Community. This was an indelible part not just of your Warcraft experience, but the very identity of who you were as a player. More so than faction, more so than class, your Realm was your world. Word could quickly explode in your community if you were a competent tank or if you were a particularly dastardly player. Some stories, like those of Angwe or Leeroy Jenkins carry on long after their Realms have been reshuffled and forgotten. Here is where you went when, failing friends or a guild, you wanted to engage in content beyond what you could as a solo player.


Each part of this ‘community ladder’ that Classic had was an extension of its social hierarchy. As one couldn’t simply race change or server transfer you were, to an extent, inflicted with that Server Social hierarchy. As most players are often playing with good faith, very few had anything to fear from their server. Instead these self-contained communities were so closely tight knit due to gameplay progression. Classic’s high difficulty throughout forced players to cooperate or suffer, thus forging community bonds that reached throughout a realm and, in some cases, could last a lifetime.

These days, in Live Warcraft, the concept of community is different. While the concept and indeed the practices still exist throughout Azeroth things have changed. Server community, with the implementation of Cross-Realm Zones, had been significantly reduced to little more than a curse word for Frostmourne-US. While Roleplay Servers and communities self-identify still to this day, this practice is far more reduced than it has been.

In reality, the concept of community overall is indeed far more reduced in current Warcraft. That isn’t due to any failure on the part of the community, though there are certainly horror stories to share. There isn’t an organization digital or otherwise that could remain exactly the same over the course of fifteen years. People get older, change their lives, and eventually leave their communities behind.

From a gameplay perspective, there simply isn’t a reason for players to truly band together anymore on a wider scale. Content throughout Warcraft is now easily soloable. Group content can be forged quickly through in-game group finders and Pick-Up Groups. Only the absolute cutting edge of Warcaft’s challenges require a strong community base. But if you find your community not up to your standards, you can simply go elsewhere with no recompense or issue. It is now easier than ever to be a free agent in the raiding scene.


Ironically enough, there are really only two major gameplay elements that require a strong community base. Roleplaying and Rated Player vs. Player gameplay. Two communities of such vast difference in ideals that most would never expect them to be mentioned in the same sentence. However, they share much more in their common ideals than one would believe.

Roleplaying, by its nature, is a cooperative activity. In World of Warcraft roleplayers are often segregated by Classic’s social hierarchy. You may play with a handful of friends, just within a guild, or you may be a server figurehead. However, due to the nature of attaching an identity and proverbial face to your avatar, your name is far more easily identifiable. You can quickly make a good or bad name for yourself on a server, much like Classic in a sense.

Rated PvP, once more by its nature, is a cooperative activity. While this is magnified even more so in the Rated Battleground scene, players looking for any major sort of progression spend an unbelievable amount of time working with vast combinations of other players and classes. Your name can quickly get around for both poor performance and bad, certainly if you join one of several communities for casual RPvP. This is only exacerbated for those who are Gladiator level players; PvPers that have crossed the 2400 rating threshold and reaped elite rewards in either being the top 0.1% or claiming their Gladiator’s Mounts. Your name quickly gets around, and as such you get access for good playing, to all of the players in those brackets.


So, where does this leave us in the differentiation between Classic and Live? Community, frankly, no longer exists for the casual player. If you log only a handful of hours a week, you’ll never need to get to know anyone ever. In contrast community was such a vital part of Classic that its hard to think about questing or preparing for dungeons alone in the time. Elements of that still exist, to an extent, but even then those are communities and play-style you can easily opt out of.

The differences between Classic’s and Live’s communities are simple. The former’s exists purely by necessity, while the latter’s only exist when players see fit to make one. It makes the game as we know it today less social, but without that reliance on community other gameplay designs have flourished. Warcraft is more accessible to the casual player than ever without needing to pass arbitrary community bars. The experience, however, is far more detached and impersonal than it has ever been. After all, why would you want to try as hard as you can in a raid lest you face social backlash when one can simply PuG Heroic Azshara and sit in a corner?

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WoW Wednesday: A Classic Take

I am not interested in World of Warcraft Classic. Despite being the most attractive part of the current World of Warcraft development cycle, Classic simply does not remotely interest me. It is not because Rise of Azshara and the wider content of the upcoming Patch 8.2 intrigues, nor am I against the idea of legacy servers. I don’t personally believe that the current live game is inherently superior to the old, but there are aspects of Classic that simply turn me right away from it.

I was lucky enough to share a small portion of my formative years with others playing what we used to call Vanilla World of Warcraft. While I originally tried a Warlock and later a Warrior, I eventually settled on a Shaman and became my guild’s class officer. Vanilla was a relic of its era, best wholly encapsulated in historical pieces such as YouTuber Preach’s, “Legacy of Vanilla,” series of videos. The systems now, as we understand them are very archaic and were designed for such a reason.
WoW Wednesday: A World of Warcraft Classic Take
Leveling in Vanilla is perhaps the most arduous it has ever been in Warcraft’s storied history, even more-so with mass server failures that were brought about during the launch of The Burning Crusade. Combat itself was intrinsically slow throughout the game’s progression due to highly tuned enemies. If you were overzealous, or went into even the most basic situation under-prepared, you could quickly find yourself on a VERY length corpse run back to your body with significant repercussions to your equipment.

This was compounded by a rather frustrating quest system. Aside from questing being an often confusing and directionless without a physical map before you, there were simply not enough quests per zone to get your character into the next required level bracket. Taking, for example, the Arathi Highlands, there were quests in that area intended to take you from your late level 20s up until nearly level 40. However, there were only a handful of quests spread around the zone taking you to your early 30s. This means that unless you followed a breadcrumb quest designed to take you to Stranglethorn Vale (which was a completely different bracket) and even then, there were simply not enough quests to allow you to level. This meant you’d often find yourself killing hordes of creatures and enemies to grind out levels.

The reason for this is quite simple and obvious; World of Warcraft at the time was one of the largest and most populated environments of its time. In comparison to other MMOs of the time it was the most forgiving and detailed in its systems and world, despite its slogging leveling pace and issues. Even with portions of its continents such as Silithus left unfinished, Blizzard wanted players to explore. As such Questing became the method of conveyance for this; go explore where we send you and come back when its time. Even considering that there were simply not enough quests in the world to level to maximum level, meaning that eventually you would have to resort to grinding.

WoW Wednesday: A World of Warcraft Classic Take
Some classes had an easier time of this than others. Not every of the original classes was made to succeed well on its own, nor was every specialization viable for end-game content. To some this was an excellent example of the impact of meaningful teamwork. Certainly, a Shadow Priest was not viable on its own without significant gear but with a friendly group they could topple any challenge. This also highlights a glaring issue where some classes, such as the Warrior, truly only had one viable raiding specialization that they only took two talent points in. DPS warriors were laughed out of any raiding guild hoping to go top tier, simply because other classes did what they do better.

Certainly, we could admonish several of Classic’s earlier systems for its endgame. In current popular standards they are certainly lacking, from a near mechanic-less recycled raid encounter system requiring at most 25 people of a 40 man raid team to down an encounter, to a PvP rewards system that was a constant uphill grind week after week. Neither of these were remotely optimal for, ‘casual players,’ which Warcraft was essentially catering to with its forgiving systems in comparison to games of the time like Everquest. However, these tied into the main draw for World of Warcraft and developed this fundamental principle of its design wholly: Community.

I do earnestly recommend your perusal of a book called The WoW Diary by John Staats, one of the game’s original designers. Its clear reading through the development processes outlined by Mr. Staats that Blizzard didn’t quite have an idea what they were developing when it came to building their World of Warcraft. But as the game began to take shape outside of its failure of a launch and its community built they continued to reinforce systems that drove a community oriented focus. Server Transfers were non-existent back in Classic Warcraft and as such your server identity and personal reputation were a big deal.

WoW Wednesday: A World of Warcraft Classic Take
Those known as good tanks were quickly famous on their servers. Rogues like Angwe, terrors of the enemy faction, were feared by players of all calibers for their underhanded techniques. Unreliable people and dastardly ninja-looters were publicly shamed and reviled. As such systems like the Honor Grading and Raid Attunement systems built upon those concepts of mutual togetherness. True you could ascend to a point alone but working with others it became possible to press further than ever before. As Warcraft left its infancy and was later honed and refined into more modern systems players know today, the idea of community was put at its forefront.

That, in my opinion, is the greatest draw of Classic WoW, and why I will not go back outside of a professional capacity. The archaic systems the game has left behind make the entire experience incredibly sluggish in a world where some players only have a small amount of time to progress. While every system, from talents to combat, is more impactful due to this reduced pace and higher difficulty, there’s less game involved in this version of Warcraft than there is now. What will ultimately make or break the Classic experience will be its community, and that relies on the hub of players it must draw from. While Warcraft has its own host of problems set in Battle for Azeroth, Classic was never a finished game to start with. Unlike repeatable dreary daily quests, or fundamentally broken artifact systems, what will put Classic in the greatest danger will be if its community-oriented systems that will bring the gold to the surface of its players or be exploited by the muck beneath the water.

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WoW Classic Outlines New Phased Content Plan

At last year’s Blizzcon it was revealed that WoW Classic would have a four-phase content plan, but now that we’re approaching the start date of WoW Classic it turns out there will actually be six! It’s still the same content, it is just going to be rolled out in a slightly different, slower method than was previously planned.

WoW Classic

With the new plan, the first phase will include Onyxia and Molten Core. Previously, Dire Maul, Azuregos, and Kazzak were included but they’ve been pushed back. This new release plan will mirror the schedule that the content was originally released in.

Additionally, Blackwing Lair and Zul’Gurub will no longer release at the same time. From a story standpoint, this makes a lot of sense.

The forum post announcing all of this gave a new updated schedule which you can see below.

 

Phase 1 (Classic Launch)
Molten Core
Onyxia
Maraudon

 

Phase 2
Dire Maul
Azuregos
Kazzak

 

Phase 3
Blackwing Lair
Darkmoon Faire
Darkmoon deck drops begin

 

Phase 4
Zul’Gurub
Green Dragons

 

Phase 5
Ahn’Qiraj War Effort begins
Ahn’Qiraj raids open when the war effort dictates
Dungeon loot reconfiguration: Tier 0.5 Dungeon gear, Relics, drop rates and location changes

Phase 6
Naxxramas
Scourge Invasion

 

You may notice that PvP isn’t included in that list, that isn’t a mistake. At the moment Blizzard is still evaluating their options regarding PvP rewards so they aren’t yet ready to put anything in writing.

 

Summer is going to be here before we know it and as we get closer to that date more and more information is going to be released. Keep an eye out on our weekly WoW column, WoW Wednesday for more great WoW content and more news about WoW Classic as we inch our way towards release.

 

Source: Official Site

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Blizzard Discusses what to Expect from the WoW Classic Demo

As BlizzCon inches ever closer, there’s a sect of World of Warcraft players hungry for the halcyon days of the game’s earlier life. In a brief rundown from a blog post, those fans are getting some initial details on the WoW Classic demo content they’ll be able to get their hands on when the demo goes live.

wow classic demo content

The playable demo will focus on outdoor questing and will start players at level 15. The demo will feature two zones familiar to fans of the MMORPG: Westfall for the Alliance side and the Barrens for the Horde. All of the familiar zone quest quirks are said to be making a return, such as low beak drop rates for Ornery Plainstriders or the Harvest Golems being resistant to some of your abilities.

What won’t be available in the demo, however, are the Deadmines and Wailing Caverns dungeons. PvP will also be limited to only dueling, and as one would perhaps expect, the two zones offered in the demo will be the only ones available.

While WoW Classic will mostly be the throwback those fans crave, there will be a variety of more modern features still available in the demo, such as colorblind mode, right-click reporting features, zero tolerance for bots and cheaters, and support for widescreen monitors.

Our Thoughts

Well, we continue to hope that this demo of WoW Classic won’t end up being a monkey’s paw for fans of the MMORPG and that the demo sates whatever hunger classic fans have. It will definitely be interesting to see how fans react to this demo version of the game.

Source: official site

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WoW Classic to be Playable for BlizzCon Attendees and Virtual Ticket Holders

In a first for the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket offerings, a playable World of Warcraft Classic demo will not only be available to folks attending the event itself, but will also be accessible to people who are Virtual Ticket holders. As in you’ll get to play the demo from the comfort of your own home. No pants necessary.

world of warcraft classic demo

Shortly after the opening ceremony on November 2nd, fans can download the WoW Classic demo and play the game for themselves. The demo will showcase a limited questing experience through some of the MMO’s early zones – one on the Horde side and one on the Alliance side.

There’s a limited length of time for this World of Warcraft Classic demo, however: specifically, you can get your hit of nostalgia until Thursday, November 8th at 10am PST/1pm EDT.

In addition to this announcement, there’s also been a reveal of the in-game goodies WoW fans are getting with the Virtual Ticket: a pair of mantles and war banners done up in either the design of the Horde or the Alliance, which can be seen in this video.

Speaking of video, game director Ion Hazzikostas and executive producer J. Allen Brack have a few words about World of Warcraft and the Virtual Ticket. That video is embedded for you below.

Our Thoughts

Consider us extremely surprised. Not only is World of Warcraft Classic in something of a playable state, it’s actually accessible to those with a Virtual Ticket. We actually really hope this sort of Virtual Ticket feature gets extended to other games in the Blizzard stable, if not for this year’s BlizzCon then next year’s.

Source: official site

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Blizzard Devs Talk About World of Warcraft Classic Challenges

Even though there hasn’t been a lot of new announcements on the front, rest assured that World of Warcraft Classic development is indeed still a thing. An interview with designer Jeremy Feasel and executive producer J. Allen Brack goes over the process and rationale behind the Blizzard-led vanilla version project.

world of warcraft classic development

According to the devs in the interview, the process of changing database and server layout from 2004 tech to today’s tech is more technical than most would believe. “Hardware has changed. Computers have moved on. There are new operating systems, new things,” explained Brack. “A lot of the old database and operating system versions aren’t even supported anymore. Those are 13 years old at this point.”

To that end, the decision to announce the Classic project was actually done in order to try and ascertain how players invested in vanilla WoW feel things should be done. Among the decisions that still need to be ironed out are whether the game will feature original models or integrate new high-def ones, or how to keep the game sustainable without running two MMO’s at once – something Brack does not want to do.

But what about if people arrive with a snuggly memory of what WoW was only to find that the reality of classic gameplay ends up being more frustrating than comforting? Brack appears to be prepared for such. “I do think that there will be those people exactly like [that]. That’s okay. And I also think that there is this group of people for whom—that is the game to them. That’s their refuge,” said Brack.

“How big is it? I have no idea. There’s no way to know. But we’re convinced, through the desire of those folks, the desire of our internal folks, and the desire to preserve what WoW was, that this is the right decision.”

You can get the full interview here, which also touches on Battle for Azeroth matters, though you will be forced to whitelist the site in order to read through if you’re using an adblock program.

Our Thoughts

Though this project is turning into a matter of possibly biting off more than they can chew, it’s commendable that the devs involved with Classic WoW are as dedicated as they are to the matter. That said, we also have to believe that if sustainability and resources end up being not worth the cost for a small subest of players that this will probably get the axe again. But on the other hand “small subest” is still a lot of people when you talk about number of WoW players…

Source: Forbes

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