Written by Colter Hawks World of Warcraft: Classic is just around the corner, hopefully. We were told Summer of 2019 but Blizzard Entertainment has yet to set an official release date. I’ve been playing a lot of WoW recently after Blizzard reeled me back in with that free subscription weekend, and I’ve been enjoying myself thoroughly. Having now caught up on the story I’m very excited to see what comes in patch 8.2, Rise of Azshara. It was while in a dungeon, which I found quickly with the dungeon finder, where I had a group that didn’t speak to one another (typical in the WoW community these days). The only time someone said something was when they complained that we were going too slow. That’s when I reminisced about the old days. Vanilla WoW was slow and a lot of times daunting to the player base. If you try comparing the game to retail right now you’d assume they were different games. That’s because they are, in terms of mechanics at least. Vanilla was a much more true RPG where you had an extensive talent tree that allowed you to be Unique and add personality to your character. Resistances were huge in vanilla as well, where you had to have certain gear sets that allowed you to take on certain raid bosses with more ease. World of Warcraft today is a shadow of what it was back then in this regard. I’m not saying retail isn’t a great game, I already stated how much fun I’m having, but it is different. The pacing of World of Warcraft in vanilla was, for me, more enjoyable. The world felt vast and huge and had all these neat knicks and crannies to explore. The quality of life we know today in the game didn’t exist in vanilla. This made the player work harder to achieve their goal. The most important aspect that the game has lost was the community interaction. Players had to work together to get things done in vanilla, and most importantly, they had to actually talk to one another *gasp*. Yes player interaction was a highlight of those days, from Trade channel to The Barrens chat, everyone found something to chime in on. There was no dungeon finder, and dungeons took longer. You had to find your own group, LFG (Looking For Group) and LFM (Looking For More) were some of the first acronyms the mmorpg genre created, and were seen regularly in vanilla along with Chuck Norris jokes. Dungeons weren’t a walk in the park. Your group had to coordinate pulls with having mages, hunters and rogues subduing a mob to help make the fight more manageable. Today your tank can run in, pull a few groups and only worry about keeping aggro and interrupts. In ways combat is more fluid and more difficult in the current state of the game, but we’ve lost a lot of the planning leading into a fight. I personally loved figuring out how to best approach a fight and focus fire. Raid mechanics might be more involved now but oddly enough, in my opinion, boss fights feel less epic. There was something about the way boss fights in Vanilla were designed that gave you a real sense of danger. Delving into a dragon’s lair, taking down a king that has gone insane, or traversing through a volcano to take on a firelord; we experienced the true weight of our heroics. When Classic comes out, I know there will be a huge influx of people coming to play and then the majority of them will leave after a month, because the game was much more of a grind and in some ways more difficult. However, others like myself will be able to play through a game we fell in love with again, and have the time of our lives. I’ll “lose my life” to it all over again because for me, vanilla was the greatest gaming experience ever.