Hi, folks! How the heck are you? How’ve you been in the last, oh, two and a half years?
Overall, I’ve been doing well. However, an update on my life is not while I’m writing today. No, today, I’m writing because I can’t sleep and because WoW Classic is coming out on August 27, 2019.
Naturally, I am psyched. Anyone who has spent any appreciable amount of time reading this blog or listening to various podcasts of mine will be wholly unsurprised that I am psyched. (Also, my brother is psyched! TOGETHER, WE ARE SO EXCITED.)
That said, since the launch date announcement was made, I’ve been wondering if the 13ish years or so since I first started playing WoW (October of 2005) have perhaps dulled my memory a little.
I know that I have rarely had as much fun in this game as during the Tier 0.5 questline. The thrill of getting my Rhok’delar is still, to this day, a highlight of my WoW career, if you will. Downing Venoxis for the first time on April 1, 2006 (no, for real!) was amazing because it was my first real raid boss down. So I had a lot of fun back in the day. Just the fact that I have frequently said “back in the day” over the course of the last decade or more proves that I have some very, very fond memories of Vanilla WoW.
However, having played Vanilla WoW for more than a year before Burning Crusade came out, I remember a lot of things that, well, sucked. I thought I’d write a bit about them here. Now, it’s important to note that I am not in the Classic Beta, so if you are, please feel free to let me know if I’m dreadfully wrong about something. What I’m talking about is based entirely on my Vanilla experiences and memories, and perhaps some Wowhead Classic info.
Getting to 60
Listen, I don’t care who you are, or how much you love levelling — getting to 60 was a grind in Vanilla. For quite some time, there weren’t enough quests in the world to get you to 60. A common happening was people getting a couple of stacks of mage food and water (yes, separate stacks, if they were mana users!) and hitting up the Eastern Plaguelands for a few hours. Regularly. Now, I know that they did fix this at some point and I would presume that’s prior to the patch we’ll be starting at, but it was still a pain to get to 60. It took me 30 days played — full, actual, real days of my life — to get to 60 on Kurn. It took me less time on Madrana, but I did get a lot of experience by healing my way through dungeons.
No mount until you’re 40, no epic mount until you’re 60 and you should expect to spend a fair amount of money on that epic mount unless you’re exalted with your Alterac Valley faction. Or a paladin, in which case get ready for an epic quest chain that culminates in a really difficult fight in Scholomance. Or a warlock, in which case you should expect a truly insane quest chain that ends with craziness in Dire Maul. (Why yes, I HAVE healed both of these encounters on my paladin, thank you for asking.)
Defense rating. Hit rating. Parry thrashes. Alllllll of these were things you had to be aware of. Now, to be fair, I only ever made sure I was hit-capped when I was fighting Magmadar in Molten Core, because I had learned Tranquilizing Shot from the drop off Lucifron, so it didn’t really make too much of a difference to me until I realized its importance in Burning Crusade. But defense rating mattered if you were a tank. Knowing you could get parry-thrashed was literally something I only learned in Wrath of the Lich King, but has been around since Vanilla. Oh, and who can forget weapon skill?
Hot tip: if you’re level 60, go to the Blasted Lands and beat on the Servants of Allistarj around the Dark Portal for a couple of hours to grind up your weapon skills. They’re basically unkillable unless you kill the thingy they’re bound to, so you can keep beating on them to level up your weapon. Or, better yet, work on your weapon skills as you go, swapping weapons whenever possible to make sure you get them up there. There is little that feels more like you’re wasting all of your time than upping your weapon skills.
Dear hunters, Blizzard hates you and, as such, you have to use a dedicated bag slot as a quiver or ammunition pouch and you have to use arrows or bullets. Well, you don’t have to, I don’t think, but you should because most of those quivers/pouches have a ranged hasted bonus. Also, ammo could be expensive! There was rep-based ammo you could buy that did more damage than the typical stuff, but hooooo boy, was it expensive. Also, you could run out of ammo. ALWAYS CHECK YOUR AMMO. (Who me, speak from experience? Never!)
Mages had to carry Arcane Powder for Arcane Brilliance. They also had to carry Runes of Teleportion and Runes of Portals. Paladins had to carry Symbols of Kings for all their greater blessings (which only lasted 15 minutes apiece, FYI – compared to the normal ones that lasted 5 minutes!), plus Symbols of Divinity for Divine Intervention. (Okay, real talk, I HAVE MISSED DIVINE INTERVENTION SO MUCH AND I WILL HAPPILY CARRY ANYTHING I HAVE TO IN ORDER TO CAST IT AGAIN.) And so on for druids and Gift of the Wild/rebirth (battle rez) and and priests and fortitude. Basically, if you had a buff, you had a reagent for the longer version of it.
Now, let’s be clear — I always trained up my spell ranks and I made great use of spell down-ranking, particularly as a holy paladin, so to me, this isn’t something that was unpleasant. However, other people not training their spell ranks was a thorn in my side throughout, well, my entire WoW career until they removed ranks entirely.
Again, I loved the hell out of my keys. I really, truly, absolutely did. What I did not love was the bag space they took. In my research, I see that the keyring was added in Patch 1.11.0, so this should be available in WoW Classic, once you get your first key. This is good because no one wants to wait for someone to fly all the way back to Ironforge to get the key they left in their bank so that they could enter the instance. Which instance? MANY INSTANCES required keys. The back door to Stratholme required a key. Dire Maul North and West required keys. Scholomance required a key. UBRS didn’t only require a key, it required you to FORGE the Unadorned Seal of Ascension with gems from bosses in LBRS and then it became a RING. At least the patch we’re starting out with has a bunch of Unadorned Seals dropping and many gem drops in LBRS.
I should note that Engineers with a Powerful Seaforium Charge or rogues with levelled lockpicking could open most locked doors.
Rep & Cooldowns & Professions
Kurn was a skinner/leatherworker from day one. In the last 13 odd years, I’ve dropped skinning for mining on at least two separate occasions. I always come back to skinning. And it served me well in Vanilla! I was a dragonscale leatherworker (and thus made FREQUENT trips out to Peter Galen in freaking AZSHARA) and could craft the entire Black Dragonscale Mail set. Actually, Kurn can still craft every single dragonscale recipe in the game, thank you very much. And even the Red Dragonscale Breastplate, the recipe for which only dropped off of General Drakkisath in UBRS. But it was a pain to get to 300 skinning and especially hard to get to 300 leatherworking. What was more of a pain was doing the various rep grinds to get those sweet patterns.
- Timbermaw Hold to Revered to get all kinds of feral Druid leather patterns
- Thorium Brotherhood to Revered for all kinds of fire resist stuff including Black Dragonscale Boots
- Cenarion Circle to Exalted to get nature resist stuff and some sweet agility mail
I don’t think I did quite all of that at the time. I probably got to Honored with Timbermaw and definitely got to Honored with Thorium Brotherhood. To be fair, I did not have it bad. I did have a cooldown (Refined Deeprock Salt – every three days!) and not a ton of rep to grind.
However. Did you know that it takes two Felcloth to make one Mooncloth? And that you can only make one Mooncloth every four days? And that the recipe for Mooncloth is only available once you reach Friendly with the Timbermaw?
There are a lot of things that no longer have cooldowns that once did, and the grinds for the reps are a lot harder than they once were. Exalted with Timbermaw can take you a day now, but back then? Back then, it was a months-long undertaking.
Oh, and one other thing — flasks were super rare because you could only make them at an alchemy lab. That meant either Scholomance or Blackwing Lair.
This was pre-dual spec. And respeccing cost gold. And it got quite expensive to swap back and forth. It wasn’t uncommon for people to level as one spec and then eventually respec into their “raid spec” that they would use more frequently. For example, when my brother hit 60 on his druid, he went from being a life-long bear to being a resto druid. This is about when he started levelling a rogue…
Meanwhile, I levelled my paladin as holy from day one. It took me forever to kill things, but damn, did I ever know how to heal things. Back in the day, a holy priest as known as the only kind of healer you really wanted in a dungeon with you. I did a Strat UD run at like, 56 or something on Madrana as holy, wearing a bunch of Blue Dragonscale mail (didn’t have the bonuses that came with wearing all plate back then), and the ret pally in our group, who had been a bit wary of me, was like “HOLY CRAP, I HAD NO IDEA PALLIES COULD HEAL SO WELL”. Honestly, the fact that any healer can heal any instance these days is something I’ll miss, because it was legitimately difficult to heal a bunch of things as a paladin back in the day.
There are other pains from Vanilla, I’m certain of it. These are a few. And I don’t even mind a lot of them. But they’re things that came up as “oh mannnnnn” moments as I’ve been thinking about Classic.
What are you looking forward to most about Classic? What are you least looking forward to about it? Are you even going to play Classic?