WoW: Classic enjoys insane number of players

Submitted by Roman on Sun, 09/08/2019 - 18:15



Roman WoW Priest



World of Warcraft: Classic

- There is a glitch in the Matrix!



This is a huge success. The question is how on earth that is... There must be a glitch in the Matrix.



It is a game that was feeling new and cool back in 2004. During the first week after launch, a lot of servers had quene times for 8 hours. Does this sound like something that probably will be remembered as the biggest release during 2019?


Blizzard are somehow successful in releasing their original version once again, fifteen years later. Let's take it from the start, shall we?




Since the success at launch back in 2004. World of Warcraft have affected several generations of gamers already. After the continuing development of the game, it evolved into something that a lot of players did not recognize. To be fair, it was to attract the mainstream audience. They managed to keep a big chunk of their players as well as attract new ones. But there was always a thorn in their side....




Private ”Vanilla” servers

The thorn in their side has been the private servers and the thousands of players that wanted to stay in the original world. Before Blizzard decided to change it. These servers have been hunted down and shut down. The one that got the most attention was a server called ”Nostalrius”. The name surely being a hint toward nostalgia and Nefarian (a character from the Warcraft legacy).


Blizzard has been aware of the core players that always looked for the original experience. The community being the core of it all, not the progress of chasing new raid achievements. It is of course not what a developer wants to work with for years, it is not what the greater mass wants. But still, it is an idea worth caring for. So Blizzard decided to create WoW: Classic.




Looking through desk drawers for early versions...

How do you rewind time? How do you reset things to the way they were? It is an inferior version of what you have spent 15 years perfecting. Somewhere someone was able to at least provide a copy of the game before they advanced to the next expansion. To be honest, that is a bit odd. Did they not save copies of the original game? Seriously?


When you enter the game it clearly states that it is the version 1.13.2. It is not the 1.0 version. As far as I understand it, you can change the graphics to be as it was in the original patch before the new expansion arrived. By the way, that expansion was called ”The Burning Crusade”. That added 10 levels, introducing ”Outlands”. As far as the hardcore fans are concerned, this is where it started going south. I think that a lot of them played this one however. This is probably where the whole movement started, about keeping Azeroth intact. Not meddling with other worlds and timelines. Later on, Blizzard even altered the original Azeroth. The expansion called ”Cataclysm” tore Azeroth apart, introducing flying mounts into Azeroth and turned everything upside down. It was incredibly cool trailers and intro cinematics. This is where they lost me. I tried it a while but no, past level 80 and the raid successes. There was nothing more that interested me. I went back to League of Legends instead.


It was not that they ruined the world. Not for me. I missed the original, simple version. When you started on level 1. It was freaking difficult! No addons telling you exactly where you needed to go to achieve the quest. Now it is implemented into the game! You don't even need to install additional shit in order to be told exactly where to go! It is not a challenge! That is my problem. But like I said, and like I have said about several games. In order to attract new players. You need to make it simple to catch up.


Hearthstone is an example that is close, since it is Blizzard. In the beginning it was just about grinding the Arena to get cards. But as the years passed and the game progressed. How would you be able to attract new players? With the huge advantage the old players had when it came to the amount of cards they had gathered over the years.


So to make World of Warcraft with a maximum level far beyond the original one into something where a new player would be able to catch up was a problem. They solved it by making the levelling process easier and faster.




Server waiting times for 8 hours

The year is 2019. Not 2004. You better accept that Blizzard or you will lose the opportunity of a lifetime. The interest for the new ”Classic” mode is extreme. Without a doubt, it is temporary. That is the probably a big part of the issue. But the fact still is, people are waiting half a day in quene. Just to log on to the servers. Any other business that would force their customers to wait like that, when there are similar services available. They would soon be bankrupt.


Unless you are remote controlling your computer from work or school. Or someone will log in for you. You are pretty much not able to play the game on the servers that you would like. Because there are some serious waiting times.

Blizzard knew that this would happen. We however, did not.


We knew it said ”full”. Blizzard knew exactly what ”full” meant. They did not share that information. Since it is only ”low, medium, high and full” that exist. To guess the definition of ”full” is an impossible task. Therefore when we heard that there would be quenes on some realms, we could never know what to expect. I mean, what to really expect. I mean, why would we expect Blizzard to allow people to register to a realm where they knew there would be waiting time for 8 hours (!).


Right now for example. I believe I joined the quene at 13.00. Now, it is 18.30, I am still not allowed access to the server. It has been almost 6 hours. And it is a week day. Not weekend! I can only imagine what the quene number would be for someone trying to join the server right now. The highest number I have had in a quene so far is 22000.



I understand the thought proces behind the decision to have few servers

They planned on fixing issues with layering, being able to have more players on a server than. Just hiding them in different versions of Azeroth. The reasoning behind it all is that they expect a lot of the players to drop out from the game after a short period of time. They want the players to be able to build strong communities. That would not be possible if the server became low populated after people left it after a few months.



However. How did they come to that conclusion? Why do they think it would be a better solution to have few servers? Why not combine different servers later on? If there are two servers that all of a sudden became low populated. Just give people a free transfer for all of their characters. Or just combine two servers and create one strong server from two weaker ones?


You see the reasoning here, right? The situation is out of control with the current quenes. Something has to be done. I am confident that Blizzard is working on it. I am also pretty damn sure that they won't officially admit that there are things they should have done differently.


It seems like it has been a little bit better, on the fourth day. I heard that they did something to increase the server capacity. However! On the ninth day, I am still unable to log on when I get home from work. When I start the game, there is a quene for more than 7 thousand players. That means at least 3-4 hours of quene time.




How will they be able to solve this?

People have chosen servers by now. Guilds have formed. People won't just leave their life in Azeroth behind and start from scratch on a new server. Even if that server does not make you wait until you can log on. Because this won't be as quick as Blizzard and everyone else anticipated. There has been ”free transfers” offered from some servers, like the one where I am playing.



What happened? This could go on for a long time.

I was certain of the fact that people would have grown tired of playing the 2004 version of World of Warcraft. But now. I suspect that the game will keep most players for at least three months. Why three? Well. In that time you should be able to reach maximum level and try the raids. And the people that are more interested in enjoying Azeroth, levelling professions. They should have reached their goals after three months.

If they have been able to log on that is. Otherwise they will have to spend a few more months to achieve their goals. Or they will give up and leave the game. There are probably a fine line between having a big hype and taking it one step too far, ending up losing players.


Right now the hype and quenes are more like an exciting part of the game. It makes you feel like you are playing something of value. Something that requires you to invest hours and hours in a quene.

That feeling of playing something new and exciting will soon go away. If the quenes are not fixed by then, I anticipate that people will leave.



Six phases

It seems like Blizzard have planned to update the game in six different phases. This is necessary. If they want to keep players interested for a longer time. If we compare the progress to the original release, there has been some fast levelling and fast progress through the available raids. Ragnaros and Onyxia fell quickly. Some speculate that if all of the content would be made available right now, it would all be downed in a matter of weeks.


Since the patch is 1.13.2, does that make us stronger than we would have been in 1.0?

Or is it the fact that players have been able to practice the raids for 15 years? Ragnaros was one-shotted, Onyxia as well. After 4 days or something. People who took time off work to level to 60 at maximum speed and then rush through the raid instances and kill the bosses. And they managed!


Now what Blizzard, what will we see next? When is phase two coming?



This is a text from the early impressions of WoW: Classic. I might have gotten some detail wrong, in that case. Let me know and I will update the text. I will be back on the topic later on as new content arrives for the game. If you care to hear more about this topic, we discuss it during an entire episode of The Fit Gamer Podcast. Episode 187 can be found here on this website or wherever you usually find your podcasts.