Post 1. Introduction.

A couple of words about the author

I’ve been playing Vanilla since 2005, but had to leave it for about half a year just to return after the launch of TBC. Most of my active play took place in TBC and WOTLK up to Ulduar. Right before the launch of Trial of the Crusader, the account was sold, and I had an opportunity to return in Cata for a couple of months and then in Pandas for merely the same period. Then I took a break once more, and my last visit to World of Warcraft was in WoD for a week just to find an entirely different game and never enter the servers since then.

In this blog, taking into account latest (actually, more than 3 months old already) news from Blizzard, I will try to recreate Vanilla-style gameplay as I remember it since 2005. I understand that many of these features are live on private servers, and that a lot of topics and videos cover this subject with the thickest layer possible, but probably it may draw someone’s interest anyways.

 

Introduction

None of the articles and no other Bnet forum sections receive so much dirt, butthurts and mutual insults as hypothetical at first, but now pretty real Vanilla servers. I won’t take anyone’s side as both of them are partly right and partly wrong.

As for me, the news about the Classic servers were met with shock, mild tremor and almost with a silent tear (caused by wind, of course) cause prior to that I had a chance to level to mid 50-s on Nost and then to 60 on Elysium reviving nostalgia to the highest possible level. Afterwards, mess among the admins of the servers drowned both of them, which made me understand that no private servers are worth visiting, as progress will be lost anyways, so I left them for good.

One has to understand that new Classic WoW may drastically differ from the 2004-2006 version, so upon release of the servers, part of this knowledge may become inapplicable.

However, enough with the foreplay and welcome to Vanilla!

 

Character creation

Let’s start with the basics.

As we face the character creation screen, the first question is Horde or Alliance. If desired class is neither paladin (Alliance only) nor shaman (Horde only), the choice is based on two main parts. Firstly, one should pick the side, overlook and exterior of starting locations of which suits his/her lifestyle most, as they were quite different back then.

Despite being closer to Alliance, every time I picked Horde. However, I have to admit that elaboration of starting quests and locations up to 30-ish levels is subjectively better from the blue side than from the red one. Blizzard in the old interviews confessed that they paid much more attention to the Alliance, while Horde was created on leftovers, so many quest chains both in the beginning and in the end look kind of dock-tailed. It is kind of subjective opinion though and not the most important part.

While the most important part is absence of cross-server battlegroups. In connection with this itchy pitchy thing, one had to visit statistics site to find a more or less habitable server with the 50-50 proportion of the sides or at least 60-40 in favor of the side you want to play for. Shift to 70-30 (let alone 80-20 and 90-10) meant (for the few) permanent ganks, ability to quest only when there are no goodwill ambassadors of the other side within the range of sight (usually deep at night or in the morning of the weekdays) and, finally, total inability to find a more or less adequate raid or instance party. For the major side it meant infinite BG queues (no battle groups up to 1.12, remember, kids) and total absence of competitive world-PVP whatsoever. And stuffed auction house with no buyers. And vigorous competition for the raid/premade slots. And other unpleasant little and not so little things spoiling your experience in the mid- and endgame.

Besides, type of server in Vanilla was crucial. PVP-servers let gank and be ganked, enabling gigantic opportunities of world-PVP, which was one of the funniest things back then. You may believe me or just look for videos of massive free fights in Barrens, Hillsbrad or Black Rock, which could easily outplay any BG in game.

PVE-servers freed you from any worries about enemy rogue over there in the bushes, but also took away the opportunity to punish the cheeky fellow who tagged the quest mob right in front of you, dooming you to wait for another 5-10 minutes until respawn.

RP-servers were some kind of cultist communes: they were very well populated, with ideal side-to-side balance, nicks that suited characters (admins forced players to change nicknames like “Pwnatorstephen”) and other stuff. However, instead of slaughtering enemies on BGs or bosses in raids people were spreading through the locations and just acting (sometimes very, very weirdly). Even taking into account deliberate rhythm of Vanilla, they were for a special kind of players, if you know what I mean.

All in all, we found suitable server, chose the side and even the race. Race in Vanilla was of almost no importance if you weren’t a fan of min-maxing (pragmatic maximization of character stats), though the choice had to be rational.

Firstly, change of race even for real money was not available just like change of the appearance. So look closely from each side, give it a twist, maybe even run through the spawn, as you are going to be tied to this outlook for a pretty decent amount of time.

Secondly, you could look at the perks of the races and choose the most useful from your point of view, though they weren’t of any great importance. Yes, humans had a good anti-rogue bonus and +10% of reputation gained, cows were good tanks and orcs were good melee-DD, but if you don’t want to farm Naxx in the avant-garde, just screw it and keep to the nice front.

Finally, each race was accompanied with its own mounts and one could not simply buy a mount from another race because exalted reputation with that another race was required. Now look closely: the fact that there were no reputation tabards, which enabled reputation farm in the dungeons, forced you to do all the quests (green or better) of the desired race, which was a great work for a couple of weeks if you manage to find any. There was an opportunity to turn in clothes for the reputation, but this option was extremely expensive and price of the mount could easily go beyond two-three thousand gold depending on the cloth price on the AH. What’s that little talk about?

Well, feeling dizzy on a raptor? Don’t pick trolls. Don’t like mechanical chicken? Don’t pick gnomes. Your kodo is once more stuck in the Undercity doors, so the keyboard is broken again? Cows are really not for you.

You may ask about non-racial mounts. Sure, there were some. To be exact, four for PVE activities (5 for Alliance). The problem is that chance of their obtainment tended towards zero even for hardcore raiders. It was much easier to get Sulfaras that to get tiger from ZG. There were, of course, special horsies for pallies and locks, mounts for Alterac Valley reputation and for PVP ranks, but for at least a couple of month you’ll be buckled up to the mounts of your race with no chance to change it, so choose wisely.

Finally, side and race – done, and class selection is now on the way.

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