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WoWInsider Community Blog Topic: Would You Play on an Expansion Specific Server?

September 8, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Karathress_Down

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, mostly blaming work, where I read/edit/post blogs all day and keeping a raiding guild functioning on a regular basis. I have a lot of topics tumbling around in my head and not a lot of time to devote to writing, but this topic stood out to me while I ate dinner tonight, so I wanted to add my two cents! More content will be coming between all my travel and my workload, which hopefully won’t explode in the near future!

So WoWInsider posed their Community Blog Topic today, asking if players would play on expansion specific servers. They asked that the following questions be considered when making your decision:

  • How would you handle classes? Would you take a snapshot of how they were designed in the last patch before the next expansion prep-patch? Or would you make the classes behave as they did at the beginning of the expansion? Or would you leave the classes as they are now?
  • Would you allow transfers to these servers or would you have to level a character from scratch? Would you leave in the experience bonuses put in toward the end of each expansion, or keep the leveling speed at how each expansion began?
  • For Vanilla servers, would you leave in LFD or make everyone PUG? What about LFR? Would you implement it for the older servers or force those to be PUGged as well?

I’ll admit, I’m a member of the rose-colored glasses wearing community. I joined the WoW community at the end of Vanilla. I never got a chance to raid, but I did have some great friends who introduced me to an RP realm, where we acted like crazies on Alliance-side, to a more, subtle, Horde guild where I got to experience playing a female Troll hunter, my first Horde character (her name was Zelinda). I don’t think I ever made it past level 20, but I was having fun experiencing all that WoW had to offer then.

The Burning Crusade launched and that was probably when I threw myself into WoW, for a lot of reasons. I began leveling another hunter, playing on a PvP realm (what a huge change from an RP realm!), and hearing one of my friends talk about this “raiding” thing. Eventually I hit 70, got a bit of gear, and was recruited into a guild that a coworker raided in. Suddenly, I was checking out Gruul’s Lair, and having fun with this whole “raiding” concept.

Visiting_Vashj

My BC guild’s first visit to Lady Vashj

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the Burning Crusade was when my raiding “career” really began. It could be expanded further upon that BC became my WoW career. Running a guild with a 25-man raiding team and juggling all the work that went into that (let’s just say the tech to support guilds both in AND out of WoW didn’t exist to the point that it does today) was very time consuming. But it was fun. Kael’thas,  not so much fun. Mount Hyjal and it’s endless waves of trash? Possibly less fun than Kael.

The Burning Crusade raid team disbanded and I found myself running both 10 and 25-man raids in Wrath. And burning out pretty quickly. I gave a half-hearted effort to Ulduar as a 10-man raid, skipped all of Trial of the Crusader, and PUGged my way into Icecrown. All the while I wore my rose-colored glasses about how great the Burning Crusade was.

Cataclysm followed, along with a raiding break. I started raiding again in Firelands on a 10-man raid team, before making a short-lived jump to 25-man raiding again. Dragon Soul found me back into the 10-man mold, and I continued the tradition through Mists.

Through every expansion, I have extolled the virtues of the first WoW expansion. I really did love that time. But when I step back, it wasn’t the game I really loved, but the people I played with. In some ways, I wish I could crash the people I played with for “drunk Kara” and Serpentshrine Cavern, together with my current raid team, because together, they would have a lot of fun.

If given the option, I would not play on an expansion specific server. Let me explain why:

Vanilla

  • Tiny, minuscule amounts of gold
  • Unclear questing or mobs that never contained items you needed to gather–I’m sure EVERYONE has had experience with Zhevra Hooves in the Barrens or Boar Livers in Westfall…
  • Level 40 ground mounts and level 60 to get your “faster” ground mounts
  • Tiny bag sizes
  • Running to meeting stones to summon
  • 5 minute buffs
  • Fielding 40-man raids

Burning Crusade

  • Rep grinds for everything
  • Netherwing mount grind
  • Attunements
  • Fielding 25 players for raiding
  • Alchemy/Cloth specialties–I remember standing at the Alchemy lab to make flasks before raids…
  • Flying costs–and no flying until you hit 70
  • PvPing to take graveyards close to SSC
  • The launch of daily dungeons/quests
  • Finding people who would want to run H. Shattered Halls for the Champion of the Naaru quest
  • Doing Arena for gear when items wouldn’t drop in raids
  • Epic gems only came from Mount Hyjal and Black Temple
  • Kael’thas
  • Blood lust was group specific–BRING ON THE SHAMAN

Wrath of the Lich King

  • 10 and 25-man raids that didn’t share lockouts–the burnout, let me show you it
  • All the different currencies to keep track of
  • More daily dungeons/quests and weekly raid quests
  • Vehicle fights–still iffy on these
  • GearScore! (I know, this wasn’t a Blizzard thing, but…)
  • Introduction of LFG–is this even still in game?!? As in, the window where you selected the raids/stuff you wanted to run and people checked it to fill slots

Cataclysm

  • Underwater zone
  • Introduction of LFD and LFR
  • Resurrection of the Zul’Agains
  • Heroic Al’akir

Now, not everything was bad though! Here were things I liked about, or have great memories of, the previous expansions:

Vanilla

  • New world, tons of exploring to do
  • Great people to show me the ropes
  • Seeing someone in epic gear and hoping that one day I could “be like them”

Burning Crusade

  • That epic feeling when we downed Lady Vashj and the screaming that erupted in Ventrilo when she died
  • The people I raided with and still think about regularly
  • Having the fully epic gear and being known as a great guild on the realm
  • The realm teamwork of all the guild GMs to help each other out even though we were competing against each other
  • The first ever guild Magister’s Terrace run–mostly for the humor at us getting locked out of it and realizing JUST HOW HARD MAGT WAS
  • The WoW Community

Wrath of the Lich King

  • Fun and varied raids
  • Getting my blue proto during a PUG run
  • My first Lich King kill, which was actually in a PUG
  • Finishing Tier 7 and being the best geared holy paladin on realm
  • Old friends coming back to WoW and joining me

Cataclysm

  • Meeting great people on the raid scene
  • Easy gearing of alts thanks to Dragon Soul LFR
  • Killing Heroic Madness before the expansion ended
Our BC humor made raiding fun

Our BC humor made raiding fun

When I actually compose a list, it wasn’t the game mechanics (though, let’s be honest, playing a beast mastery hunter in the Burning Crusade meant you hit one button, and it was pretty sweet–sorta like being an arcane mage in Wrath) that made me like an expansion, it was the people. My memories are based around events that I did with people that I loved spending time with, not really about the content I cleared or the quests I did.

If given the option, I would remain where I am–in current content, with the people I currently play with. Would I love some of my blasts from my past from my old raid teams to resurface? Yep–maybe that’s a door I can open thanks to FlexRaiding. But I would never go to an expansion specific server if it was an option.

Now, in the fairness of addressing all the questions that WoWInsider asked, let me provide answers if I WERE to have the opportunity to play on an expansion locked realm:

  • How would you handle classes? Would you take a snapshot of how they were designed in the last patch before the next expansion prep-patch? Or would you make the classes behave as they did at the beginning of the expansion? Or would you leave the classes as they are now?
    • Classes would be snapshotted at how they were designed in the last patch before the next expansion pre-patch. This includes the old talent trees, the ability to use ranked spells, and the return of the hunter trap dance! Original requirements would still be in place–books would have to be found to learn spell ranks, and hunters would need to go tame various levels/types of pets for them to train their current pets with new abilities.
  • Would you allow transfers to these servers or would you have to level a character from scratch? Would you leave in the experience bonuses put in toward the end of each expansion, or keep the leveling speed at how each expansion began?
    • I think players should have to level from scratch. Without heirlooms or experience bonuses. I remember how long it took to level–it wasn’t great, but when you reached the end, you could /cheer and realize you wouldn’t have to do it again unless you were 1/ bored, or 2/ your raid team needs a different class than the one you play.
  • For Vanilla servers, would you leave in LFD or make everyone PUG? What about LFR? Would you implement it for the older servers or force those to be PUGged as well?
    • If we’re going old school, we’re going old school. Players aren’t going to have the ability of easy grouping via LFD and LFR. If we’re going to go for the classic experience, we’re going to do it the way it originally was.

Do I think this attitude will drive people away? Maybe. But that’s how we used to play. If people stuck with it, I could see the Vanilla and Burning Crusade servers having a much more developed community than we currently possess in the MoP WoW iteration. The revival of the community could do great things for this game.

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