Blizzard raised some eyebrows — and perhaps excitement — by announcing that it would be allowing both attendees and virtual ticket holders at BlizzCon the opportunity to play a demo of World of Warcraft Classic. Now, it’s obvious why the studio didn’t save this for a big stage announcement; got to sell them $50 tix, after all! But I can’t fault the studio for shrewd marketing and selling a $50 demo from 2004 to fans.
We’re suckers for nostalgia.
It’s not a particularly big draw for me. I’ll still peek at the game when it goes live, but I don’t need a demo to remind me what vanilla WoW was like. I suspect that for many people, this will be a quick way to satisfy curiosity in a few departments:
- Is playing vanilla WoW actually fun today or is it something we merely remember as fun but the times have changed?
- Can Blizzard pull this off and bring back classic-era WoW the way it was?
- Are there things about WoW vanilla that we forget?
- How different will WoW Classic be to the live MMO?
People will have about six days to figure this out as they explore two beginner zones. I’m sure it’s going to be a huge event for streamers and YouTubers, and that’s another way to satisfy that curiosity.
But the more meta question that I’m pondering is this: What will we get out of this demo in the long run? I could see this demo dampening enthusiasm or driving hype for the actual product, depending on the temperment and reception of the players. Will this be the start of Blizzard talking more about this legacy server? Is it an indication that it’s nearer to reality than we thought, or are we still in for a few years of development yet? Will players be talking about WoW Classic in December or feeling as though they got their fill from that one week the month previous?
This is what I’ll be watching for next month. My only worry here is that Blizzard has already spilled the big announcements for WoW between this and Patch 8.1 and won’t have much to discuss about the MMO come BlizzCon. Might just not be WoW’s year, if all the Diablo talk is any indication.