World of Warcraft Classic: Torn between two eras

Having both an old and modern version of an MMORPG up and running offers a lot of unique opportunities for comparison. But if I may be permitted to whine for just a moment, it’s the fact that neither of them are offering exactly what I’d love to be experiencing right now. It’s a Goldilocks conundrum.

Modern WoW is really solid in a lot of ways, full-featured, lots of content, all of the races and classes, tons to do, etc. But man, that endgame is the pits. I haven’t even been back for the visions and legendary cloak thing, and I can tell you that seeing yet another pointless grind for gear that we’re just going to ditch soon is beyond non-motivating.

WoW Classic offers a tougher, slower experience that does a lot to respark those old nostalgic memories. It makes drops feel meaningful and streamlines the game to feel more immediate and immersive. Yet that endgame is also the pits. If I hit level 60, I can’t see having anything to do with my character other than mothball her.

The “just right” solution may, in fact, be a Burning Crusade or Wrath server — more content, but still of an older era with talent trees and none of this goofy artifact/heart grinding. I’m sure there was just as much spinning wheels at high levels, but to me, it seems more manageable… and more “World of Warcrafty” than what we have now.

But for the time being, my sessions in WoW Classic are more relaxing, zen-like adventures that involve a lot of running and slow questing. The other day I was doing the level 20 Warlock quest, which sent me from Stormwind to (why not) the Barrens. THAT was well-thought out by devs, let me tell you. It’s a good run if you like dying and feeling like you’re the odd gnome out in the middle of a deep Horde territory, but for me it was mostly a half-hour to watch an episode of The Office while trying to get from Point A to B.

I can already see how a lot of the initial appeal of making a character on this server starts to wear off at this level. The first 20 levels are full of discovery and great growth — faster levels, talent points, bag space, setting stuff up, getting established, revisiting those cherished beginner zones. There’s still advancement and some significant milestones ahead, particularly at the 10-level marks, but it’s not quite as meaningful as before. That’s where having a strong endgame serves as motivation to get there, but when there is none that interests you, then… I guess you’re just in it for the journey. And how long can that last?

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