I know. This is a much too controversial topic for the Ulalu blog. Just a couple days ago I was playing dress-up doll with gnomes.
But! Let’s face it. The Boars are having noticeably more success in dungeons than they did in those same dungeons back in the original days — even when we are under-level and one player short of a full group.* We’ve been comforted by the idea that we are better players now than we were then, and that is true to some extent. But is there more to it?
*Aside: I’m sure “one player short of a full group” means something different in Great Britain and/or Australia than I mean here. So to avoid confusion, here I mean we literally have four players instead of a full instance group of five. That said, other definitions may also apply.
Although it’s crossed my mind once or twice, I’m reluctant to think that Blizzard may have easy-fied the game, inadvertently of course, during code refactoring. I’m sure they took great pains to make the game as similar as possible to the original, rather than risk damaging backlash. (Then again… )
Not surprisingly, if you Google the topic, you’ll find some players of the opinion that WoW Classic is in fact easier. Case in point, the following Blizzard forum post contrasting Classic with “Vanilla.” (It’s not entirely clear if the poster is referring to original Wow or Vanilla servers, but this is still an on-point example so let’s just go with it).
Yet there are others who get to the heart of the counter-argument:
But now a new theory has emerged, voiced by a knowledgeable commentor over on TAGN. (Emphasis is mine.)
About difficulty, and I think the Herod fight is the clearest example of this; modern hardware makes the fights much easier. Because everyone is not only running the game at 60 fps or higher, but also at pings far, far lower than what people had in 2004, everyone is ‘playing better’ because they can react to things 2-3 seconds faster.TAGN commentor
Hm. I hadn’t given that possibility much thought, probably because the original game was so long ago, and I’ve become spoiled by powerful hardware and fast connections. And although I do remember screaming about lag from time to time, I don’t recall it being a direct factor in our demise very often.
I looked into the idea a bit more, and ran across the following exchange on another site. The context is a suggestion that Blizzard should “buff” WoW Classic to make it more difficult. (Emphasis is mine.)
The entire game could use a solid 10-30% increase in difficulty to be a bit more relevant by modern standards.Barrens.chat commentor 1
I agree, and the best way to explain it is to align it with Blizzard’s goals for Classic. Recreate an authentic vanilla experience. Sure #nochanges fanatics will go mad, but this buff would help recreate the seeming difficulty of original vanilla. Better hardware, lower ping and generally better and older player base means the game can be buffed and still feel as hard as it was in vanilla. [Name redacted] discussed this yesterday and I agree.Barrens.chat commentor 2
So there we see a view toward a combination of factors making the game seem easier — a complex aggregate of technological advances and better playing ability/player maturity.
If you’re actively play WoW Classic, I’d be interested in hearing your opinion. What factors, if any, make the game seem easier than it was in the 2000s?