Is WoW Classic Easier Than Original WoW?

WoW Classic - Ula the gnome death

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).

This list of complaints continues for another 41 lines.

Yet there are others who get to the heart of the counter-argument:

Such sage words!

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. 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. 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?

5 thoughts on “Is WoW Classic Easier Than Original WoW?

  1. I’m really not the right person to answer this but I certainly thought about it a few times while i was playing. I never played Vanilla. I didn’t try WoW until about halfway through WotLK. It still makes for an interesting comparison, though.

    I find it hard to believe that WotLK era WoW was slower or harder than Classic is right now but even as someone with ten years experience of MMORPGs, I found the leveling process back then very comparable. I played WoW back then for about six months, solo and in a duo, mostly. It was my main MMO of the time and I would guess I played 30+ hours a week. I played several characters and in that time the highest got to the low 70s and the next-highest just into the 40s.

    That really isn’t very fast. By comparison, I played Classic for about three months, probably for 20-25 hours a week, leveled several characters, the highest to the low 50s, the next to the mid 20s. I would estimate that, had I carried on, I would have gotten further, faster, comparatively speaking, in Classic than I did in WotLK, although not by much.

    The difference is most likely down to experience. I have another ten years of general MMO experience and more importantly that six months of specific WoW time – plus several more short stints in the game at low levels on the endless free trial. I don’t think you can discount the immense difference knowing what to do makes. If you factor that back to Vanilla, when most players had never played any MMO before and no-one had prior experience of that specific MMO, it’s not surprising everything seemed to be harder and slower.

    I think the idea of making Classic “harder” to compensate for that knowledge is ridiculous, though. The question should be whether doing so would make it more fun rather than whether it would make it more authentic and I’m fairly sure it wouldn’t.

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    1. I should say, also, that I had very little MMO experience coming into original WoW. I had spent a small amount of time in original Everquest (mostly fighting spiders), and that’s about it. It’s easy now to forget what it was like to be that much of a noob.


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