Blizzard Brings Back Vanilla | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Blizzard Brings Back Vanilla

Gaming Editor Roshni Patel gives us her opinion of the newly-announced revival of 'classic' servers for the biggest MMORPG of all-time, World of Warcraft

Easily the most exciting news that came out of BlizzCon was the announcement of World of Warcraft Classic servers, which was well received not only by the audience in attendance, but fans across the globe. Teasing the crowd with an ice-cream metaphor, executive producer J. Allen Brack was equally excited as he was nervous to announce that development would begin on a classic server option. Followed by a humorous video where a gnome’s temporal discombobulator rewinds the expansions at a comical speed, Brack finishes his announcement by joking he might need some of the old server blades back, which they’d previously auctioned off for charity.

So, what is vanilla World Of Warcraft you may ask? Vanilla ice-cream is the plainest flavour, the base flavour, and in the same vein, vanilla World of Warcraft is the base game, before all the expansions and the patches that fixed all of the worst bugs. Unlike many games, where you relive the roots of the game by playing disc 1, or level 1 again, in WoW, the terrain and gameplay is often drastically changed by its expansions and patches leaving players unable to revisit the features which drew them into the game in the mid noughties, back when WoW launched.


Over the years fans have been repeatedly asked about reviving Classic WoW, and have been repeatedly been told no, with the most public denial at BlizzCon 2013, when a fan asked executive producer J. Allen Brack about a classic server option. “No," Brack had responded. "And, by the way, you don’t want to do that, either. You think you do, but you don’t." Despite this, fans persevered, with multiple private servers allowing players to play the original WoW, complete with bugs, lag and hard leveling labour. One of the more famous servers to be shut down, was Nostalrius, who ran a PvE and a PVP server. The developers of which were later invited to meet Blizzard to discuss how they had managed to get such a big following.

This was likely the beginning of Blizzard’s decision to revive Classic WoW, and what form this Classic option will take, is anyone guess. As of currently, there is no release date, we don’t know how we’ll play it or how we’ll be charged for it. All we know is that it’s coming. But there are many technical hurdles to be cleared first, many of which may produce more hurdles, depending on how they’re solved. One of the major issues is, to create the ‘Blizzard-quality experience’ which Brack mentioned, how will they have to alter the original to make the gameplay more fair, to reduce the number of exploits, bugs and of course, the infamous lag which was a staple of any authentic Classic experience. But how will making these changes, detract from the Classic experience? With the work being undertaken by a separate team, Blizzard are assuring fans that despite starting a side project, development on the next expansion, Battle For Azeroth, would not be affected.


While thousands flocked to the Classic servers when they were privately owned and free, we’ll soon find out whether people really did want vanilla WoW when Blizzard officially released a potentially monetized vanilla option. I for one, would love to go back to play the original. Though I joined during the Burning Crusade and missed some of the more spectacular bugs and lag, I still had to run around until level 30, before I got a mount. Since those days, a lot of things have changed and the game is generally easier to get into, which often leaves me feeling like that veteran in the background yelling “back in my day, we had to look for our own dungeon groups!".

Redbrick Gaming Editor, who also occasionally dabbles in the dark arts of other sections. Graduating July 2018 (@roshofalltrades)


16th November 2017 at 9:00 am

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