Full Disclosure: I have not played Warcraft Classic, but I have been listening attentively to those playing it, trying to understand why they like about it. It sound like there are two things about it that really get people excited, community, and difficulty.
Difficulty: Leveling in Warcraft Classic requires you to be more alert, and talent points make levels feel more impactful. The raids are much easier, because 15 years of honing players against ever increasing bosses has led to a situation where a group of not even level 60 characters in green armor can clear Molten Core in less than a week.
Everyone knows that leveling in World of Warcraft has gotten onerous and wonky. I’m excited to see how the Devs take the information gained from Classic and use it in the impending level squish.
A while ago, I posted this about incorporating the Ironman Challenge as a feature that would be selected at character creation, or built into a special class, but now having a custom challenge server seems like the obvious solution. “Extremophile” servers where things like, permanent death, disabled quests, NPC damage and health are increased, could be done. It would have the advantage of putting everyone together in the same boat. Right now if you are running the Ironman Challenge, most likely no one around you is, but if it’s a dedicated server, literally every other character would be playing by the same rules.
Warmode was a great addition to Normal Servers, but it seems to have taken something away from PvP servers. I think removing the PvP flag from those servers was a step in the wrong direction. Even if nothing mechanically was changed at this point, those servers have a strong cultural difference from normal servers that should be acknowledged.
Community: “With the LFG and LFR tools removed, people have to talk to each other.” is what I keep hearing about what makes the Classic community better, but what seems to really excite people are drive by buffs. Getting Powerword: Fortitude, and Mark of The Wild cast on you as someone runs by is genuinely a great feel I remember back from Vanilla WoW. I would not be surprised if weak “handshake” buffs were added for each class in the next expansion, so that walking past another PC means getting a little buff to say “Hi”.
Like the difficulty issues, these community issues could be addressed with specialty servers. Removing the servers from CRZ and the disabling the LFG/LFR would be easy. What else could be done to promote community at the server level? What if “Lone Wolf” servers were created, a server where the character max is 1. If you can only have one character on the server, and the barbershop is disabled, everyone will quickly become recognizable. This would mean that you only have 2 professions on that server, so no making an alt for each profession and mailing yourself materials. No bank alts would mean that the cities would not be full of low level characters standing around ignoring everyone.
What would all this lead to? I don’t think I’m too far outside the realm of possibility when I suggest Private Servers. Not the illicit pirate servers that people create, but a monthly fee to Blizzard for a server that people can join by invite only. This is how Minecraft has operated for years. When you’re paying for the server, you could set any number of options, disable features, set character limits, permanent death, or whatever settings are deemed acceptable by Blizzard. If Private Servers happened, I imagine they would mostly be used by streamers to create servers for just their fans, and very VERY large guilds. These servers would probably not contribute to account wide collections either.
What do you think? What kinds of challenges would you like to see added to retail? Would you be turned off if Private Servers became an option? What are the best parts of classic that could be brought to retail?