It’s no secret that World of Warcraft has been the top dog of the MMO industry for the longest time, but I’m sure many of us had not expected it to last an entire decade. Other MMOs of both ambitious designs and designs of attrition have tried to take it down, but it still stands to this day as one of the strongest titles in existence, and it’s newly found momentum in Warlords of Draenor makes it seem that it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Recently, WoW celebrated it’s 10th Anniversary and continues to do so through the Molten Core event that hosts the original which the titular raid is available for a limited time and scaled to level 100.
A Decade of Warcraft
Coinciding with the theme and motiff of Warlords of Draenor, the MMO titan hurls us back to how and when all the magic began. The 10th Anniversary event is an ode to the old; a nostalgic replication of what was popular in WoW’s early days and things that made them so iconic in the eyes of the gaming world. The Molten Core, the very first World of Warcraft raid, has been scaled for level 100 characters in pretty much the same way it was encountered back in vanilla, albeit toned down for this new generation. Up until January 6, 2015, experience the Molten Core in all its glory as it was back in the day by taking down Ragnaros and his mob of fiery minions, and obtain a fancy Corehound mount, a new battlepet, ilvl 640 helms, and an elusive, reusable item that enables you to enchant your weapons with the fires of Ragnaros.
Next up, a new battleground is available for the duration of the 10th anniversary which is called Tarrenmill Vs. Southshore, a throwback to the infamous Tarrenmill and Southshore skirmishes back in the old days where there would be a perpetual open world PvP tug of war that almost never ceased, and they continued on even some time past the introduction of battlegrounds. Winning the battleground once nets you an appropriate title for whatever faction your character is in.
Lastly, simply logging in within the event’s time period will grant you a cutie Molten Corgi, capable of eviscerating its foes with its powerful appeal and sweetness. Well, I don’t really do pet battles so I don’t really know, but I assume it to be the case! Who can resist the charms of a butt-dragging puppy made of molten lava? I’m perfectly sold.
But now, you may notice, that mostly everything available for the 10th anniversary event has something to do with WoW’s past. Well, obviously, anniversaries are usually about the history of the subject, but WoW is one of those examples that take great pride in its past. With only a few notable MMOs able to match or surpass its age, this game has every right to show off.
World of Warcraft has evolved far past how it was when it was first released 10 years ago. There are so many changes that it would be absurd to list them all down here, but take it from me and every other WoW player, especially those older gents that had experienced the so-called “Golden Age” of WoW; the list is massively long. This Golden Age pertains to Vanilla WoW and its first expansion, The Burning Crusade. From class mechanics and gameplay changes, to the innocuous remodelling and non-gold currency revamps, WoW slowly became almost unrecognizable in essence since its first incarnation.
But what had made it so? I’ve never played so far back in WoW’s wonder years, but I’ve heard from many people that it was because raids were of a grander scale of 40 with extremely long instances of bosses so over-tuned that it took a great deal of dedication and skill to conquer. I can’t fully comprehend how it was, but this event gives us newbs a taste of what it was to be a player in WoW’s epic history.
While it’s not surprising to find out that the Molten Core LFR has an astonishing wait time, especially if you’re DPS, it does make one wonder about how raiding in the past was. If you weren’t there or had not experienced anything vaguely similar, imagine how awfully difficult it was to group up 40 other players to explore a fiery lair riddled with mobs in every corner. My 6 hour queue at the time seemed very reminiscent of that scenario, but definitely of a lesser scale, as one can imagine. Considering how difficult the Molten Core was when it was current, gathering some 40 odd players was the least of any raid lead’s worries. Because once you step into the Molten Core, organizing becomes the real boss.
“Oh God! Kill them at the same time, you morons!” is an oft heard battlecry within the hallowed halls of Ragnaros, at least in the LFR version, but I can imagine that it is no different from how it really was. Every nook and cranny my raid had ventured into would be met with the silliest sorts of trouble, like some idiot hunter mashing Chimaera Shot and auto-targetting a neighboring group of mobs that would wipe us, or another hapless soul that could not ninja past other skipped mobs that also led to a wipe, or maybe even just dying to what appears to be a DPS race against Baron Geddon. It was a horrid mess of madness.
So, it made me ask myself, was this really how WoW used to be? Was this truly part of its Golden Age? If so, then I’m kind of glad that I never played so early then. It was a horrendous experience that I never want to go through ever again. The weapon enchant and pet are totally not worth the queue time, the general player-idiocy, and just the overall grind as it was only Ragnaros who ever dropped anything. Now, I don’t want to sound like that spoiled, new-generation WoW player, but we all have enough of that headache from regular LFR, most notably from the last expansion. Adding more players to the mix only serves to increase the despair LFR already gives us.
But this experience has made me appreciate what we have now in the World of Warcraft much more than I did. In fact, before the anniversary, I took this current WoW build for granted. Slowly, but surely, as the MMO giant aged, it grew more sophisticated as Blizzard learned from their mistakes, streamlining almost every element of the game. Thank C’thun for flexible raiding that makes it far easier to get in on endgame content without ever having to leave a friend behind, thank Yogg-Saron for Dungeon Finder, battlegrounds, and other LFG tools for making it easier to find people to play with if we’re caught alone out in the massive world of Azeroth with our thumbs up our butts, and finally, thank Y’Shaarj for personal looting, making loot-related drama a thing of the past. I can’t fathom what sort of horror stories were abound during the time of the 40 man raiding.
Classic WoW PvP
The event battleground, on the other hand, is far less terrifying than its PvP counterpart. Tarrenmill Vs. Southshore back in the day had no real objective, but it was partaken upon only by those who relished the combat and action. No one cared for anything other than the fact that if you had a red name, you were totally going down. The battleground re-enacts the screwfest that was the open world PvP of vanilla WoW, but has now set an actual standard to declare a winner. It’s just mindlessly good fun and would appeal to both the casual and hardcore PvPer. Sure, there might be some trouble along the way if all you want is the title and achievement, but it isn’t as frustrating or pressuring as the Molten Core. Just sit back, relax, and kill your share of filthy Alliance/Horde. This might very well be the only element in the event, other than the corgi, that is just a blast to do. Though, if you consider vanilla’s original war going on in those areas, you can imagine how difficult it must have been just to level through that area. But, yeah, if you don’t want open world PvP, then maybe you shouldn’t have gone to a PvP server.
Here’s to Another Decade
The event, overall, is just hunky-dory. It isn’t glamorously stunning, but it ain’t bad at all. Reliving classic WoW in all its glory has opened my eyes to how great it’s become. Today, the raids are easy to get into, gearing is relatively stress-free, and PvP is far more streamlined than it ever was back then. This isn’t to say that the World of Warcraft was a bad game back then, but it’s grown into a better game that is a far better fit for this new age of MMO gaming. However, with the way things are going for Draenor, especially the rep grinds, I’m hoping that these nostalgic elements in this event stay as nostalgia. The World of Warcraft still has a lot of kick in it and it should keep looking toward the future, not the past.Related: Anniversary, Event (In Game), World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday