Lately, I’ve had a bit more free time than usual. I decided to get back into WoW Classic and boost my character up in preparation for the Burning Crusade release. I tried to level as a holy priest as I did back in Vanilla, but it turns out that it’s less fast and fun if you don’t have a group of people to play with. That was something that I never did manage to experience during my first round of Classic’s release. I topped out at 28 and never looked back. The idea of boosting my character so that I could play B.C. helped me decide to give it a go again. In the original release, I was holy up until our guild started raiding Karazhan since there was the need for a Shadow Priest. This time around, I decided to just skip the step and go into SP (Shadow Priest) leveling.
In Burning Crusade, I seemed to find my love of classic again. People were helping each other. I joined a guild that seemed perfect for a casual player like me, rather than being booted repeatedly from guilds because I wasn’t hardcore enough. It was thrilling to hear the sound of the Fel Reaver while the screen was shaking and run on instinct, fearing for my life. It was even funnier watching people who didn’t know better try to fight rather than accept their fate or even who thought that at 60 they could solo one. Even leveling as shadow has proven to be a more enjoyable experience than leveling as holy the first time around. Aside from the annoying fact that there wasn’t a patch until later on that allowed you to tag mobs with your dots. Of all the quality of life changes that they should have included upon release, that was the the one.
I tried to go home again in Classic. I even wrote upon its release of whether or not you could go home again. Whether the nostalgia was better than the experience. Going back, I realized that it was more nostalgic than actually enjoyable. Especially as someone who has sworn off any real raiding due to burnout and annoyance from past experiences in my last raiding guild. It wasn’t worth getting stressed over a video game. The feeling of isolation while in a guild was depressing. It wasn’t good for the mental and I refuse to look back.
But with the release of Burning Crusade, I did find a bit of that original magic. I engaged with people. I had fun. It was truly magical and reminded me of why I love the game. I’m not someone who makes friends easily. I do have an admittedly abrasive personality that most people don’t appreciate. But in World of Warcraft, that didn’t matter. There was a connection with others over a common goal. I would argue that some of my best friends were made through the game. Some that I still talk to outside of the game. One of the greatest of them, Tars, I wish I could still talk to today. Even years after his death, I still think about him as I would anyone else that has died and left an impact on my life.
That’s the thing that people don’t understand about video games, especially ones like World of Warcraft. It isn’t just about the game. It’s about the experience. It’s about the connections that you make with real people, who may not be just like you but have the same general interests and goals. That was the original magic of Classic that somehow got lost along the way in retail. While it may be hard to go back home again in the sense of forming that community and connections with others, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some magic in those small moments that you have when you’re playing the game. That’s the beauty of the fantastic worlds that video games create.