Actually, I should go for "WoW Classic" a big bow. I have spent more time with no other computer game than with the online role-playing game "World of Warcraft" started about 15 years ago. Only with the third expansion "Cataclysm" I managed in 2010 the jump from the fantasy world Azeroth.

Like many first-time "WoW" fans, the add-on was a step backwards for me as well. Blizzard not only dramatically changed the look of the game world, but also simplified the game system – the beginning of a process found in "WoW "has continued to this day.

Millions of players remained loyal to "WoW," making it the most successful subscription game ever. The latest and already seventh add-on, "Battle for Azeroth", came on the market in August 2018. "WoW" is next to "Minecraft", "GTA" and "Fortnite" one of the few games that have conquered the pop culture.

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This is "World of Warcraft Classic"

Now Blizzard turns back the clocks: Because the calls for the original game were getting louder, the US studio has meticulously restored and reissued the original "Vanilla" version – including small comfort and technology enhancements. Anyone who has a subscription to the standard "WoW" can use "WoW Classic" in addition to the current version. I'm curious how the journey into the past plays.

Everything as before

For the full dose of nostalgia, I dusted off my old Logitech mouse, which I used to play "WoW" for five years from the European start in February 2005. My character, a druid of the Night Elf people, is called, as he was then: philosopher – a remnant of my student days.

As an old hand, I find myself right in the huge, but always in clear areas divided game world. Computer characters provide me with first quests. I carefully read the task descriptions to find the way to the goal. Newcomers and players who only know today's "WoW" may have orientation issues at the beginning, as there are no quest markers in "Classic". If you want these and other comfort extras, you must install appropriate add-ons.

The quests to be performed in "WoW Classic" seldom deviate from the "kill this" – and "collect that" formula: I fight in real time wild animals or monsters, collect objects, run from A to B and back. Why? Secondary.

The main thing is, I get as many experience points as possible to quickly rise to the character level and capture money and equipment that makes the philosopher more and more powerful. This is the essence of "WoW": It throws the player into a sheer endless reward spiral that gives him the feeling of growing from a helpless beginner to a true hero. Here is a new weapon, because a "level up", there a new ability – that motivates immensely.

The perfidy is that this principle starts from the first heroic level and can hold up to a maximum level of 60 tremendously. Along the way, the learning curve slowly increases, the game becomes more complex. And then "WoW" really gets going in the so-called "Endgame" – thanks to numerous contents that Blizzard will publish in six phases.

From level 10 it gets tough

From the highest level, Philosopher is still miles away: I needed about six hours to level 10 and made good progress, then the game draws. I have repressed the long routes: I have to trot through forests for several minutes; Some areas need to be visited several times. You can use mounts in "WoW Classic", but only from character level 40 – and have to fork out tons of gold.

Also, I forgot that the death in the classic "WoW" often comes faster than you think: while I kill an opponent of the same level easily, my own screen death is certain, as soon as I accidentally attack several enemies. Then I enter the long way to my corpse in ghost form.

Time is the most important currency in "WoW Classic". Only those who play a lot and regularly develop their character reasonably quickly and accumulate enough gold to pay for the class teacher who teaches them new skills. I am disillusioned: Where I still had the leisure time in recent years, to get involved in the online role-playing game, it is much harder for me today.

In my early days in Azeroth I could hunt animals for hours to skin them and use the resources gained to make leather armor that I sold to other players in the auction house. That's too stupid for me today and too expensive for two. Nevertheless, "WoW Classic" has a pleasantly decelerated approach that I still like. "The journey is the goal" is not a mere phrase, but an elementary part of the game experience.

"Such a fucking quest"

The most fun is "Classic" when I interact with other players. Unlike in later "WoW" versions, no group finder is integrated here yet. This promotes the cohesion among the players: If you need help with a tricky mission or would like to visit one of the five-headed hero groups designed dungeons, you must look in public chat for like-minded or join an organized guild. In addition, teamwork is rewarded because every player has to play his part. This is playfully demanding and sometimes extremely amusing. When I am with a group in a cave complex and we are constantly lost, it gets a teammate in a nutshell: "Such a shitty quest, I'll go straight through!"

So entertaining my nostalgia trip but is: After a good ten hours, I declare him over. I know how vulnerable I am to "WoW". But today I'm not ready to invest so much time in a game. Even if I spent an average of ten hours a week traveling the Philosopher through Azeroth, Level Calculator would not have reached the top level until mid-March 2020.

Beginners who want to know where "WoW" has its cult status get the classic here in pure culture. Returnees know exactly which time-eater they are getting into anyway. For me, "World of Warcraft" remains where it's best stored: in my memory.



"World of Warcraft Classic" by Blizzard: for PC, the game is free, but requires a monthly subscription (about 13 euros); USK: From 12 years

Game classic rediscovered

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