World of Warcraft will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, yet its classic iteration is experiencing an unprecedented resurgence.
Blizzard’s recent decisions regarding WoW Classic have been nothing short of visionary. The introduction of hardcore servers injected new life into the classic realm, attracting a substantial influx of players. The success of hardcore was so impressive that according to the website MMO-Population, the player count passed the number of players who are playing the current expansion, Dragonflight. Of course, these numbers are just estimates; they are not official since Blizzard has not shared those for a while.
When the flame of hardcore started to fade out, Blizzard hit a home run again with Season of Discovery.
When Season of Discovery was announced at Blizzcon, some fans questioned whether it would be a success or a failure. Seasons of Discovery takes a huge risk and introduces new spells, quests, and a raid to a 20-year-old game. It also brings a level cap of 25. For those who have not played WoW before, the first 25 levels are the most boring levels if you have played them over and over again. Your class lacks signature spells and talents, and you run around being chased by higher level mobs wearing nothing but scraps and rags.
But what did Blizzard do to turn this experience into gold? First of all, they pulled a sneaky one on us and hid all the new spells (runes) from data miners. The player base is always divided regarding data mining; some enjoy the spoilers, and some don’t. Going in blind to content that almost everyone memorized was the right move. Rather than being spoon-fed information, players now must immerse themselves in quest dialogues to unravel these discoveries. Remarkably, as of this writing, certain runes, notably the Warlock demon form, remain hidden, sparking dedicated Discord servers committed to uncovering these enigmatic secrets.
The game is so crowded that you have to get in line to talk to an NPC or loot a crate. Mobs are constantly in a hyper-spawn state since there are tens of players trying to kill them.
The level cap alteration birthed a novel playstyle: donning top-tier gear at level 25. Early-level dungeons and quests serve as mere stepping stones to gain experience, each item swiftly replaced as one progresses. With the capped level, players now yearn for the finest items attainable before the imminent increase to level 40 in the next season. This pursuit has fostered a continuous frenzy within Dead Mines, Wailing Caverns, and Shadowfang Keep dungeons, transforming the mundane hunt for gear into an exhilarating new challenge steeped in chance.
Just like the hardcore community, the toxicity among the player base is almost reduced to none. Everyone is helpful, even without interacting with words or emotes; they run to each other’s aid or leave a mining nod to the next player. It feels like players are connected to each other on a higher level.
Having a new experience in a 20-year-old content and having fun is quite a sensational feeling. The Season of Discovery is not merely an update; it is a testament to Blizzard’s unyielding commitment to evolving a beloved classic into a dynamic, evolving masterpiece. Players are happy, excited, and yearn for more while praising Blizzard’s decisions in Season of Discovery. Considering the love/hate relationship WoW has with its players, this is a huge win for both sides.