World of Warcraft: Classic is currently in development and was originally announced at Blizzcon 2017, with more details and a demo available as part of the Blizzcon 2018 experience. I recently described the experience of playing World of Warcraft at launch 14 years ago in November 2004 which you can read here.
The WoW Classic servers aim to recreate this time utilising patch 1.12 as a base, with modern day polishes and bug fixes. There won’t be cross-realm servers or ‘Looking For Raid’ and ‘Dungeon Finder’ automatic party matchmaking. At BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard stated that Classic content will be released over time in multiple stages as per below:
- Stage 1: Molten Core, Onyxia, Dire Maul, Kazzak, Azuregos
- Stage 2: Blackwing Lair, Battlegrounds and PvP rewards, Zul’Gurub
- Stage 3: Ruins and Temple of Ahn’Qiraj (including opening event), Tier 0.5, Silithus content, Green Dragons
- Stage 4: Naxxramas Raid, Scourge Invasion
The Blizzcon 2018 demo started players at level 15 with a level cap of 19. Alliance characters started in Westfall and Horde characters started in the Barrens. I can only imagine what the ‘Barrens Chat’ would have been like, as it was both filthy and hilarious back in those early years. There was a playtime limit of 60 minutes and on day 1 of the demo there was also a 90 minute cooldown period between logins. However, this was removed on day 2 of the demo (smart move).
WoW Classic is set for release during the Australian winter 2019 and will be included in the normal WoW monthly subscription. This vanilla experience seemed to have a flow-on effect with other MMORPG’s also announcing classic server experiences of their own. Here’s a rundown of Rift, Lineage II and Lord of the Rings Online nostalgia.
Go back to where it all began in 2011! RIFT is a great MMORPG set in the dynamic fantasy universe of Telara. You are an Ascended, a hero of Telara, protecting your land against invaders from the elemental Planes. Choose which faction you will fight for – Guardians or Defiant – and the race you belong to, then pick one Calling among Warrior, Cleric, Mage, Rogue, or Primalist. Within each Calling, you will select and combine unique Souls with dozens of handpicked powers and traits. RIFT also has Purposes, or pre-made profiles, if you prefer to dive straight into battle! There is a heap of customisation within each calling, so you really can go nuts with your character’s versatility. My favourite class was a Bard, playing healing and damage songs whilst my trusty Boar charged into the enemy.
RIFT stood out amongst the crowd due to the random RIFTs that would come down from the skies, with waves of enemies that need to be defeated within a given time frame. Anyone can see these RIFT’s on the world map, and players were encouraged to come together to defeat the RIFTs. If the RIFTs weren’t defeated in time, it would cause an invasion in that map area. It was awesome to see players coming together to stop these invasions, because if they were left alone, they would actually kill all of the town’s NPCs in their way, and this actually meant you couldn’t buy/sell goods or turn quests in. Very cool.
The first classic RIFT Prime server will return us to the launch of RIFT, when the level cap was 50 and all of the great Dragons awaited. Over time, we will unlock new content and levels together! There are no boosts, no supply crates, no equipment, no bags on the RIFT Prime in-game store for credits; they will be offered for in-game currency. This is the world of RIFT before Free-to-Play and a VIP subscription is required to access the RIFT Prime server.
Lineage II Classic
Originally released in 2003, the new Lineage II Classic server went live on October 3, 2018. North American players got the chance to step back in time and experience Lineage II as it was in the beginning. Create your character from a selection of 31 classes and the five original races, each with varying skills and abilities. Experience the bold, tough, and unforgiving world of a hardcore progression MMO where you lost XP when you died. In this game, you could actually lose a level if you died just after levelling up. It was almost demoralising when that happened after so much grinding! Go back to the days before instances, when earning a level was an achievement worthy of everyone shouting “grats.”
Lord of the Rings Online Legendary Server
Originally released in 2007, relive the tales of Middle-earth, chapter by chapter, visiting iconic locations and adventuring with new friends – or reconnecting with old ones – on the path of Frodo, Gandalf, and the Fellowship of the Ring. The Legendary Server went live on November 9, 2018 and was so popular they had to add a second one. You can make a fresh start with a brand new character; see Tolkien’s bustling realm anew, whether for your first or fiftieth time. Initially, the Legendary Server will begin at the very start of the game and run through Angmar, then open new regions and levels over time. Relive the legend: where everyone is here and the story is now.
My first character was a Dwarf Hunter and I still remember the day I dinged level 50, it was magical! The Legendary server starts out with only the initial Level 50 and below content, with a focus on the Shadows of Angmar story. Gradually the level cap and story content unlocks over time, allowing players to relive the early Lord of the Rings story anew, together! Johnny “Garbs” Garbin and I played this game a hell of a lot at release, and Grant “Gruntels” Lehmann and I still login from time to time as it is free to play.
Keep an eye out for my MMORPG Memory Lane articles on these games and more over the next few months. Do you have any great memories of playing Classic MMORPG’s at release? Join the Game on AUS Closed God Mode group on Facebook and reminisce those great times.