I wrote months ago an elegy for the lost traditions of World of Warcraft Classic to the Kotaku. After a long cycle of hype that touted it as the perfect replica of the game’s provincial culture in the mid-2000s – those half days before it was thoroughly brutalized by Blizzard’s egalitarian approach to server identity, scaling difficulties, and mobile game-like advances – it was me disappointed to see that the dreaded hustle mindset had taken root in my supposedly safe space. The level zones were free from fellow players and it was almost impossible to find a group for most of the dungeons. In their place was a legion of profitable level 60 magicians who offered groups of the unfortunate lowly through instances for a small fee at power level.
It felt like such a desecration to me. I’ve played World of Warcraft
That is of course until I bought one of these boost runs myself. Now I’ve been completely radicalized. The institutions are dead. Embrace the chaos.
My brother and I were up late trying to meet a group for Maraudon, a beloved dungeon that was added World of Warcraft in its very first major patch. We designed a healer and an additional DPS caster, but we couldn’t scrape together a single tank despite hours of LFG spam emails. I wrote about this dichotomy in my previous piece; the 1-60 experience in Classic was decimated in the last year. Everyone focuses thoroughly on the late game and nothing else.
However, we did see a gnome in the trade chat promoting Maraudon boosts for the addressable fee of 16 gold. I really wanted to do the dungeon again in every possible capacity, so fuck it, I said. Let’s try it out. We sent the guy a message and within minutes he opened a portal and called us to the mouth of the instance. I had no idea what to expect, but considering how thoroughly the Boost Economy had gripped my lover World of WarcraftI wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
So I went there with my brother and two other players, each of whom also bought their way into an express funnel with passive XP. The gnome told us to pay him after he finished and quickly disappeared around the corner and into the fight. Maraudon is a large dungeon – the halls have 11 bosses with multiple entrances and a considerable number of quests – and I was completely new to this routine. Should we follow him? A few minutes passed and still no sight of our trusted guardian. I tapped my foot and threw out a dance. Maybe we were all betrayed.
And then … the universe tore in half.
I’ve taken a few screenshots to show you the carnage, but nothing comes close to witnessing the chaos of a boost up close. Suddenly the gnome reappeared in the cave, followed by every second servant in the entire dungeon. Well don’t everyone Minion; He didn’t attack the bosses and I’m sure he skipped some of the trash, but the bad guys pull on his tail was still a confusing sight. They hunted in lockstep, stacked on top of each other World of Warcraftlack of collision detection. A million arms, legs and heads in flowing motion like Ravana from the Ramayana. The gnome bounced nimbly up a stone ramp, entangling the mobs in a confused animation loop, and began knocking them all down. The game has been sealed.
I can’t tell you what happened to my XP bar. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in an RPG. You are used to taking small steps World of Warcraft. Killing a bandit outside of Gadgetzan can add a few pixels to your progress. If you turn in a quest you might get a quarter bar. But at Maraudon that fateful night, I got up half a level in seconds. The game client trampled and sweated as they tried to understand the magnitude of the advances I immediately deserved. If this were Vegas, a pit boss would have been called in to dump me in a dumpster. In the endless, persistent fray of Classic WoWIt felt like some wondrous, flawless feat.
And then it was over. The bodies were strewn in front of us, and the vendor’s trash shimmered from their death animations. We left the instance, I paid the man for his hard work and then asked for another run. We went back into the glove; and the gnome showed us once more how anyone could hit 60 in an instant, as long as they had the coin.
There is Videos on YouTube detailed, like every magician in World of Warcraft can master the hustle and bustle of the Maraudon. Obviously no one, not even someone at the level cap decked out with high-level raid sets, should be able to survive a raid on the residents of an entire dungeon. So this type of groundbreaking business requires a specific set of ingredients. (If you’re curious, that includes protective gear against natural damage, iron grenades, and reaching for health and mana potions.)
These runners have every nuance down to an art; You will jump over a railing to scrape out straight enough time to regenerate their mana, or they intentionally use low power spells to draw mobs and conserve their resources as much as possible. The whole thing is a weird perversion of World of Warcraft Classicintended premise. People came to this game because they missed running dungeons like Maraudon with the sense of wonder and abandonment they had as beginners. Instead, we’ve inherited a generation that has committed to breaking down all those gauntlets from 2004 at the molecular level – using nuclear-grade cheese tactics – in an easy way to benefit from those who don’t want to turn 60 old fashioned way.
And you know what? I am fine with this fate. I know I have expressed a melancholy about the state of WoW Classic Earlier this year, and I still wish that entry to its servers was bundled with a free lobotomy so we can really trudge through the Azerothian wilderness as if they were new again. But to be honest, I realized how impossible that dream was. World of Warcraft Classic would never have the same culture as retail Impressive, nor would it perfectly reproduce the intrepid mood of the game on the release date.
Instead, Classic scratched out a bow of his own; this atemporal mixture of warm nostalgia in role play and hyper mechanization; a bizarre mix of priorities and goals; an MMO at the end of time itself. I can spend an evening solo quests in the backcountry, high up in the old joy, before dropping a wad of coins on the black market to make my way through the final level-level plateau that I don’t want to achieve myself. World of Warcraft Classic contains a multitude, as the game always has.