Vanilla flavour

May 22, 2009

I get a little fed up when I see people ramble on about how God-damned-wonderful-with-a-cherry-on-top “Vanilla” WoW was. You know, the days when Naxxramas wasn’t something Blizzard nicked out of a recycling bin, and lvl 60 was the way to be cool. The times when MC meant some epic raid, and not a new 100% mount. The days I never got to see.

Compared to a lot of people in the game, I’m relatively fresh. I found my little brother’s Burning Crusade game around christmas 2007, but never really got the hang of it before sometime in 2008. Meaning I never got to try out WoW with vanilla flavour, that ultimately epic game old players talk so longing about. Like aging people in rocking chairs they sit and mumble about how the game is nothing like it used to be. While eating a few prunes and knitting some epic armor, they whisper how wonderfully magical fighting Ragnaros was, while Malygos is looked upon something you might find under your shoe after a day in the city.

So I wonder. Was the age without expansion packs, Illidan, Shattrath and Northrend so much better? Is this feeling I’ve got in my gut, this feeling of having lost something I’ve never really had, legitimate? Or is this just one of those rambles you find old people all over the tell their grandchildren while patting them on the head, going “Oh, things were better in the old days, son. Yes, yes. Back in the days all were good.”? Because really, we all know old people had to grow up being bombed every quarter and facing nothing but a rotten apple for breakfast for about twenty years. (Well. Almost, almost.) Is vanilla WoW the dream people tell me it is, or is it a memory where the laggy and bugged parts are forgotten in the time that’s passed? I wonder.


7 Responses to “Vanilla flavour”

  1. Per-Stian Valderhaug said

    I have seen this comparison being drawn quite often by relatively fresh players. Being a player for over four years now I feel that I should be able to provide a proper answer to this;

    The thing is, Vanilla WoW was bloody awesome. What made Vanilla WoW so awesome was the frequent patching that Blizzard had. Through ~26 months of Vanilla WoW there was a total of fourteen major patches. Through ~22 months of TBC, there was five. And so far in Wrath we have had one major patch, for 6 months.

    Obviously, players being used to frequent patching had a lesser experience when you actually have to WAIT for new dungeons. Now, you might be asking why this is the case. The answer lies in pre-developed content. Up until patch 1.6 or something Blizzard had all content beforehand, letting them release new content whenever they wanted and felt it to be necessary for the game to progress.

    In closing, the reason why you always hear that Vanilla was such awesome game, is from starvers. People starving on content. New people don’t suffer from this, because they are not used to it.

    PS. Been reading your blog for a while, you do raise some interesting issues. 😉


  2. DeftyJames said

    I say yes. Like you, I got in the game later than the old folks. And I still think that Vanilla WoW was better. The quests make more sense; it has a more epic feel. I hate how in Warth you get called to a Meeting Stone, quickly get two quests, spend 20 minutes in an instance, and bang your done. Whatever happened to Saving Sharpbeak? The only quest that is like that in Wrath is the Betrayal quest in the Troll zone.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand all about the time issue. But there are trade offs to everything. Vanilla WoW suited my own personal style of play better, that’s all.

    I really wish I could have been here from day one. But alas it was not to be, so I move on. 🙂

  3. Consolea said

    @Per-Stian: Actually, I’ve never heard about this whole frequent patching. And knowing how I’m like a kid on X-mas eve on patch days, I can understand a little bit of what you’re saying. And I’m just a little sad about how Blizz have managed to let something, apparently truly epic, slip away. I even thought about playing Age of Conan for while, to know how a fresh MMO could be. But nay, WoW is my game, and will be for quite some time. At least I haven’t heard too much complains on my server lately, so maybe people have enough to do with Ulduar, WG and achievements. Hope so 🙂

    @DeftyJames: Still not having a full grasp on exactly how Vanilla was, I have no idea of how my playstyle fits in with neither that game, nor Wrath. I’m just happy about my little epic lore moments, such as when I got to see Arthas and Jaina in the Culling of Stratholme. I guess you get used to less epic and more used to treasuring it when it’s the way it is now, huh?

    Anyway, thanks for great feedback from the both of you. That feeling of having missed something truly great still grows inside of me, but now I know a tiny bit more about why it’s there. Thanks! 🙂

  4. thebarrenschat said

    I believe this is a case of “Things were a lot better in the old days”. The only thing that WoW has lost raiding-wise is the epic feeling, and that epic feeling can never be replaced because raiding was something completely new to a lot of people. Not necesserily because it was better.

    I’ve been so lucky that I’ve seen about everything raid wise in WoW so far, except for AQ40 and Sunwell. And I can hand on hear say that neither MC (with Raggy and the last bosses of BWL) and BWL weren’t that good.

    Especially in MC you could have over half your raid slacking, there were endless trash packs and most bosses were pretty much tank and spank. DPS-rotations were non existant, all you did as a mage on Raggy was spam frost bolt and aoe down the adds during the add phase. The only thing that made it hard, was that it was new to most people.

    You might have missed a WoW-feeling, but as far as raiding goes, I believe it will only keep getting better. While patches are fewer and further between, they are vastly superior in quality compared to the old ones. If you’d release a BWL or MC difficulty raid today, most guilds would have it cleared in less than a day.

  5. Isolinn said

    Vanilla wasn’t better. It was a pain, it was hard work, it was like banging your head against the wall for an eternity. But god damn it how good it felt when you killed something! Apart from the fact that all the loot was for Shammys.(Yes I am alliance)

    Vanilla is quite overrated, and the only reason people miss it, is because having a tier set then, meant you were god, now everyone can have it. In other words, you worked harder, for less rewards. Today its less work, more rewards. But the game has improved a lot. And even though I miss Vanilla, I don’t think I would want it to become like that. Maybe something in between Wrath and the old days. Maybe we get that in the Emerald Dream. (Yes I am phsycic and know thats the next expansion)

  6. thebarrenschat said

    Aye, rewards are another good point. Now you get 2-4 epics for every 25-man boss you kill. Back in vanilla it was 1-2 for every 40-man boss. Getting my giant stalker bracers (with epic spirit, like all gear had back then) was a huuuge deal.

  7. nugget said

    Hm. Well I’m one of those people who actually didn’t buy the WotLK xpac, and stopped playing altogether when it was released, because I did NOT like the design choices that Blizzard was making, on top of those it had already made.

    Specifically, one of the things was that I found TBC 5-mans on the whole to be lacklustre and uninspiring compared to vanilla 5 mans. The only TBC 5-man I’d say I loved the way I loved any of the vanilla 5-mans was Magister’s Terrace. To me, that place was brilliant.

    But I felt that TBC instances in general lacked the feel of ‘you are in a maze of twisty turny passages’, with love and detail and care lavished into every single bit of the instance. Yes, BRD was awfully long – so people rarely did the WHOLE area at once, and no, BRD wasn’t one of my favourites (though it is a beautiful instance).

    I was sorely disappointed with almost all TBC 5 mans. I was expecting more creativity and craziness. Like Scholomance and Dire Maul Coffer runs. What I got (imo, opinions differ, of course), was stuff that wasn’t as detailed, thought out, loved or FUNNY. In short, shorter instances that to me, weren’t as entertaining.

    There were quite a few other philosophical (lol, no really) reasons why I stopped playing. But in a discussion of ‘was vanilla WoW really better’. Well. As a whole, it’s hard to say. But comparing Vanilla WoW 5 mans to TBC 5 mans? Vanilla wins. Hands down.

    [Obviously no WotLK comments, since I don’t play anymore…]

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