Shintar had an interesting post about a hypothetical (but eagerly? awaited) further installment of the WoW Classic cycle. I’ve not thought a lot about it, whether and for how long “Classic” would continue to evolve. But from most people I talked to and what I read, the consensus seems to be that Cataclysm can’t be part of anything “Classic”, because that’s where everything changed and this third expansion was sort of the beginning of a new era. I can’t really say “the” new era, because between expansions some things have gradually shifted and some have changed the game a lot. Also as I stopped playing in MoP, the fourth expansion, that’s my personal big breaking point, as I basically skipped the next one and only then came back. I simply know I am not objective enough to see the end of MoP as anything but the greatest change for me personally, as it coincided with my first years-long break.
Anyway, about Wrath. I’d rate my involvement in the game only at medium in Vanilla, despite spending a lot of time in PvP battlegrounds at the tail end, but I had missed out on most of the start and was just casually levelling up. Having fun, but not really invested. TBC was very different. I was eagerly awaiting the launch, I instantly started leveling, then raiding Karazhan, then hating it, then there was guild drama, then a new guild, then a little drama, and finally getting together with the people I’d spend half of TBC and then Wrath and Cata and even MoP together. But TBC was a very long time ago, Wrath was a little less long ago. At the start of TBC I pretty much still felt like a noob, having played for ~1.5 years. When Wrath launched I’d been playing for for over 3 years, and I had raided Black Temple, the pinnacle of difficulty. Also I think in Wrath I played even more than I did in TBC. Leveling alts, doing Heroics, raiding. Raiding on alts, everything. As I continued into Cata like this there was no burnout or anything, but still after all these years…
When my interest in Vanilla Classic was kinda big, my interest in TBC Classic was already a lot lower. I had seen SSC and TK, I had raided Black Temple, I tanked and healed some raids in addition to playing on my Rogue Main. And then Wrath. I leveled so many alts, we went to ICC so much, we killed the Lich King on Heroic. I have the feeling I’ve been there and while it’s been over 11 years by the time I’m writing this, even more than in TBC I have so many memories where I can honestly say: I had fun at the time, but I don’t need or even want to repeat that. It was fun because of the time, because of the people, and because it was new. I think to a degree I stopped leveling first in Classic and then in TBC Classic because I did not have those rose-colored glasses. My estimates of how slow everything would feel were 90% correct. I knew it was slow, I just had overestimated my own perseverance, as these two times it felt like a chore so often.
So yeah, and then the fact that my dungeon group mostly stopped playing in the middle of something, twice. Or even three times. Guess next time I’ll just not fall for it.
And interestingly none of this is really Blizzard’s fault (unlike in Retail). People wanted to have the original experience, and that is fine. I don’t need to relive everything. I had fun in Classic and TBC, but looking back even now it feels like a bit of wasted time – because one of my goals is usually reaching max level, and I failed to do that both times.