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  1. #1

    Reminders of what vanilla was like

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

    The most important things if you did not play vanilla:
    --Everything took WAY longer. Now players can go from character creation through Normal Tomb in about 100 hours (no heirlooms). In vanilla hitting max level was in the 250-300 hour range. Getting gear for Molten Core could easily take another 100 (solo). Being prepared for a raid was also much more time consuming because there were more types of consumables and it took more mats to create them. The only cooldown on potions back then was a two minute wait, in or out of combat. Many guilds expected raiders to chug a potion every two minutes.

    --Raiding wasn't the game's big draw back then--leveling, dungeons, and PvP were much more prominent. In software titles prior to WoW, raiding was a enormous timesink for people with a LOT of time to dedicate to it, and this was the original design for WoW as well. The idea of raids for people that could only play 1-2 hours a week didn't come around until later. Also, many specs weren't supported for raiding. Warriors were the only raid tanks and hybrids were all expected to heal (for priests holy specifically). DPS specs were heavily limited by the 8-debuff limit on bosses (that was raised to 16 in patch 1.7). Gear for many specs simply didn't exist. A few hybrid roles, such as DPS warrior, did eventually become viable, but were not the norm for entry-level raiding.

    --The gold cost of switching specs was pretty prohibitive. Also, +healing and +damage items were separate so even really geared healers had to farm materials in holy/resto spec doing very little damage. This was mitigated by the fact that back then most abilities were baseline and talents weren't as important. This allowed hybrids to fulfill a different role without respeccing in most 5-mans.

    --There were no server transfers, and even some fairly populated servers had no raiding guilds capable of doing AQ40 and especially Naxx. There were 6 raids, the 40-mans were Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, Temple of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ40) and Naxxramas. There were 2 20-man raids roughly on par with Molten Core difficulty--Zul'Gurub and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ20). But if a raid guild with times that worked for you wasn't available, you either didn't raid or you sunk another 200-300 hours leveling a toon on another server. Meet someone in real-life you wanted to play with? Same thing. I would be very surprised if the retro servers don't allow server transfers, as many, many people probably quit the game because of issues like this.

    --The level of player sophistication was completely different. This is the hardest to quantify (and the most subjective) but in just a few words I think I can sum it up:

    When I started raiding, it was very common to hear players mispronounce "melee".

    And I can't even remember the last time I heard someone say it wrong anymore. Needless to say, players that couldn't get the pronunciation of "melee" right didn't know what they were doing by modern standards. And mmo-champ, wowprogress, wowanalyzer, warcraftlogs, worldoflogs, streams, discord, etc. didn't exist yet. (Random Factoid: "may-lay" and "muh-lay" are in the dictionary; "mi-li" is not.)

    Unfortunately that is the one thing that is impossible to reproduce despite being enormously fun, kind of like a person's first week in college.

    --Many, many specific class changes. See the section devoted to them.

    General Changes:

    There was (were) no:

    --Flight (besides flight paths, which dismounted you at each stop until 1.10)
    --Death Knights, Monks, or Demon Hunters
    --Draenei, Blood Elves, Pandaren, Worgen, or Goblins
    --Alliance Shamans or Horde Paladins
    --Jewelcrafting, Inscription, or Archaeology
    --Outland, Northrend, Pandaria, Draenor, Broken Isles
    --Cataclysm zones (Hyjal/Vashj'ir/Twilight Highlands/Deepholm/Uldum)
    --In-game “cinematics” (e.g. The ones they used to introduce the villains in the opening to Warlords)
    --World Quests, Bonus Zones, or the pop-up dialog boxes for world quests [where Khadgar makes a quip]
    --Any battlegrounds besides WSG, AB, and AV
    --Difficulty levels
    --Flexible raid sizes
    --Modern lockouts
    --Multi-tagging or AoE loot
    --Bank access anywhere but cities
    --Guild banks
    --Barber Shops
    --Dungeon Maps
    --Cross-realm or bind-on-account anything. Battlegrounds, friends, heirlooms, nada.
    --Auction Houses anywhere but Ironforge, Orgrimmar, or Gadgetzan
    --Server transfers*
    --Bloodlust / Heroism
    --Enchanting vellums
    --Catchup mechanics*
    --Extending lockouts
    --Warforging, Titanforging, or Reforging
    --Discord /

    *Some exceptions.

    --Talent trees looked like this:

    --DPS was much lower relative to mob health than it is now. Most toons were wearing greens and only wanted to fight one mob at a time. It took about twenty seconds to kill a mob. A mage fighting one mob would probably use three-quarters of his mana, and a rogue would be near death at the end. Then the mage would have to drink or the rogue would have to bandage. Aggroing a second mob came with a significant risk of dying. And at max level you still had to fight a lot because there was no flight.

    --Leveling was exponentially slower than it is now. I used to think I was kicking butt if I got to level 24 in 24 hours /played. My first level 60 had 14 days /played when he dinged, and that was primarily questing all the time; I didn't do much PvP or anything that wasn't increasing my level. Also note that this was on a PvE server so I could level unharrassed. By Wrath of the Lich King I could get to level 80 in about 3 days /played with the same playstyle. (There were ways to powerlevel with help.)

    --Until level 40, toons ran everywhere. Then they could buy a 60% speed mount, and at level 60, 100% speed mounts could be purchased. In the very beginning the cost of the training was trivial but the mounts were very expensive. This was switched mid-vanilla.

    --Mounting took 3 seconds. It was reduced to 1.5 around Wrath.

    --Spells did not level up with a player, but had specific ranks with specific damage ranges and mana costs at fixed player levels. Many raid healers would intentionally cast lower ranks of their spells that cost exactly as much mana as was returned to them from the MP5 stat, allowing them to cast forever. Because +healing power didn't scale to spell level, players would still get the full benefit of their gear.

    --Some interrupts weren't off the GCD, like earth shock (which did damage). Also I think kick cost energy and pummel cost rage, which meant that interrupting lowered DPS.

    --None of the Cataclysm changes had happened yet. The flow of zones was incredibly screwy, and the map didn't tell you what level a zone was intended for. Barrens was still one zone. Desolace was still Desolate, Thousand Needles had a thousand needle-looking mountains (and no water), Stranglethorn Vale was still one zone and didn't have maelstroms in the middle of it, etc.

    --This also was the reason that Barrens chat became so epic. Every orc, troll, and tauren on every server would spend fifteen+ hours in what was one of the largest zones in the game. And they all needed to know where Mankrik's wife was. It also made Barrens extremely susceptible to Alliance raids, and the Alliance players knew how disruptive it was to kill all the quest givers in The Crossroads.

    --Reputation grinds were absurd. They didn't reward much so it wasn't as big a deal, but even getting to honored with the Argent Dawn took many, many runs (bosses dropped an item that gave 50 one person in 10 would get 50 rep every time the group killed a boss).

    --Mobs in many places were much closer to together and many ran away from you at about 10% health. Pulling dungeons was like undoing a complicated knot with a ten-minute penalty for every failure.

    --Dial-up was still technically supported, but even back then was outdated. Although people weren't exactly sitting on Google Fiber in 2004.

    --Quest items were actual items you had to walk around with until you turned them in.

    --I believe the Darkmoon Faire was added in vanilla but wasn't its own zone. One month it would be in Goldshire and the other in Thunder Bluff. If you wanted to go to it every month you had to hoof it through enemy territory.

    --There were some aspects of the game that were enormously fun if you were on the "winning" team and enormously annoying if you were on the "losing" team. Raids of capital cities was one of these things. They were fairly common despite not having an in-game reward, but in terms of server stability they were a mess. Orgrimmar / Ironforge were pretty laggy to begin with because of the solo Auction House, then 40-100 players of the opposing faction would suddenly crash the front door and all hell would break loose. It was iconic and a blast if you wanted to participate, but if you were just trying to do auctions / bank stuff / leave it was a nightmare. If the raid killed the flight master you had to walk to the next nearest city or wait for it to respawn. The opposing raid could kill the auctioneers, the bankers, the flight master. Players with bad internet connections had little chance of staying connected. Even players with decent ones were prone to being randomly DCed. The same thing kind of goes for PvP...if a player could get a hold of AQ40 trinkets or other raid gear, they had a pretty significant advantage in PvP as well. Southshore / Tarren Mill was the same...again a blast if you wanted a nonstop PvP battleground, a nightmare if you wanted to quest there.

    --NPCs did not address you as "hero" or "champion". Back then the lore was that you were a nobody.


    --Epics simply weren't available outside of raiding. The end bosses of the 10/15-man dungeons each had a 1% chance to drop a weapon, making them extremely rare. Also due to their rarity you'd have to roll against everyone else in the group because no one else had them either. Nexus Crystals, the enchanting material from disenchanting epics, were nearly priceless. Because epics were so hard to get and also because 20 or 40 people in a raid had to pass on them to be disenchanted, I think the 1% chance from disenchanting a blue was the primary source of them. There were a few craftable epics that required tons of materials that were on a multi-day cooldown to make, such as mooncloth, cured rugged hides, and arcanite.

    --I saw from this video that I think in the very very beginning that a 40-man raid boss dropped ONE epic item. By the time I killed Lucifron, though, I'm pretty sure it was up to 2 tier pieces and 1 non-tier piece, as in this video:

    --Not all items had stamina, and if they did it counted against their stat budget for other stats

    --Repairing plate was more expensive than mail, which was more expensive than leather, ... than cloth

    --Because the stats were so different back then many specs had gear specifically for them. Tank gear was completely different from DPS gear. Healing gear was completely different from DPS gear. Prot warrior basically had its own gear, all healing specs basically had their own gear, rogues had their gear but hunters could also use it. Enhancement and Elemental had their own gear. There were at least 29 different kinds of weapons: Caster DPS 1H Swords, caster DPS off-hands & shields, Caster healing 1H maces, Caster healing off-hands and shields, Caster staves, 1H strength swords/maces/axes, 2H strength swords/maces/axes/polearms, 1H agility swords/maces/axes/daggers, 2H agility maces/axes/polearms/staves, prot shields, strength bows/crossbows/guns (warriors used them as stat sticks), agility bows/crossbows/guns (hunters main weapon, stat sticks for rogues). For certain classes (combat rogue, arms warrior) it mattered if a weapon was a sword or mace because the talents for different weapon types were completely different. (I'm hamming this up a bit, but it was kind of a mess.)

    --Here is what the balance druid pre-raid BiS list looked like. Note how there isn't a single piece of leather caster gear in there, half the items don't have stamina, another half have item budget wasted on spirit, and most of the items are a lower ilvl (but I can't see what it exactly it was because only required character level was displayed back then.)
    Cloth hat: 8 Int, 8 Spirit, 8 Stam, 30 spellpower, req level 54
    Neck: 7 Int, 6 Spirit, 1% crit, req level 53
    Cloth Shoulders: 16 Int, 20 spellpower, req level 56
    Cloth Cloak: 10 Int, 1% crit, req level 55
    Cloth Chest: 13 Int, 2% crit, 27 spellpower, req level 60
    Cloth Bracers: 10 Int, 6 spirit, 6 stam, 12 spellpower, req level 55
    Cloth Gloves: 15 Int, 9 stam, 1% crit (no spellpower), req level 55
    Cloth Belt: 25 Int, 10 stam, 1% crit (no spellpower), req level 60. (Crafted item that required 10 mooncloth, and mooncloth was originally on a 4-day cooldown. So literally it would take a single tailor 40 days to create enough mats for one of these.)
    Cloth Legs: 6 Int, 37 spellpower, 1% spell hit, req level 60
    Cloth Boots: 16 Int, 19 spellpower, 1% spell hit, req level 60
    Rings: 10 Int, 6 mp5, req level 54 (non-unique, use x2)
    Trinkets: 2% crit on one, 29 spellpower on the other, req level 55
    Weapon: 14 Int, 11 Stam, 7 Spirit, 1% crit, 23 spellpower, req level 58

    --People couldn't judge a player's gear (the way they can now) because itemization was so wonky. If someone had a dungeon or tier set you could tell they were experienced, but it was much harder to tell from gear if someone was bad.

    --Nature resist gear for AQ40 and Princess Huhuran in particular was even more of a mess. Many BiS items were level 40-ish drops from Maraudon, unless a player could get items from the open-world green dragons.

    --5/10/15 man dungeons dropped "dungeon tier" items, however there was no guarantee that they would drop items for a class actually in the party. So there was a pretty reasonable chance that a group could spend 75-180 minutes clearing a dungeon and then loot that could only be worn by a specific class that they didn't have would drop. (There were no tokens.) This also made PUGging a nightmare because people didn't want to join a group that already had people of their class because they really didn't want to have to roll against anyone should the items they need drop.

    --Weapons each had their own skill, and the cap was raised by 5 each time you leveled. So if you had leveled using 1H-swords and then got a 1H-mace, you would have to level that skill before you could do full damage. This wasn't terribly difficult but could be tedious. Getting that very last skill point took a long time due to the way the gains were calculated.

    --There was no reason to equip items from your armor level. For example, paladins could equip cloth with no penalty. This increased competition for several items as they would be BiS for 4-5 classes.

    --The stats were Strength/Agility/Intellect/Stamina, Spirit, armor, HP5, MP5, +damage spell, +healing spell, attack power, melee hit, spell hit, spell crit, melee crit, weapon skill, dodge, block, parry, and defense.

    --PvP trinkets didn't clear everything, and different classes' trinkets dropped different things. For example, the warrior one might drop bleeds and snares but not stuns and fears.

    --DoTs and HoTs couldn't crit, severely limiting the usefulness of the stat for certain classes.

    Changes to Gold, Professions, and the Economy

    --Gold was valuable! Collecting and selling trash items was a significant source of revenue, and would generate enough to train a toon's abilities. There were no dailies, the amount of gold leaving the economy due to repair bills/training/mounts was much larger compared to how much gold was entering the economy from mob drops and quest rewards. This meant that farming gold for raiding repair bills was a significant chore.

    --Green items were worth much more than they are now. Weapons in particular; although the AH deposit was a significant portion of the possible sale price so players really wanted to make sure they sold.

    --No items gave multiple skill points for crafting them; it was only one point max. Because of gaps in patterns, etc., there were several sticking points for different professions. The last 10 points of cooking skill was an example, although it wasn't very important to have.

    --Black lotus was required for flasks and was on a strict shared zone cooldown of about an hour. Only five zones had them. The theoretical maximum number of black lotus that could be picked on a server in 24 hours was roughly 25. (Fact check? This seems low. See post 262.)

    --Certain trade materials could only be crafted once every four days. And these materials were needed in bulk for all of the good crafted gear. (Mooncloth, Enchanted Leather, Arcanite, something Cured Hide)

    --Anything worthwhile was crafted from the once-every-four-days items like Mooncloth, enchanted leather, etc.

    --Professions had many more random items required to craft items, and the world had many more random items that dropped that would only be used for 1-2 patterns

    --Players had to have a certain skill level to gather any mineral/herb/skin

    --Mineral nodes had to be clicked multiple times

    --No multi-looting of mineral nodes or herbs

    --Patterns for items were hidden in every corner of the game on the most random vendors, drops, etc.

    --Cheating gold farmers could harvest items without being seen. I personally had more trouble with this in Wrath than vanilla though.

    --Max-level fishing required significant +fishing skill item available

    --There were two fish that could only be farmed seasonally, one in summer and one in winter. (Winter squid and something salmon.)

    --Gold could be farmed at roughly 50 gold per hour

    Changes in Dungeons and Their Design:
    --The design of the end-game dungeons was really epic; unfortunately it came at a huge cost to ease-of-use. Blackrock Spire is roughly six or seven floors and wound around and twisted back on itself in clever ways. However, clever meant "brilliant when a player understood it" and "immensely frustrating if they didn't". Its multi-level design made the minimap useless. But the feeling when crossing the bridge from The Beast to General Drakkisath, a player could get when looking down ~200 yards and see the mobs patrolling the floor of Lower Blackrock Spire was unforgettable. Because the dungeons were so huge they took two hours+ to complete (in decent pugs), and because it was really hard to summon in replacement players for people that AFK'd or disconnected, the time commitment could just go up from there. BRS in total had 17 bosses, although not all rares would spawn.

    --There were only eight max-level dungeons for the two years and three months that vanilla lasted. (UBRS, LBRS, Strat Live, Strat Dead, Scholo, DM East, North, and West) BRD was a level 58-59 dungeon, but didn't drop the dungeon tier sets everyone wanted.

    --Running dungeons was a huge pain. There was no good way to find people who wanted to go, everyone had to walk there manually, and for most dungeons (even early ones like Deadmines, Wailing Caverns, and Blackfathom Deeps) the entrance was both difficult to find and not accessible to someone who arrived late; the whole group needed to clear to the entrance.

    --It was also for these reasons that certain dungeons were hardly ever run at all, such as Razorfen Kraul and Razorfen Downs.

    --Meeting stones did not work like they do now. They only put you in a text queue for the dungeon. This means you either had a warlock summon people or everyone ran there themselves. (Again, under level 40 = no mounts.)

    --Once you got to level 60 the dungeons were even more difficult. Blackrock Depths, although my favorite dungeon, was the most complicated and labyrinth-ian dungeon the game ever had. And players also had to have a key that could only be acquired by talking to a ghost dwarf while the player was dead. Stratholme was the most difficult to pull of any dungeon. There were lots of rapidly-flying gargoyle patrols on long routes, and as stated above, mob health was so much higher that getting an extra group of mobs was certain death. Lower Blackrock Spire, if you took the full 15 people, wasn't too bad but just took forever. Getting the key for Upper Blackrock Spire was very time consuming. The final boss was fairly difficult especially without a druid or hunter to hibernate/trap the dragonkin. Scholomance was probably the easiest both to find and clear; a guild group could probably form, fly out there, and clear it in 75 minutes or so. For a PUG it could easily take double that. This also assumes that the single nightly Alterac Valley match didn't pop and that half the group left for it mid-dungeon.

    --Many dungeons were effectively alliance or horde only. Ragefire Chasm was in the bottom of Orgrimmar...not a good place for a level 10 Alliance toon. Stockades was in Stormwind, same thing for level 20 Horde toons. Deadmines was in Westfall and Wailing Caverns was in the Barrens, and both were roughly two zones of auto-run away from the opposing faction's nearest flight point. Scarlet Monastery, Razorfen Downs, and Razorfen Kraul were significantly easier to get to as Horde. Gnomeregan was much easier to get to as Alliance.

    --Deadmines for some reason being level 13 at the entrance, with Van Cleef being level 24. His level was later reduced, but the level variance in mobs was kind of ridiculous for several dungeons. Gnomeregan also comes to mind.

    --CC was way, way more important even though the game didn't have lucky charm icons yet. (There was an addon called CTRA that could provide it, but if a PUG didn't have it they couldn't see them.) Mages were good because polymorph worked well and could be re-applied in an emergency. Priests were also good because they had both Mind Control and Shackle Undead.

    Changes to Raids and their Design:
    --Because there were no difficulty levels, Molten Core and Onyxia were normal, Blackwing Lair was heroic, and Temple of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ40) and Naxxramas were mythic. The two 20-man raids were Zul'Gurub and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ20), and they were roughly heroic level. Casual guilds were stuck running MC, ZG, AQ20, and Onyxia for two years.

    --A 40-man raid team required a 50-60 man roster.

    --The only lockouts were the way Mythic raid lockouts work now. This meant that PUGging raids was effectively impossible (although it already was for other reasons, too), and that if a player got sat on a boss they wanted loot from they had to wait until next week. Although, as a hardcore raider myself, the idea of only having one difficulty mode to do per week did have an upside. Finding extra bodies to fill out a raid was extremely difficult, not only because so few people were qualified but any people that were qualified were typically locked to their guild's raid ID.

    --Raiding required attunement, which was a quest that had to be completed before players could even zone into the raid. Literally the green swirly portals to enter the raid were located at the bottom of a five-man dungeon. For Molten Core it was Blackrock Depths, and for Blackwing Lair it was (Upper) Blackrock Spire. However there were quests that allowed access from the outside.

    Naxxramas required at least honored reputation with the Argent Dawn which I can't imagine took any less than thirty hours to do. I think completing all Eastern and Western Plaguelands quests plus running Stratholme (dead side) or Scholomance a dozen times would probably have done it. Arguably thirty hours to get attuned was the NON-tedious part of running Naxxramas though.

    Attunement for Onyxia was also pure glorious misery. The Alliance and Horde quests to do it were different. The Horde quest was mostly easier (and only had 12 parts) except for the 5-man run of Lower Blackrock Spire, which was quite difficult. The first time I did it on my priest it took over six hours (mostly due to pugs leaving, but still.) The Alliance quest chain had 17 parts and involved returning to Blackrock Depths at least three times. Pugs would always argue about what part of Blackrock Depths they were going to do because people were inevitably on different parts of the chain. A link to the quest chains is here:

    --Threat was a significant mechanic on many, many fights and Blessing of Salvation reduced a player's threat by a third.

    --The raid and dungeon forum was an endless torrent of tears and complaints about Horde shamans vs Alliance paladins; poison and disease cleansing totems and tremor totem made some fights much easier for the Horde, whereas fear ward and blessing of salvation (Reduced threat by 30%) made other fights much easier for the Alliance.

    --The first few raids didn’t have berserk timers. You could fight the boss for 30+ minutes if you wanted and didn’t run out of mana. This was why healers drinking a potion every two minutes was so crucial.

    --Back then berserk and enrage were actually buffs mobs could get, but the usage was later changed so that berserk meant “You Lose”.

    --Once you started raiding, the following were de facto rules:
    Warriors had to tank at least some of the time, and if they were a main tank also had to be protection. This meant a ~75% reduction in their DPS, which made farming a huge chore. Back then the design was that tanks should only create threat, not do DPS.

    All priests, druids, paladins, and shamans were holy or resto. Because there were eight classes and raids were balanced around 5 of each class, the only way to get the required 15 healers was to make everyone who could heal do so. Gear for the off-specs wasn't even available anyway, because +healing and +damage were two different stats at the time.

    Mages had to spec for Evocate. Fire was useless on a few Molten Core bosses as the fire bosses were immune to fire damage.

    As a mitigating factor talents and spec weren't as important as they are now. Many abilities were baseline and it was completely possible for shadow priests, ret pallies, balance druids, etc. to heal or tank a dungeon without respeccing. (Especially if you overgeared/were slightly higher level for it). The fact that hybrids had so many heals though changed PvP, although I personally don't know much about that.

    --Coming prepared was much more of a chore. Priests, paladins, mages, hunters, and warlocks needed to bring tons of candles/symbols/dust/arrows/shards to the raid, and it was much more difficult to grab more mid-raid if you forgot them. Gold for repairs was much more time-consuming to farm. You could drink a potion every two minutes back then, regardless of dropping combat, and the fights were balanced around the expectation that you were. Potions were much harder to come by, and you can burn through a lot of potions if you're drinking one every two minutes for a four-hour raid. Also bags were at most 16 slots, although 14-slotters were much more affordable.

    --It was difficult to fit everything a player needed into their bags. There were only Five potions to a stack, and for several of the raids a player might need health pots, mana pots, nature-resist pots, shadow-resist pots, guardian elixirs, battle elixirs, flasks, etc. Any alternate gear, healthstones, Sharpening stones / Weapon oils, biscuits, etc. all took up space. And for warlocks (soul shards) or hunters (bullets / arrows) forget about it.

    --40-man raid bosses dropped THREE pieces of loot each. Even under the rosy assumption that the exact same 40 raiders showed up each week and cleared Molten Core completely, normal statistical variation could mean three to four months of raiding without getting a piece of loot. Competition for the weapon drops was particularly fierce because everyone knew it would reduce their farming time significantly.

    --DPS was not balanced as close as it is now. Here's a pic from a Curse Patchwerk vid, some classes are doing about half as much as others. Feel free to analyze that or post other screenshots, because I'm missing all the context (i.e. gear) of that kill. Some interactions between certain abilities were very overpowered, such as giving Power Infusion to Fire Mages or Windfury Weapon on weapons with a slow speed.

    --Killing Ragnaros (final boss of Molten Core) and several other bosses required tons of fire-resist gear, which was farmed from the trash mobs of Molten Core. It took many, many hours of effort to gear a main tank. If for some reason the main tank stopped playing it was a serious setback for a guild. Edit: There are some pretty major differences between how things went in vanilla and what people do now on private servers. Ragnaros originally went undefeated for over two months (I don't know how he was gated) but with current information players on private servers start crushing him within two weeks of launch. It's definitely possible that my guild wanting fire resist was sub-optimal, but that information wasn't as widely available at the time. For example, I thought having my dungeon set as a priest was pretty important, but was unaware that it's much better to have +spellpower items even if they're blues from level 40+ dungeons.

    --Successfully raiding meant having an in-depth knowledge of a number of abstract concepts that weren't explained in-game anywhere. These included threat, the five-second rule for spirit-based mana regeneration, crushing blows and using shield block to push them off the combat table, resistance calculations and breakpoints both offensive and defensive, and weapon skill.

    --Class stacking via rolling alts was not viable due to the time requirements to level a new toon.

    --The raids themselves, and the trash mobs in particular, were much more logistically difficult. The design for the raids was still based on an early 2000s notion that all raiders were basement-dwelling trolls with significant Ultima Online or Everquest experience. The core hounds in Molten Core took three or four minutes to kill and were on a seventeen minute respawn timer until Magmadar was killed. It also took practice to learn where they spawned and due to their fear mechanics it was also very likely that one of the forty people forced to run in a random direction would aggro another mob and wipe the raid. Also, skinning the core hounds was extremely valuable but could only be done if the one person whose loot it was randomly took the gray items off the body. One of my raid leaders nearly gave himself an aneurysm screaming, “Loot the hound!!!” Lots of the trash mobs were immune to taunt, and in practice the main tank losing threat meant a wipe. Doubly so because once the main tank stopped being hit he couldn't generate any rage to get the mob back.

    --The patrol routes for trash mobs looked like this: The entrance is in the top left corner, and notice that the red and white lines show patrol routes that go halfway through the entire dungeon, so mobs could be completely out of sight for a long time, only to come barreling into the raid in the middle of a trash pull. (And again, trash pulls were much more likely to cause a wipe back then.)

    --If the raid wiped you had to try to recover in place because of the extremely short respawn timers on the trash. Unfortunately, warlocks have always been the least-played class and it wasn't uncommon for a soulstone not to be up when you needed it. Warlocks also had to farm tons of soul shards before a raid because there was no way to recover them if you were say, wiping on a boss repeatedly. They also had to store them all in their bags. If you couldn't recover in place, all forty raiders had to run the entire length of Searing Gorge (for MC/BWL) just to get back to the entrance, and then probably five minutes through the dungeon itself. A wipe on trash could realistically take 10 minutes to recover from: a minute for everyone to completely die and reset the trash, another waiting for a safe time to pop, then the other 38 players had to individually have a 10-second resurrection spell cast on them, then 2 minutes of buffing everyone once they were alive. Because it took so long people would also go afk, but you couldn't just leave them because they would possibly aggro the rapidly-spawning patrols and wipe the raid.

    --Having a balanced healing makeup in raids was crucial because only certain classes could dispel certain things and if a raid was lop-sided one boss might be trivial while another would be impossible.

    --The hunter ability “Tranquilizing Shot”, which was needed for the second boss of Molten Core, Magmadar, could only be learned from a drop off the first boss of Molten Core, Lucifron. Although hardcore guilds could go without, more casual guilds needed several of these to kill Magmadar the first time, which works out to a month of killing the first boss before bagging the second. (And don't forget, during that month you would earn 9 epics divided between 40 people.) Skipping Magmadar wasn't realistic because the third boss, Gehennas, was standing in the middle of the patrol routes of two core hounds that were on a seventeen-minute respawn timer until Magmadar was killed.

    --Because the difference in ilvl from one tier to another wasn't as great, farming of the old raids never really stopped. Especially because Thunderfury, one of two legendaries from Molten Core, was BiS for rogues all the way to the end of Naxx. This was one of several reasons hardcore guilds had extremely lengthy raid schedules.

    --Because of a multitude of factors, drama over loot was on a completely different level than it is now.
    ----Less supply (Fewer drops)
    ----Greater demand (More players)
    ----Higher Stakes (Better gear significantly reduced real-life time spent farming)
    ----Urgency when an item a player needed did drop (due to enormous RNG on bosses dropping tier sets due to the lack of tier tokens)

    ----It was harder to keep mental track of who in a 50+ person raid roster had received what items in the last month
    ----Due to the screwy itemization certain caster items could be BiS for 20+ people
    ----It was much less clear what items were for who, particularly weapons with their varying weapon speeds

    So most guilds ran a DKP system, it was just too hard to keep track of attendance and such without one.

    --4 Horsemen was one of the most complicated fights in vanilla and tuned incredibly tightly. It went unbeaten for weeks if not months, and there was a huge race to get it. But if you watch this video of a kill from a private server, you can see how laughably different the gameplay is as this warlock runs in, casts a few shadow bolts, and leaves to a safe spot where he can mana tap and then bandage himself.

    --Don't watch this video if you've never seen Ragnaros, but the gameplay is just so slow by modern standards. The guy is literally typing full sentences with correct punctuation in between his 2-second 20 energy returns. Also at the 3-min mark he vanishes and changes into his fire-resist gear.

    --The time commitment it took to complete AQ40 and Naxx were insane. A big part of this was that the lockouts couldn't be extended. But because previous tiers still had items people needed, they still had to be farmed each week. And as the requirements for consumable items kept going up the supply kept going down. I think guilds that cleared Naxx were looking at a minimum of a 16-hour raid week, which probably involved clearing at least half of Molten Core, one day full-clearing AQ40, one day farming Naxx, and then maybe 1-2 days of progression. (Naxx was at least separated into three wings, but AQ40 was not.)

    --I think one of the better examples of how wonky some of the gameplay was is listed in post 601, especially regarding paladins. Optimal raid makeup for Naxx (alliance side) was apparently:
    8 Warriors(2 full prot, 6 fury/prot)
    4 Paladins (Mixed specs to get all blessing but they all healed since throughput was not overly effected by spec)
    2 Hunters(To pull and use tranquilizing shot)
    2 Druids (resto)
    9 Rogues (spec? I think combat)
    9 Mages(all fire)
    2 Warlocks (for Curse of Elements and Curse of Ruin)
    4 holy/disc priests

    --Raid mechanics that were in classic but never came back:
    ----Class Calls (Nefarian)
    ----Honorable mention...mind controls. Technically still in the game, but not nearly as common.
    ----(requesting more info)

    --Raid mechanics that did not exist in classic:
    ----Anything that required moving mobs (Death Grip was the first thing that could move mobs I believe, and boomkins didn't have typhoon yet...hurricane was their big spell.) Mobs could still be kited, but not moved.
    ----(Requesting more info)

    PvP Changes
    --There were three (non-rated) battlegrounds. Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, Alterac Valley. No arenas.

    --Alterac Valley matches could take over twelve hours; there were no “reinforcements”.

    --I didn't PvP much, but I think it's worth summarizing a thread I read entitled, “How to Get High Warlord/Grand Marshal”. The basic idea was that a month before a player wanted the top PvP title (and with it the right to buy the gear for gold), they would come home from work every day and do battlegrounds continuously from the time they got home until 2 a.m., as well as play as much as possible on the weekends. Then after three weeks of this they'd be close enough to take a week's vacation off work and play continuously for the entire week in hopes that they would be the top player of the faction in honor that week, earning the title. These titles were among the most difficult things to ever acquire in Warcraft and its why Blizzard has never re-released them.

    --I've heard that there was more of a rock / paper / scissors relationship between classes. I think rogues in particular could stun lock casters until death, and mages might have been able to kite warriors forever.

    --There were no diminishing returns in PvP at launch. I believe this was changed mid-vanilla as you could just be chain polymorphed over and over. This also made warlock's Fear a very powerful CC.

    --In the very beginning you had to queue for Warsong Gulch in Ashenvale, Arathi Basin in Arathi Highlands, and Alterac Valley in Alterac Valley. Battlemasters were added to the capital cities mid-vanilla.

    --There were no cross-realm battlegrounds, so battlegrounds were against players from one server only. If that server couldn't hit the threshold to pop a battleground in that level bracket because of server imbalance, off-peak hours, low-pop server, etc. no battlegrounds would pop.

    --I recall that some engineering items were pretty OP in PvP

    --Certain specs were completely capable of one-shotting players, particularly enhancement shaman and fire mage

    --Summoning the elemental lord in Alterac Valley was amazing fun

    --Perhaps one of the biggest differences as a result of no cross-server battlegrounds is that not only did players know many of the people on their faction, but they also learned who their opponents were as well. For example, players who would log on to PvP most nights after work would almost certainly consistently run in to the same opponents night after night as well, so there was definitely a level of familiarity there that is mostly absent in the current game.

    --I have secondhand info that warlocks were kind of OP for PvP, possibly due to how few classes could remove their damage, plus the ways they could both mitigate damage and drain mana and health. Fear was also a very strong spell with no diminishing returns.

    Class-specific Changes:
    Were the only viable tanks
    DPS warriors had to tank some of the time
    In Naxx-level gear became OP DPS (and one of the few specs that was viable without tier bonuses). (The problem with warriors being underpowered in low gear and overpowered in good gear was a problem for many expansions due to the way rage generation worked.)
    Protection spec was a huge reduction in DPS. Back then tanks did not contribute meaningful DPS.
    Had stances and many reasons to switch between them in PvP
    Had 30 min cooldowns: Shield Wall, Recklessness, and Retaliation
    Fury couldn't dual-wield 2H
    Prot warriors needed to press shield block every six seconds to prevent crushing blows and most just macroed it to every ability as it was off the GCD
    Did not have many abilities, notably Devastate, Heroic Throw, Bladestorm, or Colossus Smash
    Had to carry bullets or arrows if they wanted to shoot a mob at range

    Holy was the only common raiding spec (edit: I guess this is better stated as saying that healing was the only role. One poster on page 31 says that paladins would be every spec because the blessings were in the talent trees and were very powerful. However, the holy talent tree didn't increase healing that much so apparently you'd have three or four pallys healers, but one of them would be specced retribution and one would be specced protection.)
    Ret is one of the most different specs from vanilla to now IMO. Retribution received overhauls in each of the first five expansions.
    Retribution had very few buttons to press--they didn't even have have Crusader Strike.
    No spec had holy power
    Could not equip a ranged weapon, so the slot sat empty
    Would buff themselves with a seal and then what judgement did depended on the active seal
    Protection could tank dungeons, but did not have a taunt ability.
    Protection could increase threat generation through +spellpower items, which were generally not tanking items.
    Hand of Salvation was extremely potent in raiding because threat was such an issue.
    Blessings were quite important for raiding. They originally lasted 5 minutes, but mid-vanilla they could be extended to 15 minutes if you spent a symbol of kings. They had to be cast on each class, so after every wipe they had to be cast 8 times.
    Had Divine Intervention and blessings
    Divine Shield lasted as long as a hearthstone cast
    Divine Shield locked the player out of all offensive actions
    Nothing could get through Divine Shield as Mass Dispel and Chaos Bolt didn't exist yet.
    Here is a sample ret talent tree:
    Did not have many abilities, notably Beacon of Light, Crusader Strike, Avenger's Shield, or Hammer of the Righteous

    Used mana (and carried and drank mana pots, and I think wore one or two items of intellect gear)
    Were all named Légölâs (edit: special characters weren't allowed until later, it was xxLegolaasxx for a while)
    Had 2 stable slots
    Had a minimum range for ranged attack. It was larger than melee range, so there was a dead zone where hunters could not attack players in PvP, which everyone tried to exploit.
    (?) Was marksman the only viable spec?
    Had to feed their pets
    Had to carry ammo. For a 3-hour raid, this was a significant burden given the small bag space available at the time.
    Quivers buffed their attack speed. (Quivers took a bag slot.)
    Got the Tome of Tranquilizing Shot ability from Lucifron in Molten Core. This was an important ability to dispel enrages on several bosses, including Magmadar, the second boss of MC. Hunters were the only class that could perform this task.
    Had a special bow from Majordomo Executus that required completing a very difficult quest
    Didn't initiate auto shoot by right clicking mobs
    Pet abilities had to be gathered by taming beasts that posses them. Taming a beast that knew bite rank 2, allowed the hunter to teach bite rank 2 to other pets eligible to learn it. Beast Lore told you what abilities pets had.
    Pets did not automatically go up to the hunter's level when tamed. If a player was 60 and tamed a rare pet or wanted a new animal type, the pet started at its original level and had to be leveled up separately.
    The Survival 31 point talent was "Lacerate" which did less damage than a Serpent Sting cast by a level 26 hunter. This was fixed in 1.7. It was arguably the most underpowered end-tree talent the game ever had, and an example of how unbalanced things were until each class had their tuning pass.
    Several of the abilities hunters had back then are still in, such as traps, aimed shot, multi-shot, volley, and arcane shot. Marksman hunters actually still have a similar feel to what they used to be.


    Resto was the only common raid spec.
    Could drop a fire, earth, air, and water totem.
    Tremor totem, poison-cleansing totem, and disease-cleansing totem were
    quite powerful in raids.
    I believe Windfury Weapon was OP in PvP as it would proc 3 rapid swings of your weapon which did a lot of burst damage
    Enhancement had talents for tanking and using a shield. Although off-spec tanking was viable for dungeons in vanilla for paladins and bears, shamans were...a group had to be pretty hard up before shaman tanking started to sound like a good idea
    Had to complete a quest chain for each of the four element totems
    Totems only affected players in your group of 5.
    Although enhancement shaman wasn't terribly common, Windfury totem and DPS warriors and rogues getting free swings with their huge slow weapons was fun.
    Shamans had almost none of the abilities they now do. Chain lightning, chain heal, lightning shield, purge, and ghost wolf they did have.

    Resto was the only common raiding spec
    Resto did not have an out-of-combat rezz, which was problematic for healing 5-mans.
    Resto did have battle rez on a 30-minute cooldown, the only class that did.
    Had 3 specs: Feral was for both bear and cat.
    Could not equip a ranged weapon
    In feral forms, weapons did not contribute to DPS or increase attack power in any way.
    Were OP for running the flag in low-level Warsong Gulch.
    Did not have moonkin form until patch 1.8
    Had hibernate for beasts and dragonkin
    Bear itemization was bizarre as they scaled extremely well with bonus armor. was BiS for their weapon slot for the entire expansion--basically it'd be like a world quest reward being better than anything from Antorus.
    (Request: what abilities did druids have / not have back then)

    Energy regenerated once every 2 seconds, 20 energy per tick
    Post 173: Combat swords was the intro raiding spec, and Combat daggers was eventually also viable. Subtlety was taken by 1-2 rogues because hemorrhage increased raid DPS. Back then there were specific talents for the different weapon types.
    Had to carry tons of items for abilities to work, such as poisons, a reagent for Blind, thistle tea, a lockpicking set, etc.
    Had to level lockpicking as a separate skill
    According to some posters were OP DPS. They could equip Thunderfury which may have been part of that.
    Were needed for the suppression room in BWL
    There was no mutilate/envenom or Cloak of Shadows (Cloak came in BC)
    Preferred daggers were a slow weapon-speed dagger in the main-hand and a super fast dagger in your off-hand (UBRS dropped Fel Striker, which was pre-raid BiS. It had a proc that caused your next 3 attacks to be guaranteed critical strikes.)
    Barman's Shanker was very good because of its slow weapon speed and how easily it could be acquired
    Sap would make you drop stealth...right in front of the mobs you were trying to sap. Improved sap gave a 90% chance of this not happening.


    Healing (i.e. holy) was by far the most common role. After the debuff slots were raised to 16 it was more common to bring one shadow priest for their buff to shadow damage.
    Disc bubbles interfered with rage generation, but Power Infusion was nuts on Fire Mage
    Had one race-specific ability, which varied a great deal in power. Undead had a powerful DoT and dwarves had Fear Ward, which was extremely useful on a number of raid encounters.
    Could get Anathema/Benediction from Majordomo Executus, requiring completion of a very difficult questline.
    Shadow priests used very valuable debuff slots with Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Embrace, Mind Flay, and Shadow Weaving. (Because of this the DoTs were rarely used in raids.)
    Mind Blast had a big +threat modifier
    Shadow priests only returned health, not mana
    Didn't have Mass Dispel


    --Were the only way to summon someone.
    --Their raid rotation was shadow bolt spam, and possibly maintaining a few curses.
    --Had class-specific mounts after the end of a long quest chain.
    --(Post 174): All raid specs involved Ruin in the destruction tree and either Demonic Sacrifice or Shadow Mastery. The cookie-cutter raiding build used to be a hybrid affliction/destruction build.
    --Soulstones allowed a player to rez but couldn't be used after the player dies like they can now.
    --Soul shards were items that were stored in bags. Many abilities required them, but the only way to get them was to be casting drain soul on an enemy as it died. This meant for raid progression there was no way of getting them mid-raid, so it was important to farm them before raid. This had to be done on mobs that weren't gray to the player, so it was level 49+.
    --Banish was very useful on Garr in Molten Core, and was the only ability that could specifically control elementals.
    --Doomguards and infernals could be summoned I think out of combat, and summoning a doomguard randomly killed one of the players clicking the dais. Then enslave demon had to be cast on it once it appeared. There were quest chains to unlock both abilities.
    --I believe only one spec was viable, the 16-debuff limit was extremely punishing to warlocks. Some bosses were immune to fire and/or shadow.
    --Had some curse of doom ability that did no damage for one minute but then delivered a massive hit.
    --You could have multiple healthstones in your bag if the warlocks had different levels of the talent that buffed how much health they gave.
    --(Post 174): All raid specs involved Ruin in the destruction tree and either Demonic Sacrifice or Shadow Mastery. The cookie-cutter raiding build used to be a hybrid affliction/destruction build.
    --Warlocks were used as a ranged tank on the twins emperor in AQ. (Arguably one of the hardest encounters WoW ever had when you factor in the logistics + mechanics.)
    --Every rank of every pet ability was a separate grimoire that had to be purchased in SW or Org
    --Initially Death Coil had no CC aspect but just leeched health
    --Had the mana drain spell
    --Page 34 has a discussion of how annoying / not annoying soul shards are.

    --Was most affected by boss immunities, especially because Molten Core and Blackwing Lair were both fire-themed.
    --Conjuring food was useful, but there no feasts.
    --Would constantly be asked for both food in raids and portals when in town.
    --Could dispel curses (and back then actually needed to on a few fights)
    --The recipe for the highest level of conjured water was a drop, not trainable
    --(Verification needed): Evocate worked off the Spirit stat, so mages wanted a spirit stave to swap to during evocate and then swap back out when it was over.
    --(Edit: This isn't quite right.) Spell damage on DoTs didn't update dynamically like it does now. So Ignite was a DoT that stacked to 5 that came from crits, but the damage it did was a percentage of the original spellcast. So it did more damage if the crits came from fireball instead of scorch. Whichever mage got the first crit got credit for the debuff, but other mages' crits would refresh it. This could cause problems for threat though because that original mage would keep getting tons of threat.
    --Had a number of their current spells, such as blink, arcane missiles, frost nova, blizzard, and arcane explosion. Frostfire bolt, mirror images, spellsteal, and invisibility were added later.

    --Had to be incredibly careful to be behind the boss, because when an attack was parried it reduced the time to the next auto-attack by 50%.
    This remained a problem through Burning Crusade, where I believe melee could pretty easily cause Archimonde to gib the tank by having their attacks parried.

    --Base spell crit was +50% damage.
    --Dispels were spammable. They had a high mana cost, but they needed to be spammable when raid bosses would blanket apply a debuff to all 40 raid members.
    --Not all healers could dispel magic, which caused some problems in 5-mans. Generally dungeons didn't have things that required dispelling, as there was a pretty good chance a 5-man comp wouldn't be able to dispel it.
    Paladins: Poisons, Diseases, and Magic
    Shamans: Poisons and Diseases
    Druids: Curses and Poisons
    Priests: Magic and Diseases

    --Refreshing DoTs / HoTs before a tick would cause the damage / healing to be lost.

    Quality of Life Changes

    --Meeting stones couldn't summon players

    --Quest objectives weren't shown on the map. Players had to read the quests...or ask in general chat.

    --Potions stacked to...five. A hardcore raider's bags might have looked like this:

    --Ironforge, Orgrimmar, and Gadgetzan were the only towns that had Auction Houses. (15% cut from the Gadgetzan AH I believe.) This caused some pretty serious lag issues near their locations as people's 2004 PCs had to load 200+ toons.

    --Getting the last skill point in a profession could require 10-15 attempts, and for blacksmiths in particular the only items that could be crafted at 299 skill took tons of materials.

    --Mounts took a bag slot

    --Servers frequently had login queues. For the highest pop servers there could be over a thousand players in the queue and it would take over an hour to log on. Most servers most of the time it was under three minutes, though.

    --There was no Traveler's Tundra Mammoth

    --There were repair bots but they were very expensive

    --Loot wasn't tradeable. Running master looter was much more common, and if they accidentally gave the item to the wrong person it required a GM to fix.

    --The quests for dungeons were spread out all over, sometimes in multiple zones, and were frequently the ends of long chains. OTOH, the blues they rewarded were some of the best items available for many levels.

    Bugs / Exploits / Unintended Behavior / Undesirable Behavior
    --Some specs were really wonky. Ret paladins had almost no buttons to press and basically just AFK'd while auto-attacking mobs to death. Shadow priests, on the other hand, could barely fit all their spells on their bars. Many mobs were immune to certain spell schools which caused serious problems. (Mostly for mages because the first two raids were fire and fire/shadow themed. Shadow priests had some pretty serious trouble when they were forced to Smite shadow-immune bosses as well.

    --The way elemental resists were calculated was stupid, and even at the maximum resist of 310 a player still had about a 10% chance to take full damage from an attack (that was balanced around them resisting a portion of it).

    --There were some pretty gimmicky raid mechanics and ways of dealing with them.
    ----One of the best examples was the mobs in UBRS that could be mind controlled for a fire resist buff.
    ----Viscidus in AQ40 was also super weird, as killing him was based off number of frost / physical hits done. It turned out there was a random level 40 quest wand that did frost damage and had a super fast attack speed that was OP for it, so a lot of players opened tickets to try and get GMs to return them the item.
    ----Several fights required tank swapping on a taunt-immune boss, like Vaelastrasz. Because mobs don't change targets in melee range unless the new target has 10% more threat than the old target (to prevent weird kiting), the tanks would have to stop at random times, because getting 10% more threat than a tank that's been hitting the boss for 200 seconds requires a 20+ second lead time. This is also an example of how bosses weren't as spammy but there were definitely some tactics that went into it.

    --It was pretty common to get loot-locked when gathering herbs, requiring a relog. The very first week of launch it was really bad, basically every single time.

    --Groups could be changed mid-fight

    --When the game shipped raid bosses didn't put everyone in combat on pull. This meant there were healers whose job it was to stand 80 yards back and rez people that died. Eventually a zone-wide pulse went out every two seconds, but it was still possible for engineer rogues to vanish and shock a player back to life mid-combat. Anything else that could be done out of combat, like switch gear, was also possible.

    --Dire Maul and other various dungeon exploits, primarily by rogues, classes with pets, and mages

    --There were some random items that were used in unintended ways. Super sticky glue was one. There was also an ax called Nightfall with a proc that made your next three attacks crit, so I believe the way it was used is that it was put in the off-hand, and then the biggest, slowest weapon a player could get their hands on would go in the main hand to abuse it.

    --Anything that could dismount other players was super OP for PvP

    --I believe many items interacted with abilities and PvP combat in werid and undesirable ways, I'd need some more input on this.

    Other things to reminisce about:

    --All of the elite non-instance zones that you had to get groups for, like Stromgarde in Arathi, Stonewatch Keep in Redridge, and the Ruins of Alterac in Alterac Mountains

    --World Bosses: Green dragons (Lethon/Taerar/Ysondre/Emeriss), Azuregos, Kazzak

    --Mounts were more reasonable-looking, and the only large mounts in the game were kodos. Anyone with Baron Rivendare's mount were super badass.

    --With no transmog everyone constantly had mis-matched gear. The tier 2 helms were extremely common, but their predominantly metal look really clashed with the wooden troll-themed Zul'Gurub items.

    --Stranglethorn Vale being a constant chatter with people trading pages and trying to find/kill Bangalash

    --The Ahn'Qiraj War Effort and banging the gong
    --Twin Emperors breaking guilds
    --The trash to C'Thun being the hardest boss in the game

    --4 Horsemen requiring warrior-poaching
    --Shadow resist potions / Scarlet Monastery Graveyard for Loatheb

    --Tier 1 shoulders looking so ridiculous (hunter = lampshades, paladin = bananas, druid = tree)
    --Everyone wearing a tier 2 helmet from Onyxia because they weren't that hard to get but they were impossible to replace.
    --Random legendary drops from MC that could make a big difference in progression

    --Leeroy Jenkins & the Rookery ... and the orc mobs that knocked you off the platform back down in to the Rookery
    --The dude who got Baron Geddon's debuff on his pet, dismissed it, and re-summoned it in the AH and killed everyone
    --Hakkar Blood Plague infecting everyone (which actually got very serious treatment from the CDC as a case study on how real-life infectious diseases are transmitted)

    --Flasks lasted two hours and required 100 million resources
    --Farming dreamfoil in endless circles, particularly Un'Goro Crater
    --Sharpening stones and mana oils

    --On-next-swing attacks and Carpal Tunnel

    --Wand spec
    --Threat reduction talents

    --Transcontinental questing

    --Screenshots were in .tga format

    --That rare mob in Arathi Highlands that dropped a stun trinket
    --Dungeon keys (Scholomance, UBRS, Zul'Furrak mallet, Shadowforge Key)
    --Tribute Runs
    --Crusader Orbs
    --Teebu's Blazing Longsword
    --ZG/AQ tokens
    --Egan's Spectral Blaster
    --Elemental fire/earth/air/water
    --ilvl wasn't displayed on items
    --Much more common to have bank alts
    --Clams didn't stack
    --Weapon chains

    --No level requirement for the Crusader enchant

    --Every 12-yo naming their character Séphïrõth

    --Spell penetration for PvP

    --Elitist Jerks

    --Blasted Lands buffs

    --Mail didn't open all at once

    --I think in the very very beginning there was no flight path from Stormwind to Ironforge

    --No dungeon completion bonus

    --What were the 16 debuffs that were preferred on the boss?
    1. Sunder Armor
    2. Thunderclap
    3. Improved Demoralizing Shout
    4. Hunter's Mark
    5. Thunderfury
    6. Alliance: Judgement of Wisdom
    7. Curse of Elements
    Hemorrhage?, Shadow priest +shadow damage?, Curse of Elements? Curse of Weakness/Tongues? The tank's deep wounds?

    --Librams and Shendra'lar rep

    --People not in the group weren't ported out

    --Forsaken buildings didn't have their current purple Frankenstein look

    --Some of the rarest and most coveted items were shirts, like the master builder's shirt from Fineous Darkvire and the sawbones shirt from Doctor Theolen Krastinov in Scholomance

    --That fishing boss in ZG that no one knew how to summon

    --Cultist event in silithus, summoning bosses of increasing difficulties--what a grind that was

    --"The Calling" raid quest in Silithus every guild did for the nature resist pants

    --The fire resist enchant "questline" in BRD that required a million mats.

    --Duskwood did not have a flight point at raven hill.

    I wrote this post mostly because I wanted to remember both the good and bad about vanilla. Blizzard has made many hundreds of quality-of-life changes to the game over the last thirteen years, but as they were added so gradually I think it might be a shock to suddenly have them all removed.

    Although it certainly wasn't required to continue progressing, a lot of people, myself included, wanted to get the complete T0, T1, and T2 sets. Unfortunately the RNG was ridiculous. Because the loot tables were overloaded with items for every class instead of tokens and there was only one weekly lockout with no alternative difficulty levels, it wasn't uncommon for needed items to not drop for months at a time.

    Here's the math, assuming MC bosses dropped two tier pieces and one non-tier piece...(I might be mistaken on this. One thing, though, is that what they drop on live is not necessarily what they used to drop, as it was changed because it was too profitable to gold farm in Wrath I believe.)

    For Tier 1, bracers and boots came from MC trash mobs and the other six pieces came from bosses in Molten Core. There were nine classes in game, but shamans and pallys were faction-specific and raid IDs would drop only the correct one. Raid size was 40, we'll assume 5 players of each class. Bosses could drop the same tier item twice, which is good for my elementary knowledge of stats because both rolls are independent. Therefore a player's chance to get any specific item the very first week a guild full-cleared was:
    1/8 * 1/5 = 1/40

    Fom a class leader's perspective that wanted everyone of their class to have their tier bonuses, the chances that at least one item would never drop were quite high.
    Chances a specific tier item would not drop week 1: 7/8 * 7/8 or (7/8) ^ 2 = ~75%
    Chances a specific tier item would not drop week 1 or 2: (7/8) ^ 4 = ~60%
    "" week 1, 2, or 3: ~45%
    "" week 1, 2, 3, or 4: ~40%
    By week 8: ~11%
    By week 12: 4.5%

    4.5% might not sound that low, so let me add context. The front page of wowprogress, which lists 20 guilds per page, would have a guild on it that had the entire instance on farm for three solid months but would not yet have gotten a specific item to drop ONCE.

    The modern odds of a class token not dropping for twelve weeks are (2/3)^24 = .005% Now there are more people competing for class tokens, but there's also bonus rolls and four different difficulty levels which massively smooth out the RNG.

    And that's the odds for a specific class picked in advance. The odds that all eight classes got an even distribution of loot were miniscule, and I'm going to try and do some spreadsheets and maybe even a computer program to show that as a raid leader, who wanted every class to all have their tier bonus, it was an inevitability that at least one class tier piece would have only dropped zero, one, or two times after months of farming.

    I wrote a computer program to simulate drops for Tier 2. If one lucky guy got the first drop of every piece, on average he/she would complete their set after 10 weeks. (in stats terms, between 18 and 19 trials). The 30th percentile was hit after 16 trials (9 weeks), the 95th percentile was hit after 38 trials (19 weeks), and the truly unlucky 99th percentile would hit it after 50 trials (6 months).

    And remember...that's if the entire guild is funneling the first drop of every item all to one raider.

    Update 11/17/17, I've now updated the program to give gear to five players sequentially. The expected number of weeks it takes to gear 5 players in every piece is 33. The 30th percentile is 29 weeks, and the 99th percentile is 55 weeks. Tomorrow I'll see what it takes to get every player just six pieces, which I'm sure will be much less.

    Things I personally liked:

    --Gold felt valuable. And because the numbers were so low, it was more realistic because it seemed like a number of gold pieces your character could actually carry. Getting a BoE blue was a payday. Getting a BoE epic was like winning the lottery.
    --Ragnaros was incredible, a lot of thought went into his artwork and the whole encounter / map design
    --The AQ40 gong-ringing was the most epic time ever. They never did anything like it since because it caused so many server crashes, however.
    --Finishing dungeons / raids felt more rewarding because it was so difficult to organize
    --The dungeons and raids felt so much more realistic and alive because they were designed more for the experience than for ease of player use. Although this caused places like Stratholme to be much harder than current dungeons because the mobs were so close together and had complicated patrol routes. The dungeons really had a lot of character, like ZG, AQ, Naxx...all really well-designed artistically.
    --Capital city raids were a lot of fun.
    --Summoning the elemental lord in Alterac Valley felt like having a god on your side, was a LOT of fun

    Things I personally disliked:

    --At max level there wasn't much to do if you weren't raiding. Once you farmed your dungeon set (which took tons and tons of hours) all you could pretty much do was PvP or run the same 5-6 dungeons for the 11 billionth time.
    --The amount of gear you had to shard because the loot tables were so overloaded was irritating
    --The number one thing I couldn't wait for BC for was so I could stop looking at Tier 2 helmets EVERYWHERE. I swear 75% of level 60 players were wearing a Tier 2 helmet all the time.

    Things I personally wish were still in live
    --That 1 in 10,000+ chance that a really, really valuable item might drop from a random trash mob. Made it way more fun to loot boars. Probably causes problems with botting though.

    --The need to CC mobs in dungeons. I personally wished they'd kept speed runs in Diablo and made Warcraft more about tactical decisions and CC, both long (polymorph) and short (stuns).

    --Loot being a little harder to get. I'd like to see titanforging capped at 30 ilvls and the mythic weekly reward capped at 5 ilvls less than all mythic bosses (with no chance to titanforge).

    The one change I always wanted but never got
    --A profession item for summoning portals.

    My personal predictions:
    Judging from the very polarized and adamant forums, it's clear that WoW Classic is not going to make everyone happy. I personally think Blizzard will cause massive damage to their brand if they re-release vanilla as is. The game was revolutionary and enormously fun at the time, but deeply flawed by modern standards.

    (I'm not a car guy, but let me try an analogy.) It'd be like Chevy re-releasing a Camaro from the 1960s. My dad would love everything about it...driving it, working on it, talking about it. I would love driving it for about three minutes, and then realize it doesn't have power-steering, anti-lock brakes, air bags, or any of a hundred other features that have existed my entire life. From my perspective, it'd be fun to try but it's demonstrably more dangerous to me and to polar bears.

    The other thing about WoW classic is that it's the players themselves that have changed. Even if you gathered up everyone on my original server, crammed us all in a time machine, and set it to 2004 it wouldn't be remotely the same. Everyone knows so much more about the game now that the experience couldn't be replicated even then.

    One more analogy: let's take a product that there is nearly unanimous popular support for it to be released in its original form--the original Star Wars trilogy. So imagine Disney re-released the original trilogy with all its flaws but with one exception; for every time a person had watched the movies, the movie played twice as fast. It wouldn't be the same.

    My hope is that Blizzard will communicate early and often about what Classic is going to be exactly, so the players in the Venn diagram that aren't going to be happy have fair warning.

    (old, my opinions before some of the announcements)
    After thinking about this a great deal over the last few days, it's my opinion that Blizzard won't be able to release anything close to resembling the original servers. Take, for example, the case of a player that joined in Cataclysm and decided to raid hardcore in Pandaria and after. Such a player, despite not being casual, would be correctly angry when they found out:
    --Certain specs weren't viable, had no gear, and were missing tools now considered standard
    --DPS between specs could vary enormously by modern standards
    --Certain things that required a GM to fix, such as loot being mis-assigned, quest mobs being bugged, etc.
    --They can't change servers if they can't find a suitable guild.

    So Blizzard is a company, and if they were to charge for the unmodified classic WoW service and get a complaint from the player above, they would basically have to tell the customer to love it or leave it, which is terrible customer service. So my opinion is that for customer service reasons they're going to at a minimum have to balance the specs, make loot tradeable, and server changes available. They'll also probably change the itemization and update some of the more glaring errors (kiting Kazzak to Stormwind, etc.) If they don't it will erode their brand loyalty in pretty significant ways.

    I think the only way we'll get the true and original WoW service is if they release the intellectual property rights and let volunteers / enthusiasts run their own servers. Because volunteers and enthusiasts can tell players "love it or leave it" without the same consequences as a publicly-traded company.

    Screenshots DPS from a Curse Patchwerk kill...don't forget the raid size was 40, so top damage done was 235k, position 19 was 135k. There were probably 5 tanks, 15 healers, 20 DPS. Captain Placeholder, from when the boat to Menethil was causing the servers to crash Carlrov turns 60 Lobster Brood celebrates Onyxia Umm...13 years in retrospect, this guy did NOT know I was a dude. (The corpse was floating in the air, it was a bug.) Male orc warlock in a white dress

    Things I've forgotten:

    --How much dreamfoil could be farmed in an hour? How many hours of farming did one hour of raiding require? Was it significantly harder to farm on servers that had lots of AQ40 and Naxx-capable raiding guilds?

    --If anyone could write up what Southshore / Tarren Mill was like I'd appreciate it.

    --Any specific quirks of classes would be helpful. For example, snapshotting, down-ranking healing spells, mashing shield block, etc.

    --I didn't raid hardcore back at the time, but is it safe to say Naxx guilds had a 16-hour-a-week raid schedule, and that every hour of raiding was roughly 1-2 hours of farming for prep? Note that the current requirements on private servers full of people that have been practicing Naxx for years and years are significantly different than they used to be when everything was new.

    --How unbalanced were the actual specs? Any screenshots of DPS meters from back in the day would be a hoot!

    --How did rolling ignites work?

    --Are disarm mechanics still in the game?

    Things to add:
    --Southshore/Tarren Mill
    --Onyxia Scale Cloaks
    --Links to Leeroy video, geddon bomb, hakkar plague, moar dots
    --Explanation of reckoning bomb
    --Zone flow / quests requiring transcontinental travel
    --An explanation of how the raid bosses themselves were so much easier but the logistics of a 40-man raid were so much harder
    --Links to ads for computers in 2004
    --A list of other games popular in 2004
    --Write up the attunement quests for onyxia
    --Green dragon organization

    Also, I've put about 20-30 hours into this document AFTER I originally posted it, including a massive re-write after the comments had reached 20 pages, so if any of the comments below don't make sense that might be why.
    Last edited by garicasha; 2018-01-16 at 10:17 PM.

  2. #2
    You're so negative.

    I can't WAIT to spend hours and hours running up and down Darkshore trying to find near invisible quest items.
    I miss the days spamming chat for literally hours, trying to find groups for Sunken Temple, and then when you all get there somebody pulls out so you have to fly back to the cities again to start the whole process again.

    Jokes aside... why would you want to play a game that's built around progression if your progress will always be capped?

  3. #3
    Yah I didn't really mean to be so negative, but now that I'm an adult I don't have the time to run in circles around Un'Goro anymore.

    It was so much fun back in the day. Summoning Ragnaros for the first time is something I still clearly remember 13 or whatever years @#%^$%& epic!

  4. #4
    Scarab Lord jackofwind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Victoria, BC
    So don't play it.

    If you hate all that shit, just don't play it.
    Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
    Because fuck you, that's why.

  5. #5
    Pandaren Monk bryroo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by rogueMatthias View Post
    You're so negative.

    I can't WAIT to spend hours and hours running up and down Darkshore trying to find near invisible quest items.
    I miss the days spamming chat for literally hours, trying to find groups for Sunken Temple, and then when you all get there somebody pulls out so you have to fly back to the cities again to start the whole process again.

    Jokes aside... why would you want to play a game that's built around progression if your progress will always be capped?
    Hipster cred.

  6. #6
    Fluffy Kitten Wikiy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Virgo Supercluster, Local Group, Milky Way, Orion Arm, Solar System, Earth, European Union, Croatia
    It's amazing how much nostalgia can do. It can even make Blizzard create proper Vanilla servers. Gonna be fun to see people realize one month in how fucking dreadful it is (which doesn't mean it was dreadful back then, it was fucking revolutionary).

  7. #7
    It's really simple, you don't want to play it but there is a sizeable portion of ex and current players that do... deal with it.

  8. #8
    I feel we need "Classic" schools as well in real life.

    Life was awesome back then, I could just do finger painting all day and Maths was super easy and you didn't have to worry about work and family and relationships.

    If we could have classic schools back Life would be just the same as it was before

  9. #9
    Yep, for all people talk about how 'great' vanilla was, the truth of the matter is that at max level you had raiding, farming stuff to raid, and if you weren't one of the lucky people with T2 or T3 gear you had getting 3 shot in BG's

  10. #10
    Blizzard stated their goal is to have a core of players that will stay in it, and believe me there will be a core of players that will keep playing it. It is a long road to 9/9 Tier 3.

  11. #11
    More or less we all remember what vanilla was like, the difference is that now we have more knowledge of our class , back then playing was like we were swimming in the middle of the night in a swamp with legs tied up.

  12. #12
    Damn OP is more salty than Kripparian
    Quote Originally Posted by Tonus View Post
    Anyway stop being such an ass fucktard.
    Quote Originally Posted by oblivium666 View Post
    Would you kindly go fuck yourself?

  13. #13
    In reality, Classic was superior in almost every way to current WoW (if you prefer depth, nuance, way more RPG elements, actual choice, superior character customization, etc.)
    You think you don't, but you do

  14. #14
    Many of those vanilla lovers will get their faces smashed to the wall when they realize how bad of a game vanilla was

  15. #15
    Scarab Lord Kazomir's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Didn't they basically say though they want to re-create the classic experience and NOT copy-paste it?

    It means that this remaster may have some improvements over Vanilla

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by rogueMatthias View Post
    I miss the days spamming chat for literally hours, trying to find groups for Sunken Temple
    find a guild. solved. thats what vanilla was.. old school social MMO. If you try to play it with current mindset, good luck. And it s fine if it is not for everyone. I never had problem to find group for dungeons, my problem was how to politely avoid them when I didnt want to do dungeons.
    The trick of selling a FFA-PvP MMO is creating the illusion among gankers that they are respectable fighters while protecting them from respectable fights, as their less skilled half would be massacred and quit instead of “HTFU” as they claim.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by garicasha View Post
    In conclusion, LFR isn't so bad.
    Nope, I'll still take Vanilla thanks. Even with all those "downsides" it was still a fun and amazing experience, not something that can be said for LFR.

  18. #18
    So? Not like it will have tough competition judging by this soulless piece of shit called "Battle for Azeroth".

  19. #19
    Vanilla was amazing at its time of release.

    Trying to re-release a 10 year old game with MANY flaws, bugs and weird tuning is a mistake. I hope they dont pool too much money and effort into this because this will be a minority playing.

    Im not saying Legion is perfect either but I played the game since beta and trust me, the majority of you that hear stories of how great the game was will be in for a big surprise.

  20. #20
    The Lightbringer Logwyn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Are classes going to be able to do the tank, heal, dps that they can know in 5 mans or raids? If not why make anything other than a warrrior to tank, priest/druid to heal, and hunter/rogue/mage/lock for dps. No DH, DK, Monks? And just the base vanilla races? No alliance shaman? No Horde pallies?

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