Highly anticipated: There are plenty of fantastic-looking games to look forward to this year and in early 2020, but the title that's currently generating buzz in the industry isn't new at all -- In fact, it's roughly 16 years old now. We are, of course, referring to World of Warcraft (WoW) Classic; a re-launched version of the long-running MMO that seeks to preserve the game in its original state.
Think Old School Runescape (minus the fresh updates it receives) and you wouldn't be too far off the mark here. At any rate, WoW Classic launched yesterday on August 26 to quite a bit of fanfare and excitement, and -- based on other first impressions and my own experiences -- it's relatively safe to say that Classic delivers on its promises. It is exactly the game many fans of the franchise remember from their childhood.
The graphics are old-fashioned, the animations are jerky, and the gameplay is slower yet simultaneously more in-depth than it is in WoW's current live version. Long-since-removed features like weapon and armor skills make their return, and classes are forced to unlock their core abilities over time rather than being given them from Level 1.
To put things into perspective, leveling from 1 to 120 in "normal" WoW (the current max level) will take you anywhere from a few days to a week of consistent play depending on how much free time you have (and your gear). By contrast, reaching level 60 in Classic can take months of effort; even if you play upwards of 20 hours a week.
This style of gameplay won't appeal to everyone, but it has a certain undeniable charm that seems to be resonating with the playerbase. Whether that's the result of temporary nostalgia or proof that there is something truly special about the Classic formula is tough to say for sure.
Regardless, none of that charm matters if you can't even get into the game and, unfortunately, that's precisely the issue that thousands upon thousands of prospective Classic players are facing at the moment.
If you boot up the game right now, there's a very good chance that you'll be staring down a queue of over 10,000 people, and that's just for medium-population worlds. If you want to get into one of the more popular servers, you could be waiting around for five hours or more.
Of course, things will undoubtedly cool off in the coming weeks and months. Players will lose interest, or they'll simply realize that the Classic experience wasn't for them in the first place. Either way, servers will free up and queue times will drop or become non-existent. Until that happens, though, it might be best to plan your Classic session and server in advance.
If Classic sounds like your cup of tea despite the login issues, queue times, and general instability, you can get access to the game now with a $15/month WoW subscription. This subscription works similarly to Runescape's: one monthly payment lets you play both Classic and standard, with no additional charges. Sadly, you can't play them at the same time to occupy yourself during lengthy queues, so feel free to dust off your Netflix backlog while you wait.