Nostalgia is a fun thing. It’s based almost entirely on emotional memories, either positive or negative. I’d hazard the majority of people have a large amount of positive, since we tend to scrub out the bad.
Video games are like that. I clearly recall playing Mario/Duck Hunt in my basement as a kid. The light gun stuck to the tiny TV. Siblings taking turns. I played it again 20 years later… not so memorable.
There’s a subculture in gaming that really likes the nostalgic aspects. There are plenty of Ultima Online emulator shards that stick to a specific time period. EQ has had progression servers for years now (though none are actually timelocked to my knowledge). RIFT will go that route shortly with their PRIME servers.
WoW doesn’t have this. It’s had a few public spats with emulation services, though I’ve only ever heard of those emulating the vanilla experience. After many years of demands from a vocal minority, looks like people are going to get exactly that.
I’d expect the first few days to be just like when vanilla launched – broken servers. Nostalgia is strong and I’m sure plenty of people will give it a kick. And then after 2-3 days not having left the starting zone, they will move on.
And that’s the challenge from a provider perspective – people only remember bits of the past, not the whole one.
- Talent trees with significantly poor choices
- Quests ending at level 30, and filled with significant grind
- No flying, LFG or summoning to dungeons
- The Shaman / Paladin faction restriction
- Priests that can do nothing but heal
- Useless druids
- Warriors that cannot heal
- Healer rotations in raids (5s mana rule anyone?)
- Hunters having no pets until the teens
- Gnomeragan and Dire Maul (seriously, run these now at level and see what I mean)
- Resistance farming
- Farming for Tranq Shot
- Actually managing 39 other internet people to complete a raid
- Tuber farming
- Faction farms (Argent Dawn)
- No bag space, transmog, void storage
- No cross-server groups
And vanilla was an improvement over other MMOs.
Don’t get me wrong, these challenges did accomplish something spectacular – they created a community of support. You knew nearly every raider on your server, and most of the “consistent” players. You needed them as much as they needed you. The easing of the gameplay got rid of that sense… and it’s certainly debatable if that was a good or bad thing.
I won’t deny the appeal, and it’s clear some people want to re-live that experience. I just prefer to look forward instead of back.