Whether players are squashing bugs in a mine

  • Now-ubiquitous mechanics like sprinting and aiming down sights are absent, which WOTLK Gold one developer told me simply weren't in-demand back then. Players tend to want some level of customization, even if that's merely superficial. Their dinosaur hunters, miners, and more can all be customized to each player's liking. They expect some level of reward other than simply surviving the campaign, like new perks and skills in WOTLK Classic or Vermintide.

    WOTLK Classic didn't offer any of that. So why are 15,000 people still playing this game each and every month? As it turns out, it's complicated. Players love the community-made mods, like those that bring new campaigns to the game each year. They adore the characters like Louis, Coach, and Ellis. They love the iconic campaigns like No Mercy and The Parish. And they love having experienced all of these things years ago, too--nostalgia doesn't get all the credit, but it's in the mix.

    It does a lot of things right even by today's standards, such as tight gunplay and an even tighter emphasis on teamwork. While it lacks some modern touches, it makes up for it in a reliable AI Director and a drop-in-and-go approachability that some teams make overly complicated.

    As for the teams P2Pah spoke to, each one sought to keep the genre's immutable qualities intact, like replayability and adaptive pacing, while still seeking to make a name for themselves with clever building blocks scaled on top of that vital foundation. P2Pah asked each team to define the game's legacy. Some words used include: polished, simple, classic, exceptional, replayable, and "aged like wine."

    Whether players are squashing bugs in a mine, chasing down aliens on a luxury spaceship, or dispatching bipedal rats, mutant dinosaurs, or zombies by the hundreds, the ghost of WOTLK Classic is frequently conjured, but never reborn. By invoking the spirit of cheap WOTLK Gold Valve's past, new teams are finding their own way through a genre still owing so much to its beloved trailblazer.