What to play? After realizing the importance of preserving a game in true documentary form, complete with every painstaking click, it would then fall to deciding what aspect might be most inclusive to preserve.
When I played classic, as with many of those on the server in which I played, we played according to our own rules. People would theorycraft, sure, but at the end of the day I bore witness to some fairly amazing feats outside of the ‘efficiency norm’ that EJ or Blizzard might encourage or later mandate, respectively. As an example, I was part of a druid core that played a huge hand in pioneering raid hybrid druids, with one of us being the first on record to have main tanked Chromaggus. We saw the possibilities within the game, not the limitations.
Eenie Meenie Minie Moe
The possibilities: I will demonstrate this very thing. But there are oh-so-many choices that could be used to do this, each one was viable when done right, some more prevalently found than others.
- The true shapeshifting druid: specializing in hybridization of forms, and proccing free heals with maximized healing over time potential. This made true use of a druid RP potential, and worked.
- The hunter off tank: focused in achieving 40%+ pure avoidance through talents and gear and having the role reversal of a sick pet that does the damage. This rarity was the avoidance tank before avoidance tanks were ‘in’.
- The ice-burn mage: splitting talents between fire and frost, making great use of a certain debuff in PvE, and amazingly effective in PvP. This, in an era when everyone was either fire heavy or frost heavy with arcane utility.
- The tri-spec priest: this gave priests much needed damage and control while sacrificing very little in the way of healing power. This was likely the most common off-spec of any class listed here.
- The true assassin rogue: this one-lap wonder would, through talents and gear, focus on the 120energy reserve and not the sustain, having very fast 5cp finishers. There was better gear for PvP and this spec was lackluster for PvE, but the concept was intriguing and fun to those who tried it.
- The attack speed shaman: hardly a rare finding, as every guild ran with a ‘lucky’ 1 or 2, this set up would drop TOTEMZ! and proceed to auto-attack and shock for crits, boosting white damage through flurry. The main effectiveness of this setup was to buff the melee dps group in raids.
- The glass cannon warlock: the more popular SM/Ruin setup could be found everywhere, but this kit was ever so slightly more damage in PvE, and had a lot of fun PvP talents build in. Running a modified version of this, it was popularized by a single warlock in an era when warlocking was all about Siphon Life.
- The full protection warrior: some warriors embraced Shield Slam, and rather than lament not being able to Mortal Strike or Bloodthirst, became crowd-controlling and nightmare-to-deal with kings. Hardly rare to find a protection warrior, especially in a raiding guild, but one that fully embraced it was.
Let’s See Here
It is worth repeating that the goal of this project is to expose the history of the game and document the unique qualities classic had. The memories and history in my brain do no good to the MMORPG community.
I need to choose a class that showcases some of the unique aspects of classic. Also, this class should be solo-viable as this is potentially a one-man project. Lastly, the class should be fun to play as there is a time commitment involved here. While I would love to play around with and document all the classes in their classic forms, I have limited time and resources. The need will fall to others to document different factions/zones/classes/specs/gearing themselves if a fully inclusive project would be made.
The warlock has been chosen. Lifetap is one of the more unique concepts in the game, and the pet usage is unlike the straightforwardness of the hunter. A guaranteed mount at 40 makes this project more manageable, and the unique quests for both pets and mounts are staples of this class, and classes in general, during classic.
Simply put, I’ll be playing the game, documenting every second of downtime and all the moments of action. I will travel through zones as I progress to level cap, perhaps able to run instances as well. As a capstone to the project, I would like to capture keynote endgame activities such as attunements and class quests along with a sample raid if possible. It would be great to have these activities framed inside of the context of the game at large.
The Play Session
After getting everything set up, it was fired up and recording began. Despite advances in technology that make this documentary feasible (huge hard drives in 2012 > inklings in 2005), apparently my rig is still dated enough to not be able to capture sound. (Any help in this dept would be appreciated)
I really enjoyed the starting zone, namely the subtle difference that is made between levels 1 and 2 with the ability pool reserve allowing for the extra cast. Now, the beauty here, as one might quickly discover, is that although you have a larger pool and able to cast that extra bolt, it is done as overkill. It is wiser to continue with just 3 casts, and to knife away for the kill, as the regen kicks back in during the knifting. Just as the kill happens, the mana pool is ticking to full again. I really enjoy subtle lessons.
Later on, finding Gloom Weed really was an issue. FedEx quests are only so much fun, but when there is no exploration, monetary gain etc to support them, they can be tiresome indeed. In this instance, Gloom Weed camouflages perfectly into the terrain and I became bored with finding the final one needed.
I took the liberty of quickly heading to Durotar to do a handful of quests to yield a guaranteed 4slot bag. Bags were always hit or miss in their droprates: sometimes you’d get 2 before leaving the starting zone, sometimes you wouldn’t see any until well into the teen levels. Because of how crucial bags are, I abused this knowledge to go get one 😛
I found a couple friends ingame. Community is always good, and was very much alive in classic. I will aim to greet everyone I pass. Not only am I just a nice guy, but it might help to forge a small network to assist with the group activities I aim to accomplish. Who knows what transpires, we’ll see next time.
Series: Vanilla Preservation Project