Bhagpuss has a post discussing the impact World of Warcraft Classic may be having on the Retail version of the game. It’s a new spin on an old situation, two groups of players apparently set against one another in competition for developers attention or influence.
I can remember the rankor that often dominated the Codemasters forums for Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online because it was perceived that the EU playerbase was the neglected poorer section of the global community for these games. Delays to updates making it across the pond were pretty much standard so there was some justification for players to jump ship when DDO went Free to Play in North America only and without region lock – EU players lept across to new servers. There must have been very similar discussions at the time of the effect on raid teams and server populations on the old EU servers.
I’ve also seen the impact progression servers can have on other games, WoW Classic is the biggest and most recent in a long line of similar experiments. Anecdotally my guild on Skyfire (Freeport as was) on Everquest 2 was gutted by the launch of the Kaladim back in March this year and never recovered. Streamers still showcase life on this server on Twitch so there are still people playing the nostalgic version of the game six months later. I can’t imagine WoW Classic will die anywhere near this quickly as there haven’t been a series of prior servers showcasing the old world in that game.
The extent this will effect Retail in the longer term is anyone’s guess but in my own personal gaming circles it has had the net effect of seeing more people playing a version of World of Warcraft which means there are more names on my Battle.Net friend’s list online. We may not all coincide in the same version of the game at the same time but then that’s no different from them playing a different MMO from me. From Blizzard’s perspective they’ve won back some players at least temporarily from the Battle for Azeroth effect (it’s negative impact on player retention).
I’m still playing both sides of WoW somewhat, there’s story and war-campaign content I’ve not finished yet and some more of the two newest zones to see at some point. The same subscription (well WoW Token) gives me access to both games so there’s no need to throw my lot in with one game or the other. My character’s leveling on WoW Classic will be slower for not 100% knuckling down to the ‘grind’ but then we’re only playing our characters in a leveling static anyway, so there are evenings where that group can’t meet and I can do some Retail WoW instead.
Beyond that I’m still rather immersed in Everquest 2 as well at the moment, the current servers mind, as I’m delving into the prequel content for the next expansion. I can’t even bring myself to obsessively play a single game thesedays, don’t ask me to pick a side on one version of WoW or the other…!