It’s been almost 10 years since World of Warcraft’s release. During those first years World of Warcraft achieved an end-game experience like non-other; never in my life had I been a part of such a vibrant, cultured, and dedicated community than the ones forged in each and every realm. These communities were a result of technical limitations, and advances in this tech ushered in an era of cross-server everything and instant party and raid finders. Vanilla World of Warcraft is a relic resting deep in the archives of the Blizzard servers, and there it will remain—fossilized. It’s up to us to breathe life into this dinosaur so we may analyze and learn from it.
I’ve wanted to do a series of articles on the finer points of World of Warcraft’s design for some time now, so what better time than the present? There are so many layers to this monolith that I didn’t even know where to start, so I chose the only obvious point: the beginning. Vanilla, as it’s called within the community, is the first World of Warcraft without any expansions released on November 23, 2004 in North America and Australia. Like many people I can still remember my first encounter with World of Warcraft; I was just a kid with dreams of being a hero in the fantastical world of Azeroth. But this isn’t really about nostalgia, this is about taking a look back at the roots of what has, without a doubt, set the bar for the MMORPG experience. Read More