[WoW-Vanilla] Nostalgia, predisposition, and inconveniences thankfully gone
This was before transmogrification.
Doone and Ahtchu had commented on the previous article that some people point out nostalgia as being detrimental to an objective discussion. I do not entirely discard nostalgia as having an effect on our view of the past games, even as we replay them, specially in the field of MMOs, given that those are much more dependent on the psychological marks that they imprint on us mainly through social ties. Still, when talking about individual features and the consequences they have on how we experience the game, I think that we can single out the nostalgic appeals and have a thorough discussion. In fact, what I consider that applies in this case is an issue of predisposition, rather than nostalgia.
If you tell the average Wrath-inserted player that she has to form her group through trade channel, and then work her way to the summoning stone, she will probably answer that she's got dailies to do, ciao. It could also be the case that she is interested in those revived mechanics because she has heard of the benefits of that artificial hurdle, and is willing to do the experiment. There you have it, willing. Veterans, when coming back to the previous systems, acknowledge those benefits in themselves or as opposed to the current system, and are willing to bear the short-term inconveniences. Precisely because most players required the antithetical view of the dungeon system in Wrath, they did not realise how successfully the previous system had been until then, which is why the returning experience can be better, or at least more mindful, than the original experience. It is not nostalgia, but the recognition of something that we have lost. Ee humans are keen on those sentiments.
That said, I think that it is in order to discuss those inconveniences that really were so, so that I stop sounding so nostalgia-addled. First and silliest, I miss my autoloot terribly. I have become used to holding shift while inspecting the loot by now, but then I hold shift in retail WoW and loot nothing, and that drives my perfectionistic self off a cliff. There is no inherent social gain on pressing another key while looting, and it could even be detrimental since I cannot chat while skimming the bodies of the dead.
A mechanic that I would like to pitchfork was actually the mp5 dynamic, albeit based on a personal dislike that may or may not be shared with other veterans. As a restoration druid in TBC, I never had the need to force myself into mp5-stasis, since my heals were rarely supernumerary as they were less potent and immediate but more long-term. I also had more mana regen than my envious priests. This is something I only realised after having played as a holy priest in Archangel, and having experienced the 'joy' of /stopcasting unless I was certain that the heal would land in full. On the other end of the balance was the unlimited mana pool that Wrath brought about, and the saddening consequences: healing would be less strategic and more jittery, reflex-based. It had some fun to it, there is fun in twitchy games such as Diablo 3, but I preferred the older model.
The design of the classes in vanilla is also double-edged. On the one hand, each class has a unique flavour to it, and hybrids are truly hybrids, being able to perform multiple roles almost simultaneously without excelling at any one. On the other hand, there is a very narrow range of choices for serious raiding: if you wanted to tank, you had to be a warrior. Bear tanks were rare, their gear being as uncommon as D3 legendaries; paladins were laughingstock, and forced to dress cloth to do what they were supposed to do, healing. It is a pity, because I wanted to play a blood elf *cough, vanilla*, a human protection paladin.
Then there is the "I could live without that" features such as transmogrification. Yes, it is nice to not look like a power ranger (see the early paladin tiers excepting Judgement), but from the perspective of a roleplayer who filled her bank with pretty dresses and weird tentacled staves (for Japanese e-rp, of course), it was never a necessity. I merely changed my looks upon entering the city, often on a daily basis.
Lastly, I cannot forget that WoW has also come a long way in the area of raiding. The early raids displayed mechanics that are now seen as easy and overused, and the bosses do not sport any fancy abilities that blow your mind. Compare C'Thun to the stepped-up flamboyance that is Yogg-Saron. And yet, how many variations of the "get out of the fire" mechanic are there in Cataclysm (dungeons, I haven't experienced the raids)? I came to expect one per boss encounter. In the early days, since people did not have telltale addons that informed them of upcoming shit on the ground, and since you could barely tell where you stepped on from the overcrowding of 30 active people and 10 afk bots, each one of this now requisite abilities (interrupt this, dodge that) constituted a boss encounter of its own. Now those are just the icing on the cake, because you are still expected to do a little dance while holding two gnomes on your shoulders, and keep pew-pewing yet another dragon.
What about you, what features do you deem indispensable now? What others are you willing to relinquish, for the sake of 2005 MMOs?