Blizzard VP Talks WoW Classic: Original Graphics the Starting Place; Mentions Nostalgia and Rose-Colored Glasses

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Feb 4
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Blizzard’s Vice President and production director on World of Warcraft, J. Allen Brack, talks about re-recreating the original World of Warcraft experience in WoW Classic.

In an interview with Forbes, Brack and senior game designer Jeremy Feasel talked about the upcoming World of Warcraft vanilla server option, which was announced at BlizzCon 2017.
Brack was asked whether Classic would be using the original 2004 graphics or the high-definition character models used in the recent World of Warcraft expansions, after which he replied that re-creating the original 2004 experience is the starting place and that the Warcraft community might help them decide.

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Newman: Let’s talk about some of the bigger decisions, which may or may not have been made. Are we talking about WoW in its original pristine pixelly glory? Are we talking remastered, something that’s built for the modern engines that Legion and Battle for Azeroth are using?

Brack: That’s a decision that is in front of us. I think my starting place is, the compass heading should be to try to re-create the original 2004, 2005 experience. That’s the compass heading we should be following. But there’s a lot of nuance there. Should we be using the high definition character models? That’s an interesting question, I think, that the community will help us decide.

Newman: That would essentially require you to rebuild them, right? Because we don’t necessarily have high-def character models that aren’t the revamped versions of the characters.

Brack: Correct. What I mean is, would we allow those to work in the old–

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Newman: Okay, as opposed to somehow trying to re-create the blockier look, but with the–

Brack: Correct.

Further in the interview, Brack was asked about the dangers of players remembering the original World of Warcraft as the best Warcraft content ever due to nostalgia. “I got into trouble a few years ago. I said, this is something that you think you want, but you don’t”, Brack told Forbes. “And what I was trying to say with that is sort of exactly what you’re encapsulating, which is, nostalgia is a thing. Rose-colored glasses are a thing. Human brains are not designed to remember pain. And so you remember the good things. You don’t remember the pain. I didn’t do a great job of communicating that sentiment, right? Clearly.”

The Molten Core raid in the original WoW

“It’s weird. I do think that there will be those people exactly like you’re talking about. That’s okay. And I also think that there is this group of people for whom—that is the game to them. That’s their refuge. That’s their time that they want to return to, and that’s the game that reminds them of that time. That’s the community experience they want to have.

How big is it? I have no idea. I have no idea. There’s no way to know. But we’re convinced, through the desire of those folks, the desire of our internal folks, and the desire to preserve what WoW was, that this is the right decision.”

World of Warcraft Classic is still a long way from being released, but what are your thoughts on the vanilla server option? Was the game really that great when it released back in 2004? Would it benefit from remastered character models? Hit the comments below.

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