Legacy WoW – Tweak it? Update it? Leave it the hell alone?

[Again, this is about legacy WoW, not about my tabletop game, Crixa. If the WoW posts and MMO posts get popular, I’ll separate them into a second tab on the front page so the posts can have their own section rather than be lumped in with my Tabletop posts.]

First up, petition updates:

We’re waiting.

Nostalrius is waiting on a definitive date for their meeting, and I’m waiting on my date to be booked with Mike. I sent Mike a followup e-mail last Friday and one again today. The last time it took about a week to hearΒ  back from Mike before he agreed to a meeting, so I’m being patient.

Okay, now onto the surveys. Last week’s survey’s were fairly controversial. The first question was about whether or not to update the character models in a legacy server to the new models:


Charaacter Models

Current WoW has new models for players and some have asked if these models could be included in Legacy WoW. People were VERY split. Comments indicated that many thought that new models would detract from the vanilla purity and point of having legacy servers. Many voted for new models, but it became clear that it was coming from a “nice to have” perspective with only one or two saying they would not play vanilla WoW if the models were not updated. Many were concerned that asking Blizzard for any additional work was just going to make it that much harder to get them to agree to hosting a legacy server.

This lead to a much more interesting question:



When asked if Blizzard should change vanilla/legacy WoW on a relaunch, the clear majority wanted little, if any changes. In followup comments there were a lot of reasons that people gave. They broke down into a few categories:

  • Keep it simple. It’s going to be hard enough to convince Blizzard to do legacy without asking for any additional work.
  • Don’t mess up a good thing. People want vanilla or TBC, etc, just as it is. It’s the old systems that made it what it is and what we want to play again.
  • Bug fixes are fine. Nearly everyone agreed with this. Old exploits, game breaking bugs and such should be addressed.
  • Convenience features are the devil. LFG/Dungeon Finder, LFR, and other systems were seen, nearly universally, as contributing to the decline of WoW gameplay over the expansions and should be avoided in any vanilla/legacy server.

Personally, I would tend to fall into the “leave it alone” camp. Legacy for me is as much about preserving history and a piece of gaming culture as it is about playing the version of the game that we loved. Any changes beyond bug fixes would hamper both those goals. More importantly, designers love to tinker, and once you open the floodgates to “just one more change” you’re down a slippery slope that can cascade into bigger and bigger “improvements.”

A thought about convenience features: these really are the devil. With modern MMO convenience features, your UI starts to become the game. Instead of interacting with the immersive world around you, you are stuck staring at flat UI screen and clicking buttons. This is very convenient and fast, but it also removes a lot of what made MMOs cool in the first place–like an immersive world that felt real and lived in, and a sense of wonder and exploration that made new zones exciting instead of just another item in a UI list box. Once your primary interaction with the game is it’s UI instead of moving around that world and talking to other players and NPCs, you might as well be playing a single player game…and in my opinion not even a very good single player game.

That’s just my opinion. As I said before, I’ll be presenting all options to Mike that we’ve discussed. Blizzard has far more resources than I do to make accurate surveys if they like. My own informal twitter surveys are just there to draw out all the possible topics to discuss.

As usual, post your thoughts below in the comments! I’ll be reading and answering them.








      • Chniourf says:

        And your opinion is the best. All the movement is about “preserving WoW’s legacy” we will lose all credibility in front of Blizzard if we start to ask such things. If we want Blizzard to take us seriously, better stay coherent.

        And by leaving the game as it was, you’re sure to make everyone agree because you can justify it with arguments that nobody can contest when applying modifications will always be highly questionable.

        Fix some bugs will be enough. Any additional change will inescapably lead to something toxic for legacy servers.

  1. Lashab says:

    I voted “as little as possible” as some improvements could be cool – like changing tauren cat form because it does not look like a cat and seems ugly.

    Also, can you please make survey about some more changes? Like quests? Class quests were awesome and it is a pity that some had a lot of them, some had just few. πŸ™

    • Mark Kern says:

      I have a few more general questions to survey first. Not sure we need to get into the nitty-gritty before meeting with Mike. I have heard that class quests need to be evenly polished between classes.

  2. N3fario says:

    I think they should make the game EXACTLY LIKE IT WAS to the core. Including bugs, etc.

    Why? Because if they start making changes too soon, it might be a turn off for some people. So, if they just have the original game first and then make bug fixes, it won’t be bad.

    • Mark Kern says:

      I’m of the mind that they should use the most recent patch before TBC. That should have the most stable bug fixes. Of course, there was a talent change there too..that will divide some people.

      • exdeath2217 says:

        dont do the msot recent. cause the last patch was the bc pre patch. the patch b4 the pre bc aptch was the stable patch that all private servers use. patch 1.12.1

        • Jellooze says:

          I agree with Exdeath, the class unbalance on the pre-tbc patch was ridiculous and not good for the game (it was all balanced around the new max lvl 70). But using the latest patch just before the new talents would be the best, easier for blizzard and less bug, etc.

      • Galadourn says:

        It’s not only the talent changes that nerf end-game content, I think the biggest gripe people have with this patch is the change in the PvP ranking system which gives free epic gear, often better than that found in raids, with a certain amount of time invested. This patch might be interesting if Blizzard could somehow remove the end tier talents from the new talent trees and used the old PvP ranking system.

  3. Coffeetime says:

    I’m of the mindset that bugs and glitches need to be fixed, of course, as it betters the game as a product. But I do also believe some things need to be brought up to speed, but only some minor changes. Look at soulstones, for example, and no I don’t mean how they work or function. I mean more on the side of them taking up bag space. Switch the fact of them taking up an entire bag or two’s worth of space and allow them to be stackable.
    I also would not mind mounts and pets to be in the current WoW format where they don’t take up bags pace either, and instead are learned. Per character, not per account. Small, quality of life changes like forgiving bag space like these two, I think, are good ideas but by no means are too much change for the game. Quality of life, but not to the severity of an LFD system for extreme convenience. In terms of aesthetics, the race model updates and druid forms could easily come into the game too and again I don’t think that’s gamebreaking. I think that’s along the terms of polishing an old game but changing no gameplay.
    Lastly, I think some specs and classes are rendered a little useless and this will immediately call of updates and maintenance once people learn they are extremely weak comparatively to other classes/specs. Balance was an issue in Vanilla, make no mistake about it. Don’t need to update spells themselves or add/remove them, but number tweaking should exist before the game would release again. Look at a druid, the feral, boomkin, etc. You’re a druid? You’re healing, sorry. Why? They rocked and their dps counterparts were not helpful. Every raid will be the same classes in certain roles without some number tweaking to bring the poor performing specs/classes up to date. For further insight on how to do that, talk over things with the Nost. team and WoW community streamers/youtubers who played Vanilla. Figure out what worked well back in the day and what was never played and address how to make them equal to create more choice in the game.
    Essentially, if it helps the game in terms of clutter, ease of access and quality of life, bring it up to date but do not change the game itself too much more than that.

  4. pcampos says:

    thanks for doing everything you’ve done so far, I really hope Blizzard listens and creates a legacy server. I think staying as close to the original design as possible is a good philosophy for legacy servers. However, even with some QoL changes I would definitely still play.

    I know I am biased, but I think Blizzard should move on this quickly. Announcing legacy servers around the same time as the upcoming movie would be great timing to both reach a lot of former players and get them interested in seeing the movie.

  5. Battlex199 says:

    You know what would be cool? if there was a button or toggle option kinda like the remade version of Halo 1 and 2 where it’ll go back to the old school graphics and old models and then back to the new graphics and models just simply pushing a button or toggle.

  6. Viv says:

    I am in the “change as little as possible” camp. I think there’s definitely room to make very minor changes that don’t affect balance, mechanics, or progression. I agree with all of the bullet points entirely. Bug fixes definitely have their place. LFG/LFR, flying mounts, etc are definitely the devil, but not all convenience features. There’s such a thing as a good and a bad convenience feature, for sure. But the game should be almost exactly the same as it was. My opinions on it all are as follows:

    What Shouldn’t Be Changed?
    On a broad level, cross server things should not exist. Every server should be independent so server pride can exist like it used to. Faction transfers should not exist. On a more in-game level, questing, in all of its grind and strange flow, needs to stay exactly the same. Dungeons and raids and their bosses should stay exactly the same. Battlegrounds should all be exactly as they were then, with potentially one exception which I’ll go into later.

    Progression “gates” should stay exactly as they were, such as attunements, resistance gear, hydraxian quests, low drop rates on awesome gear, reputation grinds, class and crafting specialization quests, etc. PvP progression should be exactly the same with the old school honor system. Features that didn’t exist in vanilla should still not exist in vanilla, such as transmogrification, dual spec, arenas and ranked bg’s, and achievements. While I think dual spec would be great as a mage who only ever had the option to be frost in raiding until Zul’Gurub and onward, I understand that it should remain out of the game because of how important of a gold sink it is for the economy. Class balance and talent trees should be exactly the same to preserve the feeling of being back in vanilla, and everything should work off of patch 1.12.1 (without cross realm battlegrounds).

    What Should Change?
    I could take or leave the character model updates. If they exist, it definitely needs to be a toggle option. There are certain UI changes I wouldn’t mind, but they aren’t crucial to add at all. For instance, I wouldn’t mind if there was an enemy cast bar. That’s one thing that over time has become somewhat of an annoyance. I also wouldn’t mind if there was a gear set manager. Coordinates on the minimap would be nice, but can be handled with an addon. Inventory auto sorting I believe should definitely be added for both the bags and the bank. Being able to mess with talents before locking them in should exist, so you don’t accidentally spend points you didn’t want to spend. AOE looting I wouldn’t have a problem with being added. Alterac Valley potentially shouldn’t have mines all over the ground. If it does, I am ok with it, but I think it was kind of an unnecessary element since the rest of it was hard enough as is.

    What am I uncertain about?
    I’m not sure how I feel about adding more functionality to the API for addons to be created for the vanilla version. I feel like it would open the flood gates to game changing addons that shouldn’t exist, but I also wish certain addons could exist that the API didn’t support in vanilla that would be very useful for making life easier.

    That’s about it for what I can think of off the top of my head. So, in conclusion, nearly everything should be exactly like it was back then, except perhaps adding REAL convenience features that don’t affect balance, progression, or interaction with the world and others.

    • Viv says:

      I do, however, think that if they give the option to manually COPY your character to a Burning Crusade server, that it would be nice this time around if the game had been tracking all the things you did behind the scenes, so that when achievements are put in the game in that expansion, what we did in vanilla actually populates into the achievement progress. I was annoyed when it was added and most of the crap I did wasn’t in there. Especially since I was a hardcore rank 13 PvPer who played nonstop and almost assuredly completed every single one of those achievements. Felt bad bro πŸ˜›

  7. Kxmode says:

    The only change I’m okay with is integrating vanilla into Bnet2, in additional to any modern-day improvements to detect bots, exploiters, hackers, and gold farmers. Nostalrius can help them with this since they made very powerful tools.

  8. HelzBelz says:

    I agree to a point Mark. I do not want content changed at all. I want content as close to official Blizzard content as possible. My group of friends only seem to want management tools added that made WOW easier to chew on for people with less play time.

    3 things they want

    In Game Calendar and IPhone App. So we can sign up for raids and when ready for invites we can click one button to invite. Add to that we can sign up on our phone for an event. Also message friends in game when coming comes up

    Saving Dungeon and Raid Progress. This if implemented back in Vanilla and TBC and not WOTLK would have been a God send for us. I remember having to time our AFK breaks in both Vanilla and TBC because our last raid day was only a few days from reset and couldnt get back to finish up the raid. I think extending the raid lockout would be great.

    Guild Banks. I hate to say it but when a person running a guild bank in Vanilla who had enough Dark Iron and Dark Iron gear for which we could have geared up 2 other tanks; we wouldn’t have had a progression problem when the person went Full Nerd Rage. If it was in today’s Guild bank Blizzard would have restored the bank to full.

    None of these are major changes in the way of changing the PVE, or PVP content of the game. It just helped out with manage of a guild more than anything. And these changes will not change guilds being social or guilds being able to do the content. It might help out guilds like the one ZG\AQ20 guild I was in for a little bit during Vanilla WOW. They had to cancel so many Raids because people were not signing up on the calendar yet were online for raid times. Also they didnt have people that had enough time to run the guild bank. Add to that when they did raid it took them 2 days just to Hexxer and never be able to get farther because of the resets.

    Honestly my friends and I all have been talking about Classic WOW. We want TBC because that would be workable for us being 15 or so raiders the other 13 people are non raiders just want to play for the fun and would be good with 5 mans. For the 15 of us TBC would be perfect because we could do Kara and ZA without much trouble and might team up with another guild for 25 mans. If we didn’t get TBC and we got Vanilla we would want to do 20 man raids. The extra help was added after the fact in WOW would be a tremendous help in Classic WOW.

    Again I want to change as little as possible. No change on Content or the social aspect (AKA LFD/LFR) of WOW. I just want to make organizing a raid easier than it was in Vanilla. I know what it’s like when you have problems with an Add-on trying to export your website calendar signup into your invite tool just so DKP can be properly configured. I sat and waited 20 minutes one day for my tools guy to manage it then as Raid Leader I invited people and started pulling because people were going to quit.

    • HelzBelz says:

      Again if I get TBC servers I really could care less about the Calendar, Bank, and saving raid progress because my group of friends and I can manage that all without any effort. It’s just when we get past our old raid group does problems with management come up. My group we can text each other what is going on. If we add 5 to 10 people they might not socially work in our circle so we wouldnt want them to have our numbers hence the IPhone App.

  9. nebulon says:

    If the bugfix means fixing “stayincombat” bug why not. Other stuff like LFR, stupid calendars, iphone stuff.. Oh god. Authists with iphones hunting yellow arrow on minimap.
    Please let the vanilla as it was on Nost. 9K ppl from around the world was amazing experience. (During the peek, wtih 13Kppl or more the game was barely playable).
    Also do we really need updated models? Who has time to check if the model is updated or not?
    IMHO, I’m afraid if the Blizzard bring vanilla back it will be worse than better.

  10. JollyRoger says:

    I WANT TO SPARE MONEY TO FINALLY BUY MY FIRST MOUNT AT LEVEL 40 (or level 41 to 54, if I am a noob)!
    I WANT TO … etc.


  11. justinasme says:

    Better to leave it the hell alone.

    If we want to change something, first question should be a player cap. If we going to change player cap, respawning system will need to be modernized too. If we modernize respawning system, maybe we should modernize something else too and so on…. There will be no end for changes and we will see that we playing some kind of classic wow and modern wow hybrid, but its not what we want. Bugs, exploits are different story. Also legal cheats ( I mean addons) should be reconsidered.

  12. chizzum says:

    I read talk about what patch that should be used for legacy, am i delusional in thinking that they would only have the 1.12.1 server core version stored still and not the other major patches? For a true vanilla experience the patches should also be deployed incremental as they were back then so if they still have all the different server core versions then deploy them with a specific timeline similar to what was done the first time.

    if they don’t then tough luck i suppose πŸ™

    I would also fall into the categorey of changing nothing (except bugs that are fixable), we wan’t a replica of how it was back then nothing else, atleast that’s what my idea of what a “legacy server” means.

    • chizzum says:

      i forgot to add that if we use only the 1.12.1 patch as current private servers there would have to be included ALOT of rebalancing / retuning of classes / raid content or everything before naxx would become trivial content just like it is on private servers currently and i don’t think anyone would want anything like that at all not to mention it would be a huge undertaking for the legacy dev team.

  13. hobospices says:

    Please, no character model changes either. It seems to me that the unlikelihood of Blizz doing legacy servers rises with each demand for a change, and I don’t think the new character models add anything worth having. The orcs are now massively mis-shapen, with heads far too large to be supported by their bodies. Male trolls now run like overly endowed girls in gym class. The faces of gnomes now look like they’ve had long-term drinking issues. Gaining this is not at all worth risking the possibility of legacy.

    Let’s take what we can get, and be happy with it – the bugs and imbalances were part of the experience. Start the changes rolling with one minor pebble, pretty soon we have an avalanche of user-suggested changes and developer-inspired changes, leading back to the unplayable current retail game.

  14. Louk says:

    There are a few small QoL things that I wouldn’t mind being added, but don’t make or break it for me. Mounts and pets having their own window, not taking up bag space. Larger stable for hunters, being able to swap pets without hitting a stable was nice the same idea as the keyring. Doing away with a quiver as well, hunters basically were down an entire bag in storage space for vanilla and it was annoying. Again this isn’t make it or break it stuff.

    The one thing that I think should be added, and I’ll probably get flack for this, is reforging armor. For some specs, there just was no armor until late in Vanilla. Reforging would help that issue, a lot.

  15. Skarn says:

    Hello, Mark. First of all, I want to thank you for what you are doing for the most part of WoW emulation communtiy that actually wants legacy servers and thus tries to do it on its own sometimes, like Nostalrius.

    I personally think that it makes no sense to change anything in the game in terms of gameplay. People want legacy servers back for a reason. They want to see the same game again, play old content, old storyline, visit old places and so on. Changing something in a gameplay way would make it closer to the recent retail version which is something that some people are trying to avoid by playing on legacy for their own reasons which are all different. Let’s just say that it would contradict the initial purpose of the whole Nostalrius’ and your campaign.

    However, since there is a game that could potentially be relaunched there is still a possibility to change some things without damaging the visual and gameplay atmosphere. First of all, that refers to design part of the game. I suggest a few things that will undergo changes in this aspect. First of all, as I have already said on Twitter (even with picture references) classic pre-Cata world is full of undeveloped spots which can sometimes be seen by players. I am not proposing removing easter egg spots that could be explored, I am proposing fixing bugs. Moreover, there are simply small minor bugs all around the world. On some old zones like Westfall, Stranglethorn and many others, textures (alphamaps, MCAL) are stored in a bugged way (legacy of pre-release builds) which are hacked fixed in a horrible way that sometimes results into little lines on chunk borders. Lava underneath the Blackrock mountain has a huge nasty texture gap. See what I am talking about? That was fully understandable in 2005 when such a big game was produced, but it is a no time job to fix now. So, this is the kind of bugs that I suggest fixing not mentioning gameplay exploits, potential abuse spots and other important things.

    Another thing that I would suggest is using better graphics. I am not sure about the vanilla game client, but on 3.3.5a one that I mess with there are in-built support for higher render distance, bigger grass density, procedural water shader and many more, though turned off and inaccessible for players for probably performance reasons. In one of old pre-vanilla leaked videos I have seen animated shoreline waves for water that looked more realistic than in Cata. in 2016 these thing can be enabled as the PCs are more powerful than they used to be.

    And the last thing I want to propose is the asset update. First of all, as far as we can see from WoD it can be controlled by the graphics settings, thus it makes no issue for people loving old rusty look (I do not have something against it), just turn it off and enjoy low-poly mode. Same thing can be done to creature models. And i even have a proof! http://www.model-changing.net/forums/topic/120-wipwod-retro-porting-to-classic-wow-112/?page=1 Here is the content taken from WoD to Vanilla by a modder from our community. So, character models that can be turned on and off would be a good feature. Moreover, if you are afraid that the game client will be too big because of having two versions of some creatures and so on, there is also a solution. Two years ago I repacked 3.3.5a client by removing developer maps, repeating assets and merging patches to 9GB (original size is 16GB) without loosing anything that is used in the game. So, just clean up some mess and take new good looking things on board instead.

    I hope it was useful. Sorry for my English that has probably died while I was writing this wall.

  16. Lashab says:

    I understand this “We want to preserve the Legacy” and stuff but I am sure players who love vanilla wow, love it because of its features – immersive world, group quests and challenging quests and etc. Saying that everything in vanilla wow was perfect, is exaggeration but the gameplay it had was best and lot of things, including linear questing, LFG/LFR and others ruined it.

    So some minor changes, adding few more quests, changing few models and etc. should not be a problem. It would not take more than a week for developers to add some class quests and change some other game mechanics. Not that it’s important, I would play anyway, but still.

  17. Keevalroy says:

    I meant to post this on the previous update, but tendinosis has made things…”difficult.” I also felt I should bring this up here since it’s the most up-to-date and more likely to be seen.

    This is a concern about the character copying to the next expansions once those servers become available (if that’s the way it will work in the end.) I’m probably not going to get support for this, and perhaps I’m missing an obvious fix, but I see an economic disaster occurring if character copying happens.

    Here’s the situation: Let’s say after 2 years or so on the Vanilla server, the BC realms are released, and I’m ready to transfer some of my guys with their full inventories. Let’s also say after preparations have been made, I have 2,000 gold built up across my whole character list. Now here’s where the problem is. What’s to stop me from sending all my gold to my main, copying him over to BC, logging back into Vanilla, sending that 2k to an alt, copying him over, and upon logging into BC, I have DOUBLE what I should have…and that’s just two characters.

    An idea might be to compile all of your gold automatically, and your first character copy will have all of it, however, that doesn’t solve the problem completely. I have 5 friends who likely will be on these legacy realms. What’s to stop us from sending our money to each other, copying one at a time, and after every successful transfer, continue to pass that gold to the next in line? Because we’re potentially able to to this, that makes the first situation less horrible in a small group, but exponentially worse if a large guild were to be on board with this.

    You also can’t simply take a snapshot of the realm list to make those problems go away either – think about the people who started late, maybe toward the end of the Vanilla server content while everyone prepares for BC realms. If they get to 60 and stay there for a while when the snaphot happened months ago, when they’re ready they might log into BC with a few silver instead of a few hundred gold. A solution could be loading into BC with a set amount of gold after copying, and subsequent copies would have significantly less (or none at all) gold. Again, I might be missing something obvious, but a transfer instead of a copy, no matter how much I don’t like it, seems to be the healthiest option.

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  21. Lashab says:

    The small changes that some of us want isn’t all that bad.

    1) Guild Bank was awesome addition to the game which did not exist in Vanilla.

    2) Addition of few more class quests. Obtaining at least 1 item unique to your class every 10 levels is great.

    3) Improvement of professions – more craftable items(some rares which require very rare mats) and improvement of Fishing. Blacksmithing had a “broken sword”(which needed reforging) quest which was pretty cool.

    4) Item tweaking – some cloth items had strength on them and some plate had too much spirit. [This isn’t a big deal, but still]

    5) The fact that you could send several items in mail did not exist in vanilla.

    These things which I mentioned and some others which I didn’t, don’t change the game at all. It is just for improving the experience and the gameplay.

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