I'm only going to compare Classic WoW to what I call "The big 3"- ESO, GW2, and SWTOR. Basically: MMOs with big studious and financial back behind, and a lot of hype.
- The social aspect:
In none of the Big 3, i've ever felt the need to group with someone, even though i'm a very social player during the leveling. Yes, you'd sometime join a big groups for Dolmens in ESO or World Bosses in GW2, but it's not the same as grouping up with one, maybe 2 other people to clear a camp of NPCs or simply working out together to complete quests. These small interactions are what usually led my classic WoW friends list to get filled.
In Classic, you get to group with people from the very early stages. Let it be elite quests or caves, filled with mobs. Open world PvP is another big aspect that encourage people to group, and i'll talk about it in my next point.
But it's not only about grouping up with people. It's about actually chatting with them. The "LFG" tool kind of takes out the "Massive online world" feel. It's actually fun to scan the general and talk with people, even if you're not looking for anything.
- Open world PvP:
Does not even exist in ESO or GW2 (stopped playing swtor back in 2014 but it wasn't that active even then).
The biggest con about having an open world PvP relates to my first aspect: it's encouraging you to group up with people, and it makes the whole way more dynamic and interesting. One moment you're peacefully killing an NPC, and 5 seconds later you find your self in a PvP fight with others. It's those small moments where you see parties from both sides playing on the same area, and you can just feel the tension in the air.
Now, I know that you do trade with people in every single of the "Big 3", but there are still few differences. First, professions. In classic, you'd actually sell your goods from the early levels. A blacksmith will always find costumers for his weapons or armor between the levels of 1-40. Same Goes for tailors who sell their bags or even trade them for mats.
It's also has to do with the whole itemization system. When everything scales down to fir your ass and level, you don't really feel the need to sell or trade items with others. Generally, items have less effect, compared to classic WoW. You don't feel the urge to chase after specific drops until end game, where in classic you'd sometimes farm instances for them.
Also, you're not as excited to get a rare drops randomly. Maybe it's just me, in none of the Big 3 you really feel lucky to get a rare/epic item, since their drop rates are much, much higher than classic WoW. So it's also kind of pointless to trade them with others (until endgame).
Another thing the boosts the whole trading activity is the fact that you actually need to put up some work to get your first mount at level 40. So you got a reason to either sell goods, either from a gathering profession or a simply items.
It's about standing in the middle of one of the big cities or even using the map's local chat and shout for others to buy your goods. This is something that, for me, is missing in the Big 3.
- End game
Yes, every single of the big 3 offers way more end game opportunities compared to classic WoW, but all of them are missing one key idea that kept me going: No specific PvP stats and items.
Sure, you'd be better off farming those honor items of the higher ranks, but you could still find very useful PvP items in raids. You actually had a reason to raid as a PvPer. You could combine the top drops, especially weapons, with some of the Honor items and still kick some ass.
I know- Each aspect that i've brought up probably has some cons. ESO has a better PvE, GW2 has a better combat system, SWTOR has a better personal story; but it's not about what they have. It's about what they're missing, from my point of view.
I've been trying each of these games, maybe not for long enough. I've been playing SWTOR for 3 months since it's launch, stopped and came back only to see that you can now drink coffee while watching your companions owning mobs. I've played GW2 but felt like the items had no meaning (stats wise) and simply lacked the reason to work to get them. Same thing happened in ESO.
I've been trying to get back to each of these game more than once but simply couldn't keep my self interested after 2 months of playing. Unlike Classic WoW, which kept me busy for almost a whole year. This is not about the nostalgia and how I think i remember it – I've been actually playing on the most popular vanilla servers for the last 3 years and still hyped for the official Classic release.
You're welcome to share your thoughts of the subject. Do you miss other aspects of vanilla WoW? Are there some aspects that you're glad none of the modern Western MMOs have?
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