It is crazy to think that something that first saw the light of day in 2004 is still so relevant 17 years later, but that is exactly the case with the cultural phenomenon of World of Warcraft. A video game title that came out almost two decades ago is still going strong in 2023. Not only is the game still popular, but it still has millions of active subscribers who actively log in and complete daily content all the time. In its eighth major expansion at the moment, Shadowlands, the most popular MMORPG in history has no plans to stop. It still has a future particularly now when there is a lot going on with the studio behind it and the ideas that the new people working on it have in store.
Warcraft has been a popular franchise before Blizzard Entertainment, now Activision Blizzard owned by Microsoft decided to swap the real-time strategy setting for an online RPG setting. The rich lore, colorful characters, and epic battles only became bigger and more prominent in the new engine and the video game industry was never the same. While its glory days may be behind it due to the fact that the peak player count was achieved more than 10 years ago, it still makes sense to not only talk about WoW but to consider it one of the biggest titles in gaming.
In with the Old
An additional reason for this comes in the form of WoW Classic, a different game from the current live game where the latest Shadowlands expansion exists. Classic is Vanilla WoW remastered for the modern market, but only a little. It is basically the game players got in 2004 with a few performance and gameplay tweaks and updates. Everything else, especially the leveling, quests, dungeons, raids, and PvP are exactly the same when the game first came out. This is something that the fans have been asking forever since newer expansions started to change the game almost beyond recognition. Right now, the “old” expansions in the minds of most players include Vanilla, The Burning Crusade (TBC), The Wrath of the Lich King (WOTLK), and Cataclysm. Everything from Mists of Pandaria onwards, which includes Warlords of Draenor, Legion, Battle for Azeroth, and Shadowlands is considered new. Experienced players in their 30s and 40s who started playing when they were in their 20s miss the old WoW and the only way they could play the old content was on private servers.
Blizzard changed that in 2019 when World of Warcraft Classic came out. Classic runs alongside the main version of the game and it shares the subscription with it while recreating the content in the state before the first expansion. However, that first expansion, TBC, is among the most beloved right next to WOTLK, and players wondered if they would ever get TBC Classic. They did not have to wait long as it actually came out in June of 2023. TBC is still considered one of the best things to happen to the game, but is it still worth playing in 2023? If there weren’t for the Classic version of the game, the answer would probably be no. However, the fact that Blizzard allowed the players to go back some 14 years into the past and relieve the thrilling story of the first expansion changes things and the answer becomes a definite yes. TBC is very much worth playing in 2023.
What Makes It So Good?
The Burning Crusade is dear to players for quite a few different reasons. It is the first expansion so naturally everyone remembers it. But that is only the beginning. The most important thing it brings is the continuation of the major story threads from Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, and its expansion, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. A lot was left unfinished and the fans yearned for more. Vanilla did not really bring a lot of story elements on those fronts, but TBC more than made up for it. The “big bad” trend of the first few expansion was started, with Illidan Stormrage being the iconic end boss of the expansion’s main story. The antihero has always danced on the fine line between hero and villain. In the ultimate battle in the Black Citadel raid instance, we finally put an end to his schemes.
Apart from Illidan, there are many other iconic bosses players known from the older games. These baddies include some of the most popular villains and antiheroes the Warcraft lore has to offer. The Betrayer does wait at the end of the Black Temple, but it is actually Kil’jaeden who is the final boss of the whole expansion. Except for him, other important characters have the roles of end bosses in dungeons and raids, like Zul’jin, Maghteridon, Lady Vashj, Kael’thas Sunstrider, and Archimonde. Mind that downing these bosses used to be harder and more challenging than nowadays in the new expansions. If you need help doing it, make sure to check WoW Boost.
Another reason why it is great to play TBC in 2023 is for the newer players to experience the struggle of fewer race/class combinations. Back in the day, Death Knights, Demon Hunters, and Monks were not yet available. In Vanilla, only the Alliance races could be Paladins and Orc races could be Shamans. TBC changed that when it introduced Blood Elves to the Horde who could be Paladins, and the Draenei to the Alliance who could be Shamans. This brought about a brand new way to play the two factions and both the PvE and PvP were never the same. The rest of the races could also choose from fewer class options than now, which made the players pick the races more carefully.
The Burning Crusade also brought 10 more talent tree points, with powerful 41 point talents. New spells and ranks became available as well as secondary stats. One of the fan-favorite additions was also flying mounts, something that was not available in Vanilla. WoW Classic players who met the original version of the game for the first time got to experience the similar feeling players got all those years ago when flying was first introduced into the game. It was a big deal because it allowed faster travel, mount collection, and cooler overall gameplay. All in all, it is a good idea to try TBC Classic if you already play WoW and have an active subscription. It is a fun look into the past and an experience, unlike anything Shadowlands, can offer you. Try it out while you can, before we get WOTLK Classic. Now that will be a real game-changer!