The WoW community constantly debates whether Retail WoW or Classic is better. Today, I will break down both games and help you decide what game is better given your play style.
Hardcore vs Casual WoW Players
The first thing you need to ask yourself is what kind of player you are. Regardless of which game you decide to play, you will have your fair share of hardcore and casual players. Most hardcore players will end up playing 5-7 days a week, sometimes for 5-8 hours at a time.
Of course, this reflects some top-end hardcore gameplay, but ultimately, it could less time depending on your level of commitment. If you plan on playing more casual, that is alright too. However, you will just have to better utilise your time when you get a chance to play.
Classic WoW Pros and Cons
Both Classic and retail WoW have their pros and cons. No one game is better than the other. Here are the pros and cons for Classic WoW:
Levelling up is more rewarding
In classic WoW, you get new abilities every two levels, and every level after level 10, you get one talent point. This makes the experience of levelling a bit more rewarding as you always feel you are progressing.
The gameplay feels a bit more challenging.
In classic, you have a big tool chest of abilities. This gives you countless options on how to kill things and accomplish feats. If you are trying to be the top DPS in raid content, there is a rotation you must follow. Otherwise, your DPS will suffer.
Epic Quest Lines
In classic WoW, there are a lot of amazing quest chains that make the game feel big. It also makes you feel like what you are doing is an accomplishment. A couple of great examples of this are:
Linken’s Sword of Mastery – This quest has you go across the world trying to help restore Linken’s memory. This quest is closely related to The Legend of Zelda, but it is a great playthrough and incredibly epic.
Onyxia’s Lair Attunement is quite long, but it is an awesome quest line, exposing lady Katrana Prestor as the dragon Onxyia.
Between levelling, gearing up to raid, rep grinds, and world buffs, the game does require you to sink a lot of time into it.
To be a good raider, you will usually be required to get world buffs to make sure your raid goes smoothly. Although this doesn’t sound horrible, it can pose some issues. The main buffs you go for are:
Dire Maul Tribute buffs, which require you to clear Dire Maul and do a tribute run. These buffs last 2 hours.
The Onyxia/Nef Head buff is triggered when someone turns in the quest for the respective heads, but they are on multiple hour cooldowns, so it becomes a game of watching timers.
The Zandalar Heart buff requires you to hand in the heart for the quest. This has no cooldown, but since you don’t have timers to watch, you need to keep an eye out on something like Nova world buffs to know when it’s going out.
Lastly, there is the Song Flower. This requires someone to cleanse the corrupted flower in Felwood. You can only pick the flower once every 25 mins. The long summary of this is that it requires your raid to be coordinated with summoners in all locations and logging in and out to save buffs. Or you can buy them, but this too can be risky, especially if you play on a PVP server.
Pre-raid BIS Grinding
Before raiding, most raids will want you to be in what’s called full pre-raid BIS, which is your best in slot gear that you can get before raiding. This requires you to run multiple dungeons (usually grinding it multiple times due to drop rates). And since the dungeons in classic are mostly longer than their retail counterpart, time quickly adds up. The other issue being some items are pre-raid BIS for multiple classes. So you may find yourself in a dungeon run where you are competing with every person in the group.
Retail WoW Pros and Cons
Good for Casual Players
If you don’t care about being the best of the best, you can play the game casually. There are so many different content pieces that can keep you busy and can be played alone. Between Transmog, Battle pets, running dungeons (since you have dungeon finder), Island expeditions, PVP, LFR (looking for raid), and achievements, you’ll never run out of things to do.
Immersive and Simple
As previously mentioned above, Retail has a lot of content and always feels like there is something to do. The game is also simplified compared to its classic counterpart. Therefore, it does feel a lot easier to be good at the game or achieve a decent skill level.
Catch Up Mechanics
There are lots of catch up mechanics within the game. If you ever miss a patch of content, it’s not difficult to start catching up. Whether it is a new dungeon that outranks the previous ones or the quests reward more rep, you can almost always count on not feeling left in the dust.
Oversimplification and Lack of Skill
Due to everything being simplified, the game feels like it hands you everything. This causes some classes to feel unchallenging or boring as mashing buttons can result in winning.
Some argue this takes the skill out of the game. You also only gain talents every 15 levels, so it feels like you aren’t always progressing your character. Furthermore, the talents themselves don’t feel as fulfilling either.
It can feel like you are overwhelmed with content. It is great to have so many content options. However, it can also feel like you will never finish everything, especially if you are a completionist.
Wrapping it up
Overall both games are good. I am someone who plays both and enjoys them for all of the content they both offer. In the end, it really ends up being on who you are as a gamer and your desired play style. I hope this article was insightful and helps make the choice easier for you.