Should you return to World of Warcraft Classic?
With Phase 6 out now, we have been hearing quite a few more people asking "Is it really too late to join WOW Classic?" and "Have I missed out on classic?" and just those general types of questions. So I wanted to help out a bit and try and answer that question for you the best I can. A lot has changed in the game in the space of nine months between then and now. The real short version is it's your free time but I can understand people want something that's going to be lasting or at least fun for them, especially with a game like an MMORPG where you can really invest so much timeinto it. Let's kick it off with the positives.
TBC(The Burning Crusade) is very likely going to be a thing. I would expect it to be announced at Blizzcon line 2021, which is in February at the very latest on top of this, I'd bet that our current servers will be progressive just as they were back in vanilla, so you should be able to continue on with your character. Once again, this is to be confirmed, but if all goes, how I reckon it will.
Now is a good time as ever to sort yourself out with at least a level 58 character to be able to get through the Dark Portal on the release date. Maybe you tried Classic, but you weren't a fan, or you got burnt out. However, you've heard a lot of good things about TBC, of which there are many improvements, or you just started playing back then, and that's your favorite expansion. You can get some wow gold ready to go get yourself set up with bags, pick your professions you'd like to have, maybe even put enough away to get a flying mount at 70 as well the launch of TBC to look forward to.
Hellfire Peninsula is going to be mad! I'm actually really looking forward to it. In fact, I think the whole world will be incredibly active for a very long-time post-launch too. On top of this, assuming progressive servers, you already have a good look into what kind of server may fit you best. It took a good few months to settle at the start of Classic, especially with the open-world PVP in Phase 2, which made life really difficult for minority factions on PVP servers.
The guilds in the game are always recruiting players, not just for the most recent Raids. This is an excellent reason to pick a larger server. You're more likely to be finding a guild that will still be doing the early end game content. Also, not every single guild is going to be focused solely on Naxxramas. I know there are still guilds out there focusing on clearing the earlier content or just playing a lesser pace, which is fine as an excellent gateway to entry Raiding. The pugging scene for ZG (Zul'Gurub), AQ20 (The Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj), Nixia, and Molten Core are all still pretty healthy depending on your server size, of course. You won't need to do the whole end game pre-base gaming through Dungeons that guys were doing in Phase 1. You can pick up some decent end game gear in a few quests and Dungeons and then just move straight on to the 20 bands, which actually have some potent gear. On top of this, Phase 5 introduced new Dungeon loot and would have definitely changed previous lists back in Phase 1. So those are the things which are definitely in your favor if you're thinking about coming back.
Now I have to go on to the gray areas or not so good bits. Your server might have taken a turn for the worse. Suppose you're on a server that you perhaps started with your friends, and you might not really have a reason to be there anymore because they stopped playing. In that case, it could be time to transfer to a brighter prospect for the future.
If you have a subscription running and are playing Shadowlands, remember you can also play Classic. You can log into a server that you might think fit. Finding a group to run Dungeons or level with can be difficult, so run through leveling zones and do a /who in chat to find others to join Dungeons with. Ask in the general chat or try googling a Discord server and engage in the community yourself. Those are all things I would do if I was considering a new server and finding groups to level with. In my experience, a lot has changed over time. On PVP servers, there is far more boosting, whereas, on PVE, RP, or even RPPVP, there are much more players leveling normally and forming groups. I believe there's a larger population of hardcore players who gravitate towards PVP. For many of them, the game is about the end game content more so than the journey to get to 60, which has led to this kind of thing. You should be aware that if you do enjoy doing Dungeons and a lot of group stuff while leveling.
Let's say you are level 47, and you're coming back now and thinking, man, I really want to see Naxxramas in Classic. I'm not going to lie; you're going to have a real grind ahead of you. Not only will your gearing take a while, but the resistance gear, if your guild's still doing AQ40 for the nature stuff, frost resist for saffron, your consumables, it's all going to be pretty gold intensive for an upcoming player. If you are mega keen on seeing Naxxs, the best way to go would be to join a Discord server check the pick-up groups or alt runs, which are running on it, check the guilds that are advertising Warcraft logs to determine which are clearing AQ40 weekly or reasonably consistently, then try and get some decent starting gear from 20 Mans and show up to their alt runs as a regular. Be a reliable person, be somebody they want to have around and hopefully, some spots are opening up in their main Raid at some point. I think that would be an excellent way to go about it if you're returning, which is quite likely because if you're coming back now, Naxxramas is out! Different guilds are going to be running it for a different amount of time. Warcraft logs can help again here; you can check a guild and see how long they have been doing it consistently If they've been going for a solid year, they aren't going to vanish after a few weeks of KT I imagine there will still be many people clearing Naxxs for a good while, but many guilds are going to have some kind of benchmark as for when they are done.
Maybe they want to get one, two, or three Atiesh's or kit everyone out in tier three or some kind of arbitrary goal before saying, "okay guys, we're taking a break for TBC." Also, on the subject of getting back into Raids, it certainly helps if you are a class/spec, which is in high demand. Coming back now is Enhancement or Ret. I don't want to completely put you off, but life is going to be a lot easier if you're Resto or Holy, for example.
If you're big on the PVP side of the game, it's going to be a rough one as well; you're going to get absolutely dumpstered in battlegrounds, at least at level 60 anyway. I'm not too sure how Battlegrounds look pre-60 if I'm completely honest. PVP is very gear reliant for many classes. Open world PVP is just this, and times itby 10. The guys who open-world PVP frequently tend to be the keenest and most geared. If you remember Alterac Valley being kind of bad months ago, it hasn't changed at all. Alliance barely ever wins outside the holiday weekend, and horde queue times are still hours long, which probably won't improve with TBC either. Other battlegrounds are more even, but there are still regular pre-made at peak times. All in all, It's not entirely as positive of an outlook as it was back in February. Many of the big end game goals for Raiding or high-level PVP still require a lot of grinds to catch back up to.
I reckon there are still a good number of reasons to give classic a try, though, and if you didn't know, there are rumors at the moment that TBC could be a thing as early as May next year. Once again, not confirmed, but if you love that expansion more so than Classic WOW, now just may be the right time to prep your character for that. I personally still find leveling rewarding at any point in time. Dungeon groups are still going as well; it just varies a bit from server to server. The pick-up group scene for 20 man Molten core is basically going to be a thing up until TBC is. If you ever wanted a taste of 40 man Raids or just the end game at the entry-level, it's very accessible. Getting into PVP will be more challenging now. Naxxramas gear is just insane for the majority of classes. AQ40 gear is already excellent, but at this point in time, the burst is going to go just completely off the charts. Raiding Naxxramas will need some real grind if you aren't even 60 yet between playing an in-demand class, farming your consumables, farming your resist gear, and just finding a stable guild in general, that is capable of seeing the Raid through.
So there we go, then that's how I reckon things are looking at the moment. As we started off, it's really is down to you mainly If servers go progressive, then there is kind of a sell-by date on Classic that doesn't mean; however, it's totally the end of Classic, and you will never-never see next until the Lich King. I firmly believe blizzard will keep some version of classic servers around or perhaps even have new servers someday down the line, so don't let this totally demotivate you.