The Ghost of Patches Past. (Classic WoW)

August 8th, 2008

With all of the news coming out of Northrend, people are all abuzz with opinions about the upcoming changes to every class and game mechanic.  This has made me look back and think about all the patches that have happened before, and as someone who has been playing since almost the very beginning, it’s amazing to look back and think about things that were not originally implemented but have become almost banal to the current player.  I know many people who didn’t even start playing until after Burning Crusade, so they might not even know how it used to be!

So I’m going to look back over the major patches and discus changes that really had an impact on me, and the game in general… good OR bad.

I’m going to start with Patch 1.3, because that’s as far back as my little memory can really remember the changes.  I’ll only cover 1.3 to the last patch before Burning Crusade, because it’ll get pretty huge.  I’ll do another post come Monday for the rest!

Patch 1.3

Meeting Stones – Epic fail.  These stones were intended to replace the LookingForGroup channel, but they were clumsily implemented.  You had to go to the entrance of an instance to put yourself in the queue, and the meeting stone would stick you in a group that it deemed had the appropriate classes for a group.  Yes, sometimes this meant a shadow priest, 3 rogues and a shaman.  Because no one used them, so you’d be stuck with what they gave you.  Boo, meeting stone!

Reincarnation – No longer causes resurrection sickness. At the time, my main was a Shaman, so I do remember this change.  Can you imagine if this was still true?  What a useless spell it would be, although I guess you generally wait 10 minutes to recover from a raid… it would make it very ineffective as a way to pop back up during combat.

You can now have multiple action bars on screen at the same time. I know a lot of people who do not use bar mods these days.  Without this simple change, I doubt that would be true at all.

Quest Tracking – This patch, quest tracking was added… a very useful feature, saving you from having to constantly press L to check how many more Worg Hearts you need!

Patch 1.4 – Patch 1.5

PvP Honour System – This now defunct system was quite exciting to have… it was the first chance to gain titles, and it really gave a purpose to killing or avoiding killing people.  This is where my shiny “Stone Guard Brajana” and “Scout Ferguson” titles came from!

BATTLEGROUNDS! The emergence of Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley!  Sure, they were still rough… you had to go to the actual entrance (Alterac Mountains or Ashenvale) to get in… but man, it was cool!

Meeting Stones ‘fixed’. But not really.  Blizzard has taken a long and winding road getting to where they are nowadays with the LFG system.  Patch 1.5 brought in the ability to join a meeting stone queue from the zone’s innkeeper, rather than having to go all the way to the dungeon… because that’s a lot better, right?

Patch 1.6 – 1.8

Looking back, I realize that I may think the game is focussed around arenas nowadays, but there was lots of work put into developing the PvP Battlegrounds System as well!

Battlemasters. Blizzard slowly learns that people do not want to have to go directly to an instance and/or battleground to queue up for it.

Arathi Basin! Ah, my favourite Battleground is born.  I wasn’t high enough for Alterac Valley at this point, and Warsong Gulch was fun, but I was already getting a little tired of it.

Lvl 19 Twinks are born – Warsong Gulch now allows the 10-19 bracket!  Not much else of note (at least to me) in this patch… but wait for the next one!

Patch 1.9

Ahn’Qiraj! The battle begins!  While I wasn’t at a raiding level yet, I was a big fan of the whole Qiraji War Effort – I’d loved all the world events so far, and this was no different.  It was nice to be contributing to something!

Linked Capitals – Ogrimmar is no longer the only place worth hanging out, the AH, Trade channel and LFG channel can now be used no matter what capital city you are in.  This was a smart move, since most of the other capital cities had become neglected.  Org still seems to be the central capital for the horde, but it became a lot less crowded.

Patch 1.10

Weather Effects = cool.  This was not nearly as obvious as people expected it to be, but it has been a nice element added to the game.  Having subtle rain in Tirisfal occasionally makes it feel more “realistic”.

“Final Destination” Flight Paths – No more trips with multiple stop overs – you can go from one place to another and the game will pick the most direct route for you!

Patch 1.11 – Patch 1.12

Stack sizes increased - Okay, this doesn’t sound like a big deal… but man, my bag space doubled after this change!  At this point I was leveling up Brajana, with Skinning and Leatherworking of course, so being able to stack leather in stacks of 20 instead of 10 blew my mind!

Cross-Realm Battlegrounds – This one was under much debate.  Some people objected to it, as they didn’t want to compete with people on different servers or different server types.  But I certainly think it was an excellent change.  No more waiting for an hour to get enough people to start an AV!  Battlegrounds became almost instant.

Scrolling Combat Text - This is an example of how Blizzard has taken an idea presented by the community (from the very popular addon) and incorporated it seamlessly into the game.  I really love Blizzard for doing this,

Well, that’s it for Classic WoW.  At this point in the game, everyone is waiting around impatiently for 2.0 and The Burning Crusade to show up, much like they are waiting today for Wrath of the Lich King!  Monday will be a similar post about Patch 2.0 to the most recent patch, with much more exciting updates!

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6 comments to “The Ghost of Patches Past. (Classic WoW)”

  1. You just took me down memory lane girl, and finally allowed me to date myself! I’m thinking I started playing WoW in earnest somewhere between patch 1.8 and 1.9. I remember helping to open AQ on my NE, and I remember running my fluffy tauren butt all the way out to Silithus at lvl 18 to watch it open.

    I also remember the advent of weather, it felt groundbreaking at the time… OMG IT’S RAINING IN TIRISFALL! And the area would be SWARMED xD it was hilarious.

  2. This helped me place when I played, I remember going trekking over to ashenvale to enter warsong gulch, and my weak attempts at getting a title. I wish they kept the pvp honor, while I never experienced the flaws with it, I loved what I saw.

  3. Haha Tiger, I remember that – people would be reporting weather effects in the global channels and everyone would come running!

    Bremere – I liked the PvP title system, I still don’t completely understand why they switched the system, but I did like being able to get a title without having to be a crazy arena player or something! At least they have more titles for other things now.

  4. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic now. I remember different things and maybe a bit further back, but it’s still pretty darn good.

    To be honest, I really miss the old Battlegrounds back in the day. I sincerely think that the first step of the current decline results from implementing cross-realm Battlegroups. PvP for me used to be a community thing; I’d log in, queue up with friends and see all of those familiar Horde faces in matches. We’d fight, we’d laugh, we’d emote, and then we’d go to the forums and thank our opponents for the fun that we’d had.

    If they had increased the incentive to PvP as opposed to forcing the pool of potential contenders to increase we could have avoided that.

    And the title system was a bit overwhelming. On Feathermoon US, I remember the Horde maintaining a High Warlord pool. People would queue up together for matches and watch how much honor each person was making. They’d then bow out of matches so that a specific person would be top for that week. The idea was to cap the amount of time required to achieve Rank 14. However, get more than the amount of Honor assigned to you by the group — even if you weren’t in the group — and you’d be harassed, ridiculed, and left without ally on the battlefield.

    It was a horrible abuse of the system and one that I thoroughly loathed watching it from the Alliance sidelines.

  5. Cynra – You do make excellent points. I agree, it was always nice to see familiar faces, build friendly rivalries, work with people you know when it comes to battlegrounds… But I do feel the cross-realm change was pretty necessary. The wait was just too long, especially for people playing at strange hours. I know that the only time I usually had to do a BG was like 6am on Saturdays, not exactly the most popular time of the week! Without cross-realm, I’d never get a group going.

    On my server (Detheroc at the time) we didn’t have such serious problems with the title system, at least not that I knew of. I’m sure there was some amount of that, but it wasn’t enough to ever affect me, really. Then again, I’m pretty casual – I was never aiming to get to High Warlord. I did do more AV than any healthy or sane person should :) But I never heard much about such problems on my server. Maybe I was just lucky!

    But it is good to hear what other people thought of the changes – For most of these changes, I wasn’t even 60, I probably hit 60 around… patch 1.10. So there were a lot of changes that didn’t have as much of an impact on me as they did on a raider of the day!

  6. Wait…which one is Britney?