On Monday, Blizzard launched World of Warcraft Classic and it hit nearly a million viewers on Twitch before the servers even went live. When the floodgates opened, the server problems were surprisingly minimal ... unless you chose to play as one of the more popular races.
As a Tauren Shaman, I started in Mulgore. The number of giant cows grazing for quest items in the starting field slowed the game to a laggy, but playable, mess. I moved at a normal speed, but the Horde players around me flickered in and out of reality. Trying to attack enemies without them getting stolen by another player was frustrating, but surmountable.
After a short break for dinner, most of the mob had moved on. The lag had dissipated. There were still plenty of Tauren around, but the questing experience felt normal for the first time.
But Taurens aren’t quite as popular as some of the other Horde races. Friends of mine who played as orcs, for example, had a worse experience. Rather than brave the masses — attempting to kill monsters before another player could get to it — they went on a pilgrimage after a frustrating first few hours.
Through their starting zone of Durotar, across a channel, into the Barrens, and over to Mulgore they went. A 30 minute run to come quest with the Taurens. At one point, the game even started to teleport them backward every few feet; one step forward, two steps back. But by all accounts, their experience ended up better with the Taurens than with the orcs.
Not being Tauren, they ran into their own issues in Mulgore. Fewer quests meant they left the zone a bit under-leveled. Overall, though, they likely ended a much higher level than they would’ve had they stayed with the pack. But this is a first-night experience only. A week from now, Orcs won’t need to travel three zones away just to get to level 10.
As World of Warcraft Classic ages, players will spread out drastically. Questing will be easier for everyone. The day one population problems are happening because everyone of the same race is bottle-necked in a small area. The more popular the race, the worse time you have.
World of Warcraft Classic did have some other issues, like players randomly crashing out and having to start the multi-hour queue over again. This not only happened to one of my friends, but to World of Warcraft Classic’s biggest streamer: Asmongold.
For a Blizzard launch, the overall experience was surprisingly smooth. But that’s coming from a level 12 Tauren Shaman having a peaceful time grazing in the Barrens. I doubt my Orc friends will be so quick to forget their first day pilgrimage.