Now that WoW Classic has been released, we can safely compare it to the standing Retail version of WoW. I will compare the 2 in terms of Storyline, Gameplay, Visuals, as well as give you some of my personal thoughts. Without further ado:
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Provided that WoW Classic is simply the oldest version of Retail WoW, it should be fairly obvious that Retail has much more story and quests than its Classic counterpart.
That said, WoW Classic does have some of the older dungeons not currently available to Retail WoW (as the dungeon list is always updated with every new update), meaning that it does have storyline elements not available to Retail, but if we talk about sheer volume of storytelling, Retail easily wins.
Now here’s where it gets complicated.
You see, it’s been more than a decade’s difference between the 2 games. Obviously, as a constantly updating game, Retail WoW has lots of differences.
Let’s start with the simpler ones, like the leveling system.
Retail WoW has double the level cap of Classic Wow, with it being 120 (!) levels compared to Classic’s 60 levels. That’s why Retail has the whole leveling system more or less refined around its cap.
What that means is that in Retail WoW, you’ll be sharing your level with that of the mobs you’re battling, making for much easier mass leveling.
On the other hand, dragging more than 2 mobs in Classic will probably spell death for you. Questing is also that much easier on Retail than on Classic.
Questing is a whole different issue here. But to finish about the leveling. It’s much easier to level on Retail and much more grindy on Classic. This makes Classic more rewarding to level.
Back to questing. As most things, it’s much easier in Retail than Classic. This makes it so that quests feel less personal in Retail, as you spend minimal time and invest minimal resources in them.
Now, on to the talents and skills.
Classic WoW unlocks the talent tree by level 10. Afterward, for every level, you earn 1 talent point per level. Retail works similarly, but gives you a talent point every 15 levels instead to accommodate for the higher level cap.
That does not mean that their talent trees are identical however. Classic’s talent tree system is problematic at best. This was a huge problem back then.
The problem is that every class in Classic has only 1 optimized build path and most talents out of the optimal path (and some inside of it) are borderline useless.
In Retail, every class is more closely tied to its talent tree, and every talent tree offers you between at least 1 meaningful option among the talents.
It’s a bit different about the skills though. Retail WoW gives you fewer skills to manage, and they are based on your current specialization.
Classic on the other hand has way more skills for each class and are optimized to do more things, but having so many skills to manage can be quite hard.
All in all, Classic is much harder to master on this regard.
Especially in PvP scenarios, in Retail, a good player can show by their clever use of their abilities.
In Classic however, that’s just the half of it. You must also be great at managing every spell you have and make sure you play it at the right time.
Of course, there are the races and classes. Classic WoW has fewer races and also, no race from the Horde can be a Paladin, and no race from the Alliance can be a Shaman.
Retail WoW also has more classes with 12 against the 9 of Classic. However, due to the restrictions I mentioned, and since you can’t have characters in the Alliance and in the Horde, effectively, the number of classes to choose from in Classic is 8.
The Retail WoW has mostly upgraded graphics but since we are talking about WoW, they are pretty similar.
However, Blizzard did improve upon Classic’s base graphics, so newer players can experience the hardships of old without getting a headache from the dated graphics.
There is also the the option to actually have the graphics exactly as they were, if you are that kind of person.
Through the comparison, it became pretty obvious that Classic is (much) harder than
Now, you may see that most players prefer the Classic WoW. That is in part due to nostalgia.
My personal opinion is that new is (almost) always better. Sure, it’s important to look back and see how we got here. and we should always appreciate our legacy.
But we must move on. Sure, Retail WoW is not perfect. Far from it. But that is what WoW is now. And it has more classes. And races. And areas. And lore.
I know that my opinion is controversial, but that’s how I feel. Most will prefer the old system of countless grinding, but the newer system is much ore new player
What I really hate is people wanting to play one of the versions and disregarding the other with no valid arguments.
In the end, play both as if you own one you get the other for free.
However, if you are low on budget, I highly suggest that you play Classic first.
To play Retail if you are new means that you have to pay for the newest expansion, and you cam try out the basis of the game in Classic and then decide if you want to have an expanded universe and lore.
What you need to keep in the end is that Classic needs more grind and feels more like the traditional experience of MMORPGs (it is their forefather after all), and Retail is more optimized around quickly leveling up so you can play with friends and be a more casual experience.
That’s it for my comparison and opinion. What do you think? Which of the 2 versions do you prefer? Do you agree with my opinion? Let me know in the comments.
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Here is the link for the images I used: