World of Warcraft Vanilla took a tumultuous time in my life and united a variety of characters who provided a wonderful outlet and escape from reality in a time when that made sense. It also was a less miserable option, not a superior one. Raiding felt like a job and arranging your life to meet the raid times can be hard if you have anything else to do in the world. There wasn’t Netflix or easier entertainment options available like today and everything back then required a lot of money to do.
It’s not 2005 or 2006 anymore and we don’t have to look at something like WoW: Classic as a chore or something we need to race to level 60 in to get the best raid guilds. Most WoW players back in the day were casuals, making up most of the players and is why the game evolved into such a casual game – the majority of playing users were casual. The hardcore players were the ones who demanded harder challenges and you can nearly map the game’s difficulty curve.
In The Burning Crusade they softened the game by adding smaller raids like Kharazan, easier to obtain purps and finally Sunwell island which rained purps on the players. Wrath of the Lich King was very accessible, but still hard. Hybrids had expanded roles and could actually DPS and tank, a big change over from earlier expansions. The end of the expansion featured players walking from to back in dungeons AoEing the entire game down and complaining how easy it was and how much work it was farming the near infinite amount of purps.
Which Cataclysm came as a kneejerk reaction. They made dungeons “hard” again, until players were able to farm gear and raiding was much more difficult and less accessible. This for many was the “downhill” moment or the expansion that soured them on WoW. Mists of Pandaria quickly brought the game back to being accessible, with the raid finder an integral part of the game and then both Warlords and Battle of Azeroth were effectively single player games with a neat join a raid button and an optional hard mode as PvP was separated from PvE fully and completely and raiding was all about being able to get more gear to do your daily quests faster.
The final nail in the hardcore challenge was the nerfing of PvP servers down to a toggable option if you wanted some more loot from chests and whatnot in the last expansion. These changes wouldn’t have happened so often if the vast majority of the playerbase weren’t casual.
So when it comes to vanilla WoW – don’t be afraid to twink. Don’t be afraid to make 20 alts. Don’t be afraid to roleplay or get stuck for two weeks at the same level because you want to farm materials for you and your friends. Don’t be afraid to grind enemies for fun. Don’t be afraid to play the game the way you want to and don’t let anyone try to tell you how to play.
Games are meant to be fun and embrace it. If you don’t, you’re paying a subscription fee to suffer and there is no rational reason you should.