I need to start this by saying, most people probably did not have the experience I did. If you play on a server with a healthy population please understand that my time in TBC classic could not be further from what you played. You played what I expected to play, a game with hundreds of people, groups running dungeons, raids, PVP, auction houses bursting at the seams with items. What did we experience on Kirtonos Alliance? 30 players on at peak hours, less than 2000 items in the auction house, and not even enough players to form a group for Slave Pens. Yes, you read that correctly. For anyone who is thinking well why not just transfer to a more populated server, you are the problem with gaming in 2021. I am not going to pay Blizzard $25 to switch servers when they should be merging them. If you support "services" such as the server transfer you are directly incentivizing the company to make future decisions based on how much money they can make and not what's best for the game.
I planned on doing a traditional review of the re-released expansion but I can't in good faith do that because I didn't finish the expansion and I'm never going to. In the weeks leading up to TBC's launch, we were excited as hell, hopping back into classic WoW, getting to experience what is regarded as the best expansion of all time. But when I logged in during the two-week prepatch I was in a guild that only had 30 people in it when previously there were hundreds, the LFG chat was full of people saying goodbye, the auction house was deserted, nobody was raiding or farming mats for gold anymore. My server had died a month before TBC came out, along with the server dying so did my hype. When I walked the streets of an empty Stormwind and couldn't even find a group for Alterac Valley I knew TBC was ruined.
But we did not allow that to stop us, we still had hope, thinking many people of course would come back and resub for the launch of TBC classic, we thought people would want to play on a lower pop server to avoid being endlessly camped in Hellfire Peninsula. With hope in our hearts, we headed through the dark portal, my two friends FadedKrampus and MinkusFinkus never seeing Outlands before were awe-struck, for me, it was a feeling of returning to a place I once knew. Do you know what happened 5 hours after we initially stepped through the portal? We were already done with the expansion. Any hope we had of returning players, or new players coming to a low population realm clearly did not happen. On TBC launch night we could barely find a group for Hellfire Ramparts, and when we did fill the group our tank was a boosted character so his gear was horrendous and we wiped time and time again.
We were defeated after launch day which should have invoked the exact opposite reaction in us, I remember playing alone on Classic's launch day on the same server and playing for 15+ hours without stopping. I was longing for that same experience but this time with friends. That experience never came, even after weeks of playing the game it never captured us as it should have. What actually ended up happening was after a week of playing in a desolate server myself and FadedKrampus had a talk about TBC, about how disappointed we were and how we would both rather spend our time playing other games and pumping out content for this site. We mutually agreed, however, to give it one more chance and really try to squeeze out as much enjoyment from the game as possible. Plain and simple it wasn't there.
World Of Warcraft is an MMO, that stands for massively multiplayer online and while the server was online that's about it, there was no massive player-base, and there was hardly even a multiplayer aspect to it. Getting a group to do anything is near impossible, I personally leveled to 66 and that's where I'm stopping, we never had one dungeon group where each player was actually specced and geared for that role, it was always a DPS that had to tank or a DPS ended up having to heal because quite simply to get five Alliance players together on this server was about 25% of the servers entire population. Not only could we not do dungeons, one of my favorite things in all of WoW are professions and I went right into jewel crafting, I had farmed mats in prepatch and got my skill level to 300 the day of TBC's launch. Once I had some patterns and an inventory of gems I tried selling them, the problem was there was nobody to buy them. I was the only jewel crafter on our server that had gems and was trying to sell them and I only ever sold a handful.
So all of this leads to the fateful day last week, FadedKrampus whispers to me in-game as were mind-numbingly farming mobs for a quest that he wants to quit TBC, and I agreed. We told Minkus the next day that this is it, one more run-through blood furnace together as a group, some high-value death rolls in Stormwind, and finally getting everyone their epic riding. That was the end of TBC classic for us, Minkus still carries on as a brave little solo soldier out there.
Blizzard has not only ruined the current retail version of their game, but now they've ruined the classic version too. Classic was supposed to be the place we could get away from the in-game shops and the microtransactions that ruined the game in the first place, and the original launch of Classic was just that, it was perfect. TBC is littered with microtransactions, the most heinous of which is the character boost, but potentially even worse than that was the server transfers. These options did not exist back when TBC actually launched and they never should've existed in classic TBC. The day Blizzard allowed server transfers, my server as well as many others died with no hope of being saved. Blizzard needs to merge dead servers together but they will not do it as long as people are paying for the transfer, it's not about the $25, it's much bigger than that, and I know my $15 a month isn't going to hurt the titan that Blizzard is. It's about sticking to morals and not supporting business tactics that actively make gaming worse and incentivize companies to make decisions for end-of-year profit margins over enhancing players' experiences.
Blizzard, you single handily ruined TBC classic, a game that could've been incredible and if you played your cards right this review would've been full of praise instead of nothing but ridicule, but you didn't and you spit in the face of your most dedicated player group. Your game is going to die sooner than later once Wrath Of The Lich King classic comes out in a year or two, you have no content that will retain any player base. Your retail content is garbage and nobody wants anything past WOTLK for classic, more people play FFXIV than play retail WoW, if that doesn't open your eyes then nothing will. As a player for over 14 years on and off, that was my final sub to you ever. I can honestly say I will sit back and smile the day I see the headline "WoW going offline". You were the chosen one and instead of becoming the best game of all time, you took a dark route down corporate ownership and quarterly earnings. Unless you plan to play on one of the highest population servers in the game, do not waste your time with TBC classic.