I played World of Warcraft for eight years.

I end-game raided from The Burning Crusade expansion all the way to Mists of Pandaria before I finally decided to retire from the game that I had grown to love. During my time as a WoW player, Blizzard devised a multitude of new and interesting ways to test our collective might in raids. Some of these ideas worked, and some of them… well, didn’t quite work out as well. Nonetheless, I will always fondly remember my time in Azeroth and cherish the friendships that each and every encounter forged. (Many friendships that are still strong as ever to this day.)

Nonetheless, I will always fondly remember my time in Azeroth and cherish the friendships that each and every encounter forged

I started my World of Warcraft journey right before the opening of the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj on the Bloodhoof-US server. I ended up staying there for my entire WoW career. Sadly, I had to watch the server slowly hemorrhage its pool of quality players over the course of time — reducing it to nothing more than an empty husk of its former glory. That glory I speak of was achieved when The Burning Crusade launched and my server, along with so many others were at their height. This was the very first expansion for WoW and it would catapult the game into vast amounts of success.

For myself and many other WoW veterans, The Burning Crusade was our real first taste of hardcore raiding. Gone were the days of a group of 20-25 carrying 10-15 dead weights, AFK a------s in Molten Core and Blackwing Lair. That was the extent of my experience in 40 man vanilla raids: sadly, standing there spamming Flash of Light for 3-4 hours and breaking my Decursive keybind for another hour simply wasn’t all that enjoyable. Needless to say, I drank a lot during that time. In fact, I drank a lot during my entirety with WoW. I guess it numbed the pain of wiping to really stupid s--t attempt after attempt.

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I pretty much looked like this every night in numerous raids.

Anywho, The Burning Crusade was and still is chock-full of my most memorable raiding experiences. Many of us went from scrubbing it up in casual guilds to joining one that was actually competitive on our respective servers. The ones who were already at the top of their game continued to be challenged with new and exciting raid content. Elements from BC that I remember fondly are:

1. Engaging Gruul for the first time.

2. Going into Serpentshrine Cavern with the 45 minute trash respawn timer (Holy s--t was that awful).

3. Seeing Vashj’s bridge open up. (This would later be a “thing” in our guild where new recruits would “Oooh” and “Ahhh” when they saw it.)

4. Getting to the final phase in Kael’Thas, floating around like “Whaaaat, this is crazy!” in a bout of collective nerdgasm on Ventrilo.

5. Being one of three guilds on the server able to enter Black Temple and Mount Hyjal. (I did not like the trash waves or the Archimonde fight… if the wrong person got airbursted — eh, you know what I’m talkin’ about.)

6. Tier 6 loot, ’nuff said.

7. And of course, fighting Illidan. That. Was. Epic.

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This ultimately brings me to the question of “What is World of Corecraft”?

World of Corecraft is an independently coded, private server version of WoW set in the TBC expansion. I personally don’t have much experience with private servers but they started gaining more substantial popularity around the time of WotLK. Since the reverse engineering method wasn’t as good as it is now, a lot of the bosses in the early private servers from TBC and even some WotLK ones were completely broken due to the abilities/timers being server side.

Other than nostalgia, people are also looking for that sense of “challenge” that they’ve found lacking in the more recent WoW expansions.

As of right now Corecraft will use the content patch of 2.0.3 which includes Serpentshrine Cavern/Tempest Keep. The talents are at 2.4.3 which would be the Sunwell patch that cleaned up a lot of balance/tuning issues with the classes/specs. Choosing a lower content patch is probably to give them time to work on BT/MH/Sunwell while the people playing spend time grinding away for gear to take on Vashj and Kael’Thas for the Black Temple/Mount Hyjal keys.

I personally miss the keying/gating aspect of the game; I was a little sad when they removed them but at the same time I completely understand the fact that at the end of the day Blizzard spent money making the content and wanted more people to experience it.

Seeing as how the trend of making servers for Vanilla style games or certain periods of games has been growing in popularity along with the free to play model I can see why this project already has such a solid following. Other than nostalgia, people are also looking for that sense of “challenge” that they’ve found lacking in the more recent WoW expansions. This is also a primary factor that has piqued my interest in the project as well.

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The team working on Corecraft has also promised to bring back the glory of open world PvP, along with possible new features such as in-house custom content. They’ve been working on this for eight months so far and have a tentative release date of sometime in 2014 for beta and official launch. They also have said that they won’t release anything until they feel that the game is as Blizzard-like as possible – it’s like “soon” part deux. Head on over to the World of Corecraft site if you’re interested and check out their official forums/FAQ for more info.

Sound off in the comments below and tell me about your favorite memories from your own experiences in The Burning Crusade.

Featured image of Illidan by Sandara.

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