I think it was Rift with their Prime server that started the nostalgia trip into the beginnings of several MMOs. Rift Prime launched in March 2018 and community-wise it was nostalgia as everybody started new and there were no expansions out yet. Apart from that, it was the same as on the live servers. Still, it was great to roam the starting area with so many others! Then came Lord of the Rings Online with their legendary server. This works similar to Rift Prime: No expansion in the beginning – they’re slowly adding them, though – but the skill trees and other features are identical to the live servers. So basically, these are more progression servers than anything else, but they’re time-gated, so you can’t rush from level 1 to 350 at once (no idea what the current maximum level is in LotRO…).
And then, of course, there is World of Warcraft Classic. Blizzard went all the way and did not settle with a simple progression server. We really do have the classic experience as it was back then with the original skills, skill trees (hurrah!) and even all the things that people may not have missed much… e. g., only two hunter pets with the third slot reserved for temporary pets to learn their skills, so you can teach them to your other pets. My personal favourite is having the original character models again! And the hunter pet levels with you again which means my raptor starts out tiny and grows just a little bit with every level he gains.
Then there is Guild Wars 2. Can you believe this game has been out for seven years already? It is by far the youngest game that I’ve mentioned here and bringing a progression server or a classic server wouldn’t work at all here. There have been no level increases and the game experience in the original maps hasn’t changed that much from the beginning. With the servers working as they do, you are hardly ever on an empty map, even if you’re in the starting region. But Guild Wars 2 – as the name suggests – is the second game set in the Guild Wars world. And I still remember how I was a little bit sad to leave Guild Wars behind because I never played through the Prophecies campaign (I started but never finished it) and my dervish never reached level 20. But there was this new shiny Guild Wars 2 and my interest for Guild Wars had just decreased too much. But all of a sudden, I got this nostalgic urge. I want to take a look at Guild Wars again! Maybe my dervish will reach level 20 – or I will play the ranger through Prophecies. She is only level 3 and not even out of the starting area. I have other Prophecies characters, but I am most interested in playing a ranger or a dervish now. My main characters were a necromancer who I stopped playing because I wasn’t a big fan of playing a caster in Guild Wars and my warrior. The warrior has seen the most content in the game. But I did fall in love with the dervish class, too. For whatever reason, I could just never memorize the skills and what they did. So jumping back into the game, relearning everything there is to Guild Wars, would not make much sense with a level 16 character. My brain doesn’t like that. But fortunately, I have a second account which only has the Nightfall campaign, so I made a little dervish there. She is now level 3 and I think I remember enough about the game already to return to my main account. But more importantly, I also remembered how many things are shared on your account and my second one has nothing. No crafting materials, no platinum, no unlocked skills, nothing. My main account has much more, of course! I just wish character slots were cheaper. I would love to create a new character for my adventure.
I was very surprised to see how well the game has aged. The graphics are still pretty and the combat still feels tactical and modern enough. The feature of unlocking skills and being able to switch your attributes and chosen skills at will when you’re in a town still works pretty well. So, my first verdict here is that Guild Wars is still very much a game that can be enjoyed and I am glad I went to check it out when the nostalgic urge hit me! As you can play on maps with a group of chosen NPCs and don’t need other players to get through the content, it doesn’t matter how many other players are still active. I’ve never played the game with strangers anyway and only with friends. So I don’t mind roaming around on my own now. It’s a nice and relaxing way to play the game if you ask me and the complete opposite of the hectic Guild Wars 2 combat!
If only my character could jump…