I just spent a good few minutes debating with myself whether it was worth it or not to buy a level 4 white weapon for my Warrior from a vendor.

I was doing OK with my trusty Primitive Hatchet, paired with a slightly ‘borrowed’ Bent Large Shield. To be fair, the imp that was lugging it around previously has no further need of it. Or anything else for that matter.

Wait, does that make it better or worse? … Anywho.

Firmly in the pro column was any weapon I might look to purchase would be close to, if not over a 2x DPS increase.

Holding me back was that I have only 7 silver to my name. Purchasing this now would very likely see training skills be a problem in the very near future, as it costs a little over 5 silver.

And as I said… I was doing OK.

…But adds are scary. Generally even a single additional enemy will see me scurrying. And that hardly seems befitting of a proud Orcish Warrior.

Earlier, I was fighting the Kul Tirans at Tiragarde Keep. Rather than a sigh of annoyance at having to go into one of these barracks structures, it was an indrawn breath of ‘Aw shiz’. (And terror.) Adds are fearsome and fatal, and these places are rife with spots in which to grab more than you intend. Fortunately, while I’m far enough behind the curve now not to see the ‘line’ phenomena play out — there are at least enough other people running through that I made it in and out without incident. Even grouped on the top level for the Lieutenant kill. :)

Alright, so I’m buying one. Now to decide which one?

From a pure DPS perspective, the 2H Axe is a clear winner head and shoulders above my other two options — a Gladius or a Tomahawk. In this pre-normalisation world of WoW Classic, Rend, Thunderclap — basically any other off-GCD damage skill — scales off the weapon damage value without accounting for the swing speed. So slow and powerful is the order of the day.

But dangit, I feel squishy enough already and that’s while holding a shield.

The Gladius then starts looking appealing with a 5-11 damage range (2.10 sec attack speed) vs. the Tomahawk’s 4-9 damage (1.70 speed).

The Gladius is the choice I should probably make — given I’m not willing to go 2H yet — but… ORC! ORC WANT AXE! >:|

(Which is to say, I get +5 attack skill with Axe, I’ve already leveled the Axe skill, and I dislike missing swings.)

But my reason for recounting this story?

I think it highlights one of the best bits of coming back into WoW Classic. Which is, finding meaningful decisions even at very low level. My Warrior is currently level 7. I’m wearing at least as many grey items as I am white. Not a green in sight, yet.

This might sound like a horror story to some. Honestly, if I had this story recounted to me absent the first hand experience, I would have thought it a horror story too.

But it isn’t. Not yet at least.1 It is remarkably refreshing if anything. Before coming back to try this for myself, I was very much in the camp of viewing the creature comforts of WoW Retail being a purely good thing. I thought for the most part, people were deluding themselves about the ‘fun’ to be had in WoW’s original form. The main thing actually — less than the comforts — is that I strongly believe (and still do) that there have been much more entertaining versions of these classes to play over WoW’s history.

Not necessarily the BFA iterations (in fact, almost certainly not2) — and not necessarily the same expansion for each class. But I think most anyone would be hard pressed to deny this as true.

So I guess my wish now would be to see some alternate universe path of WoW land in our laps — where the decision making remains present. And yes, the difficulty (at least first time through) remains present. But then layer over this the best versions of the classes and specs we’ve seen so far. And if I may borrow one ‘creature comfort’ for this iteration of WoW, it would be Dual Spec if not the full respec anywhere any time we have today.

Although I should also point out — even this I’m not sure would keep me long term. In terms of WoW, I’m not sure anything would now.


  1. I might feel differently come time to try an alt.
  2. bring back WoD disc priests!!


Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.


Quietschisto · August 30, 2019 at 12:22 am

As soon as you mentioned the Gladius I immediately thought “No Orc worth his salt would EVER take a puny sword over a mighty battle axe!”. I am glad that you came to the same conclusion.

Swords are for Humans, Gnomes and Undead. Axes are for Orcs, Trolls, and maybe Tauren. Hammers are for Dwarves and Paladins. Stats definitely are secondary arguments. That would explain why I sucked at the game^^

    Naithin · August 30, 2019 at 12:25 am

    There are some swords I would feel comfortable putting in the hands of an Orc. But the only ones I actually explicitly *recall* came from Wrath… Huh.

    I am willing to bet though that is mostly about how long I spent with Wrath vs. any other iteration of the game.

Quin · August 30, 2019 at 12:44 am

Not to be the downer, but do you think you’d have been running DPS calculations at Level 4 back in 2004? :P Sounds like 2019 optimisation creeping in.

Then again, just as I wrote that, I recall doing those kinds of maths in EQ, when all you got was DMG and Delay.

    Naithin · August 30, 2019 at 1:30 am

    Hah, I definitely would have!

    I learnt my lesson and boarded the min/max train in AC after creating some hilariously underpowered characters in the name of ‘cool’. xD

      Naithin · August 30, 2019 at 1:32 am

      In fact, thinking about it more, 2004 me almost certainly would’ve gone with the optimal outcome overall even if it meant learning a new weapon skill or going against the RP/lore of the race. xD

Bhagpuss · August 30, 2019 at 2:18 am

“Meaningful decisions” pretty much sums up why these old MORPGs kept so many people playing for years, whereras later iterations, which removed the decision making in favor of convenience, spawned the “three-monther” (now probably the one-monther).

Having to make rational and aesthetic choices that are by and large clearly understandable at all stages of the game is involving and satisfying. Clicking through everything in the knowledge the game will supply your every need without youhaving to think about it isn’t. That’s one big reason people begrudge leveling these days – it’s a tick-box excercise that road blocks you from the real game.

Up until maybe 2006-7, leveling still was the real game for most people, with raiding and high-end dungeons being aspirational. If the goal was to keep people playing (and paying) that looks increasingly like a better business model. On the other hand, make the game play itself and you pretty much need to give it away free to get anyone to play at all.

    Naithin · August 30, 2019 at 8:51 am

    “That’s one big reason people begrudge leveling these days – it’s a tick-box excercise that road blocks you from the real game.”

    Yes — I think you’re 100% right.

    And to imagine that for most of us, WoW at launch was already such a ‘dumbing down’ of what veteran MMO players at the time were used to. It is an exceptionally eye opening experience to come back to it now and compare to the modern landscape where convenience and constant dopamine hits prevails.

    WoW Vanilla — I had no expectation to raid. I never even touched a raid until The Burning Crusade. But still I played, and yeah — at that point for me, the leveling experience was the game. So it hasn’t been a permanent condition for me to think of leveling as this annoying thing to be done to get to the meat and potatoes like I thought.

    Somewhere along the way this came to be the thinking, but it wasn’t *always* there which would track with my experience in prior MMOs like AC, Anarchy Online and yeah — even the brief time I spent in EverQuest on a 30 day trial.

Melee Combat and Gameplay Feel – Kaylriene · August 30, 2019 at 7:46 am

[…] hit. Early vanilla at least would have longer swing timers for min-maxed damage dealing (see Naithin’s post about this in Classic!) and some abilities for melee, like the warrior Heroic Strike, were tied to the next melee […]

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