The Burning Crusade Classic

The 20-year-old version of myself was lazy, impatient, and easily distracted. Whether I was playing a video game, doing homework, going to my job, or doing pretty much anything else, really, there was a good chance that I wouldn’t be able to do it for very long before I’d quickly grow bored and want to move onto something else. So imagine my frustration when I first realized that in order to play the parts of World of Warcraft I was most interested in, I had to make my way through some of its most tedious moments.

While the current version of myself has come to appreciate the questing aspects of the game, particularly some of the zones within Outland, I certainly didn’t feel that way a decade ago.

Times have changed. Recently, I failed to put myself to sleep at 2:00 a.m. because I kept farming crafting materials in The Burning Crusade Classic by killing the same enemies over and over again. I’ve easily spent double-digit hours grinding to obtain Primal Fires, Airs, and Shadows — and I have yet to really complain about it. 

Who even am I? College Jake wouldn’t recognize the boring old man that I’ve become. 

As far as I can tell, there are two main reasons for my acceptance of busywork in World of Warcraft.

Grinding is an effective way to gain gold and gear 

The Burning Crusade Classic

There are two ways to get gear in The Burning Crusade Classic: run dungeons and raids with groups, or work on crafted material. For the most part, I can do the latter by myself. My guild runs raids regularly, but we can’t venture into them ad nauseam. Dungeon groups form all the time, but as someone who’s a damage-dealer, I’m a dime a dozen. Finding a PUG is an exercise in futility most of the time.

So with all that in mind, what do you think is more enticing to me: spending hours looking for a group for 20-30 minutes of content, or simply putting matters into my own hands? If you said the latter, you are correct.

Plus, I have the ability to make some gold while farming materials too. And, as the goblins in World of Warcraft say: “Time is money, friend.”

Streaming services now exist

The Burning Crusade Classic

Hear me out.

World of Warcraft originally launched November 23, 2004. The Burning Crusade expansion launched January 16, 2007. Hulu launched in October of that year. Netflix, which had technically existed since 1999, was still primarily known for its disc-based model — don’t forget they were the company that would send you DVDs in the mail. Cable television sucks, and it has arguably always sucked. So what could we do to occupy ourselves during tedious MMORPG grinds?

In the modern age, it’s easy to participate in some of this grindy, tedious content because I can just binge It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or 30 Rock as I play the game on my second monitor. Back in the day, I was at the mercy of whatever was on my five-ton widescreen television, which I could barely hear over the sounds of World of Warcraft.


The Burning Crusade Classic

I realize that I’m not exactly giving a glowing endorsement to some of the gameplay systems that exist in World of Warcraft Classic. There’s no denying that a lot of work is necessary to get the stats and gear you want. Sure, building a character is a lot more accessible in the modern version of WoW franchise, but you can’t deny that the sense of accomplishment just isn’t as strong in modern WoW.

I don’t want to come off sounding like an elitist here: I’ve enjoyed both World of Warcraft Classic and Shadowlands because they offer different things. I’d love to see a better and more effective way to get groups for dungeons in Classic. I’d love to put more work into obtaining gear in Shadowlands instead of just winning a hidden dice roll. 

Here’s the thing, though: I think I’m enjoying the grind more than the more engaging content. I can take matters into my own hands. I can distract myself while playing. I get to turn my brain off for a couple hours, shoot some elementals, and get rewarded for it.

Maybe I’m just an old man who can’t keep up with the zoomers who are min-maxing through instanced content. Maybe I just don’t like people as much as I used to.

For whatever reason, I find myself logging in every day, ready to rise and grind my way to better gear. Yes, this is a far cry from 20-year-old Jake’s whining about “How the heck am I going to make it to level 64, let alone 70?”

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