WoW Classic vs. Retail – Which One Should You Play?

It’s the rivalry that’s almost as infamous as the Alliance vs Horde among players and its time to see which one is better, WoW Classic or WoW retail.

WoW Classic and WoW Retail

Image via Gamepur

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World of Warcraft has been around long enough to re-release its older content under a different game for players to have access to. But which version of WoW is better to play and for whom?

WoW Retail continues to bring new and exciting content to the World of Warcraft game while WoW Classic continues to the the original WoW expansions alive for players to revisit whenever they wish. Both have their own gameplay and characteristics that create different experiences making them different games completely despite both being World of Warcraft. Choosing which one to play will ultimately come down to the individual player’s wants.

Related: Blizzard Unveils the 2024 Roadmaps for WoW and WoW Classic

WoW Classic Pros & Cons

WoW Classic Night Elf
Screenshot by Gamepur

WoW Classic’s biggest draw is the nostalgia factor. WoW Retail’s gameplay has changed drastically over the years. WoW Classic, while keeping the original stories and characters intact, also keeps the gameplay style true to the original. It’s a bit like a time capsule for WoW history.

One thing I’ve noticed is that while the amount of players active in WoW Classic is much smaller than WoW Retail, the players are much friendlier. I’ve lost track of the number of times a random player has come running by, healing me or helping me take down a creature, then just quietly leaving like nothing happened.

However, WoW Classic does have its flaws. It will take a very long time to level up – requiring a lot of time and dedication to get farther into the game. I have spent hours playing WoW Classic and barely made it to level 6 on my most recent character. It can be a bit of a grind at times. But when you do hit that next level or do manage to get that achievement, the satisfaction is all the more sweet.

Arguably, WoW Classic is harder to get through as a new player because of the grind and difficulty level of the creatures and raids. But because of the community who plays it, finding a helping hand is much easier to do.

Another thing to consider, as mentioned before, is that WoW Classic has a much smaller population of active players. It may be hard to find friends who will play with you should you choose the Classic route. I told my friends I started playing WoW and they got super excited until I told them I was investing in WoW Classic. The collective response was, “But why though?”

Ultimately, many feel that WoW Classic does not have as much to it as WoW Retail. There are fewer races to choose from when creating a character and WoW Classic is split up into its different arcs with the older arcs “dying” off as others are introduced.

The overall Pros and Cons of WoW Classic are the following.

Friendly PlayersNot as popular to play
Nostalgia for Veteran PlayersA grind to level up
Simple GameplayNot as many races to play as
Less Competitive Gameplay not as clean/polished
The satisfaction of completing somethingThere is a lot less to it

WoW Retail Pros & Cons

WoW Blood Elf
Screenshot by Gamepur

WoW Retail is where the newest content is released and most players are here for it. WoW has expanded a lot over the years, perfecting itself with each new expansion. There are more character-building options to choose from for both race and class. With each new expansion, new lore is created and new areas are added, ready for exploration. The game is beautiful to look at and makes me want to explore as much as I can.

This was the WoW I was introduced to when I first started playing. Thankfully I have a herd of friends all ready to help me level up as quickly as possible and teach me the ropes. WoW, Retail makes it easy to grind levels with its fast-paced gameplay and the overwhelming amount of things to do.

WoW Retail can be a bit overwhelming to newer players, especially if you have no idea what you are doing, but your friends wanted you to drink the WoW Kool-Aid so here you are. Having those friends will be crucial because things are not as laid back as WoW Classic. There certainly won’t be any strangers randomly helping you just because they can. It’s a little bit more cutthroat – but that doesn’t mean everyone who plays will steal your stuff if you’re not careful, just some.

WoW Retail is arguably better to play with a friend group than by yourself. It’s not impossible to play it alone but raiding and quests become much harder to do and getting the items you need becomes a battle of how fast can you snag it before someone else does.

WoW Retail is definitely for the collectors. Because players can level up fast, they can hit that max level and then spend their time collecting mounts, rare items, and appearances for their character. And if players get bored of one character, they can easily make another and level them up just as fast. Creating different characters of race and class becomes a collection all on its own.

Unfortunately, concentrating on the collecting aspect means some feel there is a lack in the RPG aspect of the game. Some players believe the peak of the story aspect of WoW was during the Wrath of the Lich King and find the newer expansions to be underwhelming as of late.

The Pros and Cons of WoW Retail are the following.

Newest WoW ContentLots of players mean more not so friendly players
More Character Creation OptionsCan be overwhelming for new players
More People to Play WithCan be much harder to play by yourself
Easier to Level UpLess about the RPG aspect and more about achievements
Great for Collecting and Raiding

Should I Play WoW Classic or WoW Retail

In short, it all depends on the player’s game style. If they want the newest stuff, have lots of friends who play, and want to level up as much as possible, then WoW Retail would be their best bet. But if a player is more of a solo gamer and wants something a bit more slow-paced, then WoW Classic is for them. Both have their unique charms that make them great choices. No one can definitively say that one is better than the other. WoW Retail is about the destination, the end game. WoW Classic is about the journey, to enjoy the world as you go.