Monday, August 26, 2019

Social Addons in Classic WoW

Blizzard announced that they would take steps to break a Looking-For-Group addon for Classic WoW:
We’ve been closely following the community discussion around this add-on for WoW Classic, as well as analyzing it to make sure we understand how it works. After careful examination, we believe the nature of ClassicLFG is incompatible with our social design for Classic. Thus, in an upcoming patch (in the weeks following launch), we will be adding restrictions to the Classic add-on API that will significantly limit this add-on and others like it. 
In line with what we shared at BlizzCon last year, we intend to be very careful about allowing add-on functionality that might undermine aspects of the social dynamics that are core to the Classic experience, even in cases like this where it’s clear that the addon author had no ill intent and was simply trying to provide a service to the Classic community. Ultimately, if a streamlined group-finding system was something we considered compatible with Classic, we would have kept the modern Premade Group Finder tool rather than choosing to remove it from the Classic client. 
It’s difficult to articulate a clear-cut rule for exactly when an add-on crosses the line. However, when an add-on goes beyond presenting information or providing aesthetic customization, and attempts to create an interconnected social network that relies on other players also using that same add-on, we are likely to scrutinize it particularly closely.
I did predict that the addon community would attempt to replicate the "convenience" of modern WoW. But it is very interesting that Blizzard is going to take steps to stop them. In particular, Blizzard singles out the automation of social networks as perhaps the primary difference between Classic and modern WoW.

It is perhaps ironic that this is mimicking society at large. Facebook, Tinder, Instagram, Twitter. Instead of older, more manual methods like writing letters, assemblies/dances, writing articles for publication, etc.

I'm not really sure where I am going with this. Maybe the old, manual, ways were better for social cohesion. Maybe the modern, automated, ways are better as they make it easier to find like-minded people, or just to get things done without all the social maintenance required.

Either way, Classic is going to be a very intriguing experiment.


  1. I play on Project 1999 a fair bit and the number of replies to requests for basic QoL improvements is always "It's not classic". That goal of that server is to re-enact as closely as possible. People want to suffer as part of their nostalgia!

    1. Heh. But sometimes the inconvenience and suffering is what actually makes it work.