Vanilla's Secret Ingredient: World Coherency

  • Wat?

    "World Coherency"™ is a brand new term!
    It is my attempt at capturing what exactly makes Vanilla feel real. Like, really real. You feel it too, don't you?

    If I asked you what makes Vanilla feel real, you could probably give me a whole bunch of examples. But could you dig under all of those examples and show me a unifying theory upon which all MMORPGs operate?

    Sounds ridiculous. I tried to do it anyway.

    Across 99 pages of passion, I've compared the inner workings of Vanilla WoW to Retail WoW in order to discover how they differ in "world coherency". More to the point, I explore how Retail lost its "world coherency", and how Vanilla feels more real because it retains more of its "world coherency".

    Youtube Video

    Timestamps are in the YT description


    Linked above is a video essay comprising the introduction. I created it so that people would have a much more appetizing avenue with which to get into my work. It features lovely music, crisp wowmodelview green-screen, and mushy emotions.

    The full document can be accessed here. (Google Docs)
    "World Coherency // A Pseudointellectual Treatise on A Neglected Aspect of Game Design in World of Warcraft"

    TL;DR on what "World Coherency" is, please?

    World Coherency n. 1. The measure of a video game playing field’s corresponsive persistence between all players and across all time. 2. The independent integrity of a video game world as one single world, where different objective experiences of the same entity or event effectively creates a variable amount of worlds, which are dissonant with each other. 3. The state of being world coherent.

    TL;DR on what you scrutinize of Retail?

    The topics are as follows:

    1. Personal Loot
    2. Level & Proximity Based Scaling
    3. Megaservers, shards, cross-realm, et al.
    4. The Cash Shop
    5. Differential Instance Grading (LFR, heroic, mythic, et al.)
    6. Personal gathering nodes and world objects
    7. Zone Phasing
    8. Heirlooms
    9. Attribute Invisibility Between Classes
    10. Transmogrification

    Who are you?

    My name is Volx. On Nostalrius, I mained a dorf priest named Boulda.

    I am a long time fan of Warcraft and MMOs in general. I played vanilla from launch to the end of WotLK, and then resubbed in the middle of Legion. I quit BFA shortly before Tides of Vengeance.
    I also have personal experience with Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, EVE Online, Age of Conan HA, Planetside 2, Archeage, Runescape, and WildStar. While I was not active for the rise of MUDs, Ultima, Everquest, Tibia, and other old school MMOs, I have learned about and respect them deeply. I also enjoyed Nostalrius for almost its entire run, and have dabbled in The Rebirth and Feenix servers.

    I roleplay, I theorycraft, I tank, I heal, I explore, I lead, and I follow.

    Having spent so much of my time in MMOs, I've been gradually building and refining my thoughts on what I truly value in MMOs. That thing turns out to be "world coherency". So I wrote about it.
    And on a very kind recommendation, here it is on!

  • Warrior Alliance Partner

    mind ... BLOWN!

  • Priest Warlock Horde

    brilliant video, everything makes sense now!

  • Thank you, I'm glad!
    If anything doesn't, or if I'm dead wrong on something, I would hope someone would speak up. I am very open to discussion on this.

  • Warrior Alliance Partner

    I mean its pretty simple from my perspective:

    WoW is secretly Diablo 4 with the infinte progression systems
    As a side effect of that if you are playing on an alt you feel like you are missing out on something you main could be getting

    Sharding makes the world feel empty

    Shared mob tags were put in to encourage people talking to each other but had to exact opposite effect.

    I quit in Legion but I played Horde, if I was still playing I would be going crazy over the fact our warchief is leading us to our deaths.

    I am oddly OK with heirlooms as long as they are somewhat hard to earn on your main character
    But that is only because paid character boosts are a thing and invalidate heirlooms

    It is incomprehensible that the world scales with you ... I just ... yeah ...

    I did not even know gathering nodes were personal until I watched this, what were they thinking! (That said I remember 2 very specific nodes in Cata in Grim Batol and Uldum that I could never mine because the moment I got 2 steps away they phased out)

    And in closing:

    Why are there 4 raid tiers of the same raid?!

  • Priest Horde

    Loved this video dude. Great work!

  • @Darks_end It never crossed my mind that personal loot generation was/would be the result of enabling shared mob tags; I just realized what you meant by that. Huh.
    And, yeah, funny how that works out. Who would have thought that eliminating reasons to communicate and group up would... uh... eliminate communication and grouping up. Whoops!

  • Founder Shaman

    Yeah, killing the MMO aspect of an MMORPG turns out to ruin the community experience. LUL rip.

  • Initiate

    @Volx Really enjoyed this read. Great work!

  • Founder Shaman Horde

    @Volx I'm trying to determine why every time you edit, the tags and the thumbnail drop, dropping the video from the community page. I'm trying to rectify this but, let me know if you plan on making edits in the meantime. Discord: Melderon#1287. Excellent work, by the way

  • Founder Shaman Horde

    @Volx I figured out the problem! It was the checkbox! Until we figure out how to fix this issue, I had to remove it

  • Thank you! I just put it in there to have a little fun. Mystery solved.

  • Founder Shaman Horde

    @Volx No worries. Hopefully, we can get this rectified!

  • Initiate

    @Volx I will show this to my wife,i hope she will understand me now!!!!

    Lok'Tar Ogar

  • Initiate

    Read the whole thing over the past two days, and I agree with every single thing you said, such a good read!! Retail WoW is a shadow of its former self and I can't wait for Classic to at least kind of bring back the world coherence you're talking about.

    I started out during the server-wide opening of Ahn'Qiraj event in Vanilla and seeing all those changes summed up like that really hit home.