Why is nostalgia so powerful in WoW?

General Discussion
When I first started playing WoW in early 2005, I wasn't in the best mental state and had problems with depression. However, when I am reminded of my experiences long ago in WoW I get positive and sometimes overwhelming feelings. I don't really feel this way with other games of my past, so what is it about WoW?
People remember a time when EVERYONE was new and everyone had to go through the same progression to get to where they may be. It was also a time when people didn't throw their reputation as easily as they do now. It was the meta that people enjoyed, the game itself was pretty shoddy.
It's nothing new, in fact, the truth is, if you went back to 2005 you wouldn't enjoy it as much as you think you would, you might even find you grow bored of it really quickly.

What you're actually saying is you miss the good memories you have of good times, but you don't have to cause they're your memories and they are with you as long as you keep them.

I sometimes will watch videos I made of me playing old games, for example Dark Age of Camelot, and enjoy thinking of those times. But, I would probably not enjoy them as much if I had them available today, because I've already lived them.

Eating ice cream every meal would get old really fast, but every now and then it's a great treat, when you go without something for a while you actually forget what it was like and you over amplify how good it really was. For example, go on atkins diet for a few months, then eat an order of french fries, you'll be surprised how they don't live up to your expectations.
It's kind of like that with all open-world games, I think, to a certain extent. Once the world starts to feel smaller, less magical, and less adventures seem on offer to be had, people start to look for ways to replicate that feeling and more often than not fail horribly.

This results in nostalgia, rose-colored goggles, etc. WoW is no different from pretty every other game, or even TV Show, Movie, band, etc. Everybody always thinks everything is at its best right when they personally discovered it.
Because as much as the newcomer "but but but LFR and exclusivity!" crowd tries to deny it, WoW was an incredible game back then.
I feel this way about a number of games. I still run diablo 2 lod ladder resets and pop in star craft 2 from time to time. It must just be that wow was a bigger part of your childhood than any other game, or that you are able to appease nostalgic urges for other games.

My vanilla experience was essentially farming mats for months in order to get enough to craft the heart of the wild cloak. Once i had all the materials, i was so scared to hand them over to someone that i ended up selling the mats on the ah instead of crafting it.

Took me 3 months to farm up the 900g for the green robo chicken gnome epic mount.

Vanilla was over all a horrible experience, but it was a horrible experience that you got to share with other people. That's what made it special.
Hmm... I don't know. For me it was amazingly new and each level felt like an achievement. The the warlock class quests were amazing. Of course I would hate to reroll back in BC. Not saying it was the best thing ever, but the rpg elements were stronger. There was also a community element I think. I remember paying someone a few gold(1-2 if I recall) to help with a quest I was doing. It was a warlock quest of some sort and I could not kill things 5-8 levels above me.
Because we can't actaully go back and relive any of it. Nostalgia is always at its strongest when you can't go back and shatter your perceptions with reality. It can only grow stronger.
OP, I'm guessing that WoW was your first MMORPG.

We always remember the first and we will compare all things to it.

In many ways I'm lucky that I started with EQ and went through a lot of the emotions people are now going through with WoW. I know that I can start over. I truly understand that yes, both of them are just a game. It's something I spend time with but it doesn't define me, it won't go down in my obituary.

For most of us they are not an alternate life although they can give us refuge from our life situations. For some with severe issues it is an alternate life, one where they can run and be strong or be rich or simply interact with other people. I'm not putting anyone down for their feeling that it is more than "just a game".

I suffer from depression myself. I met my now husband while playing EQ when I was in one of my most depressive states. I was also a poor hard working single woman and EQ was basically my sole form of entertainment -- good old dial up internet :p

But falling in love -- whether with a game or a person or with other things, you always remember the first and it has a special place in your heart.
Because the current game is horrible.
Some of it has to do with the fact that you can only ever do something for the first time once.

I will never again stumble clueless and half-blind into Ashenvale as a freshly-rolled Night Elf priest, wrapped up in the music and the wonderful atmosphere and the unique look and feel of the game. I've been through those woods countless times, so they're no longer huge and daunting and magical and awe-inspiring. I've seen millions of nightsabers and spiders and bears, so they are no longer new and exciting when I see them. I already know about Tyrande and Malfurion and a million other bits of Night Elf lore, so they are no longer intriguing and imagination-grabbing new bits of story.

On it goes. We're all metagamers now. WoW isn't a magical world full of adventure for us anymore, nor can it ever be again. It's a collection of spreadsheets and timers, and there's no going back.

Some of it, though, also has to do with the fact that the game used to be deeper and more compelling. There was more reason to invest yourself in it, and you are naturally more drawn to something you've invested yourself into.
When something is brand new it's always going to be perceived to be better. If it was your first MMO, then it's going to be even more so. Kind of like you'll always remember your first love.
People forget how much a pain in the butt Vanilla was, but they do remember being rewarded for their hardwork. Example, i forgot about running UBRS a billion times only to lose the Dal'Rends off hand to some stupid hunter, but I do remember when it dropped and I finally won it.

The only thing I haven't forgotten was the High Warlord grind. I'm never going to effing do that ever again. I mean, freaking hell.

People are nostalgic about Vanilla not because Vanilla was better. It was just more rewarding. Casuals don't mind sitting in their Garrison or doing stuff solo. That's fine, but the amount of time, effort, and pain invested is smaller.
If Blizz hadn't removed all the old world content (or provided a way to return to it via portals or bronze dragons), there wouldn't be much nostalgia beyond "remember when" posts.

The fact that you literally cannot return to some portions of the game is what strengthens it in WoW.
Everyone tends to say something is the best when they first experience it. As time moves forward, we become accostumed to it and we yearn to recreate the feeling we got the first time we created our first Character and we had the whole world ahead of us.

Look at Pokemon for example. Most people say the 1st generation of games were the best and that new ones are bad or the creatures' design are awful.

Yet no one remembers the bad things of generation 1: The glitches, the terribly OP psychic type, Persian with Slash, horrible designs like Voltorb and Diglett, The only Ghost type attack were Physical while the only Ghost pokemon were special attackers...
Human brain tends to remember only the good things and blot out the boring, tedious and painful times (well, unless they were painful enough to traumatize you)
Nostalgia is powerful with any game that you enjoy.

No game will ever be as fun as when you first played it.

The way people are with Vanilla WoW, i am the same with way Runescape.

I started playing Runescape in 2006 back when i started middle school and i loved it to death.

Now i don't play Runescape due to how much i hate the changes made to it. Pretty much same thing with how people feel about WoW.
05/18/2016 11:16 AMPosted by Maljinwo
Look at Pokemon for example. Most people say the 1st generation of games were the best and that new ones are bad or the creatures' design are awful.

You get that with everything though.

You go on a music forum: "Everything was better in the 70's, 80's, and 90's"

You go on a pro wrestling forum in 1999: "Man WWF sucks, it was so much better in the 80's."

You go on a pro wrestling forum now: "Man WWE sucks, it was so much better in the 90's."

You go on a skateboarding forum: "Man the 80's and 90's were the golden age of skateboarding, now everybody has a board they got from Wal-Mart and they're all posers..."

And on...and on...and on...and on...with every single possible thing you could be interested in, there will always be people who "were there at the beginning" that love to talk about "how much better it was".
05/18/2016 11:04 AMPosted by Zenobia

The fact that you literally cannot return to some portions of the game is what strengthens it in WoW.

This is very true. I just went to Scarlet Monastery to get the Torturing Poker transmog only to find out that SM was changed in MoP. No longer can you obtain that weapon. You can, however, obtain a similar looking weapon by grinding excessively in BRS. Still, the fact I've spent many hours with IRL friends who are now all away from wow during the times of getting my first mount at level 40 and eventually dinging 70 first after months and months felt special.
Simple really, because WoW's player base has aged... It's not the most popular game anymore as all those 12 year old racist kids are too busy playing Overwatch and CoD to level up their alts

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