[Opinion] The Orgrimmar roof challenge is peak WoW: Classic boredom

While the retail version of World of Warcraft is constantly being improved by developers via new content and quality of life improvements, World of Warcraft: Classic has a hidden charm to it that nostalgic gamers and veterans of the series can't get enough of. 


Part of that charm stems from how little direction Classic gives its players once you reach max level. In contrast to the content-rich retail WoW that even Blizzard developers have admitted can create pressure for players to "always" be achieving something, Classic gameplay is filled with tons of downtime after weekly raids have been cleared.

As a result of this downtime, Classic is understood to be a more social, community-driven MMORPG than future installments of the game that enabled more solo-play and alternative progression methods. One of the most bizarre social aspects of Classic is the hallowed tradition of jumping around, wasting time.

The Ogrimmar flight tower challenge

Reddit user and World of Warcraft parkour expert, background_Word_3422 made a post recently on r/Classicwow detailing an interesting in-game hobby they picked up: 


"I found a new hobby recently and it's to parkour (walljump) in order to get on top of Orgrimmar, not to chase WCB thieves but just for the fun of it.

It actually became my main activity outside of raiding and I started doing it faster and faster. This last day I managed to get a 1:46 record and yet it's not a perfect run, someone with enough time could probably get a time between 1:35 and 1:40.


The challenge is simple. From outside East of Durotar above Skull Cavern, a well-timed jump allows you to scale a part of the mountain developers never intended players to scale. From there, players can awkwardly continue to scale the mountain with the aid of levitation effects and more very specific jump angles.

The goal is to reach the top of the Ogrimmar flight tower as fast as possible. More players started submitting their runs and the fastest record in the original thread was a time of 1:39 seen below.

 

 

However, 2 days later, Background_Word_3422 returned to post that they had reclaimed the record with a blistering 1:36:76 time. Eventually,  another bored Classic player will attempt to break the record and, when they do, they will have contributed one of the oldest traditions in Azeroth: jumping around for the sake of jumping around.

Jumping around in World of Warcraft isn't new -- it has been going on since the earliest days of the game's release.

A tale as old as WoW

Back in 2007, Stormwind Jumps was uploaded to Youtube. Watching this video is like opening up a time capsule -- yes, this is really how players spent their time in between raids and leveling in the original World of Warcraft.

 



Whether it is finding new shortcuts to frequently visited NPC's or the thrill of going somewhere developers don't want you to be, Classic has always had a group of players that appreciate in-game parkour.  Like teenagers hanging around a shopping mall, jumping around Azeroth is a sort of default in-game behavior when players have nothing left to do. 

▲ Players have always been sharing neat tricks and odd jumps -- even back to this 2009 forum post.

 

Players jump around aimlessly until they clip into a strange place or find themselves on-top of a structure they've never thought reachable.  When a player sees another frantically trying to make a bizarre jump, 9 times out of 10 that player will join alongside them, replicating the jump until they too are standing on top of a lamp post.

Now victorious, these jumpers stand tall basking in the reactions of confused onlookers and inexperienced players:

"How did you get up there?"

"Teach me how you did that"

"Where did you jump?"

Why does it feel like there is an undeniable social element to this type of player behavior? Like children in park climbing trees, there is status among those that make it to the highest branches. The act of scaling something once thought unscalable invites others to do the same and, in this way, maybe we can explain why the pastime of WoW parkour is seemingly immortal.


The reality that players are still doing this in 2021 is not surprising. The gamers that fall in love with World of Warcraft: Classic simply enjoy spending time in Azeroth -- even if there is nothing to do but jump around with friends or explore someplace new.

 



Many have tried to explain why Classic has such enduring appeal and that discussion is filled with layers of nuance and game design theories. I'd wager that part of this appeal lies in Classic's ability to let players waste time in ways that don't feel designed or intended. The Orgrimmar flight tower roof challenge is one of many community-created challenges born of boredom and, as long as Azeroth around, it won't be the last.

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