Players, I think we need to talk about your computers

Before we begin, allow me to state clearly: This is not post meant to hate on peoples systems or circumstances surrounding. I don’t want people getting elitist about their, or desired systems… And I don’t people who read or reply to this thread to feel like they have to defend themselves. This is meant to be an calm discussion about the give and take of system requirements, investment in your entertainment, and the wants/needs of innovation.

Now, to begin.

World of Warcraft launched in 2004. It launched with a rather paltry set of system requirements. To shorten this section, here is a handy bullet-point list of the differences between World of Warcraft (2004) and Warlords of Draenor (2014):

it took 10yrs for the game to require GB’s worth of ram, double digit gb’s of storage, and discrete/powered GPUs. That is long time. And anyone who has played through the years that each expack, blizz find a way to fine tune and otherwise improve the visuals of this behemoth.

The changes have been there, but have incremental. It is inevitable that change needs to happen. Blizzard needs to innovate the game, and they want to make it available to the largest segment of players possible. The meme of the potato PC draws laughs and jeers… but the fact is, WoW has been (traditionally) playable on the quintessential potato.

Fast forward to BfA. While it wasn’t specifically listed as a requirement… I think most players discovered the benefit/difference between using HDD to load into Boralus or Dalaran… vs SSD. The amount of resources (by neccessity) that the game needs to load are not getting any smaller or simpler. With that being the case. Blizzard obviously knows what the range of systems is that play their game. They try as they can to ride that line… But at some point, Blizzard needs to stop being the one to give ground.

Which is where we get to the more controversial part of this conversation. I am going to say something that might seem fairly controversial: If you have something that you enjoy doing, and want to keep doing it… You need to be willing to invest a bit into it.

It can be hard to determine where the line is between modest and justifiable investment and bleeding edge, expensive tech… Especially for those who are not tech savvy. That being said, looking at the recent updates to the SL minimum system requirements… I am not seeing anything that should be really raising heckles.

-SSD as a requirement. This was added after the release date announcement. I can understand the frustration regarding not just the decision… But also the tardiness of it. But let’s look at what it is.

It is entirely possible that as the development cycle continued, that load requirements were becoming more and more burdensome than they could manage without ruining developed resources. Shadowlands is VAST, and has a massive color pallette and landscape. And there are lots of resources at play. I think in many ways, the change to SSD had to be one of the most anticipated moves for WoW to make. It is also, arguably, one of the cheapest. SATA is standard on every motherboard produced after 2009. You can get a functional 2.5" or 3.5" 240gb SSD for under $50. It doesn’t require any crazy system upgrades… it is basically plug and play. It also represents one of the most dramatic improvements you can make to your gaming experience today. That said… If the game does not require a SSD on loading (as in, it does not decline to install to a HDD) then having that requirement seems frivolous. If, however, they have decided that when SL launches, it will actually require it… I think this is something that they should have AT LEAST indicated when SL was announced. I think it would have prevented the volume of confusion and frustration that is become prevalent.

-GPU requirement increase. This goes without saying, but: incremental increases in GPU requirement is not something new to gaming… Or ANY application really. That said, considering what Blizzard has been able to do with the engine, and presumably with the required hardware is quite commendable really. Shadowlands lists GeForce GTX 870 as the minimum required. It is a laptop gpu from 2014. Heck, you can get a 1050ti for 160 bucks, or for 100 more you can get a GTX 1660ti and be WELL OVER the minimum for a decent number of games.

It is my opinion that for those who are struggling to justify making a single or multi-part upgrade, with a system old enough as to not meet the min specs (of which components themselves are all ready 5 to 7yrs old), I have to ask the question: How long should an application be beholden to ancient equipment while still needing to innovate and be competitive from a product stand point?

no real TL;DR here other than: I don’t think it is too much to ask for a person to invest some amount into a hobby they enjoy. And blizzard really does, overall, do an amazing job of minimizing that investment requirement.

I am sorry if some of the points aren’t written perfectly. Tried to word it as best I could.

Edit/Update: 9/1/20
Blizzard has responded, in another thread, and updated both players and the website regarding storage requirements. Here is the blue post:


Lot of fluff in there.
It’s basicly just that what Blizzard state as requirement should be put as recommended. You can play Shadowlands on an HDD fine. The game will still install and load if you install it on HDD I’m pretty sure. I once played wow on a usb stick.


The quintessential question that is never answered from the people that need to do the answering.
As someone in one of the many threads about the now infamous SSD challenge, people don’t like change. They refuse it even if it is at their own peril.

We continue to nurture a society that takes no time in educating themselves on the very devices they trust their entire lives with. Sad truly.

I commend you for taking the time to make this thread. I truly hope someone that needs to read this, does.


Yeah, I think. “requirements” for most games are more like “guidelines for a minimum reasonably-rounded experience”, as in “no singular aspect will suck too much with these specs”. Not following one of the guidelines just means that some aspect of the game isn’t going to be as nice as it could be.


even in my country where the minimum wage is 450 dollars per month you can afford a 240gb ssd pretty easily.
if you care that much about playing wow, just invest some cash in it, most of times it is a one time investment that last years.

I don’t think it’s that. I mean this same argument could be applied to cars. Can you fix your car yourself, or do you take it to a mechanic?

We have so much new science, technology, and sheer knowledge, that it leads to people specializing. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a reflection of the sheer amount of knowledge we as a species posses.

Also as an IT person, it keeps me employed


I am of the opinion that you should at least be able to resolve basic fundamental issues yes. I don’t believe people that can’t change a tire, or their oil and filter or even know where their fuses are, should be allowed to drive.
I know it sounds crazy, but the way I see it, basic understanding helps you understand and use the device better.

The same with smartphones. Everyone should know how to effectively navigate it and know how to adjust all it’s settings, otherwise… you’re a lost sheep.

Im not taking about being an expert, but the amount of basic knowledge that people refuse to learn is alarming.


This thread is a lot of words for just saying: why are you still using windows XP?


Why would I bother to do this, when it’s been proven over and over it’s just cheaper to have an aspiring mechanic do it AND I don’t have to deal with the oil?


Like I said, that’s just me. I believe that having basic proficiency in the things we use every day is more beneficial to you and others than to willfully remain ignorant.


After I got past the picture I scrolled down, saw a book and quit :rofl:

Honestly, with the way the human brain works… use it or lose it is apt. You could force people to do what you want, but after a year or 2 they will just forget because of the daily stresses of life. In the end, your solution wouldn’t solve anything really.


Lol 56k, them specs from 2004 are like digging up an artifact in Egypt.

Here is what you need, an SSD and enough RAM to not run the game, but to run the game AND Windows sufficiently. That plus a CPU that can run single core programs because WoW is a single core intensive program.

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where are you from, canada?

A good computer is the one luxury I give myself. I am a gigantic scrooge about everything else but no, playing with a terrible computer is true pain.


Sounds more like Taiwan or something.


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Part of me hates computers. They managed to put everything in a single box; music, movies, games, news, forums, emails, work, etc. But they’re so bloody fragile that even the weather can affect them negatively. They’re not the type of thing you buy for life, like the televisions they used to make. Now we have to fork out 2000$ and pray that it doesn’t break. I paid good money for mine and a year later I already hit a roadblock. Bloody money pits those things are.


That just stands to reason IMO… following the car analogy, someone who has even a cursory understanding of what running their car without regular filter changes does to their car is a lot less likely to run their car without regular filter changes.

Don’t have to be an expert or anything, just need to know enough that what’s under the hood doesn’t seem like magic, which is a level that’s pretty accessible.


I do agree with you, but…

I feels there a difference between a person who treats a car as a tool, and those who care a touch more.

Most people will go to a mechanic if there’s an issue. but there are many who know a base level, capable of doing minor work themselves, ie replacing break callipers, checking fluid levels. Mostly stuff that doesn’t require extensive ‘pulling apart’

To compare this back to a PC, I personally would would equate this to say installing new ram or a drive. As these a generally not to difficult but can be daunting at first.

I dont see adding a hard drive as an overly difficult task and I welcome people to try or learn these simpler types of upgrades, as it can be a really good skill to have with minimal investment. Especially if you spend a large amount of time at your pc.