World of Warcraft: Classic
World of Warcraft: Classic (shortened as Classic) is a new server option for World of Warcraft announced at BlizzCon 2017. The goal of Classic is to let players experience World of Warcraft as close as possible to what it was before The Burning Crusade. It was announced at BlizzCon 2018 that Classic is slated for release in summer of 2019.
Before work began on World of Warcraft: Classic, it was only possible for players to experience the original World of Warcraft by using private servers, which are illegal, often have stability or corruption problems, and generally are very imperfect recreations of the authentic World of Warcraft experience. As much as Blizzard has been aware of the desires of their community, until recently it seemed impossible for them to emulate Classic servers due to the technical hurdles of essentially having to run two massively multiplayer online games side-by-side. A breakthrough was then achieved that made it possible to run Classic servers on the modern architecture of current World of Warcraft servers.
Even though a modern server architecture is used, Classic servers won't have the same features that current World of Warcraft does. There won't be cross-realm servers or Looking For Raid and Dungeon Finder automatic party matchmaking. There are still a lot of questions about how the team will tackle it. This endeavor is being undertaken by an entirely separate team at Blizzard from the one working on World of Warcraft and its next expansion.
In June 2018, the team settled on using patch 1.12 as a foundation for Classic. They managed to have a locally rebuilt version of patch 1.12 running internally, using modern code and data architecture.
A demo of the game was available at BlizzCon 2018, and was downloadable on home computers for anyone who purchased a BlizzCon ticket or virtual ticket. The servers became available when Opening Ceremony started at BlizzCon 2018 and was set to end on November 8, but was extended until November 12. Players started at level 15, and the only available zones were Westfall and the Barrens. It was based on patch 1.13.0, essentially patch 1.12.0 ported to a modern infrastructure. The first day of the demo, there was a playtime limit of a cumulative 60 minutes with a cooldown of 90 minutes, applied through the BlizzCon Exhaustion debuff. The debuff was removed on the second day of BlizzCon 2018.
In order to reproduce the original Classic experience, content will be added via multiple stages like back in the day:
- Phase 1 (Classic Launch): Molten Core, Onyxia, Maraudon
- Phase 2: Dire Maul, Azuregos, Kazzak
- Phase 3: Blackwing Lair, Darkmoon Faire, Darkmoon deck drops begin
- Phase 4: Zul'Gurub, Green Dragons
- Phase 5: Ahn'Qiraj War Effort begins, Ahn'Qiraj raids (Ruins and Temple of Ahn'Qiraj) open when the war effort dictates, Dungeon loot reconfiguration: Tier 0.5 Dungeon gear, Relics, drop rates and location changes
- Phase 6: Naxxramas, Scourge Invasion
- There were 20 realms named "BlizzCon Classic X", with X being a number from 1 to 20.
- Every character started at level 15 and got a taste of talents and professions. The level cap was 19.
- Alliance started in Westfall while the Horde started in the Barrens. Deadmines and Wailing Caverns were not available. One may experience Barrens chat and getting one-shotted by Defias mages.
- There was no support for the 32-bit client.
- Any behavior that would result in a player being suspended from the Classic demo would also cause them to be suspended from the live game, including naming violations.
- The original idea was to have the content unlock in 4 phases, this was increased to 6 phases in March 2019.
- ^ PC Gamer - This is how Blizzard plans to finally bring back Vanilla WoW servers
- ^ Dev Watercooler: World of Warcraft Classic
- ^ Archimtiros 2018-11-08. World of Warcraft: Classic Demo Extended to 12 November. Wowhead. Retrieved on 2018-11-08.
- ^ Bring Home the BlizzCon WoW Classic Demo With The Virtual Ticket. Blizzard Entertainment (2018-09-27). Retrieved on 2018-09-27.
- ^ Ythisens 2018-11-01. Playing the Classic Demo. Retrieved on 2018-11-03.
- ^ WarcraftDevs on Twitter - "The playtime limits on the WoW Classic demo have now been removed. Enjoy!" (archived)
- ^ Kaivax 2019-03-11. Classic Content Plan. Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved on 2019-03-11.