World of Warcraft (also known as WoW) players have highly requested the classic version of their favourite game. As with any game, changes and major updates are added over the years. Since August 2006, many changes to the game have not been received well: such as trivialising levelling up. The level cap will drop from 120 to 60, but contrary to how that sounds, it will be a far more grindy journey of fun and progress. The current developers have made levelling up very fast in comparison to the classic days, purely to focus on end-game content and raiding which many people do not enjoy. Prior to these changes, many people enjoyed the games for years whilst not hitting max level, something never seen in the modern edition of World of Warcraft. The levelling process was a journey, having fun with professions and the grind that is no longer found. Of course, there are countless other changes that will be reverted, as you might expect when comparing something from 2006 to 2019.
This did not just simply come randomly, however. Players have been demanding and asking for World of Warcraft Classic for many years now. And Blizzard has likely learned from companies like Jagex that regained a huge portion of their player-base with the launch of Old School RuneScape, which prior to it had a 2006Scape private server. Similarly, World of Warcraft Classic/Vanilla has been around in the form of private servers for many years now and has been very popular. Even top players and streamers have been known to play on these private servers. The only issue is Blizzard were not the ones profiting from these ventures.
What's the release date?
As of right now, there is no official exact release date, aside from confirmation of summer 2019. It is expected to hit the internet roughly mid-July, or possibly in August. Something as highly anticipated as WoW Classic could launch with weeks of notice and still break records. As of April 21st 2019, World of Warcraft Classic has entered internal employee alpha testing.
It is also worth noting that World of Warcraft Classic isn't exactly an archive from 2006. It has been rebuilt from patch 1.12, using modern data architecture and reaps the benefits of the modern engine. This means a lot of non-controversial quality-of-life features will still be present and it is possible to run WoW Classic servers on modern server architecture. As you can imagine, much has changed in the last 13 years in the tech space. That's before smartphones were even a thing. The modern engine no longer allows certain behaviours that could be used to get out of bounds, also adds widescreen monitor support and accessibility options! However, it does have the disadvantage of not being able to run on 32-bit systems which isn't that kind to older systems considering the game is from 2006.
What are the stages of release?
As we have previously established, the game will be very time-consuming. With that in mind, Blizzard has decided to release content in stages, just as it was released originally. This information has been confirmed by Blizzard.
Phase 1 (Classic Launch):
● Molten Core
● You can PvP one another in the world, but there is no tracking and no formal rewards for doing so.
● Dire Maul
● The honor system, (which encompasses dishonourable kills as well)
● PVP Rank rewards
● Blackwing Lair
● Darkmoon Faire
● Darkmoon deck drops begin
● Alterac Valley
● Warsong Gulch
● Green Dragons
● Arathi Basin
● 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
● Scourge Invasion
● World PVP Objectives (in Eastern Plaguelands, Silithus)
As of now, while the plans have been publicised, no dates for any of these stages have been set yet. But there will still be plenty of content to conquer in the meanwhile between stages.
Other changes and conclusion
In this article, we have covered the main known information for World of Warcraft Classic and its upcoming release. Suffice to say, it will be a completely different and enjoyable experience, and all the while bringing a massive chunk of lost players back to the game! An interesting element of its release will be the effect on the main game.
Do remember, Classic will be more challenging. You can't just switch your spec at any location, you have to go to a trainer, many differences like these completely change the experience. You will also no longer have any dungeon finder; you'll have to socialize more (as should be the case with a massively multiplayer online game) and join guilds.