World of Warcraft Classic
|World of Warcraft Classic|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, MacOS|
|Release||August 27, 2019|
World of Warcraft Classic is a server option for the MMORPG World of Warcraft. Running alongside the main version of the game, Classic recreates the game in the state it was in before the release of the first expansion, The Burning Crusade. It was announced at BlizzCon 2017, and is set to release on August 27, 2019.
Classic recreates the game in the state it was in after patch 1.12.1, c. September 2006, before the launch of The Burning Crusade expansion. The maximum level of the player characters is set to 60, all expansion content is absent, and all the gameplay mechanics of the original version have been exactly replicated. As the game's multiple expansions have dramatically changed the gameplay since the launch version, Classic greatly differs from the modern version of the game.
Players can choose from the eight original races of World of Warcraft: humans, dwarves, gnomes and night elves for the Alliance, and orcs, trolls, tauren and the Forsaken for the Horde. The original nine classes are present: druid, hunter, mage, paladin, priest, rogue, shaman, warlock and warrior. As in the original version of the game, only Alliance players can become paladins, and only Horde players can become shamans. Races and classes added in the expansions, such as worgen or death knights, will not be available in the game. The game world is restored to its original, pre-Cataclysm state, and expansion areas such as Outland are not accessible.
To emulate the original game's patch release cycle, content in Classic will release in phases. This means that game content originally released in patches, such as the Blackwing Lair, The Temple of Ahn'Qiraj and Naxxramas raids, battlegrounds like Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley, and certain items and quests will become available after launch determined by an intentional schedule. Unlike in the original game, these content patches will not modify the core game mechanics such as character abilities in any way; the game balance is set to the 1.12.1 version of the game.
The option of vanilla servers has been a long-standing request in the World of Warcraft community. As the game's expansions typically superseded older content, many players felt that a rollback to an earlier version was the only way for them to re-experience old game content. This became especially true when the Cataclysm expansion reworked the entire game world of the launch version, making some content forever inaccessible. Blizzard was aware of this desire, but thought the development overhead of maintaining two divergent versions of the game was too great.
In response to the lack of official servers, many private servers were created by the community in an attempt to replicate the original state of the game. The most notable of these was Nostalrius, which opened in February 2015 and rapidly grew in popularity, having 800,000 registered accounts and 150,000 active players when it shut down in response to a cease and desist letter on April 10, 2016. In the wake of Nostalrius's shutdown, a Change.org petition for official vanilla servers was created and received over 200,000 signatures, and ex-World of Warcraft team lead Mark Kern personally delivered it to Blizzard's president at the time, Michael Morhaime. Blizzard acknowledged the community's desires, and stated they had been discussing legacy servers internally for years but technical problems prevented them from implementing them.
On 3 November 2017, at BlizzCon 2017, the then-Executive Producer of World of Warcraft, J. Allen Brack, announced Classic on stage during the WoW panel. Details of the project were further revealed in interviews: it was going to be a faithful recreation of the original version of the game, but running on the modern infrastructure. A developer blog post published on 15 June 2018 further detailed the technical implementation, and a panel was held during BlizzCon 2018 that explained the development process behind the game. To create Classic, Blizzard ported the original 1.12.1 game data and assets to their modern server and client infrastructure. This allows Classic to share much of the source code between the modern version of the game, which removes the development overhead of maintaining two different versions of the game, and also means that Classic will have all the performance and security improvements added to the original game server and client that were absent in the 2006 version.
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Mark your calendars: WoW Classic goes live worldwide August 27!
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