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WoW ClassicMay 3, 2019 2:00 pm CT

Everything we know about WoW Classic

alterac valley fight

WoW Classic is coming this summer, so here is a roundup of everything we know about how the game will work so far. The game won’t be exactly like how it was, but it will be close.

Release date and development progress

We learned at BlizzCon that WoW Classic is slated to release in Summer 2019. That gives us a timeframe of July-September. The WoW Classic demo recently hit internal employee alpha testing, and the game data hit the Content Delivery Network to prepare for that. It’s getting closer to public testing and we could possibly see a public beta within the next month or so.

How much it will cost

WoW Classic won’t cost anything extra if you’re already subbed to current WoW. You won’t need to buy the game, and the content is included with a regular WoW subscription.

How the game and content will work

The game’s version will be set to patch 1.12, Drums of War, including class balance and itemization. It will have six release phases to replicate the content progression in the original WoW.

  • Phase 1: Molten Core, Onyxia, Maraudon
  • Phase 2: Dire Maul, Azuregos, Kazzak, Honor System and Dishonorable Kills, PvP Rank Rewards
  • Phase 3: Blackwing Lair, Darkmoon Faire and Darkmoon Faire Decks, Alterac Valley (patch 1.12 version), Warsong Gulch
  • Phase 4: Zul’Gurub, Green Dragons, Arathi Basin
  • Phase 5: Ahn’Qiraj War Effort, Ahn’Qiraj Raids, Dungeon loot reconfiguration (Tier 0.5 Dungeon gear, Relics, drop rates, location changes), possibly PVP vendor updates
  • Phase 6: Naxxramas, Scourge Invasion, World PvP objectives in Silithus and Eastern Plaguelands

Spell batching, how the game servers process actions, will also be present. Current WoW has practically eliminated spell batching as a noticeable effect, due to far better technology as the years have passed and a much smaller window (around 20ms) where spell batching happens. In the original WoW, the spell batching window was much larger due to limited power, which led to “fun” interactions where a Warrior would Pummel a Mage who would simultaneously Polymorph the Warrior. WoW Classic is adjusting the action priority system to replicate how the original game worked.

The old character limits will be in place. You can have a maximum of 10 characters per server and 50 per account in WoW Classic. On PVP servers, you can only have a single faction per realm.

How items will work

While content will be released to replicate the progression experience, loot will work a different way. In the original WoW, loot had progressive itemization, where Blizzard was constantly tweaking gear throughout the game’s span. Instead of following that progression and making the many changes, the gear in WoW Classic will be set to the final versions they existed as in patch 1.12. Gear will still be released along the phase timeline — if it came out in a certain patch, it will be included in the equivalent phase — but the itemization will be static.

The modern two hour loot trading window will be present for soulbound items in raids, but only there; it won’t be available in dungeons at all. During the original WoW, loot disputes were only handled by Customer Service. Blizzard is making the option available by putting it in the players’ hands with a current game mechanic. Customer Service won’t be transferring any items in WoW Classic.

Quality of life additions

WoW Classic won’t be a complete replica of the original WoW, but it’s meant to recreate the experience in a modern format. As such, WoW Classic will adopt some modern technical conveniences.

  • Modern framework for data storage. It will use the system from patch 7.3.5 in Legion instead of the original file system.
  • Modern macro and addon interface, though some modern social addons that create groups may not work.
  • Battle.net friends list integration to stay connected, though players may not be able to add opposite-faction friends from the right-click interface.
  • Right-click to report players.
  • Better 4:3 widescreen visuals.
  • Colorblind support.

How it’s different from current WoW

WoW veterans know the deal. But if you didn’t play during the original WoW and only know how WoW is now, there are quite a few differences and a lot that will be missing. First of all, it will act as a completely different game. That means that it’s not linked to live game data. Any progress you make in WoW Classic won’t transfer over to current WoW.

Most notably, it will be missing a lot of the quality of life changes that we have gotten used to over the years. This means that there is no flying, no transmog, no AOE loot, no map objectives or quest directions, no Dungeon Finder, no Raid Finder, no dual specs, no reagent bank, no instant mail, no linked Auction Houses, no mob tagging, no achievements, no account-wide anything. Pets and mounts will be physical items you have to carry around, so I hope you have bag space.

There will also be no phasing or cross realm zones. Sharding could be a possibility if servers need to control the population.

How it’s different from original WoW

While WoW Classic is trying to replicate the experience of the original game, there are some things that will be missing, whether from outdated technology or modern constraints. The modern structure up above adds technical improvements, as well as some UI improvements like taking mail from the mailbox. Wall-jumping will not be possible, due to the propensity for exploits and some of the modern game’s movement enforcement and exploit detection code. Though some character services were available back then, character services aren’t planned right now. Realm transfers could be a possibility, but only within WoW Classic (and not from WoW Classic to modern WoW).

How they made it

Development on the game has been going for over two years. The devs were able to reconstruct the game by finding a very old backup of a backup on a backup, and layering it on top of modern source code. The original game data had been long gone, due to the fact that the devs used to only work with two versions of WoW — the live game and the next patch. However, they were able to find an old “Final 1.12.0 data” folder on a backup. The game data couldn’t communicate with login servers or infrastructure, and every bug and exploit was still present. They fixed this by layering it with patch 7.3.5, which provided a workable base for WoW Classic.

Community and fan additions

WoW Classic will have its own section of the forums. Right now there is a section for discussion about the game’s development. Fans also put together a site to connect players with their old friends to play with in WoW Classic. Just go to Vanillafriends.com, fill out your character information and contact information, and your old friends will be able to look you up.

Wowhead, of course, has a WoW Classic hub and a talent calculator for the Classic talent trees. Thottbot was the original database for WoW and eventually spawned the Wowhead we know now. It will be making a comeback in the form of Wowhead’s new database: Classic Wowhead. They even have a Thottbot theme for ultimate nostalgia. If you were an Allakhazam fan, you’re not left out either. One of the more helpful aspects of current Wowhead is the user comments on item pages detailing important information. Wowhead has also added that into its Classic database, importing over 237k Allakhazam comments and replies.

And while you wait for WoW Classic’s launch, you can check out all our Countdown to WoW Classic galleries to re-experience the nostalgia again.

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