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WoW ClassicMay 14, 2020 10:00 am CT

How will WoW Classic incorporate The Burning Crusade?

illidan black temple, old model

WoW Classic is an extremely popular game right now, and it’s brought a lot of old-school players back who enjoy the game entirely because it has nothing new to offer. But at the same time, they’re burning through the available content in the game faster than we did even back in 2004 to 2006, and eventually, they’ll get tired of sitting around at level 60 farming Naxx for their tier sets.

Eventually, they’re going to want something else to do.

Frankly, I’m surprised Blizzard hasn’t already announced The Burning Crusade for WoW Classic. I mean, I get why not — for one thing, you’re not sure that your nostalgic game has a player base that wants to see TBC, even though J. Allen Brack has been talking about doing exactly that in interviews dating back a year. It came up at BlizzCon 2019 and there was even a poll about whether or not people would be receptive put out by Blizzard. Clearly, this is something people are interested in both internally at Blizzard and in the WoW Classic player base. So why haven’t we heard anything yet?

How do we bring Outland to Azeroth again?

Well, for one thing, there’s the question of resources — The Burning Crusade is a pretty big expansion, and you’d need a reasonable team to get it ready for its return. Secondly, how do you even do this? Do you just update WoW Classic to The Burning Crusade, which would mean new talents, new items, and a loss of that nostalgic 1-to-60 feeling? Or do you open up specific servers that are TBC equipped and let people decide if they want to move there or stay in their 1 to 60 version of the game? It’s important to get a handle on what people really want WoW Classic to be — if you start patching and updating every Classic server to some version of TBC, you’ve effectively just made a new World of Warcraft that’s fourteen years behind the retail version, updating to new versions as time goes on.

And that’s another matter — how much time can WoW Classic go before it runs out of content? We’re looking at two raids remaining at this point, with not much left to release. Barring suddenly deciding to create Classic-only content, Blizzard is basically going to have to give players some of that TBC-era content to run sooner or later. After Naxx, there’s simply nothing left to release for WoW Classic and no matter how much you love going back and doing the old stuff, are you really willing to just farm Naxxramas forever?

Not everybody wants chocolate in their peanut butter

If I had to speculate based on the phases of content roll out, I’d say that we’d get a WoW Classic: The Burning Crusade announcement sometime this year, aiming at Q4 of this year or Q1 of next year for its release. I would bet a year’s subscription that they won’t just update WoW Classic to patch 2.x — there are a lot of players of Classic who want exactly what they have now and aren’t going to want to deal with new talents or abilities, much less the sudden surge of tank viability from Paladins and Druids, or suddenly getting Alliance Shaman and Horde Paladins. And new races are also not something everyone signed up for — we all remember how Blood Elves changed the population balance of the Horde forever, right?

No, I expect we’ll see dedicated servers for TBC, and players will be allowed to either re-roll or character transfer on those servers.  That seems like the most likely way to try and satisfy as many Classic players as possible — the ones who want new content badly enough will hop over to servers where they can experience it, while players who are happy doing Blackwing Lair over and over again won’t have to worry about that changing.

But no matter what, I believe we’re going to see The Burning Crusade in WoW Classic, and likely Wrath of the Lich King after it. Possibly a lot sooner than we might have expected.

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