Right out of the gate in the recent World of Warcraft Q&A, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas said that WoW Classic wasn’t going to be the focal point of discussion, as the team is only “at the beginnings of this process.” However, he did confirm that Blizzard isn’t looking to monkey around with too many changes.
“We know Vanilla means Vanilla,” Hazzikostas said. “We know that it’s about community and that means some inconveniences, that means some of the rough edges. That’s not something we’re looking to move away from. It’s more which version of that experience… is it the 2005 version? The 2006 version?”
The rest of the Q&A session primarily focused on the upcoming Patch 7.3.5 and next year’s Battle for Azeroth expansion. If you’re curious what’s going to be in the next patch, the highlights include a preview of the Seething Shore battleground, zone level scaling, Legion epilogue quest content, and Ulduar Timewalking.
Icy Veins has a great roundup of the main points form the hour-long talk, although you could settle in to watch the whole thing yourself after the break.
Are you ready to play the most anticipated MMORPG from 2004? It turns out that, yes, many of you are. The frenzy over World of Warcraft Classic is probably nowhere near its zenith yet, as the announcement of the server has sparked enormous amounts of conversation among the community.
While we most likely have a while to go before Blizzard’s time travel machine is complete, it is not too soon to start thinking about the logistics and reality that a legacy server will entail. The existing emulator community and a look at the past development and operation of vanilla World of Warcraft can give us an idea of what WoW Classic will be like, although Blizzard’s vision may differ in format, business model, and features.
What will it be like to jump back to the first year or two of World of Warcraft and play that version of the game? It’s going to be a drastic shock to veteran and new players alike, especially those who might have forgotten how MMOs used to operate back in the day. Here are 10 things to expect when you log in to Classic for the first time.
It’s a really weird and interesting time to be a World of Warcraft fan. While the announcement of WoW Classic has revitalized discussion about the launch version of the MMO, it seems just about nobody can agree on what Blizzard should do when it implements the legacy servers.
For their part, WoW’s devs are still sifting through ideas. Two of the game’s community managers spent some time discussing class balance while the dev team continues to be formed. “Should class balance be left as it was, or should it be tweaked within a certain margin, or should it be constantly tuned and worked on?” one CM posted. “I’m not so certain that any specific one is the default, correct choice.”
It sounds as though Blizzard is trying to elicit feedback before it makes any decisions: “If folks want a true 1:1 Vanilla experience, then we want to see the discussion of that. If people think there should be changes here or there, then we’ll want to see that too.”
Last weekend, even Massively OP was obsessing over BlizzCon, and we thought it would be fun to poll the writers, including those who watched from the sideliness rather than diving into the liveblogging, on their assessments of the event, particularly as they pertain to the MMORPG industry. What were the highlights and lowpoints? Where do we stand on World of Warcraft’s new expansion and classic servers? Let’s dig in!
Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan gave an interview on Reddit this week that provides an interesting perspective from an original World of Warcraft developer who defected to Overwatch.
“I think classic is a great idea,” he says. “I have great nostalgia for what the game was. I think people need to be careful about what they think the magic was versus what it actually was. I don’t think what made the classic servers great was the shitty quests. I’m allowed to say that because I wrote all of them.”
Indeed, he stresses the importance of community and lauds the absence of the dungeon finder, but he also points out that some of vanilla’s problems: the lack of server transfers, the lack of well-distributed auction halls, and the smaller servers.
The driving forces behind Nostalrius, the famous World of Warcraft emulator that caused so much hubbub in 2016, are taking a victory lap this week after hearing the news about the existence of World of Warcraft Classic. Heck, if you read their letter a certain way, they are claiming a good share of the credit for Blizzard’s decision to open a legacy server.
“We are so excited, and want to THANK YOU once again for being part of this incredible journey: we wrote history together!” the admins exclaimed. “They will provide a stable realm, run by the most passionate people, and help unify the World Of Warcraft community.”
Admins Daemon and Viper said that they will “continue to make ourselves available” to Blizzard if needed in order to make WoW Classic happen. The pair said that Nostalrius’ chief goal is “completely achieved” with this announcement. The team hopes that no new Nostalrius-branded servers will be created because of this.
The Nostalrius team famously made a trek out to Blizzard’s headquarters in June 2016 to share the structure behind its legacy server and to answer questions by the WoW team.
Whether you play it now or not, chances are that your paths have crossed with World of Warcraft in the past. This is true of pretty much every MMO blogger I know, and as such, all of them have emerged over the weekend to offer their thoughts on BlizzCon’s classic server and Battle for Azeroth announcements. So what do they have to say?
On World of Warcraft Classic:
“Meanwhile, a lot of what Blizz said about WoW Classic was set in the future tense. It sounds like they had a small group do some research and found a viable path forward. Everything else, however, seemed to couched in ‘we will,’ ‘we’re going to,’ and ‘we want to.'” (The Ancient Gaming Noob)
It may be a ways away, but World of Warcraft Classic is on the road to becoming a reality. Blizzard posted at least two job openings for project team members as part of the effort to create the legacy version of the game.
While not revealing any specifics about the older version of the MMO, Blizzard’s listing is still a thrill to read: “Travel back in time to a World of Warcraft before the Mists of Pandaria parted, and before Deathwing broke the world. When Blackrock Mountain, the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, and the floating citadel of Naxxramas were the most difficult challenges in Azeroth. The World of Warcraft team is working on bringing that world back to our players with Classic WoW, and we need engineers to help us bring the past into the present.”
Blizzard told fans at BlizzCon that WoW Classic would be a massive effort and that the studio was committed to making it happen and keeping it running as long as the main MMO operates.
As the World of Warcraft community grapples with the surprise BlizzCon announcement of a classic server, one subset of players in particular are feeling the impact of this statement more than anyone else. The WoW emulators that have been the center of the vanilla movement find themselves at a crossroads of what to do now that Blizzard is getting ready to officially deliver what they are already illegally doing.
Overwhelmingly, there was rejoicing among several of the emulator communities at the announcement. The Elysium Project said that it will continue to run its servers even after Classic’s release, saying, “We will continue to provide whatever services the community desires should Blizzard not meet expectations.” On the other hand, the newly formed Light’s Hope team announced that it plans to shut down its server when WoW Classic launches.
I think it’s safe to say, after all the Nostalrius and legacy server drama from last year, that Blizzard has surprised a lot of people by actually keeping its word to build out some form of classic servers, as announced at BlizzCon last weekend. And the English-language WoW world lost its collective minds, if the 10K-word, 54K-upvote thread that rocketed to the top slot across the entirety of Reddit last Friday is any guide.
The thing is, the studio didn’t actually talk much about the servers other than to say they’re happening, they won’t take resources from WoW, and they’re operating under a separate team – there’s not much to talk about, just basic infrastructure. That probably means we’re a long way off. On the other hand, Blizzard seems serious about making a commitment to the community on this one, which makes it really enticing to me at least, way more than I expected.
How about you? Will you be playing World of Warcraft’s Classic servers? Or are you in wait-and-see mode until we know much more?
In the process of picking yourself up off of the floor following Friday’s announcement of World of Warcraft Classic at BlizzCon 2017? As your mind grapples with Blizzard’s surprise revelation of a legacy server project that will take players back to the vanilla era of World of Warcraft, you probably share the same questions and concerns that Eurogamer voiced in an interview at the convention.
Executive Producer J. Allen Brack was reluctant to give the publication any specifics on a timetable, saying that the project was just announced, only basic infrastructure is in place, and that the team is forming. He did confirm that Classic won’t be taking away any people or resources from the main MMO, as Blizzard is treating this as a separate game with its own dedicated team.
“Our goal is to recreate that classic 1-60 gameplay,” Brack said. “Some things changed as time went on, with different patches. How does that get manifested? That’s one of the outstanding questions. But yeah, the goal is to recreate that exact experience, for better or for worse.”
World of Warcraft delivered a jaw-dropping surprise to its loyal community with an amazing announcement at this weekend’s BlizzCon. Blizzard took to the stage with a surprise reveal of World of Warcraft Classic, which will take players back to the “vanilla” setting.
“We think we have a way to run the Classic servers on the modern technical infrastructure,” J. Allen Brack told PC Gamer. “The infrastructure is how we spin up instances and continents, how the database works. It’s those core fundamental pieces, and running two MMOs of that size is a daunting problem. But now we think we have a way to have the old WoW version work on the modern infrastructure and feel really good.”
Blizzard is forming a separate team to tackle this project and has yet to commit to any sort of timetable or release window.
True confession time: The original version of this post was just the lyrics to Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road” with a poor phonetic transcription of the song’s guitar riffs. But apparently this post should actually talk about BlizzCon 2017, just because that’s what we’re actually here for. And it’s true! We are totally here for our annual liveblog of the convention’s opening ceremonies and all the associated revelations.