World of Warcraft Classic progresses: ‘This is the right decision’

    
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Desperate for some World of Warcraft Classic news now that the BlizzCon high has faded? Forbes has an interview up with Blizzard Executive Producer J. Allen Brack and Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel that at least touches on the challenges that lay ahead in bringing a legacy server to the gaming population.

The two don’t mince words about the technical challenge, but say that there is a plan to minimize the complexity of such a project and move forward. The studio said that “lots of decisions to make” and many things to do, such as to partner with the community and get feedback about the formation of Classic.

Brack emphasized that Blizzard wants to structure this so that it will not be managing two MMOs at the same time. He said that headaches aside, it’s a project worth pursuing: “We’re convinced, through the desire of those folks, the desire of our internal folks, and the desire to preserve what WoW was, that this is the right decision.”

Meanwhile, Blizzard may be targeting one World of Warcraft legacy emulator for an eventual shutdown. A DMCA takedown request was filed against the Light’s Hope project on January 25th, citing that the game’s spell tables and field names were identical to the original World of Warcraft data. There seems to be some debate over the legitimacy of this action, and so far, it hasn’t stopped the game’s population from logging on to all three servers.

Light’s Hope was born out of the Project Elysium controversy that took place last October.

Source: ForbesTorrent Freak. Thanks Cotic!

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styopa

“through the desire of those folks, the desire of our internal folks, and the desire to preserve what WoW was”
That’s a curious bit.
To me I’ve never been convinced that the consumer base prompted much action from them (after all, message boards like this are what, about 5% of the actual pop?), nor any sense of ‘we’ll do what’s right’…but the comment ‘desire of our internal folks’ suggests that there was non-trivial lobbying WITHIN Blizz for this to happen.

Likely that’s what got it done in the end.

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Sorrior

They could take advuce from SE

Tjey run FFXIV and still manage stuff for FFXI..even updates despite it suppisedly being closed down.

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Armsbend

11 was never in maintenance. It was a bullshit marketing ploy that some people insist on continuing to talk about as if it was ever real.

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Sorrior

Then point stabds even more. If a company with probably less then half theur resources CAN run 2 mmos and develop several games with regular updates.. what is blizz doing with their money.

Not saying i want regular massive updates for classic btw(i do not really trust modern blizzard) but just pointing out it can be done if they wanted

Personally i have just two things i would like to see for it

Be vanilla or tbc to start

And let us unlock transmogs on our main account

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Bryan Gregory

I dunno, seems pretty maintenance to me. Reusing the same zones and the same mobs who use the same abilities and same spells but tuned with more HP and damage… The game gets next to nothing that is actually new.

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Armsbend

If you are doing anything other than dusting the cables in the server room and finding people’s missing login/password info in CS then you are not in maintenance. Even putting out a newsletter makes you not in maintenance.

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Valen Sinclair

Maybe I don’t get the “challenges” but amateurs have been running classic servers for years. I think you can handle it Blizz.

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Loopy

I had no idea Light’s Hope was served a notice as i haven’t played there since the announcement of official classic servers. Anyone know what their response was?

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Armsbend

“so that it will not be managing two MMOs at the same time.”

This is a confirmation that Blizzard won’t ever be making a new MMO in the future. Probably ever.

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johnwillo

They may be building up a thriving market for re-making old ones: Burning Crusade Classic, Wrath of the Lich King Classic, etc.

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Armsbend

God I hope not. I have no respect for developers who are mired in their glory days.

borghive
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borghive

I know the posters here at Massively have been very skeptic of the success of Classic servers, but I really think these servers are going to be very popular.

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Rolan Storm

I think so too.

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Rumm

I have no doubt that Classic will be very popular, for about a month, after which time people will remember why all those quality of life changes were put into the game. I predict that after a relatively short period of time, the Classic server(s) will drop to a small but steady population in the 100-200k range (small by Blizzard numbers, 200k sustained would be an incredibly successful MMO by any other company’s standards).

Vanilla WoW wasn’t harder as some people have suggested in the past, it was just slower because things had more health and you weren’t capable of pulling more than 1 mob at a time, and mechanically simpler because the game couldn’t handle much else. The “authentic” experience includes a lot of things that people are going to dislike, and which went away for very good reasons. I mean people thought that Wildstar had a tedious/difficult attunement process because it took more than a day to do; have fun with the BWL attunement and grinding fire and shadow resistance. The game’s population peaked in WOTLK when we had the LFG tool, flying, repair bots, removal of reagents for buffs, and a million other improvements from the Vanilla infancy. I really do believe that a rude awakening is in store for a lot of people who either didn’t play the game and are curious to what the hype is all about, or who are simply nostalgic for that sense of adventure that WoW first offered them, but that is no longer realistically obtainable.

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Armsbend

If they get 100k-200K pop on classic it is worth it to cannibalize the illegal servers. The ones who will still play it, and there will be many, will have no moral ground to stand on any longer – and Blizzard can and should attack them with impunity.

Just for that – it would be worth making and maintaining classic.

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Rumm

I don’t disagree, but unless the Classic server is stuck perpetually in Vanilla (which seems to be what most people want), that wouldn’t account for all of the other expansion specific servers. A Blizzard supported progression server would be the best option, but not a lot of people seem to share that opinion.

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Dan

I’m all for classic, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Progression would be the way to go.

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borghive

I totally disagree Rumm, people like the lack of QOL changes that were in the older versions. Also, I doubt a lot of new players are going to be trying Classic, what you are going to have is a lot of players that quit over the years returning to the game.

I’d like to add that all those QOL changes that you mentioned above haven’t necessarily made the game better. That is why you are seeing this backlash from a huge segment of the MMO verse asking for this janky 14 year old game to return. Also, WoW hit it’s peak population before the introduction of LFD, just to correct you there. That feature wasn’t introduced until the very end of Wrath.

Your nostalgia comment is echoed many times, but I think you are wrong here as well. It isn’t nostalgia to like how older MMO systems functioned. I can tell you just from my own perspective from playing on Nostalrius. I actually enjoyed my time there a lot, and I while at first I felt a good dose of nostalgia after that passed I was still playing the game and enjoying my time there.

I’ll say it again, there are a lot of players out there that miss the older MMOs warts and all, you might be surprised how many of these types of players are out there. I mean, just look at the retro gaming sections in Twitch, there is a huge group of gamers watching and playing old Nintendo games along with other retro titles.

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Rumm

I don’t lament people being excited for the Classic servers, I just think that a lot of people are going to be disappointed when they actually experience what Vanilla was like.

My main concern is that there are so many camps with different visions for what Vanilla could/should be, that Blizzard has no chance of meeting everyone’s expectations. Are we going from day 1 patch 1 of release and moving through the entire base game, or starting from a later, more stable patch with some basic bug fixes and even QoL changes that came about during Vanilla? Are classes going to be imbalanced intentionally to maintain authenticity, with 2-handed Enhance Shaman running around 1 shotting people with Windfury procs and Rogues stunlocking everyone but Paladins from 100 to 0 health, or will Blizzard proactively fix those issues? Is all of the PVE content going to be available from the get-go, or will we have to wait months or years to actually get to X raid that Y people wanted to experience?

Blizzard has a ton of difficult questions that have to be answered, and its guaranteed that they get flak regardless of which route they take.

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Minimalistway

If that happen … then what? from different interviews Blizzard said that they are ok of the servers ended with few people playing them, they expect that, and yet they are going to make these servers.

As for “rude awakening” check youtube videos, so many videos about what’s wrong with classic, many people who want classic (including me) know what’s wrong with old systems, yet we want that, and for many of us it is never about nostalgia (not there is anything wrong with that) because we never played classic in its day.

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Malcolm Swoboda

I also think they’ll cap at 100ks players for Classic/Vanilla, but the player count alone is only part of the benefit for Blizzard to do this. One other benefit is that if they make versions of every part of WoW’s history (especially to start in the 2020s: Classic, BC, Wrath), few will be able to be so bothered about drastic changes made to ‘retail’/modern WoW. Just go to the version you like, with its own server(s).

If they establish and automate progression mode (that is, one part of the game that is in stasis, but another temporary server rule that goes through the patch and raid progression and then carries the characters back to the permanent one), that’s something that could be kept in ‘maintenance’ afterwards for years while raking in subscription money.

I think ‘Vanilla’ itself will only be a hit in 2018-2020 (2018 if it releases this year even though I think it won’t, and 2020 if it is very successful), but that’ll be enough for Blizzard as they move on to other strategies, whether that means dropping development or moving on to making Burning Crusade a thing.

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Utakata

I am not sure I’ve ever been skeptical about their success, rather I don’t see the point to them…as I have simply moved on. /shrug

semugh
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semugh

while it’s their IP still it would better for them to relax those takedowns until classic servers are actually here.

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Bruno Brito

I’m more interested in the LH debacle. Anything that makes Whitekidney shivers and quivers makes me giggle.