Here we go, folks: World of Warcraft Classic is now set to launch on August 27th – actually, in the US, it’s the evening of August 26th “to align with other regions.” In the meantime, it’s gearing up for beta.
“Beginning May 15, select WoW players will be invited to participate in a small-scale, focused closed beta test,” Blizzard announced today. “Players will also get a chance to help put our servers and technology through their paces in a series of stress tests running from May through July – you can opt in now through Account Management and select the WoW Classic beta. Subsequent stress tests will extend the opportunity to even more players. Level caps will also be in place to ensure we’re emphasizing the ‘stress’ in ‘stress test’ – we want to push our tech to the limit, and that means a critical mass of players in close proximity.”
The first stress test kicks off next Wednesday, May 22nd, and the third (and final?) test appears to end Friday, July 19th. Character creation opens August 13th (12th for Americans); active subbers at that time “will be able to create up to three characters per World of Warcraft account.” Blizzard says it’ll be “choosing dedicated players who meet select criteria from both the WoW Classic beta opt-in and the standard Warcraft beta opt-in,” along with an active sub, though of course that’s no guarantee.
The announcement today confirms what WoW Classic will look like at launch:
“With World of Warcraft Classic, Blizzard has rebuilt the original WoW in its most polished and complete state—as it was at the time of the “Drums of War” update (patch 1.12.0), originally released August 22, 2006. Included for all subscribers at no additional cost, World of Warcraft Classic gives players the opportunity to reexperience together the moments that came to define early WoW, like 40-player raids on Molten Core; days-long PvP battles at Tarren Mill; and the grand, server-wide effort to open the gates of Ahn’Qiraj.”
Blizzard is also promising plenty of fun for the game’s 15th anniversary this year, including multiple in-game activities, a 15th anniversary collector’s edition with a Ragnaros statue and other goodies, and “a 25-player raid (accessible through Raid Finder) that will pit players against some of the most iconic bosses from throughout the game’s history.”