WoW Wednesday: Classic’s Systemic Success

With a little over a month since the release of Classic, I can certainly tell you it’s been a wild ride this month for the wider World of Warcraft. This week, however, it’s certainly more than past due for us to discuss what’s really more important than its development process or controversies surrounding its main gameplay. Instead it’s more appropriate to discuss what matters to us experiencing the game either for the first time or all over again. This week we’ll discuss the first few hours of Warcraft Classic and how it feels to journey back to Azeroth’s beginnings.

To say that Classic feels nostalgic is a mild understatement. Even down to the most minor aspects of item scaling, everything feels akin to, if not exactly like, the original Vanilla release, even including the unstable servers and massive queue times.

Thankfully, I had taken a minor trip during the week of Classic’s release and got to miss the queue times exceeding several hours. Infamously, in a screenshot we’ve used many times on this website, Azeroth players were forming queues to kill quests mobs in an organized manner. Server instability akin to Vanilla’s initial release stopped a large majority of players from actually engaging and creating a newer character. Even now, nearly a month after the game’s release, queue times have been notoriously long due in part to popular demand. Blizzard continues to make efforts to improve server quality and load, and the experience has by and large leveled out.


Stepping into Classic, I decided to pick up the class I mained during the end of the game’s life cycle: the Warrior. Notoriously seen as both one of the most brutal classes to level due to their high damage reception, Warriors are a classic fantasy staple and a vital part of any raid team in Classic. They are also one of the most painful things I’ve ever played in my life.

There are multiple reasons for this. Due to Classic’s reduced creature and character stats, all classes are inherently disadvantaged in comparison to the live game. Due to this scaling, as well as armor rating’s effectiveness reduction, players both receive more damage and deliver far less. This inherently makes every encounter in the world both far longer and far more dangerous. Certainly, as a character with higher armor rating, you’d potentially survive an encounter with one or two creatures. Not, however, without a great deal of damage.

In playing a Warrior, this phenomenon reaches a terrifying apex. Not only must you directly engage these enemies in melee combat, but your damage and mitigation are based almost entirely off of the stats of your equipment. This means that not only do you require the best armor you can find, but in order to be even remotely effective you also need the best WEAPON you can find. Of course, if you don’t have the appropriate weapon skill leveled, which can only be increased by enemies of your level, you’ll never hit an opponent with it.

Consequentially, you’ll be taking more and more damage in combat than you’d like no matter what your class is. Without abilities like Exhilaration of Victory Rush now baked into most Live classes, taking secondary professions such as First Aid or Cooking is mandatory to decrease your downtime during leveling. Even then, your class doesn’t really feel like it’s entirely complete until you reach level thirty-five and up, gaining several damage boosting or resource generation abilities that rework how you engage encounters. The entire leveling process is obtuse, backwards, long, over-burdened and often terrifying…

…And that is why Classic is becoming so well beloved.

Compare it, for a moment, to the modern Live version of World of Warcraft. While we have covered it extensively already, Live’s issues stem from a less than dynamic form of engagement. Due to stat tuning being geared more towards end-game encounters and the prevalence of stat heavy items early on, world-encounters are not a difficult endeavor. Instead of a challenging obstacle that must be surmounted to continue, it is instead another thing to waste time on until you get your next level. Whereas there are potentially new rewards at every level in Classic either in the form of new talent points or other abilities to learn; those can be as far apart as fifteen levels at a time in Live.

Even in pushing through past level twenty in Classic, there are certain abilities you DO NOT NEED TO LEARN. Warriors, aside from their first rank of it, have no need to learn further ranks of Sunder Armor, Shield Block, Mocking Blow, or Demoralizing Shout until they start tanking full-time towards the endgame. This is based on the concept of learning your abilities from class trainers, skillsmasters who will educate your character for a price. In Live, that’s a concept so alien as to be ludicrous; abilities are gained and scale their output automatically as you progress in level.

Classic is many, many things. It’s frustrating, poorly optimized, obtuse, difficult, non-impactful and, at many times, incredibly ludicrous. In saying all of that, observing all of those traditionally awful things, it’s not hard to see why this version of Warcraft is so wonderful.

Engaging enemies is frustrating because it forces you to think; should I charge into the pack of Quillboar or is it wiser to body-pull them one at a time? While the game is poorly optimized in its encounters, it forces you to be more social with players. Together you can defeat that enemy you’re both struggling against. It’s obtuse and difficult in order to force you to engage in as much of it as possible. Surely, you’re unequipped to take on the next part of your quest but if you picked up Leatherworking your Druid might be better suited to the task. Surely, it’s non-impactful because every little talent point only increase your critical strike by 1%, but getting that new point each level encourages you to invest spending it in the wisest possible way. Yes, it’s indeed ludicrous because some of these enemy respawns that are five seconds apart in a crowded space are BROKEN AND DUMB.


However, when you pull all of that together, it creates a fundamentally wonderful experience. I can remember every quest I’ve completed so far with clear vividness. If you want to take time aside to work on professions or train your skills you are intrinsically rewarded with things that directly tie back into your current level of performance. In my first ten hours of Classic I spent entirely too much time focused on crafting a Heavy Copper Axe simply because it offered me one additional point of stamina. With the game’s increased weight on smaller numbers, however, that one point of stamina allowed me to partially take an additional hit from enemies I might not have been able to.

Even doing dungeons, while difficult for a number of reasons, is far more rewarding than just gaining additional levels and experience. When my current Live guildmaster was interested in tanking Ragefire Chasm, we worked on stirring up a group of three warriors, a priest and a hunter to dive into the instance. Between the five of us, we tracked down every single quest available for the instance, from Undercity to Thunder Bluff. Not only did several of us gain two or three additional levels, we learned more about how to manage our classes in that setting; while our Hunter didn’t leave growl on, our warriors certainly learned how to spend their rage more wisely. Even though we didn’t get a host of rare-quality items, every single person left with enough uncommons to make any Quillboar tremble in fear.

Likewise, I was hunting Fizzle Darkstorm in Durotar. As a level 12 leader in the burning Blade, he was surrounded by his acolytes who would very quickly respawn. After an hour of trying to clear them out so I could face Fizzle, a Warlock stumbled across us and threw a gyrospanner into my plans. In moments after a fatal pull that killed us both, his students respawned. We teamed up together to take him down, using her Voidwalker to slap Fizzle into the ground while I pulled creatures off of her with my Defensive Stance abilities. I had a similar situation on the Echo Isles, where a fellow Warrior and I stood back to back against a horde of mind-controlled trolls!


Systems like these, as perhaps as outdated as they are in the modern games industry, work at creating vibrant and sustainable enjoyment in a game. Its why games such as Dark Souls are remembered so fondly, especially when we are forced to participate in some jolly co-operation. Certainly, it’s a dumb, stupid, anger-inducing and difficult game. However, it is so well constructed that, in order to utilize it to its fullest, you need to get into every aspect of it and enjoy taking your time. It forces you to slow down your pace and enjoy breezier aspects of the world, giving you a slow and incremental increase in power that over time reflects the progress you have made. Now that I have the equipment and levels, I could certainly turn around and stomp Fizzle’s stupid face into the dust!

All of this is why Classic’s gameplay is so quickly becoming beloved. Something that the Live Development Team very quickly needs to take notice of.

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WoW Wednesday: How Long Can Classic Last?

After an incredibly too long gestation period, Classic has finally arrived. Launching just a little over two weeks ago, Classic has gone on to already break several large-scale records across the internet. From crushing Twitch’s all-time release day viewership to an intense spike in current World of Warcraft subscription, Classic has more than well received its wings as Blizzard’s new gem. One that perhaps shouldn’t have been handled with, “You think you do, but you don’t.”

This week I had intended to take a critical look at the experience of starting off in Classic as a life-long fan of Warcraft’s evolution. Despite my long, storied disinterest in this column about returning to my Vanilla days and the problems there-in, I have indeed jumped back into the Vanilla I used to know. With both feet I’ve plunged right into the deep end, playing it in my off hours when I’m not preparing other content or working on my main character. There is an incredible number of things I like and a substantial amount of things I don’t. However, something occurred this week that unsettled that topic. It was something that I really hadn’t anticipated, planned for, or really even thought possible.

Less than two weeks after its release, someone has already reached max level in Classic.

Thrash Bloodedge, my own little step into Classic.

Earlier this week Twitch streamer Jokerd was the first player to reach level 60, using a technique that really wasn’t possible with Vanilla’s original launch. Grouping as many creatures together as possible, Jokerd used Classic’s improved server structure to kill them en-masse and quickly gain a ludicrous number of levels. In 2004, servers simply couldn’t manage to handle this particularly ingenious move. Two more popular instances of note such as this were documented with the launch of The Gates of Ahn’qiraj, where the world event occurring in Silithus was so well attended it crash almost all of Blizzard’s servers. The second occurred, ironically enough, at World of Warcraft’s initial launch, where the sheer volume of players flooded servers and forced shutdowns en-masse.

Classic, to its credit, still featured some of the same issues. As the world simply wasn’t built for such a high volume of players, queue times have popularly returned to the log-in screen. I’ve personally seen my queue count rise into the tens of thousands. I was fortunate, however, to be so occupied in my real life that I missed most of these launch-related issues. Classic, since the shut-down of Nostalrius and other major Vanilla private servers, has been an intensely popular idea. Compounded by current, and well-popularized issues, with the current development lead, team and Live game, Classic is an attractive method to get into the wide world of Azeroth.

However, Jokerd’s feat has brought a very pointed issue to the forefront. Longevity, enjoyability, and most importantly our personal evolutions over the years. The question raised is simple: How long can Classic last?


I’ve said it many times at this point; Classic is incessantly obtuse. In 2004, World of Warcraft was very much a capsule of game design elements at the time. As covered by one of the original designers, John Staats, in his incredibly comprehensive book, ‘The WoW Diary,’ development of WoW was very much a blind effort. Some of it, as is the consequence of modern art and game development, was undoubtedly based on other games of the time such as Star Wars Galaxies and Everquest. All these games were not intended to be played as we play modern MMOs such as Warframe, Guild Wars 2, or even Final Fantasy XIV.

Warcraft at its inception was designed based entirely on feel. Some concepts, such as Tauren Plainsrunning, were based on the sheer fantasy and ‘cool factor’ despite the fact that they were fundamentally unbalanced. Questing, as illustrated to this day in The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King quest hubs, was non-linear and broken up. Exploration was a forced aspect of Azeroth’s experience so that you could finish quests and discover new ones. Mob grinding was a requirement when you ran out of quests because of those inspirations from other games. In some aspects, Blizzard’s MMO darling was softer than games such as Everquest, penalizing players less for dying.

Progression, however, was still a brutal experience. Due to technological limitations, methods such as Jokerd’s wouldn’t only have wide-spread effects on your server but on your personal PC. Low frame-rates were not a rare issue, with the best top of the line CPU of the year being AMD’s Athlon 64 3500+. While the average computer in 2019 usually has between eight and sixteen cores the Athlon, the absolute peak of PC gaming, had four processors. Not four cores, four processors.


This, on a level, fundamentally breaks what Vanilla was and what Classic is. Unless you’re playing on a period piece PC, you cannot really encapsulate that experience. Even then, with Blizzard’s improved server architecture, that original terror of pulling more than three mobs because your computer can’t take it is not reincapsulable. Does that directly impact the enjoyability of Classic? Not in the slightest, but it does allow one to do more than the game was originally designed for.

Take, for example, the end-game raids. Now infamous for their intense difficulty, Onyxia’s Lair, Molten Core, Blackwing Lair and The Temple of Ahn’Qiraj were massive instances requiring 40 players. Not only were these the pinnacle of the endgame, often requiring extensive periods of gearing for raids, but they required a multi-tiered system of leadership to perform. Due to the organizational hurdle, most guilds not only had a Raid Officer and a Loot Officer overseeing fundamental aspects of the raid team, they also had Class Officers or Class Heads to oversee individual roles.

Because of that type of foresight, as well as the technological limitations of the time, raids were not tuned as they are today. There was not a specific equation to tune specific boss damage. Mechanics were not a heavy aspect of raiding outside of decursing, threat (which was inordinately complex), and some cleaving melee or raid-wide abilities. To put it in perspective both Razorgore the Untamed and Vaelstrasz the Corrupt were fundamentally earth-shaking in their design at the time. Some encounters required two tanks, others needed six; most raids didn’t have a clear-cut set comprehension unless they were cutting edge.

WoDFlex 5
However, keeping all of this in mind, raids were not tuned for 40 players to complete. Between technological limitations, high organizational requirements and very specific gearing requirements, it was unthinkable for 40 people to come together to succeed. Instead, raids were tuned for 25 competent players to manage. This has been espoused by both Vanilla Veterans, such as Youtuber Preach, and some members of the original development team. This, in part, is one of the fundamental reasons why Naxxramas was such an elite thing during Vanilla’s life cycle.

Raid attunement and gearing was incredibly linear in Classic. One did not progress to Ahn’Qiraj without having your full tier set from Blackwing Lair, which you didn’t enter until you had your full tier set from Molten Core. Of course, you didn’t enter Molten Core until you had your best-in-slot fire resistance gear from across Azeroth’s endgame dungeons. All of this culminated in Naxxramas, featuring one of Warcraft’s most infamous enemies, in a battle for the very fate of not just Lordaeron but potentially the world.

Both of these phenomena created what today we refer to as ‘The Naxxramas Effect.’ It was the first raid that not only required specific classes in specific situations above other classes, but also required all 40 players to work in tandem. They had to engage in new and complex raid mechanics that weren’t simply decursing creatures; players had to move and cohesively engage new targets or halt attacks entirely. Damage avoidance suddenly became paramount, wide-spread planning became a vital aspect. A team of community members suddenly had to work with military efficiency in the face of more difficult to grasp mechanics.


This did not just simply fracture raid teams but shattered entire guilds. Even the world first guild, Nihilim, took 90 days to down Kel’thuzad. While on the lower end of other World First raid kills, the highest being Ragnaros at 154 days, only 131 confirmed guilds ever managed to complete Naxxramas world-wide. It’s believed that only five copies of Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian were completed world-wide prior to the launch of The Burning Crusade.

Two days ago, ASPE, an EU raiding guild, killed Ragnaros. Afterwards they killed Onyxia, a boss DESIGNED to be done prior to the Firelord’s entire raid as a stepping-stone for gearing. So what has changed? Classic certainly isn’t any easier than what Vanilla used to be, so why are guilds managing to kill Ragnaros? A boss that took 154 days when it was live has just been downed by a raiding team that bypassed a vital part of gearing. Technology has a major impact in it, surely, but what else has changed?

We have changed. It’s hard to imagine a time without WoWhead, Thottbot, r/WoW, Addons, people in the know, experienced raiders and raid leaders, but that’s what Vanilla was. While today Progression Style raiding guilds, teams who like to go in blind and pull apart encounters, are more of a commodity than a real method to progress that’s how all of Vanilla was. There really was no centralized system of information and guides could often be rife with misinformation through malice or straight confusion.


Experienced raiders didn’t often return to ‘old content’ except to put an instance on farm. Unless you were in a large guild and a particularly unfortunate officer (like me), you weren’t raiding Molten Core in and out every week. You put a raid on farm until your team was done, and then get ready for the next one. Nights were full of a slew of trial and error failure, testing new techniques that your Rogue’s brother’s cousin’s friend heard. You had to deal with waiting when five people forgot their resist gear because it wasn’t their normal gearset. Bugs were rife throughout encounters, some for better and for worse.

Such is the problem with returning to older content. Now that we have all this information and technological infrastructure, the point rather becomes moot. There’s no need to explore without new incentives simply because we know what’s around the next corner. What need is there to push into raiding, unless you’ve never seen it before? What challenge can there be in the mighty Ragnaros if now we can skip an entire gearing raid and dive into its depths?

The epitome of this fallacy falls under Method’s new initiative. They’re currently involved in the World First races with their off team, in partnership with the World Showdown of Esports. It leeches the idea of experiencing the wide world of Azeroth into a race. Instead of looking at the emphasis on the journey, we’re now more focused than ever on the far, far end of the path. Maximum level and the real endgame are the goal, because there’s clearly nothing worthwhile in the levels before.


That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Despite the increased difficulty, despite the slower pace of gameplay, we’re still approaching Classic in the exact manner in which we approach Live. While current Warcraft has arguably far less substance than the original game, there is now an emphasis on both versions to press to the end. Whereas Live has that infinite treadmill of content, an aspect that is arguably without substance, Classic never possessed it. While the Honor System could be seen in such a view, it requires such a steep investment of time that even those who play multiple hours per night cannot easily rely on it to be a recurring time investment in the long term.

So that brings us back to the question I posed in the beginning. How long can Classic last with how we are approaching it? The answer is simply not long enough, and that’s not due in any part to Blizzard’s intent of design. Classic is a true and realistic adaptation of the original with some mild updates such as the mini-map clock for quality of life. It is unlikely that for Blackwing Lair, the dev team will alter numbers to increase overall difficulty for the sake of authenticity.

Where do we go from here then? Ultimately, as more and more guilds clear the first raid tier and put it on farm, the demand for the next release of the Classic roadmap will emerge. As Blizzard has demonstrated in the past, they will push content out quicker if the demand is high enough as seen in aspects of Legion and Mists. Quite possibly, we could see Naxxramas launch as early as six months from now.

Then whathat is left for us to explore in Azeroth?

When we pull apart every aspect of the world, ignoring the journey for the destination and glorifying those that do, what’s left for us to really call Classic anymore?

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WoW Classic Realm Capacity Increased in Order to Tackle Queues

Blizzard has announced that it will be easier to get in the WoW Classic realms after a few hotfixes that will substantially increase the number of players that can be simultaneously logged in and playing. This should, according to the forum post, result in smaller queues for realms with large queues and some realms shouldn’t have any queues anymore at all.

Queues for WoW Classic realms have at some points peaked at 30,000 plus waiting to get in. Streamer Asmongold had to end a live stream early when he got disconnected and put into a queue 20,000 long that took 6 hours to get through. He didn’t actually turn the stream off though, he kept it going while he slept 80,000 people tuned in to watch.

But the login queue isn’t the only one you’ll find in WoW Classic. Reddit user artemsaetg posted a screenshot to r/gaming showing a line of people waiting to kill a quest mob in WoW Classic. This is something I remember seeing in the early days of Everquest.

Of course, all of these queues will go away before long. The tourists who were just there to see what all the hype was about will leave and the masses of people lining up to kill mobs will spread out. The challenge right now is getting through this time when the game is seeing incredible popularity. For now, expect the queues to be especially bad on the weekends. We may even see them make a return in the realms that are expected to lose them with this hotfix.

 

Source: WoW Official Forums

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WoW Wednesday: How To Start Preparing for Classic!

Prepare your Chronometers, Azerothians. With World of Warcraft’s legacy Classic servers due in little less than a week, it will be time to jump into a brand(ish) new Azeroth. This week, in preparation of the launch, let’s discuss some things you need to do to put your best foot forward in ye olden Azeroth!

 

Reserve Your Name NOW!

Classic is SIGNIFICANTLY outperforming many people’s expectations for player counts, including my own! Coupling your Classic access into your current World of Warcraft subscription, Blizzard is now allowing all players to pre-make their characters prior to its release on Monday. While you don’t need to make any major decisions on your races or classes right this moment, if you have a certain name you’d like to reserve now is the time to get it done!

Start Doing Your Research…

Classes are definitely not as they are now in the Live version of WoW. Leveling is a very slow and painful process to manage, especially for classes like the Warrior who are ALWAYS in combat with no ability to heal. Before you jump in with both feet into what your current Live main is, do a little bit of research first.


Take the Druid for example. These days, Druids are masters of just about everything, minus some utility, depending on their role. In Classic, even a Hybrid class will have certain limitations. Their roles are FAR more reduced and their item optimization will require you to grind to exalted with multiple Battleground factions. You won’t ever be your raid’s main tank or top healer, but you’ll be a masterful off-tank and decurser! Every class has their niche to fill in both PvE and PvP, but its up to you to figure out what niche you want to fill.

Additionally, every race is unique. While each race in Live has its own abilities as well, the nature of Classic’s smaller stat-base makes each additional stat increase and ability from your race incredibly more tangible. Three classes feel this more than most, that being the Priest, Paladin and Shaman. Priests will get two unique spells depending on their class, some being far more impactful than those from other races! Paladins and Shaman are both faction restricted classes in Classic; only Alliance players can fight for the Silver Hand, while the Horde are restricted to wielding the fury of the elements.

Party Up!

Classic is much more difficult than the current Live version. Questing and leveling solo will be a chore, taking hours at a time to even push through one level. As such, get a few friends who are interested in Classic and start forming your leveling group now. This will also help you make some decisions based on your faction, class, and potential race to help fill what your party needs to succeed.

Maybe convince one to be a Mage. Free food is good food!

Skills to Pay The Bills

Get. Your. Professions. Early.

Learning anything in Classic Warcraft will cost you money. Learning upgraded versions of your own spells will cost you more money than you’d like! As such, you’ll want to pick up your professions as soon as you can. Most players will pick up mining and skinning to start their journey, both being used by multiple professions for armor-crafting. Ores and Leather are guaranteed to sell quickly on the auction house, and the latter you’ll find on the MANY creatures you’ll be grinding.


Its also advisable to pick up First Aid and Cooking. Simply leveling your character from 1-40 could cost you nearly 15 gold in purchasing food, gold that could better be spent on your basic mount. Melee classes, such as Warriors, Rogues or Feral Druids will take significantly more damage than most, with less healing abilities than other classes. As such, First Aid and Cooking can reduce your recovery time between quest mobs. That means you can spend more time grinding experience than wasting played time!

Become Self-Sufficient

The reality of Classic is everything is harder and more expensive than what you’re used to. Everything you will want to achieve is incredibly difficult. Everything will cost far more money than you’re used to, and acquiring gold is far more difficult than you might think. While teaming up is a necessary part to adventuring through Azeroth, you’re going to need to help pull your weight!

After getting to a comfortable point in your leveling, consider getting a crafting profession relevant to your class to optimize your armor. High-level crafting professions will take an incredible effort to make, but are more than well-worth their payoff. On top of making yourself more powerful with rare and epic quality items, other players may come to you seeking the tools of your trade.

As you begin leveling up, your first major goal should be to get your racial mount and learning riding. Its an incredibly difficult feat, but your raid team will appreciate not waiting for you as long when you forget your Fire Resist gear during Molten Core AGAIN.

Just… Lower Your Expectations.

Classic is not as impressive as you might think.

Aside from the absolutely horror-movie worthy character models, Classic is built on some of the game industry’s oldest game design philosophies. As such, its going to be a painful experience on more than one occasion. Do you want to quest in Arathi Highlands? Get used to running back and forth for 10 minutes every time you want to complete one quest. Get a brand new mace but your Two-Handed Mace skill isn’t maxed out? Get ready to start retraining it. From zero.

You can’t take Classic as seriously as one would take Live’s playstyle. Class Balance simply does not exist, period. Spell Batching is going to straight up make your life hell if all you know is Live’s version of how PvP works. Everything, to put it bluntly, is a serious case of janky.

That is the beauty of Classic though. It’s a game that is really hard to take seriously, and it forces you to have fun or you’ll just develop an aneurysm. Everything is a long-term investment in this iteration of Azeroth, from raid progression to merely getting to your next class quest. Classic is about the journey, not the destination. So sit back, get some friends, and have fun re-exploring Azeroth!

And just roll a Dwarf if you’re making a Priest. You’ll thank me later when you get into healing dungeons.

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World of Warcraft Recruit-a-Friend Program Ending

After many years of service, the World of Warcraft Recruit-a-Friend program is coming to an end. For years players have been rewarded for recruiting their friends to the game and for a little while at least that’s ending. Yes, Recruit-a-Friend will be coming back in the future after it gets a bit of a revamp.

The program in its current form will continue to be available for just one more month, ending on June 11th. At that point, players won’t be able to send out any new Recruit-a-Friend invitations. But, players who are invited before the program ends will have 90 days to purchase game time to get the rewards.

Right now there is no word on when the Recruit-a-Friend program will be returning. This is leaving many to wonder if it will return at all. The argument is that if they do intend for it to return, why not leave the current one in place until the new one is ready? On the other hand, a lot of comments about the program ending seem to be somewhat popular though. The current program has some issues that players have found upsetting so there’s the potential that these will be fixed.

If we had to predict when it would come back we would say it will be after the hype of WoW Classic dies down a bit. WoW Classic comes out sometime this summer. So, the beginning of 2020 seems like the very earliest we will see it return.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for more information on the new Recruit-a-Friend program. For now though, if you’re interested in reading more about the current events in World of Warcraft check out our weekly column WoW Wednesday where we dive into what everyone is talking about in the game.

 

Source: Official Site

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WoW Classic Outlines New Phased Content Plan

At last year’s Blizzcon it was revealed that WoW Classic would have a four-phase content plan, but now that we’re approaching the start date of WoW Classic it turns out there will actually be six! It’s still the same content, it is just going to be rolled out in a slightly different, slower method than was previously planned.

WoW Classic

With the new plan, the first phase will include Onyxia and Molten Core. Previously, Dire Maul, Azuregos, and Kazzak were included but they’ve been pushed back. This new release plan will mirror the schedule that the content was originally released in.

Additionally, Blackwing Lair and Zul’Gurub will no longer release at the same time. From a story standpoint, this makes a lot of sense.

The forum post announcing all of this gave a new updated schedule which you can see below.

 

Phase 1 (Classic Launch)
Molten Core
Onyxia
Maraudon

 

Phase 2
Dire Maul
Azuregos
Kazzak

 

Phase 3
Blackwing Lair
Darkmoon Faire
Darkmoon deck drops begin

 

Phase 4
Zul’Gurub
Green Dragons

 

Phase 5
Ahn’Qiraj War Effort begins
Ahn’Qiraj raids open when the war effort dictates
Dungeon loot reconfiguration: Tier 0.5 Dungeon gear, Relics, drop rates and location changes

Phase 6
Naxxramas
Scourge Invasion

 

You may notice that PvP isn’t included in that list, that isn’t a mistake. At the moment Blizzard is still evaluating their options regarding PvP rewards so they aren’t yet ready to put anything in writing.

 

Summer is going to be here before we know it and as we get closer to that date more and more information is going to be released. Keep an eye out on our weekly WoW column, WoW Wednesday for more great WoW content and more news about WoW Classic as we inch our way towards release.

 

Source: Official Site

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Blizzard Discusses what to Expect from the WoW Classic Demo

As BlizzCon inches ever closer, there’s a sect of World of Warcraft players hungry for the halcyon days of the game’s earlier life. In a brief rundown from a blog post, those fans are getting some initial details on the WoW Classic demo content they’ll be able to get their hands on when the demo goes live.

wow classic demo content

The playable demo will focus on outdoor questing and will start players at level 15. The demo will feature two zones familiar to fans of the MMORPG: Westfall for the Alliance side and the Barrens for the Horde. All of the familiar zone quest quirks are said to be making a return, such as low beak drop rates for Ornery Plainstriders or the Harvest Golems being resistant to some of your abilities.

What won’t be available in the demo, however, are the Deadmines and Wailing Caverns dungeons. PvP will also be limited to only dueling, and as one would perhaps expect, the two zones offered in the demo will be the only ones available.

While WoW Classic will mostly be the throwback those fans crave, there will be a variety of more modern features still available in the demo, such as colorblind mode, right-click reporting features, zero tolerance for bots and cheaters, and support for widescreen monitors.

Our Thoughts

Well, we continue to hope that this demo of WoW Classic won’t end up being a monkey’s paw for fans of the MMORPG and that the demo sates whatever hunger classic fans have. It will definitely be interesting to see how fans react to this demo version of the game.

Source: official site

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WoW Classic to be Playable for BlizzCon Attendees and Virtual Ticket Holders

In a first for the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket offerings, a playable World of Warcraft Classic demo will not only be available to folks attending the event itself, but will also be accessible to people who are Virtual Ticket holders. As in you’ll get to play the demo from the comfort of your own home. No pants necessary.

world of warcraft classic demo

Shortly after the opening ceremony on November 2nd, fans can download the WoW Classic demo and play the game for themselves. The demo will showcase a limited questing experience through some of the MMO’s early zones – one on the Horde side and one on the Alliance side.

There’s a limited length of time for this World of Warcraft Classic demo, however: specifically, you can get your hit of nostalgia until Thursday, November 8th at 10am PST/1pm EDT.

In addition to this announcement, there’s also been a reveal of the in-game goodies WoW fans are getting with the Virtual Ticket: a pair of mantles and war banners done up in either the design of the Horde or the Alliance, which can be seen in this video.

Speaking of video, game director Ion Hazzikostas and executive producer J. Allen Brack have a few words about World of Warcraft and the Virtual Ticket. That video is embedded for you below.

Our Thoughts

Consider us extremely surprised. Not only is World of Warcraft Classic in something of a playable state, it’s actually accessible to those with a Virtual Ticket. We actually really hope this sort of Virtual Ticket feature gets extended to other games in the Blizzard stable, if not for this year’s BlizzCon then next year’s.

Source: official site

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