Blizzard has been working to get World of Warcraft Classic up and running for the past 15 months. Turning back the sands of time has proven to be a lengthy process. But there now appears to be a clearer roadmap in place for how Blizzard is going to go about issuing out the slew of Classic content that comprised the first iteration of Blizzard's long-running MMORPG.
According to the Blizzard forums, the original plan to issue out Classic content in four phases is now out the window. Blizzard will now issue out patches in pairs, meaning that WoW Classic will be doled out across six phases.
"Our focus is still primarily on player power-progression, but we're also aiming to capture what it felt like to play in a realm community in original WoW," writes Community Manager Randy "Kaivax" Jordan. "To do that, we're planning to mirror the approach taken by original WoW, with patches paired together. We’ll launch Classic with content from original WoW through patch 1.2.x, then the second update will include content that was in original WoW 1.3 and 1.4, the third Classic update will have 1.5 and 1.6 content, and so on."
Phase one will focus on launching Classic with the Onyxia and Molten Core raids intact. However, Dire Maul is going to delayed slightly, with developers reasoning that some of its loot could prove too powerful for early progression. Blizzard will similarly examine items and their power gains across later phases.
One other thing to note is that Blizzard is staying quiet regarding PvP in WoW Classic. The publisher is still determining how to go about issuing PvP rewards, given that those saw major changes over the course of WoW's first year.
Here's how the phases will be issued out and what their contents feature:
- Phase 1: Molten Core, Onyxia, Maraudon
- Phase 2: Dire Maul, Azuregos, Kazzak
- Phase 3: Blackwing Lair, Darkmoon Faire, Darkmoon deck drops
- Phase 4: Zul'Gurub, Green Dragons
- Phase 5: Ahn'Qiraj War Effort, Ahn'Qiraj raids, dungeon loot reconfiguration, Tier 0.5 Dungeon gear, Relics, drop rates, and location changes
- Phase 6: Naxxramas, Scourge Invasion
WoW Classic is still in line for a Summer 2019 release and will be free to all subscribers of the current WoW. Release windows for subsequent phases will be revealed at a later date.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, WoW Classic lays out six phase content plan
I hadn't considered how complicated this would be with all the varying gear levels from raids that were phased in when they were, and how that could impact leveling and raiding in any area before the gear was to be used. Like them having to move Dire Maul to second phase. I also hadn't thought about working in PVP stuff to all this, which was definitely changed around a lot early if I remember right.
I think it's easy for the players to generally say, "We want vanilla WoW!" but it's incredibly complex to actually work out and deliver it, something we will likely not know much about or even appreciate. It's cool Blizzard is even taking this on. The easy way would be to dump it out all at once and be done with it, but again, it's cool they're taking on this phased approach to further the experience of vanilla as it was experienced way back.