WoW: Classic is scheduled for August 27 (technically August 26 if you're in the Americas). The soonest that you can play it is starting in May, during Blizzard's scheduled stress tests. To opt-in you must have an active subscription on your Battle.net account. If you do, go to Account Management and select the Wow Classic beta. Keep in mind, there will be level caps during the test. The schedule is as follows:
Players will start from level 1 and will progress through level 60 with real, Blizzlike x1 rates. Old PvP battlegrounds are: Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin and the famous 40vs40 players Alterac Valley where battles were known to last more than 24 hours. 20 and 40 man raids will be available for Molten Core, Zul Gurub, Blackwing Lair, Ahn'Qiraj 20 & 40 and the original Naxxramas raid in the Eastern Plaguelands.
When it comes to Classic, Blizzard's goal is to provide an authentic Vanilla experience, but they also needed to come up with technology to handle many players at launch, which is similar to sharding. While the use of this technology will be limited to the first month following launch, many players are questioning this decision and wouldn't like to see layering in the game at all.
Wait, /sit to trigger crits is p-server thing? I distinctly remember people saying that if you sit, you will be crit when I played 1.12 Vanilla. On top of that - there’s that pally that one shot Kazzak in early Vanilla because he stacked a shitload of reckoning when it didn’t have a limit - it’s not inconceivable that he did it without /sit to trigger crits, but it would take him so, SO long to do that without /sit.
Why Skinning? Skinning is incredibly easy to level up while you are leveling your character. The leather that you skin will almost always sell on the Auction House (albeit not for much, but hey– it’s free gold!). Even if you don’t want to take the effort to sell the skins on the Auction House, you can simply vendor them for a significant amount of extra gold.
I’m used to either wanting to play a game or not wanting to play a game. But WoW Classic… WoW Classic is different. Maybe I’m just falling victim to nostalgia. Maybe I’m conflating the people I played with in 2004-2006 with the game I played in 2004-2006. Nostalgia is a hugely powerful motivator, after all, and even us jaded reporters are susceptible to it. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about stepping back into a game that was genuinely slower, jankier, and less well-balanced than the WoW that exists today. I do know I’m looking forward to it more than any other launch I expect this year. Some friends of mine have already started planning for a return. I’m going to join them. It’s annoying to find myself pulled back to a game version I genuinely don’t think is as good, in many ways, as what exists today — and yet, here I am.
To avoid this, the team “taught” our tools some new tricks so that we could update WoW Classic without affecting the current version of the game. We copied the 1.12 data into a new project, taught the tools to distinguish between them, and now as the WoW Classic team makes patches, any changes stay within the Classic chain without ever interacting with the current game’s data. This might seem simple—like copying a directory—but the tricky part is teaching all our tools how to understand this so that they can make edits automatically. Being able to use our internal tools is a huge benefit, and we wanted to make sure Classic had access to all of WoW’s infrastructure and data. 

In this form, there is much less wasted space and spells are no longer limited to three effects. But before we can load any database data, we need to transform the old data layout into the new one. This is not limited to spells, as almost every game system (including items, creatures, player characters, spawning, AI, and more) has had its database layout altered over the years.
There’s the reason why some players used to call the game World of Roguecraft. Rogue was one of the most popular classes in classic WoW and there’s a good reason for it. During vanilla, Rogues topped DPS meters in raids and dungeons, but their main strength was world PvP. Rogues could stealth through enemies avoiding unwanted engagements with the opposing faction. Additionally, a huge variety of crowd control abilities and high burst damage made them the worst nightmare for the cloth-wearing classes. However, Rogues were in a bit of disadvantage regarding end-game gearing since most of their gear pieces were useful to other in-game classes as well.
Our initial runs exposed a few (expected) issues: the game sometimes crashed, didn’t recognize our modern video cards, and was incompatible with our current login system. That first pass also couldn’t support any of our modern security and anti-cheating capabilities. Clearly we had a lot of work to do to make WoW Classic live up to the Blizzard standard of quality, and deliver the experience players want.
I’m used to either wanting to play a game or not wanting to play a game. But WoW Classic… WoW Classic is different. Maybe I’m just falling victim to nostalgia. Maybe I’m conflating the people I played with in 2004-2006 with the game I played in 2004-2006. Nostalgia is a hugely powerful motivator, after all, and even us jaded reporters are susceptible to it. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about stepping back into a game that was genuinely slower, jankier, and less well-balanced than the WoW that exists today. I do know I’m looking forward to it more than any other launch I expect this year. Some friends of mine have already started planning for a return. I’m going to join them. It’s annoying to find myself pulled back to a game version I genuinely don’t think is as good, in many ways, as what exists today — and yet, here I am.
If you’re eager to claim your character name in WoW Classic, take note: we’ll be opening character creation on Tuesday, August 13.** Players with an active subscription or game time on their account will be able to create up to three characters per World of Warcraft account. We’ll have more information on realm names closer to launch, but rest assured—you’ll have plenty of time to figure out your plans for realm domination!
We’ve already covered Blizzard’s plans for introducing content over time, but the basics are this: Initially, the game will roll out just like it did at server launch. Over time, content will be added, including events that played out in vanilla like the opening of Ahn’Quiraj. The company’s plan for introducing content over time looks to be a solid one and will allow new Classic players to experience the game the way we did back in 2004. There are still a lot of things we don’t know about Classic, but what we do know is genuinely interesting.
Other decisions were slightly less clear cut. At one point in WoW’s history, there was an 8 debuff limit on any one target. This was later raised to 16, and today there is no debuff limit. Thes change radically changed the balance of classes and strategies players could employ when using these debuffs to overcome content. To preserve that balance—and to avoid the slippery slope of retuning patch 1.12 data to compensate for such modern-era changes—we’re looking at setting a debuff limit of 16 for WoW Classic.

Blizzard has put out a ‘not a bug’ list that covers many commonly-reported features that seem strange to players, such as players and NPCs that are feared running faster, and quest objectives not being tracked on the map or minimap. Respawn rates for creatures is much slower than it is in Battle for Azeroth, and this is intentional – it reflects the respawn rate in the World of Warcraft version 1.12.

Our initial runs exposed a few (expected) issues: the game sometimes crashed, didn’t recognize our modern video cards, and was incompatible with our current login system. That first pass also couldn’t support any of our modern security and anti-cheating capabilities. Clearly we had a lot of work to do to make WoW Classic live up to the Blizzard standard of quality, and deliver the experience players want.
The original animations have also been restored, but WoW’s animation system is tightly coupled with its gameplay code. We had to make changes to both data and code to get the animations back to the 1.12 look. We ran into a few bugs along the way, such as models that should appear prone instead appearing upright, but we were able to correct these with a few fixes.
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