Before work began on World of Warcraft: Classic, it was only possible for players to experience the original World of Warcraft by using private servers, which are illegal, often have stability or corruption problems, and generally are very imperfect recreations of the authentic World of Warcraft experience. As much as Blizzard has been aware of the desires of their community, until recently it seemed impossible for them to emulate Classic servers due to the technical hurdles of essentially having to run two massively multiplayer online games side-by-side. A breakthrough was then achieved that made it possible to run Classic servers on the modern architecture of current World of Warcraft servers.
A demo of the game was available at BlizzCon 2018, and was downloadable on home computers for anyone who purchased a BlizzCon ticket or virtual ticket. The servers became available when Opening Ceremony started at BlizzCon 2018 and was set to end on November 8, but was extended until November 12.[4] Players started at level 15, and the only available zones were Westfall and the Barrens.[5] It was based on patch 1.13.0, essentially patch 1.12.0 ported to a modern infrastructure. The first day of the demo, there was a playtime limit of a cumulative 60 minutes with a cooldown of 90 minutes, applied through the BlizzCon Exhaustion debuff.[6] The debuff was removed on the second day of BlizzCon 2018.[7]
After choosing a race, class and customizing the look of your character, you will spawn in your race's starting zone, usually within a small settlement. Typically, these beginning areas are designed to get you to around level 10 before you leave and move on to the next zone. Right away, you will notice that some NPCs have a yellow exclamation mark () over their head. These symbols will also display on the mini map in the top-right corner of the screen if you are close to them. Talking with these NPCs will allow you to read and accept a quest they have for you. The objectives and status of this quest can be checked at any time by opening the quest log (L). Once you have completed the objectives for said quest, you can return to the NPC (or possibly a different one) to turn in the quest. The NPC whom you need to turn a quest into will have a yellow question mark () over their head. As you complete quests and your character gains levels, always be on the lookout for new quests being offered by NPCs.
Kaivax, a WoW forum community manager, revealed that WoW Classic's class design, battleground mechanics and stats on existing items will be set to their 1.12 state, despite the game releasing content that expands beyond that. This removes "progressive itemization," so if the stats on a specific piece of equipment was changed during the original updates, that won't take effect in this version.
For another example of lighting, we looked at Elwynn Forest. We had a period in Warcraft’s history where we changed all the lighting equations and as a result, our environment artists had to take a pass over all of the zones to improve the lighting and take advantage of the new equations. To recreate the original experience, we had to rewind those changes. The first thing we did was restore the old lighting data. This brought us much closer to the original lighting—and with a few more changes to the distance formula, fog formulas, and some changes to shadows, we were able to bring things even closer to the original lighting.
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