Earlier this week, Blizzard finally announced a release date for World of Warcraft Classic, a barebones re-release of World of Warcraft long before it was filled with countless expansions. WoW Classic promises a pure, vanilla experience, one that a portion of the World of Warcraft playerbase has been chasing through unsanctioned vanilla servers stripped of various expansions. The game releases on August 27, which, while still a few months away, is still somewhat exciting, seeing as now most fans have an actual date to look forward to.
The fact that Cookie's Tenderizer from the Deadmines had +3 instead of +2 strength. The fact that the Stormwind south bank had one instead of two mailboxes. The fact that Jaina's Proudmore's name was "Jaina Proudmore" instead of "Jaina Proudless." Stuff like this isn't what mattered. It was arbitrary. If Cookie had dropped a shield instead of a mace and Jaina had been named Susan, nobody would have cared. It wasn't specific details like these that caused us to enjoy the game.
We’re still looking at how we can best deliver an authentic Classic experience at launch, and in the weeks and months that follow - both in terms of gameplay and community. You won’t see phasing (which is tied to specific quests that don't exist in Classic) or cross-realm zones (which combine multiple realms together) in Classic. However, realm sharding is one of the best tools we have to keep realms stable when hundreds of players are swarming the same initial few zones and killing the same few mobs (like they will be at the launch of Classic). To that end, we do believe that some form of sharding may be helpful, especially in those early days. But we recognize that a cohesive world is critical to WoW Classic and are committed to bringing that to you. Layering in Classic WoW
Within the context of Classic, the method most frequently proposed is to re-tune bosses to make them harder. Rather than copying the numbers, re-create the relative difficulty. Kind of like, when you first start working out, you use small weights. When you get stronger, you lift bigger weights. The WoW community is more knowledgeable, more experienced, has better hardware, etc. We're "stronger." So give us tougher bosses. There are a lot of forms that could take. Bosses were constantly re-tuned during vanilla anyway, so if Ragnaros does 10% more damage or something, is that really a problem? I don't think it is. What about resistance gear? back in the day, collecting resist gear was a thing people did. But the numbers and strategies are so well known today that only the tank really needs it anymore. Bosses could be re-tuned with more resistible elemental damage so that's important for entire raids to gear appropriately. That would be entirely keeping with the spirit of vanilla even if the actually numbers sitting in a database somewhere were different than they were ~13 years ago. If you want to go a little farther, a few people have proposed adding new abilities to old bosses, adjusting their timing, etc.
You’ll get a small window inside the game with instructions for what you need to do next, every step of the way to 120. You’ll also get a waypoint arrow that points you in the right direction to go at all times. If this sounds extremely convenient, you’re right! Zygor’s leveling guide/addon has completely taken the frustration out of leveling for me, personally. No more reading comments on WoWHead about how to complete quests. No more getting stuck, frustrated and bored with leveling. And no more feeling like WoW takes too much effort.
Instead of sharding the zones, their plan is to shard the entire continent at launch. In Classic WoW, there are no dynamic spawns and questing in starting zones would quickly become annoying, so it's understandable that the game is all but fun when there are no mobs to kill, but layering will also cause you to see new players, every time you sign in to the game, which is a clear downside of the tech.
Doomguard: The Doomguard serve as the Burning Legion’s lieutenants, captains, and generals. While it is incredibly unlikely that a demon hunter would be capable of defeating a Doomguard within their summoning circle, those that succeed would be granted overwhelming and overbearing power, the like that few would be able to contain. However, just as the Doomguard serve as the Burning Legion’s battlefield leadership, perhaps a sliver of that might be imbued within the handful of demon hunters capable of binding themselves with one and surviving.
Observer: (Caution) Where the felhounds merely seek to devour magic, the Observers seek to see what magic has to offer, to devour the newest forms of magic, and to understand the secrets that lay within each form of spellcraft. To the demon hunters that manage to survive an encounter with these squid-like creatures in their binding rituals, they may walk away with a never-ending thirst to better their own magical talent, to understand the dark spellcraft of the fel, and to command the secrets of the universe.
I'm not all that hardcore on "Classic", I want to relive the old zones and the old world and it seems like most people I'm taking to is feeling the same. We would prefer to have quality of life improvements regardless of them actually being in the game at in 1.12.2 or not. Like the "Automatic Quest Tracking" to actually track it properly without you having to actually trigger progress in the quest for it to show up would make perfect sense. It's no real need to make such a thing behave nonsensical just because it's "authentic".
Occasionally it's also been proposed to re-randomize all the gear. We didn't have best in slot lists back then. People weren't starting out as a fresh level 1 character with a complete list of which dungeons to run at 60 in order to gear as quickly and efficiently as possible. Now, all that data is available. If gear were re-randomized then all of those lists would become useless and thing would be close to how they were. Which is a more important part of the "vanilla experience?" the fact that item X from boss Y has exactly Z stats on it, or the voyage of discovery? Personally I think that voyage is way more important. Do you remember how many points of which stat on the ring or whatever that Darkmaster Gandling drops? I don't. Would it kill your experience if the BiS for every class were in a different dungeon so people had to actually play to figure it out rather than simply consult a spreadsheet? I don't think it would. For that matter, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to handle it intelligently so that the better gear is in later dungeons. I remember there because some weird cases where level 40ish gear was better than anything that dropped in level 60 dungeons.
The system is automated, meaning that once slots are available, beta testers will be chosen, without any beta key to speak of. Kaivax then goes to stress the importance of your account security, stating that, “any third-party e-mail messages, websites, or in-game whispers that offer beta keys or access to the WoW Classic Beta should be considered illegitimate and ignored or reported.”
All of this is keeping with the spirit of vanilla, which I think is more important than that a specific number be 11 instead of 12. And it would help to "resize the swing" by making the game harder to the more experienced community, and forcing people to re-discover the game rather than simply looking up whatever they want to know on a spreadsheet somewhere.
The main topic for Classic at the moment would be whether the game is actually harder or just has more redundant activities you have to do before doing the stuff that's really fun. This is actually a good discussion to have, and not just for WoW, but gaming in general. The main sticking point for now, as most people are on (relatively) low levels is the breaks between killing mobs, especially for mana users. In the beginning it's actually refreshing having to think about what you can and can't pull, not just running into a bunch of mobs and killing them in *insert current optimal time to kill Blizzard determined is the most fun*. The food/drink breaks after a few (or even one) mobs provide time to actually look around the scenery and the mobs you're facing, and while there isn't much strategy involved at these levels, you still at least pretend to plan out how you're going to get to that quest mob without being killed by the 4 random ones surrounding them. Not being able to pull whatever mob you want, and actually having to check what mobs are there when you don't have interrupts yet (casters tend to be a nightmare) is definitely more difficult in a real way than what we have today. As a caster, having to actually think about which spells to use based on mana cost (and perhaps even using lower ranked ones) is definitely more difficult and requires more engagement with your character than we have in modern WoW.
Escort quests can take awhile to do. I have thoroughly tested all the escort quests in the game for time/xp. Most are worth doing, but as long as you are able to actually do them without failing. Most require you to pay special attention to the escortee as most are fragile and will die easily, so do your best to keep mobs off of the escortee during escort quests. The longest one in the game is the Tanaris chicken escort. The chicken escorts are only worth doing if you were able to do all 3 of them, as if you do, you will be able to turn in an additional easy quick XP turn in quest at BB, which makes them worth it.
So tonight I took the plunge and thought hey let me buy a Zygor Guides subscription to see how it is. A guide backed by a subscriber base paying for a premium experience this has to be great right? I was wrong. I tested it by loading it up on the Honorboud Rep Guide. Cool it tells me to do World Quests and Island Expeditions. So far so good but hang on... What about the Wanted Quests? Those are by far the biggest boost to reputation. It did not mention them at all. So I thought that's fine it's probably because BFA is quite new. Loaded up a leveling guide on an alt. It was a complete mess. The guide was telling me to accept quests that A) would be horribly inefficient to level with and B) I already done. I also started noticing weird performance issues. Zygor was causing stuttering and FPS dips like crazy. So to close off I requested a refund and the person I spoke to did say I'll be getting one but we will see if that happens. Not getting my hopes up.