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.
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Analogy: think back on riding the swings in kindergarten. Was it fun? Now, imagine going back to those swings exactly as they were, and sitting in them now, as an adult. They're too small. They don't fit. Your feet drag on the ground because they're so low to the ground. The bar over your head is low enough that you can reach out and touch it, and even at the highest the swing will go, it's only about chest high when you're standing up. It's exactly the same swing, but riding on it now is a very different experience, yes?
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.
That's not to say that everyone has an unrealistic vision of what vanilla WoW was like. There were already plenty of people on the WoW Classic forums pointing out that perceived bugs are just recreations of the original game. And as noted before, a flaw to one player is a key component of the original positive experience to another. WoW Classic will surely please plenty of purists in spades. But this goes to show that it won't be for everyone who has fond memories of the game circa 2006.
To fill our pool of beta and stress test participants, we’ll be choosing dedicated players who meet select criteria from both the WoW Classic beta opt-in and the standard Warcraft beta opt-in. Participants will also need to have an active subscription or active game time on their Battle.net Account. While opting-in to the beta is the primary way to make sure you’re in the running to join the test it doesn’t guarantee an invitation to the closed beta test. We may also consider additional factors such as how long a player has been subscribed to the game so that we have the right mix of players to ensure great feedback toward making WoW Classic the very best experience for the community.
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.