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Blizzard release World of Warcraft Classic content plan

At last year’s BlizzCon, Blizzard announced World of Warcraft Classic, also known as Vanilla WoW, a separate server that would hold the game as it came out 15 years ago. Now, a blue forum post has detailed what to expect and in what order.

Fans had been hoping for a classic WoW server for years, even begging the admins on the forums. When Blizzard announced that the wish of many was coming through the community was ecstatic. Even those who had quit the game vowed to return and relive the glory of the most legendary MMORPG of all time. Yes, even the Barrens chat.

Official information has been somewhat scarce, though. We know the release date should be “sometime in summer 2019”, but this is always subject to changes and delays. We get a glimpse of the many challenges the devs are facing in a blue forum post. The post also detailed the content plan for releasing instances and raids for WoW Classic.

Initially, the plan had been to roll out four consecutive phases of content. However, Blizzard listened to player feedback and extended their plan to include six phases. This is great for us users who will enjoy more content, but also complicates things.

You see, classic World of Warcraft was very much unlike its later expansions. Back in 2004, getting to Level 60 was an enormous part of the game, and reaching max level was considered a serious achievement. Going to raids was a very serious endeavor, as some instances required 40 people to complete, and were very demanding in terms of tactics and gear. The game focused more on the journey and not the destination, if you will.

This means several things: first, the gear that drops during leveling up, especially around the higher levels, is absolutely essential for the character, as it is an entry point into early raiding. Rare and Epic rarity items used to be... well, really rare. Legendary items took an eternity to make and anyone seen with a legendary attracted a huge crowd. For the Blizzard WoW team to achieve such conditions again, it would mean they’d have to release the raids and dungeons at a very specific order.

In early WoW, there was no item level, so gear was judged based on its stats and which instance it came from. You’d climb instances like a ladder, gearing up for the next level of difficulty. So, Blizzard have decided to roll out the content in a fashion similar to how it happened back in 2004 and analyze how loot affects progression:

“Along the way, we’ve taken a close look at items that provide the biggest power gains, many of which were introduced in 1.10 as part of a sweeping dungeon itemization pass. That patch was when Tier 0.5 gear was introduced, and Relics were added to the drop tables of many bosses. It also adjusted drop rates and drop locations of a lot of gear (to make room for the Relics). We’ve gone back and reconstructed many of the most heavily affected drop tables as they existed prior to the 1.10 patch, and we’re planning to update the drop tables alongside the Ahn’Qiraj War Effort”

One of the first raids we’re going to see is Onyxia’s Lair. Prepare for handling many whelps, being feared into eggs and fire, oh so much fire.

Here’s the full schedule from the blue post:

Phase 1 (Classic Launch)

  • Molten Core
  • Onyxia
  • Maraudon

Phase 2

  • Dire Maul
  • Azuregos
  • Kazzak

Phase 3

  • Blackwing Lair
  • Darkmoon Faire
  • Darkmoon deck drops begin

Phase 4

  • Zul’Gurub
  • Green Dragons

Phase 5

  • Ahn’Qiraj War Effort begins
  • Ahn’Qiraj raids open when the war effort dictates
  • Dungeon loot reconfiguration: Tier 0.5 Dungeon gear, Relics, drop rates and location changes

Phase 6

  • Naxxramas
  • Scourge Invasion

As you can see, the order has changed somewhat compared to Vanilla WoW. The Green Dragons come before Ahn’Quiraj specifically because they drop Nature Resistance gear, a must-have in AQ. Also, Dire Maul has been delayed – the reason for this seems to be the loot drops from there are so good they would render earlier content meaningless.

From the list above, though, every single instance is worth it, so we can’t wait to close the blinds, get together with 40 other fans and go stomp on some bosses.