At BlizzCon 2018, the WoW community got their first chance to experience World of Warcraft Classic for themselves. To help players understand what goes into bringing a Blizzard-quality experience like this to life, software engineers Brian Birmingham and Omar Gonzalez along with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas took the stage Saturday afternoon to share their insights.
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.
Before we talk about layering, it's important to talk about the sharding technology used in modern-day World of Warcraft. When a zone in the game becomes overpopulated, players will be seamlessly moved onto a different shard, which is essentially another instance of the same zone. It is important to note that you will still be able to play with your friends, because you are moved to the same shard when you create a party.
I am not, generally speaking, a conflicted or complicated gamer. I do not buy tons of titles. My Steam library is not stuffed with hundreds of games I’ve paid for but never played, apart from the ones I use for benchmarking. Hilariously, this means I have thousands of hours logged in a few games I’ve never actually started, but relatively few that I purchased for the purposes of playing and didn’t play.
So even though you can play a WoW Classic demo today, we’re not done quite yet. We have lots of capital city features to look at, such as banks and auction houses. We need to test our dungeons and raids to make sure the bosses’ abilities all still work correctly. We need to examine all of our PvP systems. But we’re committed to taking a close look at all of these and more as continue bring the classic game back to life.