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.
After this past year of working on this project and forging our way through the various bugs and challenges, one consistent theme that’s emerged is that the difference between what we have and what we want is clearly visible. When we look at today’s World of Warcraft, we can see the differences between the modern game and the classic one. If we tried to update the reference client, we would have instead been tracking down a lot of “invisible” changes such as exploits waiting to be abused, crashes that don’t show up until you have millions of players online at once, and more. We chose to approach the problem in a way that makes our job clear and obvious instead of difficult and hard to see.
Some quests in my guide are marked as "SKIP" and colored in red. These quests are simply either too hard to solo or not worth the XP/time and are skipped. My guide will only list SKIPPED quests if the quest is a direct follow up after completing a quest, not one that you have to click the NPC again to get it. If you hover over the skipped quests, it will give info on why it is skipped in the guide (unless that info is already listed directly in the guide text).
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.
First thing you should do is to learn the market for the specific item you would like to monopolize. Let’s say it is Kingsblood. We can see a stack of Kingsblood is selling for 1 gold. There are 10 stacks on Auction House. To control the market, you have to buy out all the lots of Kingsblood, even single ones. Next move is to make auctions of Kingsblood you have bought for the price you want. Be reasonable and make it 2 gold. But all people are still being used to the old price of 1 gold and will not buy your Kingsblood at first. You have to maintain your auctions for 2 gold all the time, no need to put all Kingsblood you have at once, 3-5 lots are enough at the beginning. You can see, other sellers may start create auctions for 2 gold as well. That’s what we need. But if someone is selling for cheaper price, buy out their Kingsblood immediately. Soon people will start to accept your price of 2 gold as a regular price and will buy your stuff. Now you just to have to sell all Kingsblood you got. Control several markets. It can be anything, even twink blue items or items level 20-30 or 30-40. Same strategy works everywhere. It requires lots of time to track the markets and check auction house. It is not that easy as it may seem, you should spend at least a week of monitoring to be sure about prices, you will fail if you buy out everything at once without research. Soon or later, too many people will decide to sell your item as well. As they could see price change and think it had happened naturally. Market becomes overflooded. It is important to quit before the collapse. This always happens.
I've been playing the Classic beta a little (and I do mean a little, the new Diablo season has me in its grips hard) and I can't see what the big fuss is about. It's Vanilla. That's what it is, that's what it was, that's what was expected and that's what we're getting. Sure there are bugs, upgrades some people didn't want and upgrades other people did want but didn't get, but in the greater scheme of things that's such a small part of the whole, it's barely worth talking about. So why are some people so insanely intent on ruining others' fun?
In Classic, playing different classes actually feels different in more ways than just their abilities, at least if you think about it a little. Playing a priest, you really want to find a group because that's what the class was designed for, which is both good and bad - you're stuck very slowly leveling if you're solo, emphasizing the frustration of the slow pulling, but having different classes require different gameplay can be good. If you want to play a priest you're going to have to be more social by default, just whisper the guy you see killing stuff next to you and go level together, you'll immediately have a better time of it (this part is particularly exacerbated in the beta, as there are fewer players).
Wait, /sit to trigger crits is p-server thing? I distinctly remember people saying that if you sit, you will be crit when I played 1.12 Vanilla. On top of that - there’s that pally that one shot Kazzak in early Vanilla because he stacked a shitload of reckoning when it didn’t have a limit - it’s not inconceivable that he did it without /sit to trigger crits, but it would take him so, SO long to do that without /sit.
Some class systems from the original game simply don’t have a modern equivalent. The class probably most affected by this is the hunter. The pet happiness and loyalty systems were removed a long time ago, as well as pet training and the ability to use both a ranged weapon and a melee weapon. In these cases, converting the old data to the new system wouldn’t work, simply because there is no new system to match. In this instance, we had to bring back the old code—and we did. Fortunately, the restoration went smoothly, though the reality of having to buy arrows or feed their pets again took a few people in our internal tests by surprise.
You can’t go wrong with a mage. In fact, Mage was the most popular class in World of Warcraft: Classic due to their ability to farm with ease. Back in the day, the player majority even leveled mages as alts in order to gather gold quickly. In addition to their monstrous ranged DPS, mages also have tons of useful utility. As a mage, you’ll be able to conjure food and water, place portals to the major cities, and even earn gold from doing so.
Sharding eliminates server load and realm stability. Cross-realm sharding is here so that players are evenly distributed across realms and helps combat underpopulation. Sharding at launch is vital to ensure a stable launch of an expansion. Starting zones would be filled with millions of people and that would turn even accepting a quest into a nightmare. Disadvantages of Sharding
In this form, there is much less wasted space and spells are no longer limited to three effects. But before we can load any database data, we need to transform the old data layout into the new one. This is not limited to spells, as almost every game system (including items, creatures, player characters, spawning, AI, and more) has had its database layout altered over the years.
Other methods have been discussed. For example, mods could be crippled. DBM didn't exist back then, and the other boss that did that I don't remember the name of, didn't do as much back then as DBM does now. If our goal is to recreate the experience as it was, then obviously not having DBM would be a reasonable way to accomplish that. DBM simply existing, makes the game today easier than it was. So disallow it. Again, this is completely consistent with the spirit of vanilla. Remember one-button-decursing? That was nerfed. They crippled the capabilities of the modding API to disallow that because it made the game too easy. So what if they cripple it a little bit more to once again make the game less easy?
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.
You create a meta where you're constantly buying gold. Gold is very important in vanilla consumables are the difference between being a hardcore raider and being a casual. The notion that wow token doesn't create inflation is incorrect. By giving every player the ability to buy gold you're increasing how much gold your average player will have. the 1% rich player who has the ingame gold to buy these tokens was not trading with that gold. But now they buy ingame time and the gold that was sitting in their pocket is now being used to trade, buy items, herbs, etc. now there's more gold in circulation. Now everything costs a little bit more gold. And if you're a player who's not buying wow tokens with real life money you have to farm just a little bit longer to compete. That's why wow token is bad.
With all that said, getting in the WoW Classic beta could be a bit challenging, as it is invite only. In order to have a chance to participate, you must sign in through a Blizzard account and opt into the beta through the account management tab. The team at Blizzard will begin sending out invites on May 15 for the first WoW Classic beta period. If you have yet to sign up, do not worry, because more beta testers will be picked as future beta periods get closer.
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.”