Another hurdle we had to overcome was how to store and merge our data. World of Warcraft has multiple updates or patches in development at any one time, each in a different stage of development. If an art asset or terrain file is added to one patch, the system is designed so that it also automatically shows up in later patches. This meant that If we had simply inserted a new patch for WoW Classic into the current development environment, we would have overwritten things like the current broken dam in Loch Modan with the previous intact version—and as you can imagine, this would have caused issues for Battle for Azeroth.
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
WoW: Classic is scheduled for August 27 (technically August 26 if you're in the Americas). The soonest that you can play it is starting in May, during Blizzard's scheduled stress tests. To opt-in you must have an active subscription on your Battle.net account. If you do, go to Account Management and select the Wow Classic beta. Keep in mind, there will be level caps during the test. The schedule is as follows:
The most important thing you should note is that there are no official beta keys. Blizzard opens the gates to their betas by granting access to your account — not sending you a beta key. If you’re in the beta, you’ll be able to download and play the WoW Classic client from your Battle.net launcher. If not, you aren’t in the beta. It’s easy to be tricked into thinking you’ll get a beta key from an email that looks like it’s from an official Blizzard address, but don’t believe their lies — they’re all fake.
A lot has happened in World of Warcraft in the fifteen years since it originally launched, and over that time we’ve come to expect certain things, not just in WoW, but in games in general. As players explore Azeroth as it existed back in 2006 during the WoW Classic beta, they’re reporting bugs – but in many cases, these ‘bugs’ are really just features that are working as intended.