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.

I recreated my very first character -- a human warrior, because in the last-push alpha test I joined in 2004, there was no Horde -- and logged in. Immediately, I was surprised by how good the graphics actually looked, for being 15 year old textures-on-polygons. Warcraft's bright colors and cartoony aesthetic continue to this day, so all the increased resolution and better-contoured characters in Lordaeron don't really change the game's visual aesthetic.
To get past these hurdles, the team looked at what we liked (art and data) of what we had and what we didn’t like (the code). We wanted to see if we could utilize classic art assets and data within our modern code and get things to play nicely together. Things didn’t quite work right out of the gate, but with some trial and error, we were able to pull together a proof of concept of how to get things to work together and have something playable. This built our confidence that we could deliver a Blizzard-quality experience with the modern platform.
Logging in for the first time, being welcomed by THAT login screen and THAT music... You can't not be taken back if you've played Vanilla, and especially if you've played 2 years of it non-stop all day every day. I probably stayed 10 minutes in character creation just because of the music alone (and trying to get my character looking exactly as it did back then - although I wasn't a shaman then). The whole intro experience was especially amazing for me since the Tauren starting zone was my first encounter with WoW in the EU beta, and a little bit of that spark did return. But is that all Classic has to offer? A trip back in time when we were wowed by the game for the very first time?
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:
Nov 15 Loot sharing. Fools How stupid is the community about loot sharing? You know there is master loot right? Stop being dumb guys like holy crap. You also know that if you're the guy setting up a group or joining a group you have a option not to run or you can pick player's of different armor types... If you're a cloth wearer you just don't run or set up a group with other cloth wearers. Like this is something so simple and the community can't graps anything. I feel bad for blizzard sometimes with having to deal with brain power of this community. The community: "Oh, I didn't think about that. Derp, I'm an idiot."Plewtoe23 Nov 15
I now have a Patreon Page where you guys can support me while I work on Vanilla WoW leveling guides every day.  I appreciate all of you who support me on there, it means a lot to me right now.  Doing this full time is taxing on my financial situation.  My goal is to make the best Vanilla WoW leveling guides on the web and the donations keep me going at it healthfully.  There is also cool rewards you get in return for donating.  Thanks!
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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're absolutely right! I've changed the opening—I hope it gives you and your list the credit you deserve. As for those other tools, I didn't include them originally because I didn't consider them to be class specific. I'll include the Base Stats Calculator here, plus add a message at the top directing people to your list if they want a more comprehensive index!

Rogue combo points posed another challenge, because the game’s modern resource system knows how to gain and spend combo points, but not how to lose them when changing targets. There are also the older combat formulas to consider, so we had to bring back the code for the prior combat formulas including critical hits and crushing blows. Their chance to occur is also modified by the difference between the defender’s defense and the attacker’s weapon skill. Yes—weapon skill is back. We had the data for this aspect of the classic game, but we also needed to restore the code that increased your skills when you used them and made your skill level affect your chance to hit or get a glancing blow.
Furthermore, we highly recommend you plan in advance regarding the class that you want to play. In the Classic WoW, there were no class specs. Every talent point spent couldn’t be changed without first resetting all of them and the talent point reset was a costly practice. If you already know what you want to play as in the end game – try to develop your talent tree accordingly. This way you’ll be able to save a lot of gold in advance.
You will see a resurgence of power leveling services, item trade services, and gold farming. Classic will have a fresh economy meaning for your average gold farmer time spent in classic is way more efficient. It will probably be worse than it was back in the day. Just look at the blizzard group finder on retail, littered with advertisements for m+ boosting websites. Disgusting. There will be so many gold farmers blizz probably won't be able to keep up. And this is what I truly fear because if the gold farmers start to win activision will step in and introduce wow token. And classic will die.
This is, in my opinion, the largest change that WoW Classic will have over Vanilla, and it’s something that simply can’t be undone. Back in Vanilla, guilds were very secretive over strategies of how to correctly defeat a boss. Videos of boss kills were virtually non-existent,and strategies on how to itemize and play various classes and specs were hard to come by, especially for newer players. This, in addition to the unforgiving raid requirements and difficult content, lead to a lot of the player base never really getting to see a lot of the endgame content. Those that did rarely ever did so efficiently, and it wasn’t uncommon for the best guild on any given server to take months to complete a raid tier. There is absolutely no way that this happens in Classic. The raids in Vanilla are very much a solved system by now. Every raid, and every boss and trash pack inside, has been thoroughly strategized and talked about to death over the last 14 years. Rest assured even if you and your friends never played Vanilla, someone in your raid party will know exactly what to do on every boss, exactly when the trash packs are going to respawn, and exactly what buffs and gear to get to prepare. That certainly doesn’t mean thatClassic raiding will be a cakewalk, but it will be different than how the majority of people stumbled through the content.
Nov 15 Which class are you planning on rolling? I'm still trying to decide between: Orc shaman: enhancement until 60 then resto for pvp Undead priest: shadow unless I decide to raid a bit Leaning towards these healers since I don't mind the role and 5 mans will be insanely easy to pickup. I've also been tossing around the idea of rogue/mage since that is what I played back on during vanilla/BC (had a blast ganking).Xano24 Nov 15
The quickest way to level up is to travel through the game's zones, completing all the quests you encounter along the way. Completing quests grants you Experience points, which will slowly fill in your experience bar with blue or purple. When the bar fills, you reach the next level. Alternatively, you could choose to run Dungeons or Battlegrounds, which are not covered in this beginner's guide.
There’s the reason why some players used to call the game World of Roguecraft. Rogue was one of the most popular classes in classic WoW and there’s a good reason for it. During vanilla, Rogues topped DPS meters in raids and dungeons, but their main strength was world PvP. Rogues could stealth through enemies avoiding unwanted engagements with the opposing faction. Additionally, a huge variety of crowd control abilities and high burst damage made them the worst nightmare for the cloth-wearing classes. However, Rogues were in a bit of disadvantage regarding end-game gearing since most of their gear pieces were useful to other in-game classes as well.
I now have a Patreon Page where you guys can support me while I work on Vanilla WoW leveling guides every day.  I appreciate all of you who support me on there, it means a lot to me right now.  Doing this full time is taxing on my financial situation.  My goal is to make the best Vanilla WoW leveling guides on the web and the donations keep me going at it healthfully.  There is also cool rewards you get in return for donating.  Thanks!
This was a good start, but there were issues with how the developers used to handle updates to the database data. Unlike the source code, for which Blizzard had archives for multiple branches of the game that could be worked on and developed as separate pieces, early database data was overwritten with each commensurate update. Thankfully, that problem was fixed very quickly after launch, and when we looked, we found data going back to version 1.12—and even earlier.
I joined twitch in 2013 with the gamer name of FuriousPaul and I streamed speedruns of the classic Castlevania games from 2013 - 2017. Lately my streams have died down quite a bit due to working on Classic WoW leveling guides every day.  Although I may come on occasionally and play a random game for fun on my Twitch stream.  I talk a lot about WoW speedrunning on my channel, so feel free to follow and hang out to discuss vanilla WoW if you like.  Classic WoW will be my main focus for a long time.  Unfortunately I will have to wait until Classic WoW comes out before I start streaming it.
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
This is, in my opinion, the largest change that WoW Classic will have over Vanilla, and it’s something that simply can’t be undone. Back in Vanilla, guilds were very secretive over strategies of how to correctly defeat a boss. Videos of boss kills were virtually non-existent,and strategies on how to itemize and play various classes and specs were hard to come by, especially for newer players. This, in addition to the unforgiving raid requirements and difficult content, lead to a lot of the player base never really getting to see a lot of the endgame content. Those that did rarely ever did so efficiently, and it wasn’t uncommon for the best guild on any given server to take months to complete a raid tier. There is absolutely no way that this happens in Classic. The raids in Vanilla are very much a solved system by now. Every raid, and every boss and trash pack inside, has been thoroughly strategized and talked about to death over the last 14 years. Rest assured even if you and your friends never played Vanilla, someone in your raid party will know exactly what to do on every boss, exactly when the trash packs are going to respawn, and exactly what buffs and gear to get to prepare. That certainly doesn’t mean thatClassic raiding will be a cakewalk, but it will be different than how the majority of people stumbled through the content.
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