When it comes to Classic, Blizzard's goal is to provide an authentic Vanilla experience, but they also needed to come up with technology to handle many players at launch, which is similar to sharding. While the use of this technology will be limited to the first month following launch, many players are questioning this decision and wouldn't like to see layering in the game at all.
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.
The original WoW was painful. Mobs took forever to die; one additional enemy in a fight was a pain, two probably meant death. There was a ton of running. Most buffs lasted two minutes, many took reagents, abilities were trained and often out of reach if you lacked the necessary gold. Warlocks had to farm shards, hunters had to carry ammo -- even my warrior did, since in vanilla WoW she can carry a bow and fire arrows herself.
To fully understand the interplay, consider terrain. This includes the placement of hills and valleys, trees, buildings, and more. When hooking up the old terrain data files to the new modern game system we realized that the way the system looked at the shape of data was different. This resulted in the updated system and classic data not aligning, resulting in weird issues like Kolkar campfires underwater or burnt-out trees from the Cataclysm era appearing in the original world.
Classic WoW is the highly anticipated, upcoming (re) release of the original, first World of Warcraft version, known as Classic and by it's other popular ice-cream like name: Vanilla WoW. Dubbed Retail Classic, or Official Classic by the playerbase - it was finally announced by Blizzard in November 2017, after a lot of pressure from the Private Server World of Warcraft community, since the latter's shutdown of the most popular Private Server called Nostalrius which featured the first WoW version in two separate PvP and PvE servers.
In the past, if someone accidentally looted something they didn’t mean to in a group, players would have to contact customer support to trade it. In the modern system, players are given a period of time in which they can still exchange loot with others. This is a convenience we felt was worth retaining for Classic rather than making people go through customer support. (Sorry ninja looters!)
HOWEVER, I did find out that there was an exploit to get around it (one of those rare exploits where you would WANT a bit of lag). Basically if you spammed “X” to sit/stand/sit/stand, then if a mob hit you while you were sitting and right as you were standing up, then it would register as a crit, but on the server side you would be standing, thus allowing the ability to proc.
For classes who rely on energy regeneration such as Rogues, things have also changed significantly since the classic era. Regeneration used to occur in chunks based on the server “heartbeat.” So, to gain 20 energy, it would take a full two seconds. Today, the system is smoothed out so that that 1 energy regenerates every tenth of a second. This difference changed the timing of being able to use certain abilities. What seems like a minor convenience today actually changes the very flow of combat rotations and burst capabilities in classic gameplay. We felt this was important to restore to provide this authentic experience.
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?
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.
You will have to talk with flight masters in most towns or cities you visit in order to gain access to that settlement's flight path. Flight masters who have a stop you have not yet unlocked will have a green displayed above their head (and on the mini map), much like a NPC with a quest. Unlocking flight paths as you progress through various zones will allow you to pay for a quick ride to a destination you have previously visited. This method of travel is significantly faster than walking or riding a mount.
Players will be selected for beta based on a range of criteria, including having an active WoW subscription. Opting into beta via the WoW Account Management page is the primary way to register, but other factors, like how long you’ve played the game, may also be taken into account. There will be three stress test periods: May 22-23, June 19-20, and July 18-19. Players will be able to reserve character names beginning on August 13 (or slightly ahead of that time, if you live in the Americas) with up to three reservations per WoW account.
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.
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
In the end, while it may be a huge cop-out, it really does come down to personal preference. Some people will simply not be able to handle the huge downtime between pulls, not being able to buy a new skill rank because you spent all your money on food and drinks (mages were popular for a reason back then), the very slow pace of leveling, and a whole lot more frustrations and not user-friendly features. On the other hand, the experience really is significantly different enough from modern WoW that it does feel enough like a "new" game, or at least a new and different expansion. An expansion that has many more differences than the last 3 or so, something that's both new and old and familiar. And, yes, it also offers massive quantities of nostalgia for those of us that played Vanilla, but what's so wrong about that?
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
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
To fill our pool of beta and stress test participants, we’ll be choosing dedicated players who meet select criteria from both the WoW Classic beta opt-in and the standard Warcraft beta opt-in. Participants will also need to have an active subscription or active game time on their Battle.net Account. While opting-in to the beta is the primary way to make sure you’re in the running to join the test it doesn’t guarantee an invitation to the closed beta test. We may also consider additional factors such as how long a player has been subscribed to the game so that we have the right mix of players to ensure great feedback toward making WoW Classic the very best experience for the community.
Instead of sharding the zones, their plan is to shard the entire continent at launch. In Classic WoW, there are no dynamic spawns and questing in starting zones would quickly become annoying, so it's understandable that the game is all but fun when there are no mobs to kill, but layering will also cause you to see new players, every time you sign in to the game, which is a clear downside of the tech.
Analogy: think back on riding the swings in kindergarten. Was it fun? Now, imagine going back to those swings exactly as they were, and sitting in them now, as an adult. They're too small. They don't fit. Your feet drag on the ground because they're so low to the ground. The bar over your head is low enough that you can reach out and touch it, and even at the highest the swing will go, it's only about chest high when you're standing up. It's exactly the same swing, but riding on it now is a very different experience, yes?
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.
Preface - I haven't played WoW for any length of time since quitting at the end of WotLK. I dabbled in the next few expansions, where it seemed gold was overabundant, not sure if that's what killed the gold farmers/gold bots/sellers, but I didn't seem to see any, or even think I might have a use for them. However, with WoW Classic, I can see a market for them to come back. Did Blizz ever put something in the game to eliminate this after WotLK, or was it the gold abundance that destroyed their market. If not, I see the gold sellers and websites coming back.
We’ve already covered Blizzard’s plans for introducing content over time, but the basics are this: Initially, the game will roll out just like it did at server launch. Over time, content will be added, including events that played out in vanilla like the opening of Ahn’Quiraj. The company’s plan for introducing content over time looks to be a solid one and will allow new Classic players to experience the game the way we did back in 2004. There are still a lot of things we don’t know about Classic, but what we do know is genuinely interesting.
After choosing a race, class and customizing the look of your character, you will spawn in your race's starting zone, usually within a small settlement. Typically, these beginning areas are designed to get you to around level 10 before you leave and move on to the next zone. Right away, you will notice that some NPCs have a yellow exclamation mark () over their head. These symbols will also display on the mini map in the top-right corner of the screen if you are close to them. Talking with these NPCs will allow you to read and accept a quest they have for you. The objectives and status of this quest can be checked at any time by opening the quest log (L). Once you have completed the objectives for said quest, you can return to the NPC (or possibly a different one) to turn in the quest. The NPC whom you need to turn a quest into will have a yellow question mark () over their head. As you complete quests and your character gains levels, always be on the lookout for new quests being offered by NPCs.
All the work we’re doing will ultimately allow us to recreate an authentic classic experience on a platform that is much more optimized and stable, helping us avoid latency and stability issues. Additional improvements will include modern anti-cheat/botting detection, customer service and Battle.net integration, and similar conveniences that do not affect the core gameplay experience.
Players will start from level 1 and will progress through level 60 with real, Blizzlike x1 rates. Old PvP battlegrounds are: Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin and the famous 40vs40 players Alterac Valley where battles were known to last more than 24 hours. 20 and 40 man raids will be available for Molten Core, Zul Gurub, Blackwing Lair, Ahn'Qiraj 20 & 40 and the original Naxxramas raid in the Eastern Plaguelands.