World of Warcraft Classic is Blizzard’s attempt to bring back the spirit of its early glory days. That’s not because its suffering (not more so than any other modern MMO), but because the land of Azeroth and how people play around in it has changed so much in the 15 years since launch. That said, a part of the charm included a few “bugs” or “features” that even more experienced players may have forgotten about.
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.
Blizzard won’t just be picking names out of a hat to decide who gets to participate in the World of Warcraft Classic beta. In order to have a good chance at being considered, you’ll need to show that you’re a dedicated player. According to the games website, you’ll need to have an active subscription or active game time on our Battle.net account to be considered for the testing period.
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.
The original animations have also been restored, but WoW’s animation system is tightly coupled with its gameplay code. We had to make changes to both data and code to get the animations back to the 1.12 look. We ran into a few bugs along the way, such as models that should appear prone instead appearing upright, but we were able to correct these with a few fixes.
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.
My personal favourites include "Tauren's hitboxes and their melee reach is slightly larger than other races" - those bloody taurens were the bane of my Night Elf's life! - "Feared players and NPCs run fast" - I always seemed to end up being feared into an angry pack of mobs - and, "Standing on top of other players while facing away allows spells and attacks to be used."
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.
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.
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?
I am currently working full time on my Vanilla WoW leveling guides. Soon there will be a 1-60 speed leveling guide for Alliance, along with in-game guide versions available for my members area. As of right now, there is no members area, but if you would like to show support for my efforts into this project, you can simply donate to me via Patreon if you like (you will get some cool rewards in return). Or you can donate directly with PayPal if you like. All donations are highly appreciated and they will only motivate me more to continue making the best vanilla WoW leveling guides on the web.
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.