Beginning May 15, select WoW players will be invited to participate in a small-scale, focused closed beta test. Players will also get a chance to help put our servers and technology through their paces in a series of stress tests running from May through July—you can opt in now through Account Management and select the WoW Classic beta. Subsequent stress tests will extend the opportunity to even more players. Level caps will also be in place to ensure we’re emphasizing the “stress” in “stress test.
Within the context of Classic, the method most frequently proposed is to re-tune bosses to make them harder. Rather than copying the numbers, re-create the relative difficulty. Kind of like, when you first start working out, you use small weights. When you get stronger, you lift bigger weights. The WoW community is more knowledgeable, more experienced, has better hardware, etc. We're "stronger." So give us tougher bosses. There are a lot of forms that could take. Bosses were constantly re-tuned during vanilla anyway, so if Ragnaros does 10% more damage or something, is that really a problem? I don't think it is. What about resistance gear? back in the day, collecting resist gear was a thing people did. But the numbers and strategies are so well known today that only the tank really needs it anymore. Bosses could be re-tuned with more resistible elemental damage so that's important for entire raids to gear appropriately. That would be entirely keeping with the spirit of vanilla even if the actually numbers sitting in a database somewhere were different than they were ~13 years ago. If you want to go a little farther, a few people have proposed adding new abilities to old bosses, adjusting their timing, etc.
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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.
Before work began on World of Warcraft: Classic, it was only possible for players to experience the original World of Warcraft by using private servers, which are illegal, often have stability or corruption problems, and generally are very imperfect recreations of the authentic World of Warcraft experience. As much as Blizzard has been aware of the desires of their community, until recently it seemed impossible for them to emulate Classic servers due to the technical hurdles of essentially having to run two massively multiplayer online games side-by-side. A breakthrough was then achieved that made it possible to run Classic servers on the modern architecture of current World of Warcraft servers.
I consider myself a purist in that I would prefer classic to be released as close as possible to the original. Where that is on the spectrum of patch content will be up to blizz. I'm also not vane enough to believe that any single state of the game is the "Ideal" location we should be aiming for. There is common ground that we can agree on, and I would welcome more than a few changes as long as they are made in the spirit of keeping classic on the vanilla rails.
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