Other decisions were slightly less clear cut. At one point in WoW’s history, there was an 8 debuff limit on any one target. This was later raised to 16, and today there is no debuff limit. Thes change radically changed the balance of classes and strategies players could employ when using these debuffs to overcome content. To preserve that balance—and to avoid the slippery slope of retuning patch 1.12 data to compensate for such modern-era changes—we’re looking at setting a debuff limit of 16 for WoW Classic.
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.
To gain gold in World of Warcraft, you will primarily be grinding professions which are fantastic for receiving rewards. Mining is an example of a great profession at an early-game level. While Herbalism is actually the best gathering profession, the issue is it uses consumables which can make the profession rather costly, with the investment required.
Plenty of gameplay things have changed -- more on that in a minute -- but one thing almost immediately transformed the game for me. I was killing my fourth Kobold Vermin (sorry guys, I'm taking those candles) by auto-attacking it and waiting impatiently for my lone ability to light up, when it struck me: This was going to be slow. Really, really slow. And, after another minute, I realized that was okay.
Even though a modern server architecture is used, Classic servers won't have the same features that current World of Warcraft does. There won't be cross-realm servers or Looking For Raid and Dungeon Finder automatic party matchmaking. There are still a lot of questions about how the team will tackle it. This endeavor is being undertaken by an entirely separate team at Blizzard from the one working on World of Warcraft and its next expansion.
In-game mail between guildmates now is instant, but in the past, it had a 1-hour delay, just like mail between strangers. The change to instant mail made things more convenient, but removed the social interaction of having to meet up with someone to make a transaction if you wanted something sooner. So we’ve reintroduced that delay for that reason. Other conveniences such as auto-completion of names or quickly clearing a mailbox have been left in. This seemed an easy enough call given that someone could create an add-on to do the very same thing, and we felt those sorts of conveniences didn’t impact the fundamental “classic” experience.
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.
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: