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.
":" - Any time a step ends in a ":" instead of a "." means that the next step is part of the current step you are on. This generally means the next step should be done while working on the current step. This means every "start working on" or "continue working on" will end in a ":". But this is used with other occasions as well, so keep this in mind.
A demo of the game was available at BlizzCon 2018, and was downloadable on home computers for anyone who purchased a BlizzCon ticket or virtual ticket. The servers became available when Opening Ceremony started at BlizzCon 2018 and was set to end on November 8, but was extended until November 12. Players started at level 15, and the only available zones were Westfall and the Barrens. It was based on patch 1.13.0, essentially patch 1.12.0 ported to a modern infrastructure. The first day of the demo, there was a playtime limit of a cumulative 60 minutes with a cooldown of 90 minutes, applied through the BlizzCon Exhaustion debuff. The debuff was removed on the second day of BlizzCon 2018.