So we asked ourselves, would it still be possible to deliver an authentic classic experience if we took our modern code, with all its back-end improvements and changes, and used it to process the Patch 1.12 game data? While that might seem counterintuitive, this would inherently include classic systems like skill ranks, old quests and terrain, talents, and so on, while later features like Transmog and Achievements would effectively not exist because they were entirely absent from the data. After weeks of R&D, experimentation, and prototyping, we were confident we could deliver the classic WoW content and gameplay without sacrificing the literally millions of hours put in to back-end development over the past 13 years.
Hey folks! I’ve got a small update here to help quell some of the rumors and let you know where we are at for WoW Classic. We recently began a phase of internal employee alpha testing. The new build data that many of you have been discussing over the last few days is simply part of this process. Phases like this allow us to test out the game content along with other functionality that will be used in the live game, like logging in through the Blizzard Battle.net 175 App.
Ion Hazzikostas: "... an engineer named Omar Gonzalez, who is on the Classic team, tried the method of taking the modern client, the modern server and teaching it to interpret the old 1.12 classic data. He kind of locked himself away for a few weeks, and came out with something that was a prototype--it was very rough, contained tons of bugs, the world wasn't fully rendered, but it was the original classic world, pre-Cataclysm. It had the original skills and talents, and we knew there's was a ton of work to do, but we felt like we realized for the first time, "we can do this." "