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WoW Classic: What You Need to Know Before Release

Here's what look forward to when the game launches this month.

by Alex Levine

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It’s hard to believe, but WoW Classic is now less than a few days away from launching world wide. It’s something that many fans never thought would come into existence, especially with how much the landscape has changed in the world of Azeroth. Blizzard recognizes that a lot of the old school players want to return to their glory days of vanilla WoW, where things were a lot different than the current World of Warcraft.

Despite the impending release, a lot of players are still scratching their heads on how this is going to work. Will it be an extension of the current WoW? Or is this a separate title they developed? The answer is both yes and no, as WoW Classic is essentially its own server, isolated from the main public realm of WoW. The company boasts that it’s the definitive WoW experience from the Summer of 2006, right before The Burning Crusade expansion launched. Obviously it’s a little more than that, so we’ll go over some of the things that we know about WoW Classic.

How to access WoW Classic.

You’ll have to gain access through the Battle.net, Blizzards own proprietary game launcher. When you open it you’ll see a list of games on the left side with World of Warcraft usually at the top. Select the game, and then look near the bottom of that page for the Version Menu and choose World of Warcraft Classic. Once this is done, the game will begin to install onto your computer, and when that’s finished you can start playing.

It’s also important to note that anyone who has taken part in the stress tests for the game over the past couple of months won’t be able to bring their characters into Classic. You’ll need to make a brand new one when it releases next week.

How much will the game cost?

Thankfully, WoW Classic will not be a fully priced title. Instead, anyone who has an active subscription to WoW, or active game time will be able to jump right into Classic. If you aren’t subscribed, then it will cost you $14.99 a month to start, with options to pay more than a month’s time if you wish to do so.

Create a Character started already, and it’s possible that your name has been taken.

Last week, Blizzard announced that they were letting players create three characters per account well ahead of Classic’s release. This process officially started on Monday, August 12, which means that right now, you can lock up what class, race, and more importantly, what names you want to give your characters. The downside to this is because it’s been going on for a while now, the chances of claiming your name is much smaller.

Of course if you have a unique trait that you always use, then this probably won’t mean anything. For everyone else who has a simpler, shorter, and very much sought after title, it’s more than likely that it’s been claimed already. In addition you can also pick out which server you want to join when the game starts up. Blizzard has outlined all of the severs for North America, and recently added some from other regions.

To start locking in your characters, you can follow the same steps on How to access WoW Classic. 

You are not prepared: Classic will be much harder than WoW.

A lot of people may not realize this, but World of Warcraft is 15 years old. A lot has changed over the seven expansions, and with those changes came simpler mechanics, and a forgiving system that allows players to jump right back in with little to no consequences. When WoW first came out in 2004, this was not the case. MMORPG’s at the time were normally played by die hard enthusiasts that grew accustomed to the punishing aspects of those games, like Everquest and Runescape.

WoW Classic is being made to look, feel, and play just like it was before the first major expansion came out, and thanks to some of the stress tests, a lot of newer gamers are starting to realize what they’re getting themselves into. Ironically, most of them reported the older features as “bugs.” Blizzard had to come out and say that these features were intentionally implemented, making for a rather humorous moment.

For instance, enemies/creatures respawn at a much lower rate, making farming for EXP and gold that much more difficult. Another example are the Quest Markers and Points of interests not being tracked on the map or mini-map. Little nuances such as these normally wouldn’t be considered game changers, but if you were to look at the full “Not a Bug” List that Blizzards Community Manager put together, it’s actually quite staggering how much of a difference it is.

With all of this in mind, it’s safe to say that WoW Classic will not be for the faint of heart, or the impatient for that matter. Simply put, it’s a long drawn out grind with a higher than usual difficulty, especially at the beginning.

Blizzard will patch the game with six phases of updates.

WoW Classic will launch with the 1.12 patch, which is also known as the Drums of War. According to the company, this patch represents the most complete vanilla WoW experience and was originally released in August of 2006. However, Blizzard is going above and beyond with this idea by updating the game with the exact same patches in the very same manner they did during it’s initial run.

Each patch will introduce new areas to explore, Dungeons and Raids, but won’t tamper with any other types of balances, cementing the gameplay aspect with the 1.12 patch. The company is planning to bring out six different updates over the course of Classic’s lifetime. Blizzard hasn’t stated what the plans will be once these phases are done, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they reintroduced The Burning Crusade expansion to the Classic server as well as the most popular expansion; Wrath of the Lich King.

You can check out the companies Classic Content Plan here.

When does WoW Classic Launch?

WoW Classic launches worldwide on Monday August 26, 3:00 pm PDT/ 6:00 pm EST. As we said earlier, you’ll need the Battle.net launcher to play the game, which you can download here.

- This article was updated on:August 28th, 2019

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