Classic News From BlizzCon

I have to admit: when I first heard that buying a virtual ticket for BlizzCon would also get you access to a WoW Classic demo to play from home, I was momentarily tempted to buy one just for that. I quickly realised that this would have been madness though, considering that I wasn't really interested in watching the show or acquiring any of the other goodies that come with the ticket. Watching other people's videos and reading about their thoughts on the demo was honestly going to be good enough. After all, I already got my own personal reminder of just how slow gameplay was back in Vanilla a few years ago, so it's not as if I was going to miss out on that front.

There were some actual news announced at the Con too - firstly that the game is supposed to launch in summer 2019, which is still some time away but at the same time sooner than I would have expected. I'm quite excited now.

Secondly, they confirmed that they are planning to have one combined sub for current and Classic WoW, which shouldn't really have come as a surprise to anyone, as it's probably the least hassle and will give them a license to make unqualified brags about "WoW's success" in general in case Classic causes subs to soar while the ones for the modern game are dropping, without giving out any information about how the populations of the two games relate to each other.

A few weeks ago there was a purported "leak" that claimed that Blizzard was also looking at a Classic only option for a fiver or so, which would have been nice for those of us not really interested in the current game, but I can live with paying the full sub for both. Just like in the old days, right? Maybe I'll check out some of the new quest content while I'm subbed for Classic anyway.

What with it only being Saturday today, there hasn't been much reporting/footage of the Classic demo yet, though I did watch someone stream it for a bit (yes, I actually watched a stream live!) and there is some feedback on the forums... a lot of which sounds unreasonably negative to be honest. Mind you, I don't think it's wrong to point out what I would call nitpicks such as rogue energy regenerating in a different pattern or some greens having wrong stats on them, but I do think it's silly how many people see this as a sign that the sky is falling, Blizzard clearly doesn't care about authenticity etc. when they explicitly said in the Dev Watercooler post about the demo that they are not done yet.

I do think the biggest and most legitimate concern I've heard is that the demo featured sharding, which I only just learned is the proper term for when they spin up multiple instances of a zone to spread out the population. Community manager Lore even went on the forums to address this, though his response was kind of wishy-washy and to me came across as basically not wanting to commit either way, making it sound as if they aren't entirely decided on the matter themselves yet.

I get why they'd be tempted to have it, as otherwise server population especially in the early days is undoubtedly going to cause issues, but at the same time I do dislike the way it's implemented in current WoW and how it can cause things like other players or gathering nodes to disappear right in front of your eyes, which is unimmersive, annoying and very un-Vanilla. I suppose I wouldn't consider it a dealbreaker if they kept it in, especially as the amount of use would likely go down over time once the initial launch population surge tapers off, but I'm still not entirely happy about it. I don't think things are set in stone at this point though.

Either way, I'm looking forward to reading and listening to more people's thoughts on the demo.


  1. Well, nodes and herbs disappearing before your eyes *is* an authentic classic WoW experience, so I'm good with that.

    1. Can't say I ever experienced that! I just seem to recall them spawning in unreachable places sometimes, unless I'm getting different things mixed up in my memories (which is entirely possible).

  2. I expected there to be a single sub for both, even though I'd have preferred a separate option for Classic, because "subs = health". I also suspect that Blizz really believes WoW Classic will be a niche within the niche of MMO gaming, and that if they were more confident on Classic's success part they'd have come out with a separate option for WoW Classic. But at the same time, I'm sure they've got data from their playerbase that says it's better for them to have a single sub for everything.

  3. They were insistent that sharding was only used in the demo to handle everyone getting a chance to play. That sharding would only be used at launch to make sure everyone could login and be able to progress. They know the initial server populations will be crazy and they drop off as folks discover Classic isn't for them.

    Making sure the server communities grow the way they did in Vanilla is an important issue for them. They are really being careful about things that could alter that.

    I was most surprised that they will allow the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj to be opened again. I fully expected no more Scarab Lords. That they are doing this and having a progression-style server with the raid openings was unexpected.

    1. I wasn't surprised by the plan to release raids progressively. The people who think that the experience of every single patch release will be re-created in detail, including class rebalancing and item changes, are out of their minds, but e.g. having Naxx open on day one would have been weird. Plus I witnessed the war effort and opening of the gates on a private server so I knew it was quite feasible to recreate. :)

  4. It still be interesting to see how they handle that event. The original servers crashed because of too many people in the zone. Even trying to get to Kalimdor had hilarious results (boats to Theramore ending up in Stonetalon Mountains). They can't shard the experience because people will want to see the potential Scarab Lords.

    At least there won't be the griefing that happened. At least on one server someone rang the gong right before an extended server maintenance preventing anyone else from being able to ring the gong.