Classic Burning Crusade... Yay, I Guess?

It's been a week since BlizzConline came and went, and faithful readers may well be wondering why I haven't said anything about the Burning Crusade Classic announcement, considering how excited I've been about this prospect for almost a year.

Truth be told, I thought the actual announcement was somewhat anticlimactic (though I didn't help myself by only watching it on my second screen while tormenting my class leader's newest tanking alt in Strat Undead). We all knew it was coming; it was just a matter of getting the details, most importantly the actual launch date - and that we didn't get. On the one hand I'm a bit disappointed because I was really hoping to be able to book time off work soon (hah), but on the other hand Blizzard not wanting to commit to a date yet implies to me that the rumours about an early summer launch may well turn out to have been overly optimistic, and that wouldn't be an entirely bad thing for me as it would give my guild more time to clear (and re-clear) Naxx.

What we did get is confirmation of how expansion/character progression is going to work, and I have to hand it to Blizzard on that front as it seems like they managed to find a solution that should at least come close to satisfying the maximum number of players. By default the existing Classic servers will progress into Burning Crusade, but you'll get a prompt for each individual character whether you'll want to take them along for the ride or transfer them off to a perma-Classic version of your server instead. The character copy option I wanted will exist too though, if only as a paid service. And there'll even be level 58 character boosts!

You could be cynical and call those last two things greedy cash grabs, but to be honest I think the restrictions put on these services make sense. As much as I would have liked to be able to just copy everything to save myself from having to worry about making any wrong choices, if this was the default for everyone it would probably clog up the servers and databases with millions of effectively "dead" duplicate characters that people didn't plan to play anyway, and I can see why Blizzard wouldn't want to do that. By putting a price tag on the service it'll be limited to those who actually want to use those characters and I guess that makes sense. I'll definitely be copying my hunter main and possibly some alts as well, depending on the pricing (which we don't know yet either).

It's a similar thing with the character boosts. I'm not really a fan of that kind of thing in general - though probably not for the reasons people usually cite - but I can see the appeal in this particular instance. Does anyone who started playing Classic with existing friends not know someone whose interest fizzled out before they hit the level cap but who might be interested in coming back for Burning Crusade? There are sensible restrictions in place to cater to this particular audience without opening the doors for people to skip ahead or boost farm bots (only once per account, no draenei or blood elves, no professions trained etc.).

The other major reveal was that unlike current Classic with its #nochanges approach, Burning Crusade will have #somechanges. I would have been worried if this had been the direction for the current game from the start, but to be honest after one and a half years Blizzard have shown themselves to be respectful of what Classic means to people. They have in fact made some small changes to the current game as well, such as increasing the spawns of Black Lotus to align better with how much more populated Classic servers are compared to Vanilla, but these changes were always made with great care and have made a lot of sense.

From the sounds of it they'll take a similar approach to Classic BC, for example by giving the faction-specific paladin seals that turned out to be horribly unbalanced to both factions, or by not having Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep open on launch day. Draenei and blood elves are also supposed to be released with the pre-patch instead of the actual expansion launch to give people time to get their new shamans and paladins caught up in time for the opening of the Dark Portal. While that's definitely a departure from how things were "back in the day", it honestly sounds great and I'm perfectly happy with those tweaks.

So yeah, basically the reason I haven't had much to say about the official BC Classic announcement is that it all sounds very solid but what details we've had aren't very exciting to me personally. Without an actual release date my focus will remain on Naxx and simply getting more of my alts levelled up for now.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, a solid preview/discussion. That's how I'd characterize it. I'm sure that once we're sick of Naxx we can look forward to BC.