Dev Watercooler: Inside the World of Warcraft Classic BlizzCon Demo
Hello World of Warcraft community! With BlizzCon 2018 getting closer every day, we wanted to give you an update on what you’ll be experiencing at BlizzCon around WoW Classic. We’ve been hard at work on bringing the original Azeroth back to life, and we’re excited that you’ll be able to get your hands on the demo we’re creating for the show—both at BlizzCon and at home with the Virtual Ticket.
What to Expect
From the beginning of this project, the team’s mission has been to be as faithful as possible to World of Warcraft as it existed back in 2005 and 2006, before Cataclysm altered the world as we knew it—and we wanted to make sure the demo we built for the show was a clear reflection of that. The focus of the demo is on outdoor questing, and we’ve selected two iconic zones that most original WoW players will no doubt be familiar with—Barrens for the Horde and Westfall for the Alliance—so you can step back in time and experience these zones as they were originally designed. You’ll be able to search for Mankrik’s wife, curse at Ornery Plainstriders for not having beaks, and make a group to kill Defias Pillagers in Moonbrook. You might even get to improvise a new rotation against the Harvest Golems in Farmer Saldean’s farm, since in this era, mechanical creatures may be immune to some of your abilities. We brought all of that back, and we’re as excited about it as you are.
Because it’s a demo, there’ll will be some limitations on the content: the Deadmines and Wailing Caverns dungeons won’t be available, the only PvP will be dueling, and you won’t be able to visit zones other than Westfall and the Barrens. We also typically limit the time our BlizzCon attendees can play a demo, and that will be the case for BlizzCon WoW Classic Demo players at home. In order to maximize the number of people who can try out the demo, initially you’ll be logged off after playing for a certain amount of time to give somebody else a turn. We haven’t determined exactly how long this time limit will be yet, but we’re also planning some flexibility, so if we’re able to relax the restriction and still give everyone who wants to play a great experience, then we’ll do that. If you do find your session has ended before you’ve done everything you wanted to, don’t worry—your character will be there when you get back in for your next session, and all your progress will be saved.
You’ll start the demo at level 15. While we know that starting at level 1 holds a lot of nostalgia, you’re also limited in what you can do when you’re first starting out. Given the time constraints of a BlizzCon demo, we wanted to give players some freedom to explore and experiment with core systems like talents or professions, which are unavailable at level 1. We also wanted you to be able to get a good sense of the original class played. At Level 15, warriors have Defensive Stance, priests have Psychic Scream, hunters have their pet, and so on—so at this level you really start to feel like your class has some of the key tools that make the class distinct. Additionally, all characters will be capped at Level 19. But you can create multiple characters, so you can try out as many different classes and races as you’d like!
As we mentioned in our original Dev Watercooler blog we posted in June, we’re building WoW Classic on the foundation of our modern code base. That means you’ll be able to download the demo through the Blizzard Battle.net desktop app and use Battle.net chat integration in-game to ask your friend to come check out the Barrens with you. You’ll also find there’s improved support for widescreen monitors—so instead of the world looking stretched and distorted in widescreen, it’ll look like it did on your old 4:3 monitor. Only bigger!
All of the current game’s tools that help ensure World of Warcraft is a welcoming and fair environment, such as right-click player reporting, will also be in the BlizzCon WoW Classic Demo. Cheats, bots, and other exploitive behavior will also not be allowed, and the modern engine no longer permits some behaviors that could be used to get out of bounds. Support for 32-bit clients has also been removed. One of our core values is “Play nice; play fair,” and we want to do everything we can to ensure a few bad apples don’t ruin the experience for others.
You’ll also find that post-launch accessibility options such as colorblind mode are in the demo—though as we were working on it, we realized some words and images used in the current Accessibility panel come from the modern game. So we replaced the modern icons with some classic icons, and removed the term “Heirloom” since it doesn’t appear anywhere else in WoW Classic. It’s important to us that in situations like this we blend the old and the new in such a way that it still looks and feels like the game you remember.
See You in November!
We’re really excited about the BlizzCon WoW Classic Demo, and hope you are too! But we definitely don’t want to send the message that we’re done, because we’re not. There’s still lots of work left do, and the BlizzCon demo is an important step in the process of bringing the original WoW back to life as authentically as we can. This is a great chance for you to see the direction we’re heading and give us some early feedback, so be sure to leave your thoughts in the Classic section of the WoW forums.
Thanks for playing, and we’ll see you in Azeroth!