During the World of Warcraft Classic Classic: What's Next panel at BlizzCon 2023, Lead Software Engineer Ana Resendez, Senior Game Producer Josh Greenfield, Lead Software Engineer Nora Valletta, and Assistant Lead Designer Tim Jones opened the door to take a closer look at some of what's coming next to Classic Azeroth.
The Journey So Far
The panel was kicked off with a look at the Classic journey so far, with progression realms taking Classic players through Original WoW Classic, The Burning Crusade Classic, and Wrath of the Lich King Classic, where players are currently facing the Lich King in Icecrown Citadel.
As previously announced, Classic progression realms will advance to Cataclysm Classic next year, bringing players to the exciting aftermath of Deathwing's assault on Azeroth, along with playable Goblins and Worgen, new Race and Class combinations, the Transmogrification system, Archaeology, and Rated Battlegrounds. The Classic release of Cataclysm also means five new zones, ten new dungeons, and seven challenging raids to overcome.
There will also be some new tweaks to Cataclysm Classic, including new dungeon difficulties and rewards, guild progression updates, an account-wide Transmogrification system, and a faster patch cadence on the journey to 80.
Classic Hardcore Gets More Hardcore
Hardcore mode was a great success for the WoW Classic community this year, and many players wanted to know what Hardcore without trading would be like. The devs announced that a Self-Found gameplay option will come to WoW Classic: Hardcore in early 2024.
November Will See a New Season of Discovery
In developing a new twist on WoW Classic, the devs pursued four major kinds of updates: discoveries hidden throughout the world, level-banded content phases, new endgame activities, and new Rune Engraving abilities.
Discoveries are new, hidden secrets all over Azeroth designed to feel at home in Original WoW and bring about a unique experience of social interaction and information sharing. There will not be a public Beta or PTR for Season of Discovery to ensure that the first few weeks feel as exciting and fresh as possible.
Level-banded content phases were inspired by the WoW Classic Beta, where level caps brought about a new and interesting take on gameplay and community. By stepping up to a new level cap after a period of time, we hope to make the season feel approachable, with lots to do but never a feeling of being left behind. To that end, we're working on low-level XP boosts for use in later phases.
New mechanics to familiar settings and characters are being introduced. Each Raid that marks the level cap of a phase will be fully redesigned with new loot and new experiences. World PvP events for players who'd prefer to go head-to-head are also being added.
Rune Engraving is a new set of skills for all players that exists outside of the talent system. It allows you to apply new abilities to your equipment and swap them at any time. To start at level 25, you'll have three slots to engrave: chest, legs, and hands, with additional rune slots unlocking at higher levels.
The team's goals were to shake up the Classic meta, give each class something fun drawn from some of our favorite abilities across the first several expansions of World of Warcraft, with some fun new abilities tossed in as well, and focus on class fantasy while staying true to the Classic game.
We got a big-picture look at Season of Discovery and learned about the first fully redesigned Raid for the level 25 endgame: Blackfathom Deeps. For the first three challenging bosses—Baron Aquanis, Ghamoo-ra, and Lady Sarevess—players will be pressed to learn new tactics and strategies. This was followed by a quick look at the other four bosses and then a sneak peek at some level 25 Raid loot that will drop.
Keep your eyes on the official World of Warcraft news site for more detailed information about what's next for WoW Classic.