Aka’Magosh! It’s an exciting time, a World of Warcraft Player. With the announcement of the latest expansion dragonflight, having just been announced, there’s no shortage of information to gather. In fact, our very own Robin Baird had a chance to sit down with the developers and talk about everything dragonflight and wrote a wonderful account of this interview that you must see.
That wasn’t the end of the exciting news for us, though World of Warcraft fans. It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have confirmation of this Wrath of the Lich King classic comes to World of Warcraft. While Robin was talking about Dragonflight, I had the opportunity to sit down with Tim Jones, Technical Designer, and Patrick Dawson, Production Director Wrath of the Lich King classic.
During our roundtable discussion, a lot of new information was discussed that fans of the best (it’s just a fact) expansion should have World of Warcraft excited to see what comes to Classic later this year. With so much information presented during our discussion, I have done my best to compile the information here for you in what I hope is a concise, useful manner. So, without further ado, grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy Wrath of the Lich King Classic.
WHAT IS IT EVER?
Wrath of the Lich King classic will be a return to that golden era of 2008 when the expansion first launched. The level cap will be raised from 70 to 80, and Death Knights will join both the Horde and Alliance ranks. A notable change here is that as opposed to anger In the olden days, you didn’t have to level a character to 80 before unlocking Death Knights.
Death Knights will be available at launch, ready to fight back against the Scourge with the rest of the Horde and Alliance. As a hero class, players who choose to play as a death knight begin their journey at level 55 in a unique starting area. Once this introduction is over, they will continue their journey through the Burning Crusade and then on to Northrend.
While both Tim and Pat have been reticent about details surrounding the release, we’ve been assured of that Zorn Classic will come sometime this year with a beta planned ahead of the live release. They also confirmed that the game will launch with the 3.3.5 patch, which many fans and the developers see as a fairly balanced point in the Wrath lifecycle.
Tim went on to explain that we will see a staggered release of content so players can feel a sense of progress anger. While details are still being finalized, it seems likely that the content will be released in a similar fashion to the original expansion, but in a shorter timeframe. This includes dungeons, raids and story progression. The team is excited for players to relive some of those epic moments that occurred during their time on the team Wrath of the Lich King.
However, not everything is as it was. Patrick was quick to point out that there will be some changes coming with the release of Zorn Classic. First of all, there will be no LFG system like in Warth. Auto-queuing and teleportation are not available in this iteration of the classic server. When asked about this, both Tim and Patrick had some interesting insights.
A large part of this change is attributed to the player base itself. One of the things the team has been impressed with since the release of Classic was the focused, clear feedback the Classic community gave them. In fact, many of their design choices are for Zorn Classic were informed by this community feedback.
In the case of the LFG system, the community felt that it hampered building a good community within guilds and even the larger server community. When you eliminate the need for people to reach out to each other for help, they tend to just stop reaching out to each other. This in turn creates a disconnect between players and therefore the content they engage in.
This concept was further reinforced by their own observations (both Tim and Patrick were part of Wrath’s original publication in 2008). During the roundtable, it was noted that with the introduction of the LFG system, the team at the time also noticed a slight decrease in player interaction.
Another observation the team made is that removing the LFG system with the instantaneous teleport to the dungeon actually helps preserve the grandeur and grandeur of the world as a whole. Having to make the path to a dungeon summoning stone is valuable. Half-jokingly, Patrick also pointed out that it’s helpful for players to know where the actual entrance to a dungeon is. For anyone who played Wrath in 2008, we can all attest to the frustration of dying and having to go back to the dungeon entrance only to find you have no idea where that is.
To be clear, Patrick was quick to point out that LFG has a place in World of Warcraft. Therefore it still exists in dragonflight. However, for the Classic Community looking for a specific experience just didn’t make sense. There is a time and a place for certain features, and part of the goal of the development team is to assess what best serves the community.
Another notable change comes with the release of Zorn Classic about previous Classic Releases is that all BC servers will move to Wrath. When the airships and boats set course for Northrend, all players are on board. Pressing it, Patrick had some great insights to offer.
With the release of different versions of Impressive, the Classics team works hard to pay attention to what helps maintain a healthy Classics community. Continually releasing servers for each iteration of the game just doesn’t foster the kind of healthy community the team is hoping for. He was also quick to point out that this doesn’t mean we’ll never see BC content again, but that moving everyone from BC to Wrath seems like the best move at this point.
When asked why there are vanilla servers but we won’t see BC servers, Patrick pointed out that this was in response to community feedback. There is a section of the classic community that wanted to preserve this classic point in WOW history. At this point, however, they have to strike a delicate balance with how many versions of the game there are. With so many people loving Wrath of the Lich Kind and based on player feedback, moving all BC servers to Wrath seems like the right move.
Another notable change concerns character customization. In Wrath of the Lich Kingintroduced players to the hair salon, which allowed things like hair, accessories, and small cosmetic changes to be changed for a small gold fee. Zorn Classic doubles on anything offered at your chosen barber shop in Azeroth.
In addition to everything that was present in the 2008 version of the game, players will also find services such as physical trait changes as well as gender odds. Interestingly, these features, which used to be a paid service offered for real money in the Blizzard store, are now options in the barbershop that can be paid for with gold.
Patrick provided another look at this design change. Essentially, it comes down to accessibility, modern skills and player expression. As the team pulled apart what should be part of the classic experience, one of the constant questions asked was, “What can we put into the anger Experience that gives players options and doesn’t detract from the experience.” In the case of cosmetics, this is one of the best ways for players to express their in-game choices. So it made sense to bring in as many of the modern systems as possible to give players that opportunity.
The final area discussed is gear balancing. At this point, the team is still hard at work assessing whether changes should be made to balance gear for PVE or PVP. Tim was passionate about creating an experience that felt faithful anger while we’re still working on finding a good balance for players.
During our round table I was impressed by how much thought and care went into the creation of the Wrath of the Lich King classic experience for players. In a way, it would have been much easier for the classic team to translate the original data into modern systems and simply recreate the Wrath experience as a clone of the original.
However, amid our discussion of nostalgia, aging, and video games, Patrick made an interesting observation that he credited as a big part of their design philosophy for this release. He said,
“One of the core principles is that Wrath feels authentic, like an authentic Wrath of the Lich King experience. Authentic doesn’t mean identical, right? It just means that the feeling you get when playing is similar to what it was 15 years ago.”
This concept is a great driving force for the Classic team, which I really appreciate. The team filters every aspect of the Wrath experience through this lens. It helps in part to educate them on the best way to build and maintain this server.
This even shows up in the playthrough BC classic Experience. Small changes have been made here that have helped create an authentic experience without getting bogged down in some of the frustrations that were present in this version of the game. Finding that delicate balance for players is something the team emphasizes, and that’s why they appreciate and continue to provide focused feedback from the Classic community.
I really appreciate the time I had to put together with Tim Jones and Patrick Dawson. your passion for World of Warcraft, its community and for games is evident in every part of the discussion we’ve had. From what I found out from talking to them, Wrath of the Lich King classic is shaping up to be an incredible return to the best (still a fact) expansion of World of Warcraft.
https://www.mmorpg.com/interviews/wrath-of-the-lich-king-classic-round-table-interview-2000124868 Wrath of the Lich King Classic Round Table Interview