At BlizzCon 2018, the WoW community got their first chance to experience World of Warcraft Classic for themselves. To help players understand what goes into bringing a Blizzard-quality experience like this to life, software engineers Brian Birmingham and Omar Gonzalez along with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas took the stage Saturday afternoon to share their insights.
World of Warcraft Classic is currently in beta, which means some players are getting a chance to experience a much older version of the MMO ahead of its release. WoW Classic is based on how WoW played in August 2006, back around update 1.12. Back then, things were different. Tauren hitboxes were much larger, sitting could cause certain combat effects to not trigger and completed quests were marked with dots and not question marks. Strange days.
Nov 15 Thank you for the demo I just want to say thank you to Blizzard for the demo. I seriously had so much fun - so much more fun than I've had trying to play wow in YEARS. I know not everything was 100% accurate to classic, but it was just a demo so that doesn't worry me too much. I still had a million times more fun playing that demo than retail in any case. THE THINGS I LOVED: (1) I died so much. Like... SO MUCH, and that's alright! Once I finally finished whatever it was I was doing, it felt really rewarding! My group and I were actually laughing when we party wiped. No one insulted anyone or pointed blame, we just had fun. (2) Things took time. The journey mattered, it wasn't just about hitting end game asap. I felt accomplished at the end of all those time consuming things I did. (3) I had fun exploring! I spent so much time just running around, not knowing what the heck to do, but that was FUN. I had FUN getting lost and finding treasure chests. (4) Seeing the classic models again! Tbh, the races all look rubbery and stupid now... I honestly think the old racial looks are nicer. (5) Reading quests was necessary again, so the story mattered to me. No one booted me from the party for "taking too long" because I wanted to read. (6) The community! There were actually people doing RP stuff and talking in character. Everyone in the chat was just having fun. (7) All of the inconveniences - running out of mana, no mounts, running slowly on foot, little or no flightpaths... These things are fun because they're not just handed to me. I had to work hard and play the game to get things. (8) People constantly buffed other players, because that small boost could be the reason you didn't die when a roaming centaur attacked you from behind. THE THINGS I WAS CONCERNED ABOUT: (1) I've heard rumors about possible sharding... PLEASE DO NOT SHARD. PLEASE. I can understand if it's temporary just for the initial launch, and only for starting zones. I think that is a decent enough compromise for the inevitable problem of overpopulation for the first few weeks. But if we're talking about full scale realm sharding, PLEASE DO NOT! Cross-realm features and sharding are what ruined communities in wow, same with dungeon finder and other such things, and these features are very unwanted for a classic player like me. (2) The elite raptor I tamed as a hunter was not stronger than the non-elite raptor I tamed at the same level. In classic, elite animals had better stats as hunter pets once tamed, compared to the same non-elite version of that animal at the same level. (3) I think the mana and health regen rates were a bit too high? I'm not certain, but if they were I honestly want them to be genuine. It's okay if it's hard - challenges make games fun! Anyway, thank you again! I had a ton of fun, and as long as classic is true to classic with all of its pros AND cons, I feel certain that it will be a success.Sarai10 Nov 15
For classes who rely on energy regeneration such as Rogues, things have also changed significantly since the classic era. Regeneration used to occur in chunks based on the server “heartbeat.” So, to gain 20 energy, it would take a full two seconds. Today, the system is smoothed out so that that 1 energy regenerates every tenth of a second. This difference changed the timing of being able to use certain abilities. What seems like a minor convenience today actually changes the very flow of combat rotations and burst capabilities in classic gameplay. We felt this was important to restore to provide this authentic experience.
Kaivax, a WoW forum community manager, revealed that WoW Classic's class design, battleground mechanics and stats on existing items will be set to their 1.12 state, despite the game releasing content that expands beyond that. This removes "progressive itemization," so if the stats on a specific piece of equipment was changed during the original updates, that won't take effect in this version.
We spoke with two Blizzard developers who have been working on WoW Classic, and as they explained, recreating World of Warcraft 1.12 involved reintroducing bugs that have long since been patched out of the game. But even they have had to check their work against WoW’s long update history, since the time at which certain features were introduced or bugs removed has gotten a bit fuzzy.
To avoid this, the team “taught” our tools some new tricks so that we could update WoW Classic without affecting the current version of the game. We copied the 1.12 data into a new project, taught the tools to distinguish between them, and now as the WoW Classic team makes patches, any changes stay within the Classic chain without ever interacting with the current game’s data. This might seem simple—like copying a directory—but the tricky part is teaching all our tools how to understand this so that they can make edits automatically. Being able to use our internal tools is a huge benefit, and we wanted to make sure Classic had access to all of WoW’s infrastructure and data.
Nov 15 [OCE] Alliance