Blizzard unveiled its plans for the final patch of World of Warcraft Classic today, which will come on Dec. 1.
Testing for the patch, and parts of the Naxxramas raid, has been going on throughout October. And as a part of a blue post on the WoW forums, the developer said the raid and the game’s “Scourge Invasion” will “unlock at the same time for all realms in the world on December 3.”
This move by Blizzard puts the last Classic raid release extremely close to when players are expecting retail’s raid to come out, shortly following Shadowlands’ Nov. 23 release date.
While Shadowlands originally had an earlier release day of Oct. 27, the postponed expansion release is closer to any Classic raid release than any other retail content. In the past, Blizzard has been relatively mindful of distancing content releases in the two games to prevent overlap.
Meanwhile, the release of Naxxramas, while expected by some, is coming earlier than it did during vanilla WoW’s timeline.
So far, Blizzard has released raids in a time frame almost identical to the way the game originally came out. But in vanilla, Naxxramas dropped on June 20, 2006, 24 weeks after the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj (AQ). In Classic, Naxxramas is now set to come out just 20 weeks after AQ—almost a full month earlier.
One potential reason for this difference could be the timing of raid releases around the holidays. If Blizzard waited a few more weeks to drop Naxx, it’d be putting out a raid around Christmas and New Years, something the developer has repeatedly avoided at all costs.
Another reason for the difference could have to do with the way that modern players have been able to plow through content more easily than they could in the mid-2000s.
While AQ was originally released on Jan. 3, 2006, the first boss in the instance wasn’t killed by any guild until Jan. 23 and the final boss of the instance, C’thun, wasn’t downed until April 25.
In Classic, the entire raid was cleared by every top guild within a few hours of it becoming accessible and they’ve all been farming those bosses for loot since, making the typical Classic raider significantly more geared than those from 2005.