We didn’t get an official release date for the expected World of Warcraft Classic expansion into The Burning Crusade during BlizzConline, but a plethora of information was unveiled.
Most of Blizzard’s announcements about TBC revolved around the approach the developers are taking in creating a vintage content expansion, including the potential for purchasable level boosts and making minor adjustments to the 15-year-old content.
In regard to a release timeline, Blizzard said that TBC will be coming out sometime this year, but the exact timing wasn’t disclosed. The company said it plans on getting players into a beta test for the game “soon.”
Moving from its previous stance of releasing content with no changes, Blizzard said it’d be enlisting “#SomeChanges” to TBC, including the end of spell batching and some edits to faction balance.
Here’s everything we learned about WoW Classic TBC during BlizzConline.
Keeping it Classic?
Current Classic servers will progress into The Burning Crusade naturally. But players will have an opportunity to instead keep their characters in the vanilla WoW vacuum by having them moved to a server that will stay Classic forever.
Players will be able to choose one of those two options for all of their characters, but Blizzard also plans to give players the option to clone their character so that they can have a version of it on each server.
That option is set to be presented as a paid service that Blizzard has not yet announced pricing for.
Getting Blood Elves and Draenei early
Players will get access to Blood Elves and Draenei before TBC is released during the expansion’s pre-patch. This isn’t something that Blizzard did back when the game originally came out.
This is made to help players who might want to play as a Blood Elf or Draenei but don’t want to be left behind when TBC is released. Instead of leveling from one to 70, they’ll have an opportunity to get to Classic’s level cap of 60 before everyone goes through the Dark Portal.
“I remember I had a friend (back when TBC originally released) who was really frustrated that the rest of us were all running around in Outland, and he was still back in Wetlands,” WoW Classic lead engineer Brian Birmingham said.
Level 58 boosts
Meanwhile, Blizzard is also presenting players with the opportunity to boost one character per account to level 58. This is intended to help players who maybe didn’t play WoW Classic get into the action without having to play all of the older Classic content.
Blizzard has not yet announced pricing for that service, but it did say that the new races, Blood Elf and Draenei, won’t be boostable. The character will come with some dungeon-level blue gear, level-40 mount skill, and no professions.
Seal of Blood/Seal of Vengeance
Originally in TBC, the Seal of Blood for the Horde and Seal of Vengeance as Alliance was meant to differentiate the two factions. But the level 64 Paladin ability proved to only cause an imbalance between the two.
In the interest of allowing players to optimize their gameplay without sacrificing their allegiances with a specific faction, Blizzard is going to make both talents available for Horde and Alliance at level 70.
Seal of Blood will still be available to Horde characters at 64 and Seal of Vengeance will be available for Alliance toons at 64 as well. But max-level characters will get the ability to choose which seal they want, even if it doesn’t align with their faction’s originally available abilities when TBC came out.
WoW Classic was plagued to an extent by bosses that simply felt too easy to beat. Due to the “World Buff” meta and because Blizzard releases bosses as they were in their final, typically nerfed form, most players with experience or enough time to Google boss mechanics breezed through 90 percent or more of Classic’s raid content.
Believing that high-end raiders in Classic want more out of their experience, Blizzard is looking to assess every boss that it releases in TBC Classic to ensure that it’s not giving players instances that will roll over easily.
“The raiding community has matured,” Blizzard’s Patrick Dawson said. “Things were very different back in 2004-2005 timelines compared to today. The raiding community knows exactly what’s going on, and they want a challenge. So rather than give them the last version of the boss, the final form of the boss, which maybe has a few nerfs, lets not do that anymore.”
Blizzard might keep early nerfs that came to bosses because people were unable to kill a boss or because they restricted the class composition you could bring. But other nerfs to things like health pools that came later in the expansion to effectively throw players who might be stuck on content a bone won’t be included in Classic.
There were a few different systems that existed throughout the course of TBC for PvP Arenas. But in Classic, Blizzard is attempting to give players the best experience possible.
Arena teams will be allowed to roster twice as many players as can participate in a game. This will allow PvP teams to have substitutes and alternates to account for potential absences. This was the case at some point in TBC but it wasn’t always a part of TBC.
As long as a player can participate in a certain percentage of their team’s matches for a week, they’ll get a reward for being a part of the team.
Blizzard hasn’t decided if it plans on using an Elo rating system or an MMR system in Classic for queuing. But the company did express fear of using an Elo system that might result in players waiting in long queues.
Blizzard also hasn’t decided if it intends on using personal ratings in TBC or just stick with group ratings.
Content release timeline
There aren’t any dates tied to specific raids or the game, but a general content release schedule for Classic TBC was unveiled.
- Phase One: Karazhan, Gruul’s lair, Magtheridon’s Lair
- Phase Two: Serpentshrine Cavern and The Eye in Tempest Keep
- Phase Three: Mount Hyjal, the Black Temple, and Arena Season Two
- Phase Four: Arena Season Three and the 10-man raid Zul’Aman.
- Phase Five: Sunwell Plateau and Arena Season Four.