World of Warcraft Classic, the faithful recreation of World of Warcraft as it launched 15 years ago, was released worldwide on Aug. 27 and has been incredibly popular. Blizzard is continuously opening up new realms to combat queues and recently increased the maximum player capacity across all servers to tackle long queue times, which saw nearly 20,000 people waiting to log in at launch. Stan Duris from Icy Veins has put together a guide explaining what all the excitement is about and what you need to know for your trip into the MMORPG’s past.
World of Warcraft Classic does not have any cross-realm zones, where people with characters on different servers can encounter each other. The current version of World of Warcraft uses this technology, which Blizzard calls sharding, to ensure that players are evenly distributed across zones (shards). With cross-realm raiding, the Dungeon/Raid Finder, and communities in the live version of the game, the only pillars of realm identity are guilds.
In Classic, Blizzard is replicating the entire continent as opposed to just zones through a technology called layering that was invented specifically for the launch of Classic. The plan is to remove it by Phase 2. There will be no cross-realm zones or Dungeon Finder, which makes the servers players are on matter.
No Class Homogenization or Elaborate Talent Tree
Nine classes are available for play in Classic: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior.
Paladins and Shamans are faction-restricted, meaning they can only be played by members of the Alliance or the Horde, respectively. Each class has its own unique features. Mages can conjure refreshments and open portals to major cities, Shamans have totems that boost their allies and can self-resurrect once per hour, Rogues have their own “Profession” revolving around poisons, and Hunters need to constantly buy ammo!
Class homogenization is a huge problem in the latest WoW expansion, Battle for Azeroth, and Blizzard will hopefully do something to distinguish classes more in the next expansion.
When it comes to talent trees, Classic does not disappoint. You will receive your first talent point at level 10 and keep gaining one each level up to a total of 51 at level 60. You are not locked into one specialization and can spend talent points wherever you like. Tired of your regular build and dumbed down talent trees? Experiment to create viable hybrid builds!
If you don’t know which class to play, we recommend checking out this breakdown for more details about each class.
The maximum cap is 60 in WoW Classic, and leveling is truly hard. If you pull more than one mob at a time, you’re screwed. Casters in particular have a lot of downtime and will need food to replenish their mana. You’ll need to trade for some with fellow Mages or buy food, which isn’t exactly cheap.
Abilities have multiple ranks and are not learned automatically. You will need to make frequent visits to a class trainer to learn new spells and save your hard-earned gold to buy them.
Getting around is also more challenging. There are no flying mounts in WoW Classic, and you will be traveling on foot until level 40, when you’ll gain your first mount. There will be no Dungeon Finder, and you will need to meet with your party at a Meeting Stone to enter a dungeon.
Frequent Content Updates
For an authentic vanilla experience, Blizzard will be releasing all Classic content in six phases that correspond to the patches of the original game.
Here are the individual content release phases:
- Phase 1: Molten Core, Onyxia, Maraudon, Open World PvP only (no honor or rewards)
- Phase 2: Dire Maul, Azuregos, Kazzak, Honor System (including Dishonorable Kills), PvP Rank Rewards
- Phase 3: Blackwing Lair, Darkmoon Faire, Darkmoon Faire deck drops begin, Alterac Valley, Warsong Gulch
- Phase 4: Zul’Gurub, Green Dragons, Arathi Basin
- Phase 5: Ahn’Qiraj War Effort begins, Ahn’Qiraj raids open when the war effort dictates, Dungeon loot reconfiguration: Tier 0.5 dungeon gear, Relics, drop rates, and location changes
- Phase 6: Naxxramas, Scourge Invasion, World PvP objectives in Silithus and Eastern Plaguelands
How to Get Started with WoW Classic
If you would like to give the game a shot, all you need to do is create a Battle.net account and have an active subscription in your gameplay region. WoW players can download and play the game at no extra cost.
WoW Classic Leveling Guides
To help you cope with your everyday leveling needs, our friends at Icy Veins have released new leveling guides for each class, which can be found in the Classic Guide section of their site.