Blizzard has laid out how they plan on releasing post-launch content for World of Warcraft Classic, with new content coming across six phases.
The plans were detailed in a forum post over on the Blizzard forums, in which Blizzard confirmed that patches will be paired together. Speaking on the matter, Blizzard said:
“Currently, based on both your feedback and our own deliberations, we’re now planning to increase it to six phases. Our focus is still primarily on player power-progression, but we’re also aiming to capture what it felt like to play in a realm community in original WoW. To do that, we’re planning to mirror the approach taken by original WoW, with patches paired together. We’ll launch Classic with content from original WoW through patch 1.2.x, then the second update will include content that was in original WoW 1.3 and 1.4, the third Classic update will have 1.5 and 1.6 content, and so on.”
That statement of aiming to “capture what it felt like to play in a realm community in original WoW” is one of the main reasons that a lot of people are so hungry for WoW Classic, so it’s a statement that is sure to be music to many players ears. Continuing the forum post, Blizzard confirmed that WoW Classic would launch with the original raids Onyxia’s Lair and Molten Core, but they’ll be holding back on some content such as Dire Maul and spreading releases out to prevent any balancing problems that may make progress through certain content too easy, which should keep WoW Classic’s post-launch development more in-keeping with how this content was delivered back in the day:
“Our first phase primarily focuses on launching Classic with Onyxia and Molten Core, but we’ve decided to hold off on Dire Maul for a while. Maraudon is still in the first phase, because it was originally released on December 18, 2004, just two weeks after the first player hit level 60, but we recognize that Dire Maul is in a different category. Some of the loot that’s attainable from Dire Maul is so good that it would affect progression through those early raids. We’re also planning to hold off on releasing Kazzak and Azuregos at launch as well, for the same reasons.
The next change we’re targeting addresses two concerns. First, Zul’Gurub and Blackwing Lair unlocking at the same time would differ from how they originally came out, and it makes sense to not have gear and enchants from Zul’Gurub available during early progress into Blackwing Lair. Secondly, the Emerald Dragons should be available earlier than the opening of Ahn’Qiraj, as they give us a way to start preparing nature resist gear for some of the encounters in AQ.”
The release order looks like this:
Phase 1 (Classic Launch)
- Molten Core
- Dire Maul
- Blackwing Lair
- Darkmoon Faire
- Darkmoon deck drops begin
- Green Dragons
- 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
- Scourge Invasion
There’s currently no release date for any of these phases, and Blizzard notes that PvP content is notably missing from that list, which they claim is because they’re “still evaluating options regarding PvP rewards, as they also changed over time (both in power and in terms of which PvP reward items were available)”.
World of Warcraft Classic is due to launch this Summer and will come included in an existing WoW subscription. If you never played WoW in its vanilla form then I strongly suggest you check it out – it still remains the greatest gaming experience that I’ve ever had.