When Will We get The Burning Crusade Classic?

It seems pretty sure, given the various surveys and leaks coming out of Blizzard, that we are going to get a classic version of The Burning Crusade expansion for World of Warcraft.

The Burning Crusade in a black bean sauce

The question appears to be no longer “if,” but rather “how” and “when” now.

You may have seen a post over at Massively OP about a rumored timeline for such a release.  I sent in that tip based on a story I saw over at WCCF Tech which referenced a fan site forum post about a video from a WoW streamer who had heard from a reliable source that the official timeline for The Burning Crusade Classic was to be:

  • Announcement: BlizzConline – Feb 19, 2021
  • Beta opens: On announcement
  • Pre-patch: April 13th/14th, 2021
  • Launch: May 3rd/4th, 2021

My initial gut reaction to this timeline was that it has to be wrong.  That launch date is way too soon for Blizzard.  I have no doubt that we will be getting The Burning Crusade Classic, and it seems like a slam dunk than we will get it in 2021.  But in May?  Not going to happen.

A lot of the responses I have seen in support of this timeline seem to revolve around the technical feasibility of it.  Could it be done?  Could Blizzard get it together and launch in that time frame.

I think they could.  They have no doubt been working on it for ages now.  The popularity and success of WoW Classic no doubt cemented the resources to carry forward with it.

Instead, my main objection to the timeline is Blizzard and its past behavior.  Going from an announcement to beta to pre-patch to launch in about ten weeks… eight weeks really, since the pre-patch kicks off the opening of the black gate event, so they’re committed by then… seems uncharacteristically quick for the company.  That would be a positively hasty run by the standards of the company.

I don’t think people get how cautious Blizzard can be.  A lot of criticism was directed at WoW Classic due to the time it took to launch when people compared it to the comings and goings of pirate WoW servers.  If some randos on the internet can stand up a server quickly, why can’t Blizzard?  This blindly ignores how Blizz is a company that expects you to pay for a game, and you won’t pay if it breaks or falls over under load.  Blizz could no doubt put up a prototype server even more quickly, but would it stand up to the strains required of an official server?

Remember how many people piled into WoW Classic?  There will be a comparable surge when this come out.

Blizzard will want to run beta for a while, testing out specific functions of the expansion in classic form.  I firmly believe that will take more than the eight weeks this timeline allows.

Then they will want to to some load tests.  We’ll all be invited to pile onto a server to make sure that the new stuff still works.  We might get that in May, with a re-run of it again likely in June.

There is also the question as to how TBC Classic will be handled.  Surveys have gone out asking if people want fresh servers as transfer targets of to have their WoW Classic servers expanded to include TBC or some other option.  The server matrix for WoW Classic was relatively easy; PvP or PvE, with RP as a side order.  With TBC we might get fresh servers as transfer targets, upgraded WoW Classic servers, fresh start TBC servers, or some other combo.  Blizzard will try to make the maximum number of people happy, and as they were surveying people still late last month, it doesn’t seem like that has been decided.  They will likely have a plan by BlizzConline, but that is still another set of systems they’ll want to test.

My instincts, such that they are, says a realistic timeline for The Burning Crusade Classic would look more like this:

  • Announcement: BlizzConline – Feb 19, 2021
  • Beta opens: On announcement or soon thereafter
  • Server load tests: May/June 2021
  • Server reservations for users: July 2021
  • Pre-launch events on WoW Classic servers: mid/late July 2021
  • Launch: August 2021

But I am a registered pessimist and didn’t think Blizzard would ever be convinced to make WoW Classic in the first place.

So I will make a poll and let you tell me when you think it will launch.

There is a poll above this line which your adblock or other security measures might block.

We will probably get an answer in February as to the plan, until then we can speculate.

8 thoughts on “When Will We get The Burning Crusade Classic?

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Tessa – Our group is slow, but even if it is May I am pretty sure we’ll have some level 60s by then. The question for us is really how they will hook it up to the current classic servers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ula

    People really compared Classic to the pirate servers? Classic runs on a different engine and had to be completely refactored, to my understanding. The BC code also needs to be reworked and integrated. The interesting question is, how far along are they with that? You wouldn’t think very far, but who knows.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shintar

    I don’t want it to launch quite so soon since I’d be happy to have more time in Naxx, but I think the leak will probably turn out to be accurate. They released several of Classic’s phases sooner than originally planned as well, so I’m guessing they have some internal metric that shows them that Classic activity/subs drop off x months after the last content patch and they probably want to get BC out the door quickly to keep the train rolling along nicely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Archey

    I voted May, because I think it’s possible, but I’d also not be surprised to see June or July. My money is certainly on July or earlier though.

    As Shintar mentioned, they have shown some success with the non-expansion patch cycle, and the major chunks of work of design and art assets are all pre-done. Retrofitting and testing them is surely non trivial, but I’d guess that has already been ongoing internally.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. paeroka

    WoW Classic was in beta for 3.5 months. The original BC was in beta for 3 to 4 months (I didn’t look at the specific dates). So, assuming the BC classic beta starts in the middle of February, it does make a May release possible. At least, this can be the internal goal. My guess is June, though. There will be delays and we still have … other circumstances … that make working together a bit more difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Redbeard

    I wish I could say I’m thinking like Treebeard and saying “Let’s not be hasty”, but I’ve a feeling that Blizz is trying to cash in quickly on their cash cow to boost their quarterly profits. More of an Activision side of things, if you will. I sure hope they go to late Summer at least, because I’d like a better shot at getting Naxx on farm for most non-sweaty guilds.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Redbeard – “Cashing in” is another aspect to this. If Shadowlands tapers off the way BFA did, Blizz might be in a mood to goose revenue with a TBC Classic release. But if Shadowlands is sustaining well enough, they may not be keen to distract people from it either. And if they want to boost Q2, they have until the end of June, so May isn’t a particularly interesting target date unless people are dropping off from both WoW Classic and Shadowlands in significant numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

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