The time has come for the next WoW Classic experiment from Blizzard, the WoW Classic Season of Mastery will be available all over the world later today… at least today Pacific time, tomorrow in some places further east.
This is Blizzard’s second dip in the nostalgia well for the vanilla WoW experience and I am interested to see how recyclable the idea is. In 2019 it was huge, but for last week’s name reservation event they put up just 13 servers. Not that 13 servers is anything to look askance at. There are a lot of MMOs out there that would love to fill up 13 servers. I think the EverQuest team is happy to fill up just one server every time they roll out the retro experience. But it is well shy of the 80+ servers that WoW Classic saw two years back.
Back then they had to have layering and free server transfers to help alleviate the crowding and queues. Now they are offering free server transfers off of dead servers in the age of Burning Crusade Classic.
Anyway, we shall see tomorrow and in the coming weeks whether or not they have under estimated… or possibly over estimated… the demand for a fresh run at vanilla.
Though, it isn’t really vanilla this time… or even less vanilla than WoW Classic was the first time around. Blizzard has finally tallied up all the changes they are making for this run compared to WoW Classic, and the list is pretty long. I might as well toss them in here for posterity:
- All characters under level 60 will receive the “Adventure Awaits” buff.
- This buff will increase the experience gained from quest turn-ins by 40%.
- This buff will also grant additional bonus experience to Group and Dungeon Quest turn-ins.
- In raid instances, players cannot benefit from world buff effects such as Rallying Cry of the Dragonslayer, Warchief’s Blessing, and Spirit of Zandalar.
- Buff and debuff limits will be removed.
- Players who kill an enemy while in a group with one or more players at a much higher level than the slain enemy will receive significantly less experience.
- Calculations used to determine the experience awarded for enemies that have been “tapped” by one player or group but killed by another player or group were adjusted.
- The Looking For Group tool from Burning Crusade Classic is present in Season of Mastery.
- Chat reporting feedback improvements are available.
- Added in-chat confirmations for players who report misbehavior in chat, as well as for those that someone may report.
- When reporting a player for verbal harassment or other disruptive chat in-game, players will receive a confirmation when there’s an action against the other player.
- When your behavior has moderately changed for the worse, you may receive a warning message so that you can modify your behavior before receiving a penalty.
- When acutely inappropriate behavior from a player is observed, the system may skip a warning and take immediate action.
- /ignore now blocks characters on the ignored player’s WoW account.
- There will be significant adjustments to enemies in Onyxia’s Lair and Molten Core:
- Bosses and other creatures that are part of boss encounters have had their health increased.
- Augmentations to many existing boss mechanics and new mechanics introduced to challenge players in Season of Mastery have been made.
- The availability of Mining and Herbalism nodes has been significantly increased in all zones, as well as:
- Max-level herbalists have a slight chance to obtain Black Lotus when looting a high-level herbalism node.
- Western and Eastern Plaguelands will enjoy new spawns of Plaguebloom.
- There have been adjustments and additions to Herbalism nodes in Dungeons.
- There’s been an increase in the availability of certain crafting materials such as Elemental Fire, Elemental Earth, and Elemental Water.
- High Elf Watchers have appeared in Ironforge and Undercity, seeking to chronicle adventurers who bear a “Soul of Iron”.
- Some dungeon enemies have received slight adjustments:
- Stratholme – All Undead creatures in Stratholme will now gain immunity to snares 30 seconds after entering combat and gain immunity to roots after an additional 30 seconds of combat.
- Maraudon – Many creatures in Maraudon will gain immunity to snares 30 seconds after entering combat and gain immunity to roots after an additional 30 seconds of combat.
- Maraudon – 30 seconds after gaining immunity to root effects, enemies gain 50% increased movement speed.
- Maraudon and Stratholme – Crowd control of any type (except snares or roots) will reset the snare immunity, root immunity, and speed buffs.
- Zul’Farrak – Zombie Trolls in Zul’Farrak now drop fewer lucrative treasures. Most of the loot previously dropped by Zombie Trolls has been redistributed to other enemies in the dungeon.
- The denizens of Blackrock Depths have grown suspicious of criminal activity and will now attempt to stash their most valuable items away if they suspect a thief in their midst.
- There’s been a reduction in the cost of training riding skills and purchasing level 40 mounts.
- Dire Maul will be available at the launch of Season of Mastery.
- The Gordok Tribute chest in Dire Maul can no longer be looted by players not on the tap list for King Gordok himself when the encounter is defeated.
- Changes made in patch 1.10 to dungeon rewards will be in place at the launch of Season of Mastery, including the availability of Idols, Librams, and Totems, and adjusted drop locations and drop rates of some items such as the Hand of Justice in Blackrock Depths.
- Changes and additions made to reputation vendors and item drops in patches 1.6 through 1.11 will be in place at the launch of Season of Mastery, with a few exceptions:
- Items on vendors and items associated with reputations are not accessible until a later content phase, such as the Zandalar Tribe.
- The (world drop) plans for Titanic Leggings and Sageblade will be made available in a future content phase.
- Summon elemental Templars and Dukes in the Twilight’s Hammer camps in Silithus to facilitate the completion of the Dungeon Set 2 questlines at the launch of Season of Mastery.
- Please note that the rest of the Cenarion Hold and Silithus activities associated with Anh’Qiraj will remain unavailable until the Anh’Qiraj War Effort event kicks off later.
- Level 50 class quests will be available at the launch of Season of Mastery.
- The healing provided from the Diamond Flask trinket on-use effect no longer benefits from bonus +healing or spell power.
- We have doubled the maximum amount of weekly ranking progress gained. Dedicated players who consistently finish each week at the top of their realm and faction’s rankings each week can expect to move through the ranks roughly twice as fast as was possible in Original World of Warcraft.
- Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and Alterac Valley are available from the launch of Season of Mastery, including their associated reputations and rewards.
- Season of Mastery brings back many Horde and Alliance Guard NPCs removed from Alterac Valley in patch 1.11 of Original World of Warcraft.
- At the launch of Season of Mastery, we will enable the World PvP objectives in Eastern Plaguelands.
There are some interesting things on the list. I think the faster/smooth leveling will appeal to the raiding crowd that wants to get in and start on that without the somewhat uneven ride to level cap that vanilla offered and which WoW Classic faithfully recreated. I did the grind to 60 on two characters, but was pretty happy with the exp changes that came with the Burning Crusade Classic update.
At this point my WoW account has finally lapsed and I am not interested enough to renew it just for this, but I will keep my eye on the news to see how it is going.