Tag Archives: The Burning Crusade Classic

BlizzConline and Burning Crusade Classic

We had the first day of BlizzConline yesterday.  There were some interesting announcements.  But what I was really there for was WoW Classic and The Burning Crusade expansion.  Holly Longdale got up there on the main stage… alone, no audience in the pandemic… during the opening ceremony and told us a bit about the coming of The Burning Crusade.  It wasn’t much more than a confirmation that it was coming, but it was at least that.  (Though, we knew it was coming due to that leak, but it is always good to hear somebody say it officially.)

Then, the first panel up was about that very topic.

How deep will they dive?

This was not what would have passed for a “deep dive” at past BlizzCon events.

The panel consisted of:

  • Holly Longdale – Lead Producer for WoW Classic
  • Patrick Dawson – Production Director for WoW
  • Brian Birmingham – Lead Software Engineer for WoW Classic

The panel started with the three of them talking about their impressions of TBC back in the day for a bit, then moved on to some tales of getting the old code working within the current WoW framework, all of which was fine and interesting, but wasn’t delivering a lot of details that many fans… myself especially… were looking for.  There were no slides with bullet points or diagrams or any of the items one might have come to expect from such a presentation.

Towards the back half of the talk… it was only a 30 minute panel, so it wasn’t a long wait.. they finally started spilling out some details.

The first solid nugget in my notes was about Blood Elves and the Draenei.  They will be released into the game with the TBC pre-patch to allow players to have a chance to get leveled up some before everybody jumps through the dark portal.

Then details for characters and servers came up.

The current servers will become progression servers, a term many of us from EverQuest will remember, as SOE started doing that back in 2006 with The Sleeper and The Combine servers.  (see timeline) All of the current WoW Classic servers will move forward to TBC.

If you don’t want to go there, you will have an option.  On launch day you will make the choice for all of your characters, to stay and progress forward into TBC or to move to one of the new WoW Classic servers that will launch the same day that will remain forever vanilla.

If, at a later date, you regret your choice of committing to forever vanilla, there will be a paid service option that will let you copy a character from one of those servers to a TBC server.  You will then, at that moment, have two identical characters in each realm.  They will diverge as soon as you go through the portal and get your first gear drop, but you can be in both worlds.

Meanwhile, if you don’t want to play through all of that WoW Classic crap because TBC was your favorite part of WoW, Blizzard will have an option for you as well.  They will be offering a level 58 character boost… no Blood Elves or Draenei, sorry… so that you can jump straight to the dark portal and get going.  Oh, and you can only have one character boost per account.  If you want to raise an army of level 58s, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way.

No pricing was announced for either the copy or the level 58 character boost.

In fact, few hard details were shared.  There were certainly no dates.  Beta will start “soon,” for whatever value you care to assign to that variable.  The rumor about a May launch seems even more laughably wrong than it did when I first heard it give how little concrete we got from this.  The tone of the discussion indicated to me that they have more work to do and want to allow time to find and fix issues before it goes live.

If you are keen to see the panel, Blizzard posted it to their YouTube channel almost immediately after it was done, so here it is.

I do want to say how weird/wonderful it was to see Holly Longdale, so long the voice of EverQuest and something of a champion for the “classic” retro experience being not just a valid desire for fans, but a lucrative direction for companies to pursue.  There is clearly a synergy… and I use that word here unironically, which is so very rare for me… between her experience and where Blizzard now wants to go with their retro WoW experience.

Anyway, that was the WoW Classic part of BlizzConline.  Tomorrow, the rest of it.

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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.