At Blizzconline 2021, Blizzard announced that they would, as expected, be launching a classic version of The Burning Crusade - the first ever World of Warcraft expansion, and a fan favourite. Anyone with an active WoW subscription can access this version of the game on existing Classic servers as they roll over to TBC some time in the coming months.
Why would I want to play this old version of WoW?
Just like Classic WoW, Classic TBC will offer players the chance to see what the game was like back in 2007 - long before many systems were either implemented or removed from the game to streamline the playing process as much as possible. At the time, the game was much more of an RPG, including having to complete extensive quest chains and multiple dungeons to even access the raid content the game had, far more emphasis on crafting your own great gear, and a much greater sense of unique class identity. Not everybody could do everything in TBC - in a dungeon with no crowd control? Tough, you'd better hope you can kill everything fast enough!
Can’t I just play a private server?
You certainly could - although, as we saw in Classic, official Blizzard servers really drove a stake through the heart of a lot of private servers. Many people do not want to dump hours into a character only to find the server has been taken down the next day. This is the greatest advantage an official release has - these servers and characters are going nowhere.
The meme that originated before Classic even launched was "#nochanges". While this was great in theory, it was a double edged sword of problems - first, it was always going to be impossible to have no changes. Second, playing a game designed for 2004 in 2021 meant that people had already spent years "solving" the meta, and along with that came many less than ideal situations. Some classes were far more favourable than others, guilds that required their members to spend hours weekly gathering world buffs only to lose them on the first death in a raid, etc. This time, the designers are taking a different approach - some changes. We already know of a few that have come out of recent interviews, and I will keep a list of everything that's been confirmed in the second post in this thread.
What will stay the same?
The core TBC experience will largely remain the same:
- An increased level cap of 70
- Outland, the new level 60-70 continent where the vast majority of the expansion takes place
- Two new races, Draenei for the Alliance and Blood Elves for the Horde
- 7 Outland zones and 4 new Azeroth zones
- Flying mounts, used in Outland only at level 70
- 16 new dungeons, including heroic difficulty versions of each
- 8 new raids, varying between 10 and 25 players for each
- Tons of new class abilities, talents, tweaks and overall rebalancing
- New jewel crafting profession
- PVP arenas for teams of 2, 3 or 5, and a new battleground
TBC Classic will run on patch 2.4.3 of the game, the final patch before the game started to transition to the next expansion. However, as detailed in the change list post below, that doesn't mean the game will contain everything 2.4.3 did at the start, just that what is in the game will act in the way that it did in 2.4.3. For example, the final raid will not be available, but changes made to classes around the time of that raid will be.
Speaking of next expansions - what about Wrath of the Lich King?
No actual confirmation yet, but it will happen. Classic was a surprise success for Activision and as you can tell from Blizzconline 2021 - this, D2 remake, Hearthstone Classic, arcade ports - they're going all-in on the remaster/remake train. Interviews with the developers hint at "any further expansions we do".
Alright... what's the catch?
A few things. For one, they're introducing a paid boost to level 58 for new/returning players to get ready for TBC. This does not sit well with some current players, some feel is compromises the integrity of what they earned in Classic. Second, there are no "fresh" TBC servers planned, only current Classic servers rolling over to TBC. This means many players will have thousands and thousands of gold already and the economy will be pretty weird. A developer has hinted at doing something about this, but taking away the rewards of people's efforts in an MMO is a big no-no, so we will see. These are probably the two most contentious issues right now, although there are other smaller problems that can be discussed in this thread as they come up.
So when’s it out?
Right now, just a vague "2021" date, with a beta coming "soon", which is par for the course for Blizzard.
Got any links for more information?
Below are links to a few recent videos, however I will be detailing the important parts of these videos in the post below if you don't have the time to listen yourself.
TBC Classic deep dive
TBC Classic developer interview
Burning Crusade item database
Level 70 gear planner (WIP)
This time, we ARE prepared. See you in Outland!