At BlizzCon 2018, we proposed a plan to give Classic four content phases. These were planned to be centered primarily on raid power progression.
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.
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.
Along the way, we’ve taken a close look at items that provide the biggest power gains, many of which were introduced in 1.10 as part of a sweeping dungeon itemization pass. That patch was when Tier 0.5 gear was introduced, and Relics were added to the drop tables of many bosses. It also adjusted drop rates and drop locations of a lot of gear (to make room for the Relics). We’ve gone back and reconstructed many of the most heavily affected drop tables as they existed prior to the 1.10 patch, and we’re planning to update the drop tables alongside the Ahn’Qiraj War Effort. Prior to the Ahn’Qiraj unlock, most of the drop rates and locations will look as they did in the patches prior to 1.10, with exceptions—there are lots of little changes made in earlier patches that don’t have a big effect on player power, and in those cases, we’re planning to use the 1.12 drop rates and locations.
One example of the many items we’re planning for is: Titanic Leggings, which is a world drop that first appeared in 1.10. We can confirm that it will be controlled by the same content unlock that restricts the other 1.10 loot changes.
Here’s what the release order currently looks like:
Phase 1 (Classic Launch)
- Molten Core
- Dire Maul
- Blackwing Lair
- Darkmoon Faire
- Darkmoon deck drops begin
- 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
We haven’t yet determined exactly when phases 2-6 will occur, and PvP content is notably missing from the list above. That’s because we’re still evaluating our options regarding PvP rewards, as they also changed over time (both in power and in terms of which PvP reward items were available).
While we can’t elaborate on every detail of every step we’re going to take (yet), we’re here reading all of your questions and we’re going to keep the answers coming.