Earlier this month we had our first look at World of Warcraft Classic with the first official demo that was available to anyone with a Blizzcon virtual ticket.
A demo that was a lot more enjoyable than it had any right to be, considering there were only two zones to explore and you could only level from 15 to 19.
However, I have had Classic on my mind these past weeks, and one of the biggest questions surrounding World of Warcraft Classic is this: What happens after Naxxramas? The last raid of Vanilla World of Warcraft.
In this article, we will discuss all the different options, which we would like to see, as well as the pros and cons of each solution.
Not sure what class to play yet? Here is our full class picking guide for Classic Wow.
1. Progressive Expansions
Let’s get the obvious answer out of the way. The most straightforward answer to this question is releasing the expansions as they did back in the day.
Which would mean that about six months after the release of Naxxramas we would see an official legacy server option for The Burning Crusade. Which would make a lot of sense considering the love that people hold for The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King and it likely wouldn’t require as much work as the other options on this list.
What happens after Wrath of the Lich King?
The problem with this approach is that the Legacy servers will eventually make its way to the later expansions that the World of Warcraft Classic crowd generally doesn’t like.
World of Warcraft is a product meant to last for years and this solution would almost have an expiration day as the original Classic server crowd would likely not want to continue onward from Wrath of the Lich King.
Blizzard could choose to release brand new Classic Wow servers with the release of each expansion though, which would make sure that the die-hard Vanilla and The Burning Crusade fans always have a fresh server to play on, which is something I think they should do no matter what they release post patch 1.12.
I would be absolutely fine with this solution as I am so excited to relive both Vanilla and The Burning Crusade but it does have some obvious issues.
Likeliness: Very High
2. Pristine Progressive Expansions
If you ask the Vanilla World of Warcraft fanbase, every expansion had its glaring issues, even The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.
TBC introduced flying, Wrath had dungeon finder and general trivialization of a lot of content, Cataclysm had the Looking for Raid feature and Transmogrification, and the list goes on from there.
But what if they didn’t?
What if Blizzard introduced the expansions as they were in a progressive fashion but chose to remove the ”anti-classic” features from said expansions. So when Wrath of the Lich King comes around there will be no Dungeon Finder, when Cataclysm comes there will be no Azeroth Flying, no Looking for Raid and definitely no Transmogrification.
It would be so exciting to see the later expansions without all of the quality of life additions that were added over the years — no sharding, no Cross-realm zones, no transmogrification, no leveling boosts, no heirlooms, no queuable content, etc.
But what about flying?
Don’t get me wrong, I think flying was a bad addition to the game as it allowed you to essentially ”skip” the world and the people in it when playing. However, flying is essential in some places such as Netherstorm to reach the dungeons and raids, and in Storm Peaks and Icecrown to even complete the zones, and so on. They could obviously just add a ton of flight paths to replace the feature entirely but then what about the Netherwing Drake and other flying mounts iconic to the expansions?
I would be okay with flying being replaced entirely with flight paths, but as long as they never introduce Azeroth Flying from the Cataclysm expansion, I am pretty okay with flying.
I would very much prefer this approach to the regular progressive release of expansions as this might allow me to enjoy the later expansions to the same extent as I did with Vanilla and The Burning Crusade. Don’t get me wrong, the newer expansions have had fantastic content and beautiful areas to explore, but it was always ruined a bit for me by the philosophy of the modern World of Warcraft.
Related: Best MMO Gaming Mice.
3. Post 1.12 Patches – A second crack at the Dragon Isles, Azshara Crater, etc.
Post 1.12 patches is also a popular option that Blizzard could go with, and it is done incredibly well by Old School Runescape, the official Classic servers for Runescape. They keep releasing new patch content but without messing with the original formula.
What better way for Blizzard to start this patch cycle than with content that was originally planned for Vanilla but got scrapped during development. Blizzards ambitions for the original World of Warcraft were huge, and the amount of content and concepts that were initially planned for Vanilla is a testament to that ambition.
Content Originally meant for Vanilla
- The Dragon Isles(Zone/raid): This was a raid and an area that was originally planned for Vanilla World of Warcraft but ended up being scrapped. From some pre-alpha maps, we can see that it is located north of Tirisfal Glades and from some artwork it looks quite old-god themed and obviously involved some dragons.
- Hellfire Peninsula(Zone): That’s right, the first zones of The Burning Crusade was meant to ship with Vanilla World of Warcraft, and it even went decently far into development as showcased by Hayven Games. Releasing the Hellfire Peninsula in a patch would be interesting if they provide fresh content that suits the less focused narrative of Vanilla Wow. Perhaps even release Magtheridons Lair as a single boss 40-man raid.
- Black Temple(Raid): Yes, the most iconic raid of The Burning Crusade was supposed to ship with the original game and not as a separate expansion. However, releasing this as a stand-a-lone raid with no real context from the rest of Outland might be a bit weird.
- Karazhan(Dungeon): One of the most beloved raids of all time, Karazhan, was supposed to be a dungeon back in Vanilla but never made it to the game. Releasing Karazhan as a 10-man dungeon in a post 1.12 patch would be awesome, and due to its location being on Azeroth it would fit perfectly. It would also finally make that ”Teleport to Deadwind Pass” ability from the Atiesh legendary staff make sense.
- Kezan(Zone): Home of the Goblins and Trade Prince Gallywix was also planned for Vanilla Wow and could serve as a fun Patch for World of Warcraft Classic.
- The Emerald Dream(Zone): This is another major zone that Blizzard worked on for Vanilla, but they admit to struggling with the overall fantasy of the place. The Emerald Dream is essentially the blueprint for Azeroth as the Titans created it and it would be great to see it as a fully fleshed out zone if Blizzard managed to get it right.
- Mount Hyjal(Zone): Like a lot of people know, Hyjal was actually a zone you could reach in Vanilla with ”some clever use of game mechanics” and the area wasn’t just there to please the wall-jumpers, but it was actually meant to be an end-game zone in Vanilla and would be perfect for a Classic Wow patch.
- Azshara Crater(Battleground): This was a large battleground that went quite far into development before being scrapped due to Alterec Valley taking up too much time. As Azshara was very underused in Vanilla it would be great to see them take another crack at this Battleground in a patch.
- Caverns of Time(Dungeon): The Caverns of Time that got released in The Burning Crusade was supposed to come out in Vanilla World of Warcraft as a dungeon. I would love to see it return as a mega-dungeon in a patch with each wing being different time periods or something of the sort.
There are much more scrapped content from Vanilla World of Warcraft, such as the Stormwind Vault and even Northrend but this is just to give an overview of how many ambitions they had for Vanilla that never saw the light of day. Perhaps World of Warcraft Classic could be the second chance for some of those ambitions.
Now, they don’t have to go with the old scrapped content, they could also create entirely new zones and dungeons, but I think building on the content meant for Vanilla would stay more true to the original game.
I would absolutely love this approach as long as each zone did not completely nullify old content like new patches does today. That said, that is the issue with this, adding so many patches with no real scaling in gear and difficulty could be bad for the game, and if they increase it too much, the older Vanilla content such as Molten Core and Blackwing Lair could suddenly become obsolete.
Likeliness: If World of Warcraft Classic does exceptionally well, then maybe.
4. Alternate expansions
Probably the least likely option on this list for various reasons but I think it’s worth mentioning either way. It would take a tremendous amount of work and for this to even be discussed internally by Blizzard, World of Warcraft Classic would have to exceed all expectations. But what if?
I think World of Warcraft Classic has a lot more potential than most people give it credit for. Look at Old School Runescape, another revitalization of an original product and it actually supersedes the modern version in subscribers. To be fair, Runescape’s appeal is not as broad as World of Warcraft’s so it makes sense that Runescape players, in general, prefer a more ”Oldschool” approach to MMO’s. However, let us say that World of Warcraft Classic does a lot better than Blizzard expects it to then this is a discussion that Blizzard needs to have and providing original content for the Classic version is definitely one of their options.
But what about the lore? Which Wow is Canon?
World of Warcraft Classic did something incredible. It introduced us to this vast, exciting world without giving us an overarching narrative but instead gave us hundreds of different smaller storylines.
I think a potential World of Warcraft Classic expansion could work if they continued down the same path with storylines that focused more on character pieces and not world-ending villains. Stories that make sense in a pre-The Burning Crusade era and doesn’t go against the canon.
World of Warcraft: Untold Stories of Azeroth
They could also use all of the content that was initially planned for Vanilla that we mentioned above and wrap it all into one major expansion pack.
Just like with the patches, using content that was meant to be released in 2006 would likely feel like a decently authentic Vanilla experience. It would allow them to create an expansion that takes place in the original Azeroth without all of the dreaded quality-of-life additions that came with later expansions.
I prefer the patch cycle concept mentioned in point 3 but I won’t pretend like a Vanilla expansion like this wouldn’t get me beyond excited. That said, an expansion likely brings too much change in at once, and the feeling of the original game could potentially vanish which is why I prefer the patch cycle approach.
Likeliness: Don’t hold your breath
5. Seasonal Vanilla – Old dog, new tricks
World of Warcraft Classic is still an incredible game, and that has nothing to do with nostalgia. However, it isn’t the class balance or incredibly simple bosses that makes it so good which some Vanilla fans seem to believe.
Having bi-yearly Vanilla server releases with some minor changes to stuff like class balance or raid difficulty could help keep Vanilla interesting without messing with the core formula.
In a way, some changes would almost be more authentic because it would bring some mystery back to the game which is the one thing about Vanilla Wow that an authentic Classic server cannot recreate.
Wow Classic: Hardmode
An example and one that I would be interested in trying out is a hardcore version of World of Warcraft Classic.
This could include significant buffs to dungeons and raids throughout the game, and maybe even minor nerfs to the highest performing classes, talents, and items.
This would make everyone reconsider class compositions in raids, tactics on most bosses, ”best-in-slot” item lists, talent builds and generally just bring some mystery back into the game.
Wow Classic: Rebalanced
Would also be interesting to see Vanilla as we know it but with a complete rebalancing of classes, raids, and items.
A Vanilla World of Warcraft where Elemental Shamans and Retribution paladins aren’t useless damage dealers and Druids and Paladins can help the warriors out with the raid tanking.
The exciting thing about this concept would mostly just be to see everyone having to rediscover the game and reconsider everything from boss tactics to talent builds.
However, I don’t think the demand for this option is very high, and while I would love to play a hard mode version of Vanilla, I don’t think we’ll ever get that option.
Likeliness: Wouldn’t count on it.
6. Eternal Vanilla
What if you just want to raid Molten Core and Blackwing Lair forever?
Blizzard will have to provide an eternal Vanilla server or release new servers every other year, or we will have the same problem in a few years again, where WoW Classic is not officially playable anymore.
An ”Eternal Vanilla” server could easily co-exist with any of the other options on this list, but it is worth mentioning because I know several people who would be happy to play the same Vanilla World of Warcraft server forever without any new content or changes.
As soon as Blizzard has rebuild World of Warcraft Classic for the modern BattleNet client they might as well keep a few of these servers going for those that want it.
Likeliness: Pretty likely
One option can be almost same as eternal vanilla but after some times, blizzard can open TBC expansion and if someone wants to play there, they can copy/paste characters to the new server, then after some times when TBC progressed completely, they can have WotLK and again, the same mechanism,if people want to, they can copy/paste their characters to the next expansion (meanwhile having Classic AND The Burning Crusade chars) and so on…
@DragonHunter Certainly one of the safest solutions that most would be happy with.
I like that idea the most. That would be my dream come true.
they should have not released every raid right away. so we would have more time in Vanilla instead if skipping the lesser raids. BUT definitely STOP AT WRATH. no need to ruin everything again with Cataclysm. if they do that… what was the point of bringing back the original content.
@Joshua Curry They will be bringing it out in 4(maybe more) stages, all raids won’t come at once. To your second point, I don’t think they have to stop at Wrath necessarily, as long as the previous expansions are always available for play.
The only issue with allowing a player to cut and paste into TBC from Vanilla is that you’d see the lower level zones have far less population. Other than that it’s gold, and I think it very well may happen. I’m praying for TBC, however it happens!
What are the poll results?
You should be able to see them on the top of the page 🙂 Progressive expansion is in the lead, post 1.12 vanilla-like patches in second.
Well, i’m expecting three things.
and options in general
A) has the potential to change the gameplay, so we have to be careful.
B) cant change anything gameplay related, so it will be easier.
My balance changes:
Bring druids on par with other classes, but definitelly not stronger.
If you’re going to gamble, gamble towards weaker, not stronger.
Allow paladins to tank.
Give them Hand of Reckoning (Taunt)
And make Righteous Fury severely increase the threat of Consecration.
So, protadins could fulfill a niche role in AoE-tanking trash.
Maybe even make Consecration heal, for holy paladins.
Allow Forsaken to have paladins and Dwarves to have shamans.
It’s no stretch of the lore honestly.
Many NPCs had those combinations already in Vanilla.
Maybe you should first complete an extremelly difficult questline to unlock the ability to create one.
Maybe add a couple more combinations while we’re at it.
Like Dwarf mages and warlocks, Troll druids and warlocks.
Again, not stretching the lore. Remember beta?
Maybe make warrior pvp a bit less black-white/win-lose.
By allowing for charge to be used for 3 seconds after you enter combat.
And give Heroic Strike a purpose, like spreading Sunder Armor to a nearby enemy.
The only thing the rogue REALLY needs is for this sadistic 90% “improved sap” talent to become 100%.
The only thing warlocks need on the other hand is for their Soul Shards not to dissapear while logged off.
Mages could really use a Mage Table.
And shamans that 4x preset-totem-summoning mechanic. You know what i mean.
It is just a chore to have to go totem1..GCD…totem2..GCD..totem3..GCD..totem4 on each pack of mobs.
Priests need to have their priest-specific racials removed.
There is literal priest racism going on, on alliance side, honestly.
Fear Ward can take the place of Lightwell on the holy tree.
Racials definitelly need balancing.
I can tolerate Hardiness and WotF…
As long as other racials get a bit buffed.
Warstomp is made instant.
Stoneform also removes magic and curse.
Shadowmeld has much stronger stealth.
Berserking has no low-life requirement.
Perception? i honestly dont know what to replace it with. Just leave it as is.
Blood Fury and EA are balanced enough.
My aesthetic additions:
If you’re against this simple thing… You need help.
Nothing broke my immersion more than watching a dozen players wearing roughly the same gear.
I was just immediately reminded that i was in a computer game.
And hey, if i earned something cool, allow me to wear it forever if i like.
There can be new servers added, that have the transmog feature.
Where players can make new characters, or transfer an old one.
Like how at some point they added RP-PVP in addition to the other types.
Now there can be RP-Transmog-PvE and RP-Transmog-PvP.
All mogs would of course be gained in Classic, and used in Classic Transmog-servers, only.
That cute animation when you open your map.
And that other one, where hunters rest their weapon when they have a target but don’t attack.
There could be more like those.
Like when you open your backpack. Or when you apply a scroll buff, or drink a potion.
Or when you fall from high altitude and dont die do a kneeling-landing animation.
Small things that add a lot to the general feel, and nothing on the gameplay.
Some other suggestions i have thought of are:
A more tidy version of the LFG channel. More RPG-centric and immersive.
Like ad-boards placed throughout the city.
Nothing fancy. No dropdown menus, roles, item levels, and invite buttons.
You would write exactly what you would write in an LFG macro, but you wouldnt have to spam it, and it wouldnt be lost within the dozens of other macros.
Anyone wanting to join would HAVE to whisper you, just like with the LFG channel.
Heroic versions of all dungeons and raids.
Or challenge modes.
But not +99887676 mythics.
Or even the addition of Jewelcrafting and Inscription.
I think we all like those.
As for content…
Definitely a diferent unfolding of events.
Not like on the “first” timeline.
For example, instead of us going through the Dark Portal to invade Outland…
Outland could invade Blasted Lands, with an upgraded Kazzak raid boss…
And we will have to beat the raid and destroy the Portal for good.
Another dungeon/raid could be Grim Batol (different take).
And the cleansing of the greatly infested by wretched, Quel’Thalas. Which would be uninhabitable.
Caverns of Time would be a good addition too.
As well as a different take on the expedition to Northrend.
We could visit Kezan, or Undermine, where gnomes and goblins will be at war.
An underground dungeon in Un’goro about elementals…
A different take on Kharazan, like the earlier, Crypts of Kharazan scrapped content.
And of course the scrapped Emerald Dream/Nightmare.
A different take on Hyjal, not related to ragnaros.
Attack on a fel-possessed Timbermau Hold.
A different take on Gilneas, where the Worgen infection completely took over.
Rescue mission on Alcaz Islands, where you rescue Varian. And he returns as King a bit earlier.
and then there’s my favorite… BGs.
Conflicts revolving around:
Aerie Peak vs Revantusk Village
Theramore vs Brackenwall Village (Stonemaul)
Bael Modan vs Camp Turajo
Crossroads vs Ashenvale
Southshore vs Tarren Mill
Personally for me, i dont want any changes
and Alex, you mustve played on a very high pop, high progressed server, where your immersion was ruined by so many people wearing so much of the same gear
This is not going to happen, but I’d want to see another tier raiding dungeon for level 60, that you can do after naxxramas. The problem with the original naxxramas was that people didn’t bother trying it anymore a couple of months before TBC launch, because all the progress will become obsolete. People had seen in TBC closed beta that the leveling gear matches or exceeds naxxramas gear.
For me they should transfer all characters from normal to classic and start launch New expansions based on BC and LTK without crap aditions and expansions. Llfor example the mounts, they launch 1 New expansion based in BC or BC itself and realase the stuff that you earned before on that expansion.
I would vote for 2. post but I would be really surprised by Blizzard, if they did that.