I’m playing on the Turtle WoW, a vanilla + private server and having a blast leveling up my Shaman Raid Tank, which is a thing on Turtle WoW and the servers has been crazy now, with a server population hitting hundreds of thousands of players online on weekends.
While leveling, I’ve been thinking a lot about what would the ideal Classic Era timeline would even look like? What and when should Blizzard release - things like official hardcore servers, classic + or vanilla + servers, classic cataclysm? And more importantly, what do we as a community even want to see? Because now’s the time to let Blizzard know what we want from them. So, today I thought we can talk about what the timeline for Classic Era and WoW could end up being in the next few years.
Classic Era has been exploding the last few months, we have Classic Era Hardcore getting super popular, there’s even Hardcore PVE Races now, like real Competitions with actual prize pools, we have Classic Era servers growing month after month, WotLK Classic is well... It’s currently in between major patches, then there’s classic vanilla + servers like Turtle WoW and Duskhaven reaching all-time high populations.
Recently, there’s been rumors that Blizzard is releasing dedicated Hardcore Servers for Classic Era, and we just don’t know what form these servers are going to take, what the rule set is going to be, how integrated the achievements are going to be, is the server rule set going to be more like the original solo hardcore challenge we are all familiar with, or will Blizzard go for a more fun, group oriented hardcore experience like Turtle WoW.
Will there be titles, mounts for any rewards? Will the hardcore experience last past 60? These are all questions that need to be answered and quickly. I think Blizzard needs to release these hardcore servers as soon as possible, as the demand for them is only continuing to grow,
And it’s these hardcore challenges that are probably the main reason why we have seen a revitalization of the classic era servers. It’s not the only reason, of course. Vanilla has always held a special place in my heart just like a lot of people, and I think there will always be a population of players willing to play on classic era servers, but let’s be honest, if Blizzard released FRESH Classic Era Servers, that progressed from vanilla, to TBC to WotLK Classic all over again, 10,000s of people would dive into Classic Era again.
And I could see Blizzard doing just this at the end of WotLK Classic. Which brings us to what Blizzard should do after WotLK Classic ends. For me, it’s a no brainier that Blizzard is going to add classic cataclysm. But, it is a big decision point. I don’t think WotLK is that popular in terms of numbers, there just isn’t that much to do, it’s essentially an ICC waiting room. So, it’s possible Blizzard might just think the hype is over and move into a Classic, TBC, WotLK Classic maintenance mode.
But from a business perspective I think cataclysms success is already baked in, most of the Classic WoW player base is already expecting the classic experience to last until mists of pandaria and will happily sub just to enjoy the PVP alone as the two expansions are largely regarded as some of the best Arena ever, as well as some of the hardest most challenging classic PVE, at least in cata with some of the introductory raids being well… impossible for most guilds.
I know this would split the classic player base, but I think Blizzard should release a classic era fresh, that progresses all the way to WotLK Classic and beyond, and release Classic Cataclysm at the end of WOTLK. It’s unfortunate, but only from the perspective that fewer people might be playing in Cataclysm, so who cares, people will play classic era, they will play cata, they will pay, retail season of mastery, and hardcore, and private servers, let’s be honest, it’s all a bit of a mess for Blizzard right now.
So, just release it all and let the players decide where they want to play. After Cataclysm and a potential Mysts of pandaria, Blizzard needs to seriously consider a classic + server. The success or private servers like Turtle WoW, and Duskhaven has shown that the demand for classic + is very real and it’s doesn’t take a while a lot of effort to add basic things like new quests, items, zones. Duskhaven is being developed by literally ONE person and has dozens of awesome changes. Blizzard just needs to hand over development to a group of passionate creative people, that can make some changes and keep Classic WoW fresh.
Blizzard could even release the initial changes in a Season of Mastery style server to test and see the reaction of the player base. If they don’t release something like Classic +, Classic Era will eventually fade into irreverence and worse, go down in history as being one of the biggest wastes of an excellent opportunity in history.
In short, blizzard should first release a dedicated hardcore server as soon as possible, and with the end of Classic WOTLK, release classic cataclysm while offering FRESH Classic Era Servers, later develop classic +, even if it ends up being in a season of mastery style server.
I fully expect something like this to unfold over the next 4 years. It’s a very exciting time to be a World of WarCraft player, never before has the player base been so divided because there has never been so much different content, but that’s a good thing, Blizzard should embrace this fact, and not be afraid to release even more.