The Incredible Risk of WoW Classic

Blizzard announced WoW Classic, aka vanilla, during the Opening Ceremony of 2017. It opened a can of worms on the fun-filled day. As realization struck fans during the ice cream opening the questions began. Launch day? Will it be Day 0 World of Warcraft? Will this endeavor detract from the continued development? Few, if any, of these immediate questions were addressed. We’ve attempted to draw details from representatives. They remain as cold as Sindragoa’s scales when the topic is broached. There’s good reason, it’s difficult to put the worms back in.

This week finally awarded those with rose-tinted glasses with morsels of information. First and foremost, Blizzard continues to make strides to make WoW Classic a reality. They’ve been hard at work on latency and login problems, churned through driver issues, even selected a patch to launch on (Patch 1.12: Drums of War) that was rebuilt from the modern architecture to solve most of the aforementioned problems. It’s an eye opening read for those interested in game design, the history of WoW, the challenge of legacy systems or general game history.

Despite the incredible effort going into WoW Classic it’s still nuts that it’s even happening. There is so much that can go the way of Deathwing.

  • How can Blizzard meet its own exacting standards yet somehow meet those of the WoW Classic crowd? It appears the full purist crowd is the one being targeted.
  • How is WoW Classic going to fund itself? Hell, how is it funded now? Is it detracting from the live game, a passion project or a completely separate team?
  • Will it be released in maintenance mode? If it’s wildly successful, will there be additional content introduced? Would this simply follow the original patch timeline or be a redo?
  • Is Blizzard splitting its architecture? Is WoW Classic going to run on unique hardware alongside the current servers?
  • GMs were once prevalent in the world albeit often hidden. Are they to make a return?
  • Should we expect hackers, farmers and gold selling to make a comeback?
  • Can we rename DKP to something else?
  • Does Leeroy Jenkins never happen because we skipped right to v1.12?
  • What if Field of Dreams is wrong?

I haven’t even convinced myself to play WoW Classic yet. Largely because I’m no longer a 20-something with a hardcore raiding girlfriend. And yet, I can’t help but wonder, am I the only one that finds all of this fascinating? What other risks are out there?