Blizzard took the time to whip together a Primer for those who never played WoW Back in 2006. I urge folks to check it out as it covers all the major stuff those who started playing WoW from its first expansion, The Burning Crusade and later should know about.
The one thing they announced last month not repeated there is you WILL need an active subscription to play WoW Classic. If you have an active subscription now for the current game, you’re good. So yes, you are getting two games for the price of one subcription. Given my toaster of a desktop PC doesn’t have the specs to run what most are calling the Retail version of WoW anymore, this gives me access to WoW Classic.
I bought 30 Days Prepaid Time last night just so I could log in during Thursday’s Stress Test and see for myself. The horrible lag made it impossible for me to do anything more than create a character on the sole Oceanic Server made for the Stress Test–because all three US Servers available for the stress test were full–and then spend the next 70 minutes trying to get into a building literally 15 feet away so I could use the Global Chat channel in-game and talk to folks. The lag was something else. Blizzard actually spent the two years between WoW Classic being announced and announcing its release date earlier this year making the game future-proof and by that I mean making it so the game will run on current and future operating systems. Windows XP was around when WoW first launched back in 2004.
We are getting WoW as it was in 2006: Just before The Burning Crusade was released. The Molten Core raid will be available when in launches while the other Raids will slowly become available in the weeks and months to follow. All the content is already in the game at launch. Blizzard is just going to make things live over time so players are not overwhelmed.
Before I get to talking about my WoW Classic Plans, here’s some info those who played WoW from the first expansion and later need to be mindful of if they decide to give WoW Classic a try.
First, here’s what didn’t exist in WoW back in 2006:
- Blood Elves as a Playable Race (Introduced in The Burning Crusade)
- Draenei as a Playable Race (Introduced in The Burning Crusade)
- Flying Mounts (Introduced in The Burning Crusade)
- Guild Banks (Introduced in The Burning Crusade)
- Heirlooms (Introduced in Wrath of the Lich King)
- Achievements (Introduced in Wrath of the Lich King)
- The Inscription Profession (Introduced in Wrath of the Lich King)
- Death Knight Class (introduced in Wrath of the Lich King)
- Dungeon Finder (Introduced in Wrath of the Lich King)
- Flying on Kalimdor and The Eastern Kingdoms (Azerothian Flight, Introduced in Cataclysm)
- The Archeology Profession (Introduced in Cataclysm)
- Worgen as a Playable Race (Introduced in Cataclysm)
- Goblins as a Playable Race (Introduced in Cataclysm)
- Raid Finder (Introduced in Cataclysm)
- Battle Pets (Introduced in Cataclysm)
- Transmogrification (Introduced in Cataclysm)
- Guild Perks (Introduced in Cataclysm)
- AOE Looting (Introduced in Cataclysm)
- Pandaren as a Playable Race (Introduced in Mists of Pandaria)
- Monk Class (Introduced in Mists of Pandaria)
- Bank Mats Tab (Introduced in Mists of Pandaria)
- Demon Hunter Class (Introduced in Legion)
- Profession Catch Up Mechanics (Introduced in Mists of Pandaria)
I know, it’s alot of stuff. In addition, Varian Wrynn is missing during the events of WoW Classic and The Burning Crusade. Bolvar Fordragon is the Human Faction Leader. Technically it’s Anduin but he’s nothing more than a figurehead in comparison. Magni is also the sole ruler of Ironforge. In addition, High Tinker Geblin Mekkatorque resides in Ironforge. Horde side, Thrall is Warchief and is located in the middle of the city alongside Vol’Jin, who is in the same room and requires a separate raid group to deal with him. That made getting to Thrall extra dangerous for Alliance Players looking to kill him since it gave time for Horde players to run to his defense. The Warchief is close to the front entrance after Wrath of the Lich King and Vol’Jin is not in the city anymore. Cairne Bloodhoof–father of Baine Bloodhoof–is Chieftain of the Tauren. This is before the Blood Elves and the Draenei enter the picture in The Burning Crusade.
Now here’s what’s different from Retail WoW:
- You would have to manually walk or ride all the way to any dungeon or raid you wanted to do.
- Hearthstones have a 60 Minute Cooldown (reduced to 30 Minutes as of Mists of Pandaria)
- The Undercity and Darnassus still exist (destroyed at the beginning of Battle for Azeroth)
- Must see Class Trainers to train skills (Learned automatically while leveling after Wrath of the Lich King)
- Hunter’s Survival Specialization is Ranged (Changed to Melee in Legion)
- The Dark Portal is inactive (Leads to Outland from The Burning Crusade to Mists of Pandaria)
- Riding is learned at level 40 (Lowered to level 30 halfway through Wrath of the Lich King and again to level 20 by the end of the expansion)
- Epic Riding is learned at level 60 (Lowered to 40 at the end of Wrath of the Lich King)
- Can’t use other Races’ Mounts (changed halfway through Wrath of the Lich King)
- Can turn in Cloth to gain Rep with playable factions (removed after Wrath of the Lich King)
- Talent Tiers don’t exist yet (replaced Talent Trees after Wrath of the Lich King)
- Leatherworking and Blacksmithing Specializations (Removed after Wrath of the Lich King)
- Regents are needed to use certain skills like Runes for Portal/Teleport Spells (removed after Wrath of the Lich King)
- Arrows, Bullets and/or Shells are needed to use Bows/Crossbows/Guns (Ammo requirement removed after Wrath of the Lich King)
- Signature Core Abilities such as Summon Fel Guard and Titan’s Grip are unavailable until level 50+ (automatically learned at level 10 starting in Cataclysm)
- Dwarves and Gnomes both start in Coldridge Valley in Dun Morogh. Gnomes start in New Tinker Town starting in Cataclysm.
- Orcs and Darkspear Trolls both start in The Valley of Trials in Durotar. Darkspear Trolls start in the Echo Isles starting in Cataclysm.
- Humans don’t get the Hunter class until Cataclysm.
- Dwarves don’t get the Shaman class until Cataclysm.
- Gnomes don’t get the Priest Class until Cataclysm. They gain the Hunter Class in Legion.
- Night Elves don’t get the Mage Class until Cataclysm.
- Orcs don’t get the Mage Class until Cataclysm.
- Trolls don’t get the Druid Class until Cataclysm.
- Tauren don’t get the Paladin and Priest Classes until Cataclysm.
- Undead don’t get the Hunter Class until Cataclysm.
- Keys, Explosives or Rogues are needed to open most locked doors (as well as chests). Keys are made using the Blacksmithing Profession while Explosives can be made using the are removed from the game after Wrath of the Lich King.
- Crafting Mats can only stack to 20. It was increased to 200 in Warlords of Draenor.
- Crafting Mats must be in your bag for you to craft. You can craft using mats in your bank starting in Mists of Pandaria.
…Those are most of the big ones from memory I can recall right now.
Finally, here’s what’s different from many but not all zones changed in Cataclysm:
- Stormwind Harbor, which is added after The Burning Crusade does not exist yet. Menethil Harbor in the Wetlands connects to Teldrassil and Theramore. Alternatively, one could ask a level 40+ Mage for a portal.
- Auberdine, which is destroyed by The Cataclysm still exists. Boats to Theramore and Darnassus can be found here. A boat to Azuremyst Isle was added in The Burning Crusade and the boat to Theramore was replaced with a boat to Stormwind City in Wrath of the Lich King. After the Cataclysm, the docks were relocated to Teldrassil.
- Horde Players looking to get into Darnassus would have to fight their way to the boat to Darnassus, killing the guards on the boat as soon as they respawn and all the way into the city. That’s in addition to Alliance Players who may move to intercept. After the Cataclysm, Horde Players with Epic Flying and Azerothian Flight can simply fly to Teldrassil before they run out of Stamina and oftentimes avoid detection entirely.
- Speaking of Wetlands. Those who played as Night Elves or Draenei before Cataclysm may remember the imfamous Wetlands Run. Outside a Mage Portal, the only way for a Night Elf or Draenei to get to Stormwind was running through The Wetlands, which is a level 20-27 zone. A Night Elf or Draenei wanting to quest in Elwynn Forest or Dun Morogh would have to either ask a Mage for a port or do The Wetlands Run, which will certainly result in dying a few times for players far below the reccommended level range. Humans, Dwarves or Gnomes would likely be level 20+ by the time they pass through Wetlands from the south but likely not Night Elves.
- The Wetlands Run takes you east out of Menethil Harbor across the length of the zone and south into Loch Modan. You would then go through one of the two western exits into Dun Morogh and onto Ironforge. From here, you could take the Deeprun Tram to Stormwind City (Don’t forget to set your Hearthstone to Stormwind City!). Did I forget to mention you would have to do the ENTIRE run on foot? Halfway through Wrath of the Lich King, the level requirement to learn Riding is lowered to 20 so it would be possible to do the run mounted. Stormwind Harbor being added in Wrath of the Lich King made The Wetlands Run obsolete.
- Elwynn Forest, Durotar, Dun Morogh, Tirisfal Glades, Mulgore and Teldrassil do not have any flightmasters outside the faction capitals. They each gain at least one additional flightmaster in Cataclysm.
- Most Level 10 to 40 Zones have only one Flightmaster or one per faction.
- Azshara is a contested zone. It is taken by the Horde after Wrath of the Lich King.
- The Eastern Plaguelands’ Towers are contestested World PvP Areas. The faction that controls all of them enjoys a PvE buff for their faction while in the zone.
- The Alliance has Southshore in Hillsbrad Foothills. It’s destroyed by The Forsaken after Wrath of the Lich King.
- The tunnel linking Arathi Highlands to The Hinterlands does not exist yet.
- The overland road from Theramore through the middle of Duskwallow Marsh to The Barrens Boarder does not exist yet. Alliance players will have to use the existing overland road north of Theramore to reach The Barrens from Theramore. It’s the same distance but feels longer since most players do not have Riding the first time they get to Theramore.
- The Barrens is a single zone pre-Cataclysm. Alliance Players looking to reach Theramore by land would have to run south from either Rachet or Ashenvale southeast being careful to avoid The Crossroads (and Horde Players on PvP Servers). Alternatively, Alliance Players could either take a boat from Menethil Harbor or get a Mage Portal.
- Thousand Needles is not flooded pre-Cataclysm. It’s a Horde questing area but Alliance Players looking to go to Tanaris would have to pass through Thousand Needles from The Barrens or Feralas. Alternatively, Alliance Players can swim or use the Elixir of Water Walking to travel south from Theramore while hugging the coast.
- Alliance Players looking to get into the Searing Gorge will need to go in via The Badlands. To get in from Loch Modan, you will need to kill spiders near the boarder from the Searing Gorge side until a key drops. Said key can be used to open the gate keeping low-level players from entering the Searing Gorge.
- Horde players looking to do The Stockades should expect to die a few times just trying to get into Stormwind City, hopefully while mounted. If the guards don’t kill you, Alliance Players probably will. The same holds true for Alliance Players trying to get into Ragefire Chasm in Orgrimmar.
- Mt. Hyjal, which isn’t accessible until Cataclysm can be see using the Shaman ability Far Sight. It was one of many areas that was going to be in the game at launch but was cut from the released game.
- The portal entrance to Quel’Thalas is in the game but is not active until The Burning Crusade.
- Blackrock Spire, which is a MASSIVE Dungeon was a 10-man Raid until Cataclysm. After Cataclysm, it was properly split into two 5-Man dungeons: Upper Blackrock Spire (UBRS) and Lower Blackrock Spire (LBRS). The final boss of UBRS required a second tank to deal with until it was returned as a 5-Man dungeon. The instance was not only MASSIVE but both dungeons were in the same instance. Completing both ends in the same instance would take at least 2 hours. UBRS was shortened in Warlords of Draenor.
- Getting into the Blackwing Lair Raid required attunement that involved getting a quest item that drops from the final boss of UBRS. Those who were not attuned could be summoned into Blackwing Lair by a Warlock who was attuned though.
- Speaking of attunements. Players who completed a quest to go to the entrance to Molten Core from within Blackfathom Deep or UBRS could instantly be teleported into the Molten Core Raid instead of first going through one of the dungeons, saving time. This attunement option is the only one that was never removed from the live game. A common practice was for a Warlock to go in with a Tank and Healer through BFD to Molten Core–which would take at least 30 minutes–and then summon the rest of the raid into the dungeon.
- Statholme was still one dungeon prior to Wrath of the Lich King though it always had two entrances: The main entrance and the service gate entrance. The level 60 version of Naxxramas could only be accessed after beating Baron Rivendere. The level 80 version of Naxxramas in Northrend is a standalone raid but requires Flying to reach it.
…I’ve mostly played Alliance, hence all the “Alliance Players” lines above.
…That brings me to my plans for when WoW Classic goes live. First, my plans Alliance side. Yes, I plan to play both Alliance and Horde. My Leveling path will likely be unchanged from how it’s always been since I started playing back in 2007/2008.
- 1 to 30: Elwynn Forest until level 10, then Westfall until level 16. Hopefully get into Deadmines (aka VC). After that, do the entire Redridge Mountains and Duskwood Quest Chains while ignoring the Scythe of Elune Chain (since that sends you to Kalimdor). Upon Reaching Level 27, I go to Wetlands and Quest into Menethil Harbor before going to get the Flight Paths Arathi Highlands, Southshore, Aerie Peak and Western Plaguelands without questing in all those zones. At level 30, I go to Kalimdor.
- Level 30 to 40: Go to Theramore for the Flight Path, then go back to Menethil Harbor and take the boat to Darnassus. Go to Darkshore and south into Ashenvale to Astranaar, getting the Flight Paths along the way. I take the cave pass Alliance Players must use to enter Stonetalon Mountain and go to the peak for the Flight Path. I then hook south to Desolace and Feralas for the Flight Paths. Then I go back to Nigel’s Point in Desolace to start questing. By the time I finish, I go to Feralas until 40.
- Level 40 to 52: At 40, I immediately work on getting Riding + Mount. Once I have it, WOOT! Then, I head to Felwood and work on getting Neutral and Friendly with Timbermaw Hold so I can safely enter Moonglade and Winterspring. Once I’m around level 48, I head to Gadgetstan in Tanaris the long way: south through The Barrens through Thousand Needles and then east to Tanaris. I get the Flight Path and go on to Un’Goro Crater and then Silithus.
- Level 52 to 60: I head to The Plaguelands until level 56 or 57 and then go to The Blasted Lands until level 60.
…Basically, I take my time questing. That’s the plan.
More so since I’ll be leveling five classes to 60, two on PvP Servers. I plan to roll a Human Paladin (Level as Protection to 60 but may respec to Holy for Raiding), Dwarf Warrior (Level as Arms to 60, then switch to Protection for Raiding) and Gnome Mage (Fire but will Respec Frost for AQ) for PvE. The reason I added a Warrior to the list is because after doing a bit of research, Paladin Tanks are only viable in leveling Dungeons. They lack a Taunt and have trouble holding aggro once lost unlike Bear Druids and Protection Warriors. So, it seems I’ll be leveling 3 PvE characters. I’ll level the Warrior in PvE but switch to Protection at 60.
I’ll roll a Human Warlock (Demonology until 60, then switch to Affliction) and Night Elf Druid (Feral) for PvP. I will train all skills as I level them since like I said, I’m in no rush. Warlocks and Paladins don’t need to buy their level 40 mounts since they get theirs via a quest while Druids get a travel form and Mages can teleport so…I’m good.
In terms of Primary Professions, here’s what I’m planning:
- Paladin (PvE): Mining + Weapon Smith
- Warrior (PvE): Mining + Armor Smith
- Mage (PvE): Mageweave Tailoring + Herbalism (will switch Herb to Enchanting at 60)
- Hunter (PvE, Bank Toon): Herbalism + Mining
- Warlock (PvP): Felweave Tailoring + Herbalism (will switch Herb to Enchanting at 60)
- Druid (PvP): Skinning + Tribal Leatherworking
- Hunter (PvP, Bank Toon): Herbalism + Mining
Basically, what I’m doing in Retail. My Mage and Warlock will likely be my money makers between Portals, Summoning and Enchants and Mats. My Paladin, Warlock and Druid on Retail had those specializations as well. As for the bank toons. There are no Guild Banks until Burning Crusade. I will probably level the Hunters to 20, maybe 40 but won’t level them much since they will spend the majority of their time in Stormwind/Orgrimmar.
If The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King get legacy servers I’ll make a Draenei Shaman (Elemental) for PvE and a Dwarf Death Knight (Unholy) for PvP.
Horde side…so glad I keep my Alliance and Horde chars on separate servers in general. I’m less likely to get mixed up this way. My leveling path to 60 as Horde…I can never remember consistently lol.
- Level 1 to 30: Durotar or Tirisfal Glades until level 10, then go to Silverpine Forest until 20. Hopefully do Ragefire Chasm a few times at least get someone to run me through it. At 20, I go to Ashenvale and Stonetalon to quest until 30.
- Level 30 to 40: I’ll probably go to Desolace and then go into Feralas until 40, then train riding (WOOT!).
- Level 40 to 52: Same as Alliance side.
- Level 52 to 60: Same as Alliance side.
…That’s it. There’s always crossover after I pass level 30 in general. I go with what works for me. I also plan to roll 5 Horde Characters. I plan to roll an Orc Shaman (Level as Restoration but Respec Enhancement at 60), Troll Mage (Frost) and Tauren Druid (Restoration) for PvE personally. I’ll roll an Orc Warrior (Fury) and Undead Warlock (Demonology) for PvP.
In terms of Primary Professions, here’s what I’m planning:
- Shaman (PvE): Mining + Goblin Engineering
- Mage (PvE): Herbalism + Tailoring
- Druid (PvE): Skinning + Elemental Leatherworking
- Hunter (PvE, Bank Toon): Herbalism + Mining
- Warrior (PvP): Mining + Weapon Smithing
- Warlock (PvP): Felweave Tailoring + Herbalism
- Hunter (PvP, Bank Toon): Herbalism + Mining
Same as above.
If The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King get legacy servers I’ll make a Blood Elf Paladin (Retribution) for PvP and a Tauren Death Knight (Frost) for PvE.
There will be 4 chars on a PvE Server per faction including the Bank Toon and 3 chars on a PvP Server per faction including the Bank Toon, I am planning as much in advance as possible. The Bank Toon’s sole purpose is to hold the excess stuff for the other 2 or 3 chars on the server as well as work the AH in SW/Org. The reason I decided to make it a Hunter instead of a Mage is for the Movement Speed Buff Hunters get early on. I’ll run to all the faction capitals with all four Bank Toons as well.
Breaking News: Blizzard just released the names and types of Realms for WoW Classic in the US, Oceania and Europe today. Above are the US and Oceanic Servers. Those with an active subscription or make an account on August 12 at or after 3PM PST/6PM EST will be able to make up to 3 characters to reserve the names ahead of the official launch on August 26 in the US and Oceania and August 27 Worldwide. I will make two characters, one Horde and one Alliance but both on PvE Realms.
Blizzard was careful to go with Realm names not currently being used in Retail to avoid confusion. When I started playing WoW back in the day, I started on Uther but went on to play on the Darrowmere, Cenarius and Cairne servers as well. I spent close to $600 on Server Transfers alone. I don’t plan to do any server transfers this time.
Factoring Time Zones, these are the servers I will be playing on:
- Alliance PvE: Pagle
- Horde PvE: Mankirk
- Alliance PvP: Stalagg*
- Horde PvP: Sekram*
* Blizzard annonced due to how many chars have been made on Herod, it will be severely overcrowded on Day One and especially after they turn off Layering. They added two new East Coast PvP Servers, Stalagg and Sekram to head off the problem. I switched my Alliance PvP Server to Stalagg and my Horde PvP Server to Sekram as well since I’m looking to avoid long ques myself.
I didn’t reveal the names I will give my characters yet on purpose but I will reuse the names of my characters from Retail. I will also need to make Bank Alts since there’s no Guild Bank and no Mat Tab in WoW Classic (Or Vanilla WoW). 4 Additional characters, one per server. On Pagle and Stalagg, it’ll be a Night Elf Hunter. On Makirk and Sekram, it’ll be a Tauren Hunter. I will level both of them to 40, maybe 45 and then park them in Stormwind or Orgrimmar respectively where their services as Bank Alts can be used most effectively.
…Interesting design choice, don’t you think?
I’ve been doing quite a bit of research in recent weeks on MMO-Champion. For once, I’m happy to be able to be to hear from players who played WoW as it was in 2006. It’s worth pointing out the leveling experience in WoW Classic is MUCH slower than it is now. The general consensus I’ve been hearing is it could take a few weeks to two months for someone to level a character to 60 on average.
Another general consensus I do agree with is unlike the current game, the majority of players may not level a character to max level before they give up and drop out. Attacking is slower, there’s no Heirlooms, no Dungeon Finder, no bonus EXP, you’re not as durable + mobs hit harder, no riding until 40 (costs 100 Gold to train) and you have to walk everywhere. From what I’ve been hearing, the general consensus most players who burn out will before reaching level 40 which kinda makes sense. I do agree that most who reach 40+ will likely keep going and more so once they have their mount.
I have been hearing rolling many chars is harder than the current game because of the above reasons among others. When I first started playing WoW back in 2007/2008, it took me 2 months to level my first char to 40 and do the Felsteed Quest. I am in no hurry to 60. I am and always have been casual when it comes to the leveling experience in general. Warlords of Draenor was the first expansion I leveled more than 2 chars per faction to the max level in an expansion while it was current. I’m waiting until I have a new computer (or two!) before I buy the current expansion, Battle for Azeroth so…yeah.
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