World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic is set to release before the end of the year, and while fans already knew Blizzard would be making some changes to the beloved expansion, an official blog post provides new details and the reasoning behind them.
In the blog post, Blizzard outlines a couple of core design pillars that have informed how the company is approaching the re-release. The first pillar is to “nurture and protect social experiences.” The social nature of WoW Classic has become one of its defining features, and Blizzard is looking to preserve that both in Wrath of the Lich King Classic and in future WoW Classic releases. As such, features like the automated group finder, which was added late during the original Wrath of the Lich King’s life, won’t be found in Wrath of the Lich King Classic.
Aside from the social aspect, another key pillar of WoW Classic for Blizzard is keeping the game approachable and familiar. Too many changes can easily destroy the familiarity and approachability many long time players have for classic expansions. On the other hand, the goal of keeping things approachable means Blizzard isn’t afraid to tinker with systems that by today’s standards may come across as confusing. Blizzard uses Wrath of the Lich King’s Emblem system as an example, calling the original system “needlessly complex and confusing.” The new system used in Wrath of the Lich King Classic will see players earn two types of Emblems: one type from the most current raid content used to purchase the latest gear, and another type from older raids and dungeons used to purchase less powerful items.
The last pillar Blizzard defines is the idea that the world of Azeroth is the main character of WoW Classic, with the goal of immersing players in the World of Warcraft. That means Blizzard won’t be making excessive changes to the world itself. One example of that philosophy in action is the previously announced decision to not include more in-depth quest tracking features that show players were to go on their map, a feature added late in the original Wrath of the Lich King.
As for other changes coming in Wrath of the Lich King Classic, Blizzard writes it will be ramping up the difficulty of the expansion’s Naxxramas raid and will also be looking to keep Heroic dungeons both relevant and challenging throughout the expansion.
In a separate forum post, Blizzard also announced a 50% XP boost event called “Joyous Journeys” will be coming to Burning Crusade Classic servers prior to Wrath of the Lich King Classic’s launch, which should help players looking to level up new characters ahead of the expansion’s release. Blizzard does not have an exact length of time or start date for the XP boost just yet, but expects the event to last for roughly 6-8 weeks up until the release of Wrath of the Lich King Classic. The XP boost will initially be present on the new Wrath of the Lich King Classic fresh start servers during the game’s pre-patch.