I remember the early days of playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) from the humble beginnings of Ultima Online to the free-for-all mess that is Runescape. MMORPGs captures the unique experience of connecting people within a digital world and Azeroth in the World Of Warcraft (WoW) housed one of the largest communities of gamers.
With the current WoW on it's seventh (yes, you read that right) expansion, the experience entering the game as a new player is rather daunting. Blizzard had difficulty in attracting new players to the game. Their solution? They have decided to speed up the process to get a player from a low level to a high enough level to experience their newer content. As evidenced by their Recruit-a-Friend Program that offered 50% bonus XP.
The resulting effect is that a lot of the early content of WoW gets sidelined. Which made veterans of the game pine for “harder” times when WoW was first released. So much so that the community created a private server running version 1.12 of the game, that got promptly shut down by Blizzard. After a petition and a lot of pressure from gamers wanting to go back to the roots of the game, Blizzard announced WoW Classic and its release date and also a range of closed beta and stress test periods over the next three months.
Select WoW players will be invited to the classic version's first closed beta period beginning May 15, though Blizzard didn't confirm what makes particular WoW fans more eligible than others. Meanwhile, players who want to participate in a later trio of stress tests, taking place this May, June, and July, can opt in by flipping a toggle in their official Blizzard accounts.
And if you can't wait to claim your favourite consonant-riddled Undead Warlock name on the WoW Classic server of your choice, mark the heck out of your calendar. Blizzard will open up a WoW Classic character name sign-up process on August 13 for active subscribers to the modern version of World of Warcraft.
See you in “vanilla” Azeroth!