Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that in August 2019, Blizzard released Classic World of Warcraft. This was huge because Blizzard had always said they would never release legacy servers of the game. As far as they were concerned, the old expansions were in the past, and that’s where they should stay. Players who enjoyed the older expansions simply took to playing on private servers. Well, after many years, Blizzard realized that these private servers had massive and thriving player populations, and that’s money they were missing out on. They finally caved and created Classic WoW.
We’re now at the end of phase 6 in Classic WoW, which is the final phase. Does that mean there’s no more Classic? No, quite the opposite. In February of 2021, Blizzard announced that they would be launching Classic The Burning Crusade, the first expansion to the World of Warcraft Universe, sometime in 2021. But this has left many players wondering where it ends. Since the appeal for Cassic is always rising, people are starting to grab WoW Classic gold to boost their game experience to the next level.
Okay, so we’re getting Classic TBC, but what about the other expansions? When all phases of TBC are complete in 18-24 months, can we expect to play Classic Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK)? Will we get Cataclysm after that? And then Mists of Pandaria? Where does it end?
If we had to guess, it will probably end with WotLK. Why? Because most veteran WoW players argue Wrath is the last expansion of the “old-style” World of Warcraft. In the expansion that followed it, Cataclysm, the world got a massive redesign. Whole zones were dismantled and built from the ground up. Old-world dungeons were redesigned and sometimes merged. Much of the old content was significantly transformed or simply deleted.
So, if some expansions aren’t “old” enough in age and style to be considered a good option for a Classic server, then which ones are and why? What are players looking for in a Classic server?
In the last section, we mentioned that the Cataclysm expansion significantly change the fabric of WoW, and therefore it doesn’t have the same nostalgia feel. However, there’s a lot more to the experience of playing the Classic game than simply being in the old Azeroth. Here’s what players like about Classic WoW:
- Community: Realms are contained, and there’s no cross-realm play. This means that players have a reputation to manage. There’s a good chance that you’ll keep running into the same people, and the capital cities feel ‘alive.’
- Cooperation: No tool will transport you to the dungeon or raid and find a group for you. If you want to experience raid or dungeon content, you have to use the chat channels to organize one yourself.
- Less hand-holding: Rare items in Classic WoW feel truly rare. Players know the names of the most highly sought-after items in the game, and you feel a real sense of achievement when you get those items. The world also feels more dangerous. If you are under-geared, you’ll die easily.
It’s for the reasons listed above that we probably won’t see expansions beyond WotLK. The Looking For Dungeon (LFD) tool was launched in the Wrath expansion. This tool allows players to join a dungeon queue straight from their user interface. Players can select their preferred role and preferred dungeon and then be instantly transported to that dungeon. The LFD tool worked cross-realm (realms were placed in groups), so the people you did the dungeons with were often not on your server. There was a good chance you’d never see them again!
This tool was highly controversial at the time, and for Classic fans, it’s still controversial today. Why did many players so hate it?
- There wasn’t the same emphasis on socializing. You didn’t have to talk to people to find a group.
- The world felt smaller. Players would just sit in capital cities and queue for dungeons – they didn’t need to go out into the open world as much.
- Dungeons were more accessible, so everyone geared faster, and gear became less exciting. Gone were the days when you walked around in Green items that 15 levels below your current level.
- Guilds were less important, at least while leveling.
If players didn’t like this tool, will we get a Classic WotLK? Yes, most likely. Wrath of the Lich King was the most popular expansion WoW had with a whopping 12 million subscribers. After WoTLK, numbers started to decline, and Blizzard no longer released subscriber numbers at all.