Practice English Speaking&Listening with: BlizzConline 2021 - World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic Deep Dive

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DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYS

Welcome, everyone, to our Deep Dive panel for WoW Classic.

I'd like to start with some introductions,

with these fine gentlemen with me, and myself.

I'm Holly Longdale.

I'm the principal producer for WoW Classic.

A little bit about my background,

I spent 13 years working on EverQuest,

I started as a game designer,

and eventually became the head of the studio

for the EverQuest franchise.

That said, I've always been a WoW player, since beta,

so this is obviously a dream come true for me,

and I'm thrilled to be here with you.

I'm Patrick Dawson.

I'm the production director for World of Warcraft.

I've been at Blizzard for 15 years now,

and have been on WoW for most of that time.

I'm an avid WoW player myself,

and really excited to open up that Dark Portal again

as we all step through it.

And my name's Brian Birmingham,

and I'm the lead software engineer on WoW Classic.

I've also been at Blizzard for 15 years.

I started on World of Warcraft.

I spent about three years on Hearthstone as well,

then came back to the World of Warcraft team

to work on WoW Classic,

and it has been a great joy to me to work on this team.

-There's a lot to talk about. -Yeah.

So, earlier we announced Burning Crusade Classic is coming.

But there's a lot more to it.

Let's take a look at the features, 'cause...

Wow. I mean, wow, right?

-Wow. -(BRIAN LAUGHS)

I was so excited by playing draenei and blood elves.

HOLLY: I played both, and I will say my heart's with Alliance.

PATRICK: Hm...

LAUGHTER

Quiet!

LAUGHTER

And I also took up jewelcrafting

on my draenei shaman.

I wanted to corner the market. Just the whole notion of having

items with sockets, and just exploring that whole system.

I'm also a bit of a systems nerd.

So, I completely lost my time for weeks in there.

LAUGHTER

Burning Crusade, I remember being there back then.

It was our first expansion ever,

so all the new features was this really cool moment of,

what's coming next? What's gonna happen?

And one of the things that was pretty impactful to the game was

Horde having paladins and Alliance having shaman.

As an avid PvP-er myself,

I remember going back and trying to fight shaman,

I was Alliance back then,

and just not understanding that class at all

'cause my team didn't have it,

so I tried to poly them, and they'd be Grounding Totem...

I didnt know what that was.

"Why are shaman immune to everything? I don't unde--"

That's not what you said.

Yeah, but no, I did.

No, you said, "They're cheating."

LAUGHTER

I understood the polymorphed druids.

LAUGHTER

But shaman? Why?

LAUGHTER

Now I started to understand shaman a little bit better,

we got some of their benefits,

I actually got to see totems

being placed onto my side for once,

and got to see the frustration

of dealing with Bubble Hearth on the other.

BRIAN LAUGHS

Yeah, I remember when I was doing raids,

we were always jealous of the Alliance

having paladins for Blessing of Salvation.

People would be pulling aggro off me, and I'd be yelling,

"Wait for three Sunders!"

LAUGHTER

And the Alliance just like,

"No, it's no problem, just go. Just go."

-(LAUGHS) -Yup.

So, you know, we were upset,

raiding Razergore without Earthbind.

LAUGHTER

I mean, really, even the playing field for both PvE and PvP

was kind of cool.

But there are a ton of new features,

and instabilities with this too, you know,

as we got to Level 70,

we got to experience new concepts and new things.

I remember one of my first experiences

with understanding what it meant for...

Designed by Blizzard.

-BRIAN: Oh, yeah. -I was an engineer, right?

I wasn't a designer,

I was working on the live ops team at the time,

and, you know, I was playing my class, avid player of mage,

and I kept, I sent this long email to Tom Chilton,

saying, like, "Hey. Here's what mage needs."

-LAUGHTER -Dawson Manifesto.

-LAUGHTER -PATRICK: Yeah.

It was a well-thought-out forum post.

LAUGHTER

And what was in it, was things like,

"Bring back invisibility,

let's get a threat to offer the class."

PATRICK: And I didn't tie those two together.

Like, "That's pretty good. Give me invisibility."

And just knowing that that skill was coming,

along with some other new stuff for mages,

like the Molten Armor and the Ice Lances,

it was just really cool to see all this new stuff

in Burning Crusade.

On the other side of that,

I was really excited about Spell Reflect,

because I was frustrated getting polymorphed,

and being able to reflect that back on the mage...

As a mage, I was not excited for you to get that.

LAUGHTER

-Alas. -I guess you weren't.

LAUGHTER

And there were even some PvE encounters

that had abilities that you could reflect back.

I remember that was really fun, to find ways to time that,

and use it as a defensive ability as well.

-I was a hunter. -BRIAN: Mm-hm.

Also a hunter.

BRIAN: So am I now. I switched. (LAUGHS)

But I remember just chasing beast master,

and just DPS, DPS, DPS...

-BRIAN: Yeah. -PATRICK: Yep.

That was it. That was the chase, yeah.

Talking about that too makes me think of the arenas,

and the arena system.

PATRICK: That was a whole new world for us.

With battlegrounds and the way they worked before,

the way the matchmaking happened,

usually I was pretty competitive in PvP,

so I would either get in there and

-stomp the enemy team... -(HOLLY LAUGHS)

...who was there to be casual,

or, even though we were a good team,

we weren't the best of the best,

so when we ended up going against one of those teams,

it was just, like,

"Well, jeez, we're just getting stomped now. This is tough."

Arenas gave everyone an opportunity

to play against equal-minded opponents, right?

PATRICK: So if you were a little bit more casual,

you get the opportunity to play against people

who weren't maybe so competitive.

Or, if you were cutting-edge, go for it.

Try to be the best of the best.

And what was great about that,

is that it really, it spawned an esport.

-Yeah. -That wasn't...

We didn't design it for that, we just wanted people to have fun,

but when we noticed, like, "Hey, everybody's playing this,

everybody's competing in this, people are watching it,"

we had to embrace that.

PATRICK: We started featuring it in BlizzCons,

and we have been ever since.

BRIAN: Yeah, it's awesome.

I think one of my favorite things to recollect

was the exciting zones that you would travel through.

One of my favorite memories was actually

in the first zone, Hellfire Peninsula.

And it was adventuring around in Hellfire Peninsula,

going around and doing all those quests,

and always living in fear of the fel reaver.

Because you'd be out there

collecting parts from a broken zeppelin,

and you'd be fighting off your helboars,

and all of a sudden you'd see the screen start to shake,

and this thomp, thomp, thomp, and then...

FEL REAVER ROARS

BRIAN: Bwaaah!

You're like, "Oh my God, I gotta run, he's right on top of me."

That sound haunts my dreams.

Oh I know, yeah, it's terrifying.

Even alive, it's just, Feign Death.

-BRIAN: Yes! -Feign Death.

-Yeah, just like that. -LAUGHTER

And then the payoff when you later go to Netherstorm,

and they give you the quest, like,

"Could you get me a part from inside the fel reaver?

You're gonna have to kill him."

And you're like, "That guy that used to terrorize me?"

BRIAN: They're like, "You could take him."

And that was such an exciting payoff,

to be able to bring that full circle

and go back and see him again.

For me, I snuck into beta.

I got really lucky,

because I could see the construction sign

for some of the zones,

and of course I ignored it,

-and went and explored. -(BRIAN LAUGHS)

So, I remember running through Blade's Edge,

and just seeing dragon carcasses and skeletons

impaled in the environment,

and then moving on to Netherstorm,

I just was blown away,

even from Zangarmarsh, all the way through.

HOLLY: Everything felt like its own world.

And just to be able to go through that,

and the delight of it, and the epicness of it,

and then you come up to Area 52.

That's what I love about Wow,

is you can have epic, epic storylines,

and still find lightness in it,

so I just loved it.

I love... I'm an explorer, so...

For me, I remember Burning Crusade really opened up

a new gameplay type for me.

I became a collector in Burning Crusade, right?

And that started with the Aldor and Scryer route.

'Cause I got my Aldor rep all the way up,

and then I was thinking about switching to Scryer,

and people were like, "You're insane, don't do that."

LAUGHTER

And I was like, "I bet I can."

You know, just a few people thought...

And I did.

And it was cool, it was really fun,

but then I started doing other things.

PATRICK: There are these new mounts, and pets,

and I went back and even got some of the older raps,

like Thorium Brotherhood and Winterspring.

But then things like Netherwing Ledge came out...

The world just opened up for me in Burning Crusade,

to really start my collection.

Of course, we also had flying mounts,

which I loved,

and then decided to play with some friends on our PvP server,

and was running around Hellfire,

and, I...

Death from above, which was likely just Pat.

-Probably. -HOLLY: Yeah.

(LAUGHS) Were you flying around harassing people, Pat?

I was getting a lot of honorable kills.

-LAUGHTER -Back in the day.

So, that's just a quick look at some of our memories

for Burning Crusade.

-And that was 13 years ago. -Mm-hm.

So that code has been hanging around for 13 years.

And we're not just doing

a "save-as" Burning Crusade Classic.

-No, it's harder than that. -(HOLLY LAUGHS) Yeah.

So let's get into some of those details.

So, one of the challenges has been

that we dont actually want to ship on the old code.

And the reason for that is because it's got a lot of bugs,

and difficulties with the architecture

that we don't wanna have to deal with.

But we do want that old data.

And we talked about this

when we did the original launch of Classic,

was how the data is really the thing

that describes how the game is supposed to be played

and what's supposed to happen in it.

And so, we want to bring that old data

and we want to run it on the modern code.

The same as we did for Classic.

And there's 750,000 rows of data, that we have to go through

and convert from their old formats to their new formats,

and fortunately we have really talented engineers,

and we run automated scripts that go through this,

but even after we've run these scripts,

we have to compare them with how it used to behave,

and make sure that we've converted correctly.

And then there's even some things

that are making it more difficult this time,

like the fact that we've made a couple

of minor changes or bug fixes

in the Classic data,

and we want to make sure that we keep those

as we're going into Burning Crusade,

so we have to merge those changes

with the changes that happened

with the Burning Crusade originally,

and make sure that we have a coherent set of changes

that make sense to bring us

from Classic into the Burning Crusade.

There's an enormous amount of time spent looking at

"Okay, this is how it came out now."

We have a reference client, that is...

the original.

That's right, we do use the old code for that.

So we still have it,

we just don't want to ship on that anymore.

We have the old code, with the old data,

knows exactly how it's supposed to behave,

so those things work together,

and we can bring that up internally,

and take a look at it, and say,

"Okay, this is how it was back then,

this is exactly what it used to look like."

And we do sometimes find things

that are bugs we still want to fix,

but a lot of times it will tell us, like,

"Oh, this thing is not a bug,

this is actually the intended behavior."

Or this is something we don't really remember right.

There's a tendency to want to chase your own memory,

like, "I remember it being like this!", and it's like, "No."

It's not always exactly the way you remember it.

Everybody has that human failing, even us,

and so a lot of times we'll have an argument.

"I remember it this way." "Well, I remember it this way."

"Let's go and check. We can look."

Well, another reason to ship on the new code

is really just the years of stability improvements,

and the fact that the world didn't look the same back

in 2007 as it does today.

BRIAN: That's true.

There wasn't cloud architecture then.

I remember, I had the privilege of being on the live ops team,

where I got to see what all the servers look like,

and how it was all architected.

And to pull back the curtain a bit on this, the way it was,

is everything was its own server,

right, they didn't really talk to each other very well,

so each realm had 11 blades on it,

and these blades were just bare metal blades,

and one blade was for Azeroth,

one blade was for Kalimdor, one was for Outland...

And then we had some for instances,

and you know, back then,

what would happen without cloud is

you would try to request resources,

and maybe a lot of people were running dungeons,

and so it would give you back things like

"Transfer Aborted: instance not found."

Oh, boy. We don't want to go back to those days.

So now, we can take advantage of things like the cloud,

and not have those resource issues,

so shipping on this new code is a big improvement in stability.

Yeah, and so we're basically

weaving all these threads together.

We did finally get it built for Burning Crusade Classic.

Super excited.

The team gets together, we're preparing for a play test,

and we go to create our characters,

and we see...

this blood elf, who, you know,

he remembers the Sunwell.

-HOLLY: He forgot his pants. -BRIAN: Yeah?

So everything didn't work the first time?

LAUGHTER

What? I know.

-Yeah, I did mention, we had... -Sabotage!

to go check for problems in those conversion scripts.

And so yeah, sure enough,

what's going on here is

that this guy thinks he's dressed but he isn't,

and you can see why he thinks he's dressed--

Does that happen to you a lot?

-(BRIAN LAUGHS) -Only in my high school dreams.

LAUGHTER

You can see, if you look at his calves,

you can see that they're flared out

because he thinks he's wearing boots.

BRIAN: And the way the system works is,

we first set the geometry up for all the items

that you're supposed to be wearing,

and then we layer on various images that we call textures,

and we'd use those to build up a single composite texture

that's then wrapped around the geometry,

but of course, in this case, when we were layering them on,

none of the textures were assigned,

so we just started with his naked body,

and then was going to go layer on textures and didn't find any.

So it thinks he's dressed. It's removed the underwear

'cause it thinks it's put clothes on,

but there's nothing there,

they're all completely transparent.

It's like The Emperor's New Clothes.

He's wearing invisible clothes,

only that's really what's happening.

-(LAUGHS) -HOLLY: That's crazy.

And then of course I wanted to try draenei,

because that's where my heart lies, I'm an Alliance girl.

(BRIAN LAUGHS)

And this draenei looks to be

heads above the rest.

-PATRICK: That's not the Exodar. -BRIAN: Yeah.

HOLLY: No, it... Definitely not.

PATRICK: That's Dun Morogh.

It is, and that's exactly the problem.

It looks like the draenei's too tall,

but the real problem is we're in the wrong place.

And so, yeah.

When you go to the Dun Morogh character select screen,

of course the camera's positioned

for much shorter races,

like gnomes and dwarves.

BRIAN: So it's knee-high on a draenei.

And then, water.

Really, Brian, we have water in Hellfire?

-BRIAN: Yeah, so... -HOLLY: Go for a swim?

BRIAN: It turns out that Outland has

a funny, unique feature

that it doesn't have any oceans,

because the water just all falls off the edges

and goes out into space, or something.

I'm not sure how that works in the game universe.

-Magic! -BRIAN: But yeah. (LAUGHS)

There's no ocean there,

but we'd accidentally flagged it to generate one

so we ended up flooding the entire world with an ocean

until we found that and turned it back off (LAUGHS).

So through all of these processes,

yes, we're obviously fixing what is broken,

but also, we thought it was a good time

to start enacting what we call #somechanges...

(KEVIN LAUGHS)

...to gameplay and how things should work.

Yeah, when you think about it,

with Classic, our guiding principle was no changes.

Our goal was to provide as true-to-life,

authentic experience of Classic

that we possibly could with the community.

And we accomplished that.

What was interesting to me

is to see this vibrant community that embraced it, and then said,

"Hey, but we're not exactly the same

as we were 15 years ago, right?"

And they're right.

PATRICK: The times have changed. The world has changed.

And so, some of those things that maybe were out there,

that were not great, and were warts back in the day,

is not something that we would want to ship again.

Like something that feels a little buggy,

or wrong, or incorrect,

so the idea behind this is,

let's provide what the Burning Crusade experience was,

without those warts.

This really, I think, illustrates the...

The difference is spell-batching.

We actually had a lot of requests originally

for spell-batching

in that no-changes charge,

where they said, "Hey, I remember

when I used to be able to have

two mages polymorph one another,

and they'd both end up polymorphed,"

and that's cute and fun, I kind of like that,

and so we said, "Okay, we can put that back in."

But the system that causes that is of course

that the spells are batched up

and processed in these giant batches,

but over the last two years,

people realized that what that comes with

is about half a second of built-in latency,

where you push a button

and it doesn't actually take effect for that half a second,

while it's queueing up the other ones to go with it.

And people were starting to find that frustrating.

I talked to a lot of people who said

they were excited about it when it first came out with Classic,

but after they'd been playing with it for two years,

they're really ready to see it go,

and we're ready to take it out too,

so were removing spell-batching.

That's definitely great.

I remember, every two weeks I'd get a bug report,

Vanish is broken again.

It was because of stuff like this.

If you Vanish when a Fireball hits you...

-...it's gonna pop you out. -Exactly.

And so we were trying to do all these techy solutions to it,

but the real answer is just don't spell-batch.

Yeah.

But we didn't have the ability to do that then,

-so glad we're doing it now. -Yeah.

Another one that I can think of is

how the rating community has matured, right?

Things were very different back in 2004, 2005 timelines,

compared to today.

So, the rating community knows exactly what's going on,

and they want more of a challenge,

so rather than always giving them

the last version of the boss,

the final form of the boss,

which maybe is being hit with a few nerfs,

let's not do that anymore.

Let's give 'em a more challenging version of the boss.

I'll give you an example of M'uru, right,

where the initial version of that boss

had a lot of spell pushback,

and so that made it really tough

to bring casting classes to that fight.

We did fix that pretty quickly,

and changed the fight to allow for that.

Now that's a change we probably would incorporate in this.

We don't want people to feel excluded,

or not part of being able to do a fight like that.

But then, probably a month or so after that,

we nerfed M'uru's health.

That doesn't need to happen.

PATRICK: Let's keep it in the hard form.

We can evaluate any changes we need to make after that, but...

Yeah, we'll be like, "Hey, final form,

we're not even gonna look at it. Let's call it a day."

Yeah. So how did your mage handle the pushback?

-Uh, I just... was sad. -BRIAN: Sat on the bench?

-HOLLY: This feels personal! -LAUGHTER

No, I was the raid leader, so I got to choose who went, but...

The one mage allowed to go.

LAUGHTER

That was, honestly, one of my favorite fights ever

on World of Warcraft.

That was a really fun fight.

That's awesome.

Another change that we were talking about making is

along the lines of the PvP balance, and faction balance,

is, obviously, with Burning Crusade,

paladins are introduced to the Horde,

and shamans are introduced to the Alliance,

and that was intended to be a balancing of the factions,

and let's make them even.

And then they wanted to keep a little bit of flavor

of that faction identity,

so they kept Seal of Blood on the Horde,

and Seal of Vengeance on the Alliance.

It was intended to be equivalent power abilities

that were just slightly different in flavor,

but in retrospect, Seal of Blood was just so much better,

and so one of the changes we are gonna make

is we are gonna give

the opposite faction's seal

to the other faction,

but we're gonna do that at max level.

So we keep just a little bit of that faction identity,

where Horde will get Seal of Blood at Level 64, on schedule,

and then get Seal of Vengeance at Level 70,

and similarly Alliance will get Seal of Vengeance at Level 64,

and then their equivalent, Seal of the Martyr, at Level 70.

Another thing we want to talk about is arena teams.

BRIAN: When it first came out in Burning Crusade,

the arena team system only let you have

the same number of players on your team,

that was the size of the bracket it was for.

So, for example, a 3v3 team

could only have three players on the team,

so if someone was sick, or unavailable one night,

you couldn't play.

That felt really frustrating,

so we're definitely gonna go with the last version of that,

where you could have twice the size of the bracket

on your team roster,

so that you had alternates you could swap in and out,

and then that way,

as long as anybody had participated

in I think 30% of the matches,

then they got the full credit for the week of participation.

Is that why we did personal ratings versus team ratings?

That came later.

We're also considering whether or not

we wanna do something with that,

because another thing that was problematic about arenas

was the way that the Elo system was so inflationary,

and so we're talking about whether or not

we want to move forward with

converting that to something like the modern MMR system,

so that it isn't as punishing to people

in terms of waiting hours for a match at the highest levels,

and things like that.

And another change.

We're going to give players access

to blood elf and draenei early,

so that before we actually open the Dark Portal,

you'll have a chance to level those up.

That's definitely not something we did originally.

-(LAUGHS) -Yeah!

I remember, I had a friend who was really frustrated

that the rest of us were running around in Outland,

and he was like, "I'm still back in Wetlands." Yeah.

LAUGHTER

-"What is going on?" -HOLLY: Yeah.

"When can I play with you guys?"

So yeah, I'm really glad we're doing that.

-HOLLY: Yeah. -Is that pre-patch?

-Yeah, that's the plan. -Very cool.

Pre-patch will come out and you'll be able

to start your blood elves and draenei.

And then... content.

So, we've got some phases happening.

-Yeah. -HOLLY: Yeah.

So the content phases that we got coming are exciting.

We're gonna start with Karazhan,

and Gruul's Lair and Magtheridon's Lair.

BRIAN: And we want to start with just that at release,

because we found with Classic

that people really enjoy that gear progression,

and that's where all the Tier Four gear is,

is with those raids.

And we want people to have an opportunity to level up,

catch up to their friends,

and all go through these things together.

So as we unlock each chapter,

we want to make sure everybody's had enough time to be

a part of that chapter.

And the next chapter after that,

will be Phase Two, which will be Serpentshrine Cavern,

-and Tempest Keep. -HOLLY: Yep.

Then next we move on to Phase Three,

which is Hyjal and the Black Temple.

BRIAN: And the reason that's a change is of course, originally,

Hyjal was available from the launch of Burning Crusade,

but nobody could get in

because of the way the achievements work,

so well unlock that as a later chapter alongside Black Temple.

And then, that'll go with Arena Season Two at that point.

And Arena Season Three will come out alongside Zul'Aman,

with a little bit of catch-up gear for anyone

who's taken that long to catch up.

It's another smaller instance, a ten-man.

And then finally,

Phase Five will be Sunwell and Arena Season Four.

-PATRICK: Tons of content. -HOLLY: Been very busy.

LAUGHTER

It is, it's an expansion with a lot in it.

And so we spent a lot of time talking

about Burning Crusade Classic,

and Burning Crusade,

which is exciting, we're very excited about it,

but there's a lot to talk about, there's a lot coming,

and we want to walk through how this is going to materialize.

Well yeah, really the question is,

we have a diverse player base

where people have a lot of different wants and needs.

How do we get there? How do we get to the Burning Crusade?

Well, the first group of people

that we wanted to make sure that we were serving well

is those people who do want to go to the Burning Crusade.

We feel that most of the community is interested in this,

they're gonna want to do this,

we want to make it simple and easy for them.

So, how are we gonna do that?

As we said earlier, you're going to be able to make a choice.

So we'll talk about and explore these choices in some detail,

and I'll give you some examples. (CHUCKLES)

So, to start with, the current servers you're on now,

Classic live servers,

are gonna become what we're calling progression servers.

And what that means is,

the servers that are live now

will always unlock any expansion we release.

So, when we get to our patch day,

you're gonna be presented with a choice.

Do you want to continue on into the Burning Crusade,

or do you want to move to Classic?

So, in that space, you're gonna do that

for every single character.

For my example, I'm on Wyrmrest Accord.

So I've got a Level 60

I'm definitely taking that on through to Burning Crusade,

but I've got a couple of mid-levels

that I know I want to move with my friends.

Those are characters I have level

with my friends in classing

and I want to continue that journey with them.

We want to make it as easy and seamless as possible

to just get right into Burning Crusade,

but there are options.

Well that's awesome, I'm excited to hear that.

I know there's a lot of my friends, for example,

who maybe didn't really play Classic when it first came out,

and so now they're behind.

And they're interested in playing the Burning Crusade.

This was, for a lot of people,

their favorite expansion that we've done.

We want to make sure that those people are served too,

and one of the ways we can do that

is provide a boost to people who are interested in coming back,

but maybe aren't interested

in doing the Classic WoW experience,

but want to hop right in to Outlands as quickly as possible.

Yeah, so, the team,

we spent quite a bit of time discussing it

because we want to make sure we respect the time

and the people that have been playing Classic for two years,

but also we want people to be able to enjoy Burning Crusade

if they loved it the first time and maybe missed Classic.

So, we are gonna offer a Level 58 boost for purchase,

but it does come with some restrictions.

So, it's gonna be one per account.

It's not gonna be usable on blood elf or draenei.

It'll have some dungeon blues, it'll have Level 40 mount skill,

no professions, it's the basics.

Basically your Outlands starting kit.

That's cool. That's a really great way

to jump into the game, for sure.

-Yeah, I like that. -I'll be looking forward to it.

Look, I know a lot of people came back to play WoW Classic.

That's all they want, all they ever wanted.

They're like, "You know what?

Burning Crusade, thats awesome, people are gonna love that,

but for me, I came back for WoW Classic."

What do they get to do? What's their options?

Yeah, that was really important for us too.

So, we had all sat down and discussed

how we should frame this,

so, when we get to our patch day,

which is prior to the Dark Portal opening,

when I said before, I'll go back to my example, for Wyrmrest,

we will be launching Classic-era realms

at the same time as we do our patch,

and you will have that choice.

So, when you make the choice to go to Burning Crusade Classic,

or you make the choice, like on my example,

my Level 40 druid,

I want to move that character to Classic era,

and what Classic era means,

is that those particular servers

are going to stay in that era forever,

so that is going to remain Classic till the end of time.

It's never going to unlock expansions.

You'll be able to make that choice

for every single character.

Do you go on to Burning Crusade,

or do you choose to go to Classic era?

Let's say you're behind the times a little bit.

You'll still be able to have that choice.

We haven't locked it to a time window.

You're not gonna miss the boat to era.

The choice sounds awesome,

and choice in WoW is something meaningful,

it's always been.

I think it's something that's important

when we look at the community

that you're gonna choose to go to the Burning Crusade

or you're gonna choose to go to Classic.

Some people may not be comfortable with that choice.

And while we think that that choice is important,

we also recognize that there are folks

that are gonna want to play both.

-Right? Like-- Yeah. See. -LAUGHTER

Right here.

Maybe you have some stuff left to do

in Classic that you wanted,

you want to keep that character in Classic,

but you're also interested,

that same character wants to raid with your friends.

-BRIAN: That's exactly-- -So what does that look like?

How do we make that happen?

So we're gonna offer a paid service

to let you make a copy of your character,

and I know a copy's a big deal, so like you said,

this is something we don't want to make

just an automatic choice for everybody,

but I know that for me,

it really is gonna be that pull to go to both places,

so I want to be able to say, like, "You know what?

I'm willing to pay for this.

I want a copy of my character

that lives in Classic era forever,

while I also go to Burning Crusade

with that character."

That way, I can stay with my friends

who are really excited to go to Karazhan,

I'm really excited to go to Karazhan,

I want to see my hunter go to Karazhan,

but if I'm missing a couple pieces

of my Tier Three set from Naxxramas,

I still have an opportunity to go find a new guild there,

and go through Naxxramas again until I finish that set.

We'll be spending a lot of time communicating these details,

so even as much detail as we're giving now,

it's very high-level,

there's going to be a lot more detail to come,

so keep an ear out.

But, with that said... So, Pat?

-Hm? -When's all this happening?

Oh.

LAUGHTER

Soon.

-Yay! -LAUGHTER

So yeah, this is something that's important to get.

People are playing through Naxxramas,

we want to make sure they have time to do that,

but we are looking at, this will be happening in 2021.

For sure, we're committed to that.

And what we're looking at is starting the beta rather soon.

So hopefully that beta will go up,

and we get that running,

the community can come and participate, help us out.

We'll start to hear some feedback

on the things we've talked about today.

If there's any adjustments to make,

we wanna make sure we have a long enough

beta period for that.

Then we'll get that out to the players,

so you can all enter the Dark Portal.

-Yay! -Yeah, it's exciting.

LAUGHTER

So, any final words?

Yeah, I just talked about the beta,

and I will say just to the community,

you all have been so instrumental

in making Classic the success that it has been,

and you'll be equally instrumental

in making the Burning Crusade a tremendous success also,

so, please, get in that beta, play, give us your feedback,

we want to hear all about it, so...

Enjoy, welcome, and let's have some fun.

-Yay! -Yeah.

And it's been the highlight of my professional career

to work on WoW Classic

and have the support and love of this community.

It is really special to me,

and I'm really excited to be sharing this with all of you

in the Burning Crusade.

Yeah, and for me,

I've been playing Classic since it launched,

and I wasn't working at Blizzard then,

and it's changed my life, obviously.

(LAUGHS)

So, from me and the entire WoW team,

we want to thank you for bringing Azeroth to life for us,

so we will definitely be seeing you in game

in whatever flavor you choose.

(CHUCKLES) And until then, stay Classic.

SOFT MUSIC PLAYS

The Description of BlizzConline 2021 - World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic Deep Dive