In an interview with Eurogamer, lead software engineer Bryan Birmingham, and senior software engineer Omar Gonzalez, chatted about WoW Classic and the expecations surrounding their travel back in time. It's a solid read, with some genuine passion from both the Blizzard folk. What surprised me, however, is the fact they were shocked at the positive reaction to Classic. Has Blizzard been living under a rock all these years? (some might argue they have).
"One thing I noticed was just how passionate people were about the beta." said Bryan. "Our expectation for betas is generally we'll get a lot of people come in, try things for a little bit, and then they'll say, 'OK, I'm going to wait until release now - I've helped you guys test and now I'm finished.' We were really thrilled and blown away by just how much people wanted to play, night after night, even though they know these characters are going to get wiped out before we release. It really blew us away how dedicated people were."
I also found it interesting that the number of updates set to be delivered to Classic have expanded from 4 to 6, with Naxxramas being the last.
"Phase one is the launch phase, and Ragnaros and Onyxia are going to be available." adds Brian. "Phase two, we're going to unlock Dire Maul and the PvP Honour system - you'll be able to kill people in the world during phase one but there won't be an Honour system tracking it. Phase three is going to be the first two Battlegrounds, Alterac Valley and Warsong Gulch, alongside Blackwing Lair. In Phase four, we release Arathi Basin alongside Zul'Gurub and the green dragons. Phase five is Ahn'Qiraj and then, finally, phase six is Naxxramas."
The one niggle in all of this, despite the greater scope and enthusiam the team has for Classic? That no one knows what to do after phase 6. You cannot continue to release content as they did, because that - as far as the community is concerned - is where World of Warcraft began to lose its magic. Does that mean new content has to be made? What will happen when people consume the content faster than the anticipated phases? They're enormous questions that, I'm afraid, don't have solid answers.
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