Developer Update: A Look at What’s Ahead for Wrath of the Lich King Classic

Wrath of the Lich King Classic supplies new alternatives to make a number of modifications that may enhance the gameplay expertise in the subsequent chapter of Classic WoW. In this Developer Update, the World of Warcraft Classic Team takes you thru some of these modifications and what they will imply for the future of Wrath Classic.


When World of Warcraft Classic first launched, it adopted a really strict design pillar: #NoChanges. At Blizzard, we faithfully recreated World of Warcraft because it existed in 2006, with as few modifications as attainable, whereas nonetheless making it capable of run in the extra trendy atmosphere of 2019. But World of Warcraft didn’t cease in 2006. It continued to evolve and alter over the years. So, we re-released the Burning Crusade growth final yr in 2021, and plans are underway to re-release the Wrath of the Lich King growth.

However, as we re-release these expansions, we discover the design pillar #NoChanges isn’t ample anymore. With World of Warcraft’s expansions got here design modifications to the recreation, and a few of these modifications weren’t per the means Classic World of Warcraft felt. It’s plain that the newest 2021 trendy growth, Shadowlands, feels very totally different than the unique launching recreation in 2004. Where ought to the evolution of the recreation cease, if we need to retain that Classic really feel even whereas releasing new content material? Many gamers right now select to play Classic WoW as a result of they love that really feel, and don’t need it to be misplaced. The World of Warcraft Classic crew has given this rather a lot of thought, and we wish to share with you right now our design pillars for what we name #SomeChanges.

Nurture and Protect Social Experiences

The first and most necessary design pillar is: Nurture and Protect Social Experiences. The compelling social experiences inside World of Warcraft are why many of us first fell in love with the recreation. To retain these experiences, we need to assist gamers construct friendships and deepen their relationships inside events, raid groups, guilds, and server communities. Online social experiences are a fancy phenomenon and may be very straightforward to break. Positive relationships construct group, cut back toxicity, and forge friendships which have saved gamers coming again to our recreation for a few years. We have to nurture and defend these relationships. One very massive key to that is offering “Social Proximity” in our recreation, or what some cognitive scientists name “Repeat serendipitous interactions”. Put a bit of extra merely, you want a number of interactions over time with the similar individuals in a means that feels blissful or helpful. Classic WoW supplied this in abundance, the place you’ll typically meet the similar individuals from day after day whereas operating by way of the Stranglethorn Jungle, in your solution to a Scarlet Monastery run, or heading into Blackrock Mountain for a raid. As we roll out new expansions for WoW Classic, the pillar of defending this Social Proximity helps inform our selections about options like dungeons, raids, quests, phasing, and instruments for discovering occasion and raid members. When we make modifications to Wrath of the Lich King Classic, we’ll make modifications that assist preserve Social Proximity, and in so doing, nurture and defend social experiences.

Approachable and Familiar

Another necessary design worth for us is: Approachable and Familiar. We need you to really feel like you might be coming house to a spot you already know effectively. Classic’s fight pacing is extra deliberate. Class designs are extra acquainted, with fewer modifications from patch to patch. Classic typically tells easier tales a few explicit place and time. We like to see gamers with intrinsic motivations based on exploration, experimentation, and marvel, along with pursuing extra highly effective gadgets and epic storylines. Classic WoW supplies gamers with a way of company over their character’s future, telling their very own participant story about how they explored and interacted with the world. Dungeons and raids in Classic are most frequently defeated by way of cautious preparation: amassing consumables, perfecting gear units, mastering class expertise, and memorizing encounter particulars. We need to preserve that approachability and familiarity.

This pillar works to restrict the modifications we make, as that familiarity may be simply broken. But it additionally encourages us to make modifications when an excessively complicated system may be reworked into one thing extra elegant and simpler to grasp. A good instance of this may be present in the Emblem system from Wrath of the Lich King, which grew to become needlessly complicated and complicated by the time we defeated Arthas. We’re planning for every raid tier of Emblems to work the similar, with one Emblem dropped by the newest raids and used to buy gear equal to these raids, plus a second Emblem dropped by dungeons and older raids and used to buy much less highly effective gadgets. We’re hoping a number of small modifications there could make the system extra approachable for everybody, however nonetheless fill the cherished position it served in the unique Wrath of the Lich King.

The World is the Main Character

The third and ultimate design pillar of the Classic WoW crew is: The World is the Main Character. We need you to take care of the feeling of being immersed in a residing world (of Warcraft). We love your exploration and your player-driven tales and need to ensure you have a cause to go to numerous places in the world over and over. Gathering and crafting professions are necessary to that sense of world, and of its economic system, the place you might be interacting with 1000’s of different gamers in a vibrant participant group. This pillar means we have to protect the world we’ve created from extreme modifications. You ought to be capable of acquire the misplaced pages of the Green Hills of Stranglethorn, to rescue the city of Darkshire from Stitches, or to return to Tempest Keep and face off in opposition to Prince Kael’thas yet one more time (and hope for uncommon mount drop). You ought to be capable of inform your personally distinctive tales about your exploits, at the same time as you comply with alongside the epic tales of Azeroth’s most well-known personalities.

Wrath of the Lich King Itemization Changes

Those pillars can come throughout feeling very summary. So, we need to offer you a concrete instance of how we’re making use of them to modifications for Wrath of the Lich King Classic (WotLK). We’re taking a tough look at itemization in that growth and have determined to make some modifications we expect will assist enhance the expertise. Taking our pillars and making use of them to itemization, we’ve give you 4 targets for making modifications to WotLK itemization:

  • Foster a vibrant participant ecosystem participating in all WotLK instanced content material.

    • Serves: Nurture and Protect Social Experiences

  • Maintain a wholesome density of gamers having fun with Heroic dungeons all through the whole growth.

    • Serves: Nurture and Protect Social Experiences and Approachable and Familiar

  • Preserve nostalgic itemization parts.

    • Serves: Approachable and Familiar and The World is the Main Character

  • Provide a constant itemization scheme throughout all growth phases.

    • Serves: Approachable and Familiar

That first objective is all about nurturing our WoW communities. We know gamers in Burning Crusade Classic have skilled a fantastic atmosphere with raiding. Players are energetic in a number of raids at all 4 raid tiers, taking part in each 10-player and 25-player raids, and raiding with their alts and in pickup teams at all tiers. We need to be sure that continues in WotLK. To additional this, we have been exploring rather a lot of concepts that we have determined to not implement at this time, reminiscent of 10-player and 25-player raids dropping the similar gadgets, Heroic dungeons getting improved drops, or rising the beginning problem of Heroic dungeons. One change we’ve determined to make, is to extend the well being and injury of monsters in Naxxramas. Our 2008 design intention was for it to be a bit of simpler than the 2006 unique, however we missed the mark and it ended up a lot simpler than we meant. Bringing up the problem a bit will make for a extra enjoyable and fascinating problem whereas awaiting the opening of Ulduar.

The second objective is about ensuring Heroic dungeons keep enticing all through the whole growth. The Emblems and gadgets they drop ought to all the time be useful, even late in the growth. They must also stay an fascinating problem all through the whole growth, slightly than changing into excessively straightforward as your gear improves. We are exploring plans so as to add challenges to Heroic dungeons as the growth proceeds, which might additionally present extra useful rewards.

We additionally need to protect nostalgic itemization. No matter what modifications we make, we’ll guarantee all WotLK raid and dungeon gadgets can nonetheless be acquired, in addition to their distinctive artwork.

Finally, the itemization and raid lock methods for Wrath of the Lich King developed a number of instances throughout the growth. Rather than altering per part, we need to make it extra constant. This implies that Emblems ought to drop and work in the similar means each tier, set items must be acquired the similar means each tier, and ideally raid lockouts ought to operate the similar means each tier. To assist this, each 10-player raids and 25-player raids will drop Emblems of Valor at launch, whereas dungeons will drop Emblems of Heroism, matching the design sample for Emblems that was utilized in Trial of the Crusader and Icecrown Citadel.


We hope that this glimpse of the in-progress itemization design helps you higher perceive how we plan to stick to those pillars as we transfer ahead. Each time we take into account a change to the Wrath of the Lich King expertise, we’ll maintain these pillars in thoughts: Nurture and Protect Social Experiences, Approachable and Familiar, and The World is the Main Character. If the change doesn’t serve them, then we gained’t make it. But, if the change can strengthen these pillars, we’ll fastidiously take into account it. As all the time, our objective is to ship the absolute best World of Warcraft Classic expertise to you, our devoted gamers.

We sit up for your suggestions and we’ll see you in Northrend!

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