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Developer Update: A Look at What’s Ahead for Wrath of the Lich King Classic
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Wrath of the Lich King Classic provides new opportunities to make a few changes that will improve the gameplay experience in the next chapter of Classic WoW. In this Developer Update, the World of Warcraft Classic Team takes you through some of those changes and what they can mean for the future of Wrath Classic.

#SomeChanges
When World of Warcraft Classic first launched, it followed a very strict design pillar: #NoChanges. At Blizzard, we faithfully recreated World of Warcraft as it existed in 2006, with as few changes as possible, while still making it able to run in the more modern environment of 2019. But World of Warcraft didn’t stop in 2006. It continued to evolve and change over the years. So, we re-released the Burning Crusade expansion last year in 2021, and plans are underway to re-release the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

However, as we re-release these expansions, we find the design pillar #NoChanges isn’t sufficient anymore. With World of Warcraft’s expansions came design changes to the game, and some of those changes were not consistent with the way Classic World of Warcraft felt. It’s undeniable that the latest 2021 modern expansion, Shadowlands, feels very different than the original launching game in 2004. Where should the evolution of the game stop, if we want to retain that Classic feel even while releasing new content? Many players today choose to play Classic WoW because they love that feel, and don’t want it to be lost. The World of Warcraft Classic team has given this a lot of thought, and we would like to share with you today our design pillars for what we call #SomeChanges.

Nurture and Protect Social Experiences
The first and most important design pillar is: Nurture and Protect Social Experiences. The compelling social experiences within World of Warcraft are why many of us first fell in love with the game. To retain these experiences, we want to help players build friendships and deepen their relationships within parties, raid teams, guilds, and server communities. Online social experiences are a complex phenomenon and can be very easy to damage. Positive relationships build community, reduce toxicity, and forge friendships that have kept players coming back to our game for many years. We need to nurture and protect these relationships. One very big key to this is providing “Social Proximity” in our game, or what some cognitive scientists call “Repeat serendipitous interactions”. Put a little more simply, you need multiple interactions over time with the same people in a way that feels happy or beneficial. Classic WoW provided this in abundance, where you would often meet the same people from day to day while running through the Stranglethorn Jungle, on your way 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 protecting this Social Proximity helps inform our decisions about features like dungeons, raids, quests, phasing, and tools for finding party and raid members. When we make changes to Wrath of the Lich King Classic, we will make changes that help maintain Social Proximity, and in so doing, nurture and protect social experiences.

Approachable and Familiar
Another important design value for us is: Approachable and Familiar. We want you to feel like you are coming home to a place you know well. Classic’s combat pacing is more deliberate. Class designs are more familiar, with fewer changes from patch to patch. Classic often tells simpler stories about a particular place and time. We love to see players with intrinsic motivations founded on exploration, experimentation, and wonder, in addition to pursuing more powerful items and epic storylines. Classic WoW provides players with a sense of agency over their character’s destiny, telling their own player story about how they explored and interacted with the world. Dungeons and raids in Classic are most often defeated through careful preparation: collecting consumables, perfecting gear sets, mastering class skills, and memorizing encounter details. We want to maintain that approachability and familiarity.

This pillar works to limit the changes we make, as that familiarity can be easily damaged. But it also encourages us to make changes when an excessively complex system can be reworked into something more elegant and easier to understand. A good example of this can be found in the Emblem system from Wrath of the Lich King, which became needlessly complex and confusing by the time we defeated Arthas. We’re planning for each raid tier of Emblems to work the same, with one Emblem dropped by the latest raids and used to purchase gear equivalent to those raids, plus a second Emblem dropped by dungeons and older raids and used to purchase less powerful items. We’re hoping a few small changes there can make the system more approachable for everyone, but still fill the cherished role it served in the original Wrath of the Lich King.

The World is the Main Character
The third and final design pillar of the Classic WoW team is: The World is the Main Character. We want you to maintain the feeling of being immersed in a living world (of Warcraft). We love your exploration and your player-driven stories and want to make sure you have a reason to visit various locations in the world over and over again. Gathering and crafting professions are important to that sense of world, and of its economy, where you are interacting with thousands of other players in a vibrant player community. This pillar means we need to preserve the world we have created from excessive changes. You should be able to collect the lost pages of the Green Hills of Stranglethorn, to rescue the town of Darkshire from Stitches, or to return to Tempest Keep and face off against Prince Kael’thas one more time (and hope for rare mount drop). You should be able to tell your personally unique stories about your exploits, even as you follow along the epic stories of Azeroth’s most famous personalities.

Wrath of the Lich King Itemization Changes
Those pillars can come across feeling very abstract. So, we want to give you a concrete example of how we are applying them to changes for Wrath of the Lich King Classic (WotLK). We’re taking a hard look at itemization in that expansion and have decided to make some changes we think will help improve the experience. Taking our pillars and applying them to itemization, we’ve come up with four goals for making changes to WotLK itemization:

  • Foster a vibrant player ecosystem engaging in all WotLK instanced content.
    • Serves: Nurture and Protect Social Experiences
  • Maintain a healthy density of players enjoying Heroic dungeons throughout the entire expansion.
    • Serves: Nurture and Protect Social Experiences and Approachable and Familiar
  • Preserve nostalgic itemization elements.
    • Serves: Approachable and Familiar and The World is the Main Character
  • Provide a consistent itemization scheme across all expansion phases.
    • Serves: Approachable and Familiar

That first goal is all about nurturing our WoW communities. We know players in Burning Crusade Classic have experienced a great environment with raiding. Players are active in multiple raids at all four raid tiers, participating in both 10-player and 25-player raids, and raiding with their alts and in pickup groups at all tiers. We want to make sure that continues in WotLK. To further this, we've been exploring a lot of ideas that we've decided not to implement at this time, such as 10-player and 25-player raids dropping the same items, Heroic dungeons getting improved drops, or increasing the starting difficulty of Heroic dungeons. One change we have decided to make, is to increase the health and damage of monsters in Naxxramas. Our 2008 design intention was for it to be a little easier than the 2006 original, but we missed the mark and it ended up much easier than we intended. Bringing up the difficulty a bit will make for a more fun and interesting challenge while awaiting the opening of Ulduar.

The second goal is about making sure Heroic dungeons stay attractive throughout the entire expansion. The Emblems and items they drop should always be valuable, even late in the expansion. They should also remain an interesting challenge throughout the entire expansion, rather than becoming excessively easy as your gear improves. We are exploring plans to add challenges to Heroic dungeons as the expansion proceeds, which would also provide more valuable rewards.

We also want to preserve nostalgic itemization. No matter what changes we make, we will ensure all WotLK raid and dungeon items can still be acquired, as well as their unique art.

Finally, the itemization and raid lock systems for Wrath of the Lich King evolved several times during the expansion. Rather than changing per phase, we want to make it more consistent. This means that Emblems should drop and work in the same way every tier, set pieces should be acquired the same way every tier, and ideally raid lockouts should function the same way every tier. To support this, both 10-player raids and 25-player raids will drop Emblems of Valor at launch, while dungeons will drop Emblems of Heroism, matching the design pattern for Emblems that was used in Trial of the Crusader and Icecrown Citadel.

#SomeChanges
We hope that this glimpse of the in-progress itemization design helps you better understand how we plan to adhere to these pillars as we move forward. Each time we consider a change to the Wrath of the Lich King experience, we will keep these pillars in mind: Nurture and Protect Social Experiences, Approachable and Familiar, and The World is the Main Character. If the change doesn’t serve them, then we won’t make it. But, if the change can strengthen those pillars, we will carefully consider it. As always, our goal is to deliver the best possible World of Warcraft Classic experience to you, our dedicated players.

We look forward to your feedback and we’ll see you in Northrend!
This article was originally published in forum thread: Developer Update: A Look at What’s Ahead for Wrath of the Lich King Classic started by Stoy View original post
Comments 121 Comments
  1. yeetcannon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NineSpine View Post
    "Ulduar was in for longer than LFD, therefore Ulduar should be in at launch!"

    Your logic is that we shouldn't have phases at all. It does nothing to further your specific argument for LFD.

    And again, the idea that Blizzard should consider your wants as someone who just said they won't play until the last phase anyway over the wants of the core audience for classic that has been playing for years and paying the bills is delusional.
    That's their own fault because they've drug the release of the classic xpacs out for so damn long. I don't like Classic and the misery of trying to find groups in TBC ran me and my friends off. If they had released Wrath sooner without fucking it up I'd of been subbed a long time ago.

    I'd be willing to bet they'd like my money more than yours as I'm ok with paying a separate $15 for Classic/xpacs and Retail. Hell if they did the xpacs right and kept going past Wrath and left them open I'd of even been willing to pay $15 a month for each one I wanted to play (Wrath/Cata/MoP) to help support the costs and keep those servers active instead of leaching off a retail sub like it works now.
  1. NineSpine's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by yeetcannon View Post
    That's their own fault because they've drug the release of the classic xpacs out for so damn long. I don't like Classic and the misery of trying to find groups in TBC ran me and my friends off. If they had released Wrath sooner without fucking it up I'd of been subbed a long time ago.

    I'd be willing to bet they'd like my money more than yours as I'm ok with paying a separate $15 for Classic/xpacs and Retail. Hell if they did the xpacs right and kept going past Wrath and left them open I'd of even been willing to pay $15 a month for each one I wanted to play (Wrath/Cata/MoP) to help support the costs and keep those servers active instead of leaching off a retail sub like it works now.
    The pace has been very proper. Rushing the content would be far worse. We are looking at about 3 years to get to Wrath. That is perfectly fine.
  1. yeetcannon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NineSpine View Post
    I think its perfectly reasonable to say either of the following:

    1. I want LFD from day 1 because I prefer having automated tools.
    2. I want LFD in 3.3 because it was there originally.

    The problem is people are presenting this really jumbled, contradictory amalgamation of arguments because they don't want to admit that their real argument is just #1 for some reason.
    The reason why some arguments seems jumbled or contradictory is because both points are true for some of us. We don't care if 1 or 2 happens just so long as one of them does because either is acceptable.
  1. TEHPALLYTANK's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Akka View Post
    Yeah no you're full of shit. Dungeons being boring was actually the single biggest criticism leveled toward WotLK. There is nothing fun facerolling the keyboard and everything falling down.
    The Occulus was despised because people wanted to play their class and not a gimmicky vehicle alternative gameplay, but that's nothing to do with faceroll.
    Okay, tell me how I felt back in WotLK when running dungeons. I'm sure you know me more than I know myself, especially when it comes to how I felt when tanking dungeons back in WotLK. /s

    I didn't say the dungeons were something that everyone enjoyed, part of my point was that their short nature meant they were more tolerable for people who didn't enjoy the faceroll part of the experience. If people wanted challenges, the achievements were there for that purpose. I regularly started runs by asking if anyone needed any achievements, and doing them if they wanted to.
  1. october breeze's Avatar
    Is rdf gone? What about daily 2x EoFs?
  1. Dadwen's Avatar
    Reading about more of the changes, seems they are pulling more ideas from retail (some kinda dungeon scaling?) an a few others, I have not played retail in a long time but from the forums sounds like they are bringing over it's LFG tool (which a lot seem to think is useless?) either way not sure where their logic is, I'm sure a lot of people wanted to play Wrath because retail is utter garbage (myself included) and yet they want to borrow ideas from that POS? (are the people in charge there really that stupid?)

    wasn't it the head buffoon that said if you want RDF or something play retail, then proceeds to make LK Classic more like retail?
  1. Konteil's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Vorkreist View Post
    You are clearly lost. There is no classic "core". Most who are interested in classic wrath are against those braid dead changes like complete removal of LFD.
    not true. im part of the classic community core and my whole guild is all aboard for not having LFD. wrath didnt have it for most of the expansion anyway. we will try out the lfd tool. most of the people that want the rdf tool are the same people that have a tank spamming sales of fast dungeon runs over and over again as a way to make gold. so yeah im good with not doing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TEHPALLYTANK View Post
    Okay, tell me how I felt back in WotLK when running dungeons. I'm sure you know me more than I know myself, especially when it comes to how I felt when tanking dungeons back in WotLK. /s

    I didn't say the dungeons were something that everyone enjoyed, part of my point was that their short nature meant they were more tolerable for people who didn't enjoy the faceroll part of the experience. If people wanted challenges, the achievements were there for that purpose. I regularly started runs by asking if anyone needed any achievements, and doing them if they wanted to.
    im actually looking foreward to that. my little guild has four 5 man groups waiting to go from the door to just kick back and chill going into old dungeons to get the new acheievements . we also have 4 groups that are just gonna spend a few days getting everyone in teh guild teh old jenkins title. silly shit like that is fun and gives a lot todo in the game as long as you look at it as a game and not a job you have to progress into.

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    Quote Originally Posted by october breeze View Post
    Is rdf gone? What about daily 2x EoFs?
    im sure there will be another way to get them. maybe forst dungeon you run per day just gets them for you. or they may add them as extra drops from the ICC 5 mans in some form. there is plenty of time to get to that point. EoF was last tier of the xpac so they have more than enough time to figure out a system.
  1. delus's Avatar
    I'm really looking forward to playing wotlk in dragonflight time walking!
  1. relaxok's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kralljin View Post
    I'm baffled by the fact that i'm the person defending Blizzard but: What's being "redesigned" here? Besides the removal of DF.
    Sorry what's DF?
  1. Kralljin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by relaxok View Post
    Sorry what's DF?
    Dungeonfinder.
  1. october breeze's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by relaxok View Post
    Sorry what's DF?
    It must be dragon finder or dungeon flight!
  1. deenman's Avatar
    oh boy...the classic andies who run away from any form of challenge like its the black plague are not very happy about this one

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamingsince1981 View Post
    Blizz: hey guys we know wotlk was the best expansion we have ever made, we know everyone loved it and all its features, so we have decided to try to ruin that experience as best as we can so no one wants to come play it again, see you on the other side.

    Wtf are they even doing , the only thing I would be coming back for because the new expansion is complete dog shit with only a range class to choose from and a worse pathfinder to get flying like getting flying xp, and they go ahead and ruin wotlk as well. What are they doing at blizzard besides snorting coke and sexually harassing people.

    Anyone happy with these changes didn't like woltk in the first place, blizz can go get fucked by a horse.
    how is not making naxx 80 easier than naxx 60 a bad thing?how is them reducing the number of different badge types bad?how is them not making you farm 4 different trial raids a week bad?how is them making heroics not feel like an auto battle mobile game bad?
  1. Dadwen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by deenman View Post
    oh boy...the classic andies who run away from any form of challenge like its the black plague are not very happy about this one

    - - - Updated - - -



    how is not making naxx 80 easier than naxx 60 a bad thing?how is them reducing the number of different badge types bad?how is them not making you farm 4 different trial raids a week bad?how is them making heroics not feel like an auto battle mobile game bad?
    Maybe because there are a number of people that wanted to play LK just like it was, and not have the crap design team blizzard has now mess with it.
    (they screwed up retail now they want to see how bad they can F up the old game designs.)
  1. deenman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dadwen View Post
    Maybe because there are a number of people that wanted to play LK just like it was, and not have the crap design team blizzard has now mess with it.
    (they screwed up retail now they want to see how bad they can F up the old game designs.)
    they cant play lk like it was,people are much better today,so...ironicaly...by making this change,the game will feel more like it did back then
  1. Dadwen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by deenman View Post
    they cant play lk like it was,people are much better today,so...ironicaly...by making this change,the game will feel more like it did back then
    I wanted the game to be just like it was back then, not others crappy vision of what they think it should have been back then..., and if they didn't screw with it I could have played it just like I did back then if I wanted to. (I don't want others "feels" I want it to be a museum of what it was).
  1. deenman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dadwen View Post
    I wanted the game to be just like it was back then, not others crappy vision of what they think it should have been back then..., and if they didn't screw with it I could have played it just like I did back then if I wanted to. (I don't want others "feels" I want it to be a museum of what it was).
    are you still as bad as you were in wrath?if not,than depending on how much they buff naxx,the raid will feel more like it did back then,how is this complicated?
  1. Dadwen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by deenman View Post
    are you still as bad as you were in wrath?if not,than depending on how much they buff naxx,the raid will feel more like it did back then,how is this complicated?
    not sure I have not played since WOD for any amount of time, the game design since then has sucked and not worth the sub, that's why I want them to leave their bad design ideas out of LK so I can play a good game again.
  1. deenman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dadwen View Post
    not sure I have not played since WOD for any amount of time, the game design since then has sucked and not worth the sub, that's why I want them to leave their bad design ideas out of LK so I can play a good game again.
    why do you consider a braindead difficulty ''good game'' and dont even try an apeal to popularity
  1. Dadwen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by deenman View Post
    why do you consider a braindead difficulty ''good game'' and dont even try an apeal to popularity
    Difficulty does not always = or =/= a good game (is retail easy or Difficult, not a clue personally but I do know it's not fun and not worth playing so I'd rather just have LK as LK was) and so far they have proven to me they can't make a good\fun game anymore which is why I'd rather them not screw up LK.

    I don't give too flips if it's Souls hard or mindless as long as it's fun.

    *good thing you don't run a business in the end appealing to popularity is better money. (I'd rather bank on a popular game that was labeled brain - dead over a challenging game no one wants to play), and it's just not Naxx they are putting their crappy stamp on, sounds like a copy of the M+ LFG in and deleting RDF, going to mess with dungeons and do some kind of scaling plus other things to kill boosting (other than just nerfing XP but how classes work, so ya its a death by 1000 cuts type thing)
  1. deenman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dadwen View Post
    Difficulty does not always = or =/= a good game (is retail easy or Difficult, not a clue personally but I do know it's not fun and not worth playing so I'd rather just have LK as LK was) and so far they have proven to me they can't make a good\fun game anymore which is why I'd rather them not screw up LK.

    I don't give too flips if it's Souls hard or mindless as long as it's fun.

    *good thing you don't run a business in the end appealing to popularity is better money. (I'd rather bank on a popular game that was labeled brain - dead over a challenging game no one wants to play), and it's just not Naxx they are putting their crappy stamp on, sounds like a copy of the M+ LFG in and deleting RDF, going to mess with dungeons and do some kind of scaling plus other things to kill boosting (other than just nerfing XP but how classes work, so ya its a death by 1000 cuts type thing)
    you...dont know how retail difficulty is but you know its not fun? /facepalm....well...good thing the devs arent listening to you

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