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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. TheRevenantHero's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Assumi View Post
    Enjoy getting your alts into heroics 6 months in when we hit the same dearth of dungeon groups as we had in both Classic and TBC except this time when you do find a group after an hour of spam you get "Nah we want to do the challenges, you're not geared enough". Blizzard too busy circle jerking the community nostalgia to actually consider the long term ramifications of their stupid decisions.
    They're not catering to the community. They're catering to the incredibly loud gatekeeping elitists.
  1. NineSpine's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRevenantHero View Post
    Is reading comprehension just...really difficult for you or something? I said, you're right. They simply will NEVER play it since Blizzard said they're never adding LFD. Also, Classic had bursts of players at the start and have quickly become ghosttowns. They're now going to release a fan favorite expansion as Classic servers but removing things that only loud elitists asked for. I ask again, is your gatekeeping really worth WotLK having far fewer players?
    There is nobody to "never play it" because the people you are talking about don't exist. There is not one single human being alive who says "This game is unplayable for me without LFD, and that's why I'm going to play for a year without it so that I can play with it for a month at the end!" It's a joke on its face.

    Classic TBC is currently clocking over 300,000 players, and this should be the lowest point in its cycle. Ghost town my ass. You want them to drive out the players they already have to make room for this fictional group of people for whom a month of LFD at the end of Wrath is a dealbreaker.
  1. SinR's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NineSpine View Post
    1. Won't have to spam with the new tool.
    2. They are increasing rewards to make dungeons more desirable throughout the expansion.

    This very post talks about the solutions to the problems you are presenting. Did you read it?
    "Your application to 'NEED TANK DAILY' has been declined"
    "Your application to 'DAILY HEROIC' has been declined"
    "Your application to 'P U M P E R S' has been declined"
    " 'Chill Daily' is full and has been delisted"
    "Your application to 'DAILY HEROIC" has timed out"
  1. NineSpine's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SinR View Post
    "Your application to 'NEED TANK DAILY' has been declined"
    "Your application to 'DAILY HEROIC' has been declined"
    "Your application to 'P U M P E R S' has been declined"
    " 'Chill Daily' is full and has been delisted"
    "Your application to 'DAILY HEROIC" has timed out"
    What does that have to do with chat spam or dungeon rewards? This sounds more like "Im entitled to be accepted to groups so I need the game to force people to play with me!"
  1. Kralljin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SinR View Post
    " 'Chill Daily' is full and has been delisted"
    So what exactly stops you from creating a similiar group?

    This isn't M+, you don't even need a key.
  1. TheRevenantHero's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NineSpine View Post
    There is nobody to "never play it" because the people you are talking about don't exist. There is not one single human being alive who says "This game is unplayable for me without LFD, and that's why I'm going to play for a year without it so that I can play with it for a month at the end!" It's a joke on its face.

    Classic TBC is currently clocking over 300,000 players, and this should be the lowest point in its cycle. Ghost town my ass. You want them to drive out the players they already have to make room for this fictional group of people for whom a month of LFD at the end of Wrath is a dealbreaker.
    So because you say they don't exist, that means they don't exist. And again, you prove once more that you have really shitty reading comprehension. NUMEROUS people, including myself, now won't touch WotLK at all ever because Blizzard gave into the gatekeepers.

    There is literally zero way for you to know how many players are actively taking part in TBC Classic. You don't work for Blizzard so you have absolutely no fucking idea how many people are playing. What IS obvious is that even during peak hours, it can take you 2+ hours just to find groups for dungeons. The only kinds of people that need to be driven out are the gatekeeping elitists.
  1. NineSpine's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRevenantHero View Post
    So because you say they don't exist, that means they don't exist. And again, you prove once more that you have really shitty reading comprehension. NUMEROUS people, including myself, now won't touch WotLK at all ever because Blizzard gave into the gatekeepers.
    If you are that disinterested in Wrath that you would throw a hissy fit over a feature over a year into the expansion that you'd only use for a month anyway, you were never going to stick around and play wrath in the first place. The idea that LFD is so intrinsic to your fun that you would play without it for a year just to play with it for a month is laughable.

    There is literally zero way for you to know how many players are actively taking part in TBC Classic. You don't work for Blizzard so you have absolutely no fucking idea how many people are playing. What IS obvious is that even during peak hours, it can take you 2+ hours just to find groups for dungeons. The only kinds of people that need to be driven out are the gatekeeping elitists.
    Actually, we do know how many people are playing TBC Classic, because census taking mods still work in classic. But hey, don't let the facts stop your temper tantrum.

    https://ironforge.pro/population/tbc/
  1. TheRevenantHero's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NineSpine View Post
    If you are that disinterested in Wrath that you would throw a hissy fit over a feature over a year into the expansion that you'd only use for a month anyway, you were never going to stick around and play wrath in the first place. The idea that LFD is so intrinsic to your fun that you would play without it for a year just to play with it for a month is laughable.



    Actually, we do know how many people are playing TBC Classic, because census taking mods still work in classic. But hey, don't let the facts stop your temper tantrum.

    https://ironforge.pro/population/tbc/
    First off, repeating the phrase "You won't play the game for a year then only play for a month" is so utterly fucking asinine. Are you trying to say that if LFD was introduced, that it would be added then the servers would shut down a month later? Do you listen to yourself?

    lmfao it's not run by Blizzard so therefore it's more than likely not at all accurate. Show me where Blizzard has said that they have several hundred thousand people playing every day on TBCC servers. Otherwise, stop posting numbers that are not official.
  1. NineSpine's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRevenantHero View Post
    First off, repeating the phrase "You won't play the game for a year then only play for a month" is so utterly fucking asinine. Are you trying to say that if LFD was introduced, that it would be added then the servers would shut down a month later? Do you listen to yourself?
    You know that LFD was not introduced until the ICC patch right? You understand that this will be the final phase of Wrath right?

    lmfao it's not run by Blizzard so therefore it's more than likely not at all accurate. Show me where Blizzard has said that they have several hundred thousand people playing every day on TBCC servers. Otherwise, stop posting numbers that are not official.
    Denial is a difficult psychological phenomenon to deal with.

    if those numbers are at all inaccurate, it is because they are too low and missing some people. Do you think it is a coincidence that those numbers happen to match which servers are being merged? And that they happen to match Blizzard's server health page?
  1. anveena's Avatar
    Just release the game how it was. If I wanted harder 5mans and raids I would just go back to playing the current expansion.
  1. TheRevenantHero's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NineSpine View Post
    You know that LFD was not introduced until the ICC patch right? You understand that this will be the final phase of Wrath right?



    Denial is a difficult psychological phenomenon to deal with.

    if those numbers are at all inaccurate, it is because they are too low and missing some people. Do you think it is a coincidence that those numbers happen to match which servers are being merged? And that they happen to match Blizzard's server health page?
    Or, and hear me out, it's not something run by Blizzard and therefore has absolutely NO way of accurately calculating numbers in game. Is this really that difficult for you to understand?
  1. NineSpine's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRevenantHero View Post
    Or, and hear me out, it's not something run by Blizzard and therefore has absolutely NO way of accurately calculating numbers in game. Is this really that difficult for you to understand?
    Ok, warcraftlogs, one of the most reputable websites in the wow community, is just making it all up to hurt your feelings personally, got it. Thanks chief.
  1. Unholyground's Avatar
    #SomeChanges is a good approach and should have been there since the beginning as I said back then.
  1. TheRevenantHero's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NineSpine View Post
    Ok, warcraftlogs, one of the most reputable websites in the wow community, is just making it all up to hurt your feelings personally, got it. Thanks chief.
    Still not a Blizzard made website. It is third party and therefore can not be taken as 100% fact. Because it's not.
  1. NineSpine's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRevenantHero View Post
    Still not a Blizzard made website. It is third party and therefore can not be taken as 100% fact. Because it's not.
    What is the flaw in how warcraft logs collects the data? Be specific!
  1. TheRevenantHero's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NineSpine View Post
    What is the flaw in how warcraft logs collects the data? Be specific!
    It's not an official Blizzard web site. Period. I don't need another reason.
  1. NineSpine's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRevenantHero View Post
    It's not an official Blizzard web site. Period. I don't need another reason.
    Can you explain how you determined that warcraft logs is faking data to hurt your feelings?
  1. yeetcannon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NineSpine View Post
    Like I said, zero people are actually going to say "Oh boy I really want to play Wrath but IN A YEAR THERE WON'T BE LFD FOR THREE MONTHS WHEN THE FINAL PHASE COMES!" That's not a real person. It's laughable.
    LFD was in for almost 12 months, and it was the best part of Wrath. Also that person is right here.
  1. Naraga's Avatar
    Great to see Blizzard absolutely ruining the best expansion the game ever had, before they even re-release it!

    They just couldn't accept that the old devs were better at their jobs than they are. They had to get their fingers on it and "improve" it.
  1. yeetcannon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NineSpine View Post
    I don't find it very wild that they made one decision, decided they should do things different going forward, and then made a different decision.

    This is like saying "It's wild to me that you ordered the chicken when you ordered the beef last time and didn't like it!"

    - - - Updated - - -



    Yeah, the best part of Wrath was..... running ToC 4 times per week and managing a lot of emblem types?
    I'm probably in the minority here but I actually liked ToC. It was quick and easy so it was great to use to catch alts up on gear to get them into ICC. I had zero problem with managing all the different emblems and it was never a complaint I ever had about the older xpacs.

    My problem is everything they try to fix turns to shit, nothing they do anymore makes things better only worse. The blue post above reads like the retail mindset creeping into a place it shouldn't be.

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