Itemization in WoW Classic
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
It’s been a lot of fun over the last couple of months to dive into the development of WoW Classic with the team, while trying to answer some of the many questions that have been posed here and elsewhere. Looking at the plans for a phased content release, unlocking dungeons and raids, and unlocking other systems, it’s clear that the aim is to create a progression experience that resembles the original arc from when WoW first launched. In thinking about what belongs in each of those phases, the team’s focus has always been on rewards.

Developers have scoured through vendor lists and treasure tables for items that were added in patches, and then attached them to the staged content unlock plan. This means that if a new item was originally added to a dungeon boss’s loot table with Ahn’Qiraj, you shouldn’t expect it to appear in WoW Classic until Phase 5, which is the phase that contains Ahn’Qiraj content.

Along the way, we’ve seen many questions asking if we’re also retracing the steps of incremental changes to individual items and their stats that may have occurred throughout original WoW. Such a plan could be called “progressive itemization.”

Here’s an example of progressive itemization. The Tier 2 warrior Helm of Wrath originally had Spirit and Agility on it, as well as critical strike chance. In Patch 1.5.0, the helm’s stat budget was changed to Stamina, Strength, and Defense, along with elemental resistances. Then in Patch 1.7.0, the amount of Defense on the helm was reduced. In Patch 1.8.0, the 5-piece set bonus that included the helm was fixed to work with Whirlwind, and in 1.9.0, it got a better look with an art update.

WoW Classic will only include that last version of the item, as it existed in our reference version: 1.12.

Of course, this raises the question “why?”. Why differentiate between adding new items along the way and making modifications to existing items?
When new items are added to loot tables, you’re generally seeing a deliberate effort to provide catch-up gear and/or to provide new goals for players who had exhausted an existing reward structure. For example, in original WoW, items were added to give players a way to quickly prepare for Ahn’Qiraj without having to spend months in Molten Core and Blackwing Lair.

The changing of existing items in patches often illustrated the original design team responding to how players played the game. Their primary goal at the time was to make rewards more relevant and exciting. Developers realizing that Spirit probably wasn’t an ideal stat for a warrior raid set helm* was an example of this sort of change.

Many class abilities and talents evolved similarly. For example, going into Patch 1.8.0, the game designers determined that Moonkin Form would be a more compelling 31-point Balance druid talent than the original selection of Hurricane.

It’s important to remember that there’s more to WoW Classic than a long series of changes. Even if each item change could be made, and even if every class change could be progressively recreated, that would still only constitute a piece of the overall landscape of original WoW. We remember how early raid progression was punctuated by unexpected roadblocks and workarounds:

  • As far as we know, every one of the first Ragnaros kills was only possible due to a bug that made Lava Burst temporarily stop firing after a wipe.
  • Chromaggus was practically unbeatable due to Ignite Flesh unavoidably and lethally stacking on tanks, until it was discovered that Flamegor’s ramp in the laboratory allowed the entire raid to damage Chromaggus without being exposed to his breath attacks.
  • C’Thun was infamously seen as unkillable until a hotfix in April 2006 prevented additional tentacles from spawning while he was vulnerable.

Recreating, and then re-fixing every major progression-affecting bug wouldn’t account for what we think matters much more: the people playing the game. There were many unknowns in original WoW. The first guilds to reach Nefarian spent their initial pulls testing different ideas they had and trying to figure out what condition would get them past the first part of the fight (defeating 40 drakonids). That experience can’t be recreated, because the knowledge can’t be unlearned. For a long time after Patch 1.4.0 came out, many players simply had no idea how good Obsidian Edged Blade or Aged Core Leather Gloves were. The power of weapon skill will be no surprise in WoW Classic.

So rather than try to recreate a specific experience from 2005 that can never fully be recaptured, our aim has been to accurately and fully restore the original game’s mechanics and stats to their final and most polished state from before The Burning Crusade. That mission has been a pillar of WoW Classic’s design from its inception.

This means that while content will be unlocked progressively to allow for each raid tier to shine, systems such as class design, battleground mechanics, and stats on existing items will all be set to their final 1.12 conditions. That should take the pressure off players to be constantly figuring out what we might do next to remain exactly in line with how the game once played out, and we can all focus a little more on community building and enjoying the experience together.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Itemization in WoW Classic started by chaud View original post
Comments 149 Comments
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    So we the best of the shitty itemization... well I guess that's something lol.

    Can't wait for someone to freak out though and say it's not the real classic experience.
  1. Kelathos's Avatar
    A solid progression plan, without the insanity of trying to recreate every little patch change from Classic.
  1. Iseeyou's Avatar
    Solid communication.

    I like the classic team
  1. Fascinate's Avatar
    Like ive been telling people all along were getting 2006 WoW, and that is AWESOME!
  1. Deventh's Avatar
    Sad to hear, but not surprised. Still long way to go though. Hope they keep the communication going each week.
  1. Aeula's Avatar
    Sounds good to me.
  1. Citano's Avatar
    Was hoping for progressive item updates, but I'm fine with items being 1.12 stats once they are made available.

    Now.... give us release date!
  1. tikcol's Avatar
    they're underestimating the effect non-progressive itemization has on content.

    https://vanilla-twinhead.twinstar.cz/?item=17103

    This weapon is just one example. This weapon didn't have spellpower and had half the stats for a long time.

    Pre-raid bis gear will be better than gear that drops from MC that has progressive itemization

    This means that a group of pre-raid bis players on a non-progressive itemization server will have an easier time raiding than fully MC geared players in a progressive itemization server
  1. Erous's Avatar
    Now, queue planning for everything. Not like it's not already happening, but BiS lists, farming routes, boss strats, etc. ALL of that pre-planning BS will simply ruin what original WoW was all about in my opinion. Original WoW was all about figuring it all out. Even though I'm still going to play it like the old days, the feeling of the unknown is still going to be missing unfortunately.
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tikcol View Post
    they're underestimating the effect non-progressive itemization has on content.

    https://vanilla-twinhead.twinstar.cz/?item=17103

    This weapon is just one example. This weapon didn't have spellpower and had half the stats for a long time.

    Pre-raid bis gear will be better than gear that drops from MC that has progressive itemization

    This means that a group of pre-raid bis players on a non-progressive itemization server will have an easier time raiding than fully MC geared players in a progressive itemization server
    There is not "progressive vs non progressive itemization server", all of it will be 1.12 itemization. Only place this leads into issues is 1.12 itemzation on pvp gear pre AQ.
  1. tikcol's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Onikaroshi View Post
    There is not "progressive vs non progressive itemization server", all of it will be 1.12 itemization.
    That's not what I meant. Obviously there won't be 2 types of servers.
  1. Merie's Avatar
    Only one server? I figured there would be a PvE and one PvP.
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tikcol View Post
    That's not what I meant. Obviously there won't be 2 types of servers.
    Well, whatever you meant, regardless of itemization, MC was always going to get wrecked anyway... it was never hard we were just dumb, relatively to the knowledge we have now.
  1. Kalmakk's Avatar
    Reasonable and articulated concept layout and justification. I love the communication style that the Classic team is giving us. I just desperately wish the Retail team had the ability to do the same. The juxtaposition between the two teams is... Jarring, really.

    Every post I read, the more I want to play Classic. They do the spirit of Blizzard of old, proud.
  1. Ealyssa's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tikcol View Post
    Pre-raid bis gear will be better than gear that drops from MC that has progressive itemization
    Nothing has progressive itemization... They just explain what it could have been. Looks like reading is actually hard.
  1. tikcol's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Onikaroshi View Post
    Well, whatever you meant, regardless of itemization, MC was always going to get wrecked anyway... it was never hard we were just dumb, relatively to the knowledge we have now.
    Yes MC was always going to be easy. Now it's going to be even easier. It's not just MC, this is going to be a problem almost until naxx. Almost as if players are always ahead 1 tier than they should be.

    When pre-raid bis gear is better than gear from MC on a non-progressive itemization server and gear from MC is better than gear from BWL on a non-progressive server, content will become trivial even faster than it already is.
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ealyssa View Post
    Nothing has progressive itemization... They just explain what it could have been. Looks like reading is actually hard.
    And honestly.... blue dungeon gear was sometimes better then raid gear anyway...
  1. tikcol's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ealyssa View Post
    Nothing has progressive itemization... They just explain what it could have been. Looks like reading is actually hard.
    Yes, reading seems hard to you considering my point flew right past your head. Here, I'll make it real easy for you,

    Pre raid bis from Classic will be better than hypothetical Molten Core gear from a progressive itemization hypothetical server
  1. Onikaroshi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tikcol View Post
    Yes MC was always going to be easy. Now it's going to be even easier. It's not just MC, this is going to be a problem almost until naxx. Almost as if players are always ahead 1 tier than they should be.

    When pre-raid bis gear is better than gear from MC on a non-progressive itemization server and gear from MC is better than gear from BWL on a non-progressive server, content will become trivial even faster than it already is.
    It was allllll going to be super easy regardless, there's also the fact that it's on the new API, which means all the new addons like Weakauras and DBM far beyond what vanilla ever had in functionality will be available, THAT will make it even more trivial then gear.
  1. Eleccybubb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kalmakk View Post
    Reasonable and articulated concept layout and justification. I love the communication style that the Classic team is giving us. I just desperately wish the Retail team had the ability to do the same. The juxtaposition between the two teams is... Jarring, really.

    Every post I read, the more I want to play Classic. They do the spirit of Blizzard of old, proud.
    I'm genuinely surprised too. The Classic team is a fraction of the current one and yet they are the only team within Blizzard these days showing any passion or enjoyment for what they are doing.

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