World of Warcraft: Classic - which throws us back to the vanilla WoW we started off with more than a decade ago - had a demo at BlizzCon and for virtual ticket holders at home this past weekend, and at the event we spoke to Brian Birmingham and John Hight about their approach to this project, which turns out to have a lot of different components.
"The philosophy's really to recreate that authentic gameplay experience and also the authentic social dynamics," Birmingham explained. "Those are the two kind of guiding principles. We want to make sure that, if you remember something about how your spells and abilities worked, that that's the same. We want to make sure that, as you explore the world, that feels the same, and also that kind of visual aesthetic, that the world felt a little bit different, things looked a little bit spookier sometimes, and we really want to get that back too."
"But also the social dynamics, that feeling like 'I really wanna keep this guy around' when I find him. Like if you find someone who's a good group mate, you really want to hold onto them - because it's difficult to find group mates - and then you would remember them, and you would remember them and forge these bonds with people, and I feel like that kind of social interaction - when you would go out and try to form a group for a dungeon or even a really difficult outdoor quest - you would find people that you would cooperate with and if you liked them you usually add them to your friends list and communicate with them again."
"We've treated it very much like a restoration project [...] literally every little aspect of the game is something we talk about, in terms of the way the code works and what features and bugs we're gonna keep in the code, the database itself and how we can keep a very stable service without compromising that authentic experience," Hight added.
"It's almost like when you think about when someone gets an old car and they're trying to restore it back to that condition; it's that same thoughtfulness that the team has placed into it. I mean, I honestly don't believe anyone else could've done it the way we're doing it. We're treating it with so much care and love."
WoW: Classic also got a release date at BlizzCon - summer 2019 - but do you like the approach the guys are taking?