WarCraft has been around for a long time at this point, with many of us having grown up with the series and, with that, we ourselves have grown as gamers since the first game's original release 25 years ago. Blizzard Entertainment is celebrating its 25th anniversary in a big way this year, and there's a whole lot of content coming to the franchise.
Recently we were invited to the WarCraft summit in Irvine, Orange County, and there we got to experience three of the upcoming releases coming to the Warcraft world, as well as chat with some developers, check out some new goodies up close, and discover some tasty news to share with you all.
Who can forget J. Allen Brack and his "You think you do, but you don't!" answer to a fan asking for an official World of Warcraft: Classic server? Back then, the studio wasn't looking into it and meanwhile, fans were asking for it and even playing it on other people's private servers. However, since those that were running at the time weren't exactly legit and were being shut down one by one, people assumed that Blizzard was working on something - until that fateful day and that previously mentioned answer from Blizzard's now-President at BlizzCon.
That one moment happened back in 2013, however, and the company's outlook has shifted as fans kept asking to play the pre-expansion World of Warcraft with their friends. Classic is happening, we know that. Announced at BlizzCon in 2017, following a cryptic but epic introduction - that still gives most of us the chills - involving ice cream flavours (of course, leading up to vanilla) from the same Blizzard president. It left fans of the series in shock and awe as they got to see the original cinematic trailer play out on screen.
Many may think that a classic server for a 15-year-old game isn't much to be excited about but this isn't just a way back machine we're talking about. World of Warcraft: Classic, which will run on the same subscription terms as the current Battle for Azeroth one, is revamped and looks better than ever, and it won't see too many changes other than in terms of performance and visuals. We got to play on the server briefly and we have to say that Classic World of Warcraft looks better than ever and runs smooth as butter (however, we played the game on high-end PCs).
We had a chat with Ion Hazzikostas and Calia Shie at Warcraft Summit and they both explained how changes to the overall concept and the addition of new content were out of the question since once altered that would make a Classic server something else entirely, and we agree. After all, fans want that old-school experience.
The Classic server will mean different things to different people. For an experienced WoW player, it will be a nostalgic, emotional trip back in time to where it all started and for new players or players who never got into the many expansions we've seen since launch, it will be a clean slate beginning. Some of us never wanted to get boosted to level 90 on Mists of Pandaria's release day, some of us wanted to learn everything from scratch and that can be hard when the game is so massive and overwhelming at times. Here's our chance to dial back time by 15 years.
Now, we knew all of this information ahead of today so let's talk news, shall we? While we didn't learn a whole lot at the Summit, we did get some announcements regarding the Classic server and the main thing people have been wanting to know is when they'd be playing classic WoW. Well, we have some good news for you all - you won't have to wait too long. The WoW Classic closed beta starts tomorrow, on May 15 and you'll also get to sign up to grab your original name on the server. You'll also be able to sign in for some in-game goodies before the official launch on August 27. That's right, WoW Classic is officially releasing this summer.
Now that we've got that information out of the way (let's be real, that's what you came here for) we also got to see a very impressive new 15-year anniversary Collector's Edition of the game up close, which you can see below. The box contains two mounts (one for Horde players and one for Alliance players), a mouse mat, a pin, some lithographs, and a massive Ragnaros statue adorned in gold (okay, probably not real gold, but it looks incredible) all within a beautiful 15-year celebration box.
While the event didn't exactly focus on WarCraft III: Reforged, we know that's coming as well and it's planned to release this year. Like the classic WoW server, Blizzard Entertainment isn't changing too much other than the graphical and performance aspects. The game in question is 17-years old, after all, so 4K support, a new UI and all new graphics will clean things up quite a bit, hopefully enough for players to end up satisfied.
As for what's coming next, Blizzard Entertainment recently announced that BlizzCon will be back this year, so we're bound to get more information about all that is WarCraft shortly. Now, you may be wondering why we've not shared a single word about what's heading to Battle for Azeroth? Don't fret, we'll be releasing another preview from the event all about the new content update for World of Warcraft tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.