Restoring History: Creating WoW Classic (BlizzCon Classic Panel)

up next restoring history creating world of warcraft classic hello Blizzcon so it's been an awesome weekend so far we've talked a lot about world of warcraft we have more to say most of it looking forward to what's coming next but for the next 45 minutes we're gonna look backwards we're gonna look at the origins of World of Warcraft and tell the story of how we have brought the 2006 experience back here I'm able to share all with you today that's a game that touched all of our hearts it's a game that really is the reason why I'm standing here today it's a game that is the reason in so some could argue that Blizzcon exists at all back in 2005 it was World of Warcraft that forged these powerful ties between people who'd spent long nights running dungeons together running flags and Warsong Gulch who wanted to get in a car get in a plane across the country and come out here to put faces to names and to voices and actually meet the people that they felt like they already knew thanks to this world that we had created and it is an incredible honor to be up here and to be able to speak to this story of how we were able to bring it back a lot of that story is actually a technical one it's about archaeology it's about restoration and allow me to introduce to tell the first part of the story senior software engineer Omar Gonzales who will tell you about the origins of Wow classic [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] greetings Blizzcon my name is omar gonzalez i'm a senior software engineer on world of warcraft i want to take a minute speaking of history to talk about a little bit of my own I first started on World of Warcraft in 2003 when it was first being forged it means that I was there before and mixi a– took her first deep breath before Ragnaros was awoken too soon before there was any kind of conflict in Teheran mill and south shore before we had even added gnomes to the game I was there and I've been working on World of Warcraft ever since and now it's my great honor to be able to take that version those the memories that we had back to life to all of us who remember them fondly and hopefully to a whole new generation now next up I want to be talking about some of the major components of what goes into the making of a game like World of Warcraft one of the biggest pieces of data is our database data and what this is are things like the number of hit points a creature has the amount of stamina on an item each spawn point in the world millions of points of data are stored in tables inside of these databases another key component that we work with our art assets this is the color of Night Elves shadow melding in action veil it's the sounds that play when pyroblast nooks it's targeted it's the motion of an orc as she swings her axe furiously the artwork of the WoW everything that you see in here is our art assets the third major component here is the source code this is a bit of the glue that binds all this together it's the instructions that we give to our computers to let them know what to display on the screens and what to play on the speakers and for our servers how to interconnect moons of players all around the world now there's actually many more components and pieces that go into game development but these are the big three that we're going to cover in this presentation so looking a little bit more into source code we hadn't started to get a handle of what we had to work with and for source code we kept track of everything in a repository that keeps track of every change it's ever been made so here was simply a matter of going to that repository and asking what is the first change you know about how far better is your history go and it turns out this repository has been tracking changes since 1997 now before you go to jumping to any conclusions this doesn't necessarily mean that world of warcraft itself has been in development that long only that it contains some shared and generic bits of code that started the warcraft lineage now of course no source code repository would be complete without bugs we happen to also find the very first bug fixed in our repository shortly thereafter few people are ahead of me the joke here is that this little bit of function claimed it was going to do one thing but literally did the exact opposite very first bug fix in Warcraft history given that we have been tracking every change since 1997 we've had a high degree of confidence in our ability to restore this major component from the original version of World of Warcraft next up I want to talk about how we work with our database data now to shed a little bit of light early on we only had really a simplistic model there were two versions of the game there was the version that was live and available to the public and the next patch that we were working on once we were ready to release that patch we would push it to the live services and make it available to everyone now sorry we would immediately then turn around and start working on the next patch but we were doing it directly over the previous data has had the unfortunate side effect of some amount of data loss in some of these earlier patches we also encounter other problems here and that the team could only ever work on one patch at a time this was quickly rectified and we're now able to work on multiple patch schemas at a time so when going back and looking at our database data we took a clock we cracked open this database and said how far back do you still have data for fortunately we still had patch 112 and slightly before so this gave us sort of a medium level of confidence in our ability to restore original database data next up I want to talk about art assets there are many types of art assets some of the most familiar are what we call 3d models and these are comprised of vertices which are simply points in three-dimensional space and indices that tell us how to connect these also hopefully familiar are textures these are paintings and colors that are drawn on a two-dimensional canvas we can take these very earth assets and once we start combining them we're able to see a few familiar faces now with art assets we store those on some network stores that we have and so when we went digging we unfortunately found that we only had a few of the more recent our assets from the more recent expansions but this project was very important to us and we went all the way to our data archives archivists and asked do you have any old backups of these old networked tribes we need them we desperately want to go back to the original data now this store this data was actually off-site and we weren't sure what we were gonna find until some little old backups were restored from very old tape drives we did receive a backup from 2008 we thought well the dates good but not exactly what looking for we dug into a little bit more unfortunately we found on that back up a folder labeled final 112 data yeah that's right we found a backup on our backup of a backup so now that we have 112 versions of these three major components our source code our database data and our art assets we're ready to attempt to reconstruct 112 with these pieces we shut them all in a blender and so our amazing delight we had a version of 112 that we can launch and run internally we were able to login we can create characters could level up and do all the things that we remember this was an amazing milestone for us but we then needed to take a step back and think about what this version really meant it's important to understand that our services that this version of the game was engineered for a much older version of the Internet this version didn't understand how to run in our modern Blizzard cloud we also realized that our game servers don't operate in a vacuum they're an integrable and important piece of a larger bound that Blizzard network framework which includes things like account management and authentication this version was also unable to work in our content delivery pipeline so there was no way we could put this version on our bound that desktop app again without access to authentication there were no login servers that could talk – there was no way this version could talk to our customer support systems we couldn't enter GM tickets for really most harsh of all was that every bug every problem every exploit would instantly come screaming back and not only that they would already be known to some number malicious people out there clearly this version as it stood as it was didn't really reflect the highest levels of Blizzard quality that we come to expect but we weren't quite ready to give up we took a long hard look at what we had built so far and we thought a lot of what we don't like about this version is in the source code it still had a lot that we really loved we loved the database data and we loved the art so we gave ourselves a little bit of a thought experiment what if we brought up our modern database data our modern high-resolution art and modern source code threw away what we don't like about this version stripout the more modern components and simply layered what we liked about this old version on top of what we needed in our modern text ad I remember standing around a room well we all looked at each other and no one was quite sure whether this was a good idea or not was this viable would this work and the reason for that has to do with how these pieces sort of fit and integrate with each other but in these seams and these interconnects those have also changed and evolved and improved over time so when we thought about this plan we realized very quickly and early on that these pieces they just don't fit the new source code doesn't know how to load the old data but again we all love world of warcraft we all love those memories and we all longed to go back to it so we gave ourselves a little bit more time and thought is there really no way to kind of stitch force this together what would that even look like we gave ourselves a little bit of research and development time and we thought well let's just work on transforming this data see if there's a way that they can meet in the middle what does that experience look like should be a video clip of that so here we have a very early prototype this was effectively a 7:35 client and server with its database data stripped out and imported from the 112 version of our data we had a lot of systems that we liked you could still cast your fireballs you can kill creatures the spawns from 112 were there the drop tables have worked a lot of the server-side elements were them which included things like having to learn plus abilities even if you didn't have enough money to do it buy them at the time true to form you might have to leave and come back some time later once you ground up that little extra copper now of course this was a very early prototype we were forcing this data in and it still obviously wasn't gonna work out quite right as is had errors problems but this is an important piece of research and prototyping combat wasn't quite there we found ourselves stopping to drink way too often but really the core of the game was there you still leveled up you still bought your spell's you're still turning your quests and you still leveled up the core pieces of the world of warcraft dug it was there but it was running on our modern infrastructure this was really gate was what really gave us the proof that this was a way forward but this could actually work this insane idea would lead us to world of warcraft classic and now to talk a little bit more about the challenges of going from proof of concept prototype to full-blown production it's my honor to introduce lead engineer Brian Birmingham hello Blizzcon my name is Brian Birmingham I'm the lead software engineer on world of warcraft classic I am a huge fan of retro gaming I love to go back and play old games from my past games that I played growing up and World of Warcraft is certainly one of them I've been playing since the beta and it's it's just a great game that captured my heart even back then but when I heard that World of Warcraft team was going to make wow classic I jumped at the opportunity to come back and leave this team but it's not my first time being on the World of Warcraft team I first joined Blizzard in 2006 and I was on the World of Warcraft tools team and at that time I joined to help ship naxxramas and to improve the way that we make world of warcraft I spent the next eight years doing that and then something other things I did were take the database data as it evolved over those years and converted to each of our new expansions and so in some ways this project is like replaying all that work again in fast-forward I want to talk about these building blocks that Omar mentioned these building blocks come together to create some of the things that you recognize as players things like terrain the gameplay systems the animations and the lighting and the first one of these that I want to talk about is terrain terrain is the heights of the mountains and the valleys it's the placement of the trees and the buildings throughout the world it's the water that's in the lakes the rivers the streams the oceans and there's a reason why in the prototype that you saw from Omar we were in done Moreau and it's because that terrain was unaltered by the Cataclysm so weren't perfect for that first prototype but if we were to venture just a little bit outside of a love of done Moreau and into lockwood an you start to see some kind of funny things like these thresher Don's that are supposed to be swimming but they're walking around on land and they seem to have built these little merlok huts for themselves and that's not right there's also this purple cape on and that's that's odd that's that's not like an epoch that's missing texture purple and I'll talk about that a little bit more later for now let's focus on the fact that the water is missing and that those are the wrong buildings if we go to other places like say Thousand Needles we'll find water that shouldn't be there and there's cool car camping underneath the water and building fires this is also not OK so we said okay just like we did with the data what if we take this terrain files these old terrain files we found on that backup of a backup and we fed them to World of Warcraft classic to our modern engine would this work no this doesn't work either and the reason is those puzzle shapes that Omar mentioned the things don't fit together imagine this is the shape of the 112 terrain data and our 112 engine expects that shape so if we feed it the 112 terrain data it fits perfectly our reference clients that we built understands exactly where to find all of these pieces our modern engine expects the same pieces but in slightly different places and so when we feed it the one or and of course our modern terrain data fits it perfectly if we feed it the 112 data it doesn't fit perfectly it finds some things where it wants to find them like the terrain Heights and the water and the grass but it doesn't find the objects placements from 112 it finds the new ones instead so to give you an example of what that looks like I have another video again of LOC mow down here so here you can see some of the buildings look okay but as we start to fly out over the lake which now has the water back you can see some trees that aren't supposed to be there those are object placements those are burned trees from the Cataclysm and then a tree flying in the middle of the air and that's clearly not right there's some misplaced buildings from Grim Batol and if we turn back toward the dam you can see the dam is shattered and yet somehow even though the dam is shattered it's able to hold back the water so here we said there's clearly more work to do here and our modern tools come to the rescue it turns out that we have modern tools that we've been developing over the last 14 years that know how to read our old terrain data they also know how to produce our modern terrain data and so then we can take that rain data after it's been converted and give it to the modern engine and then the modern engine finds everything that expects to find exactly where it expects to find it and now the dam is restored our tools are really important to this so we spent some effort on these we wanted to make sure that our tools could work not only on battle for Azeroth but also on Wow classic at the same time this was some effort but we thought it was really worth it because World of Warcraft's classic is not a small side project this is a fully integrated effort it has the full support of the world of warcraft development team I want to talk to you about some other art assets we've talked about models and and they're not just the character models or the creature models but also those trees those Hut's the building's the lamp posts why is that lamp post purple is that lamp post supposed to be purple we have the reference client let's check no it's not supposed to be purple it's supposed to be white so why the difference that's the same model why doesn't it look the same and the reason it doesn't look the same is that we've made a change in the way our engine handles errors in this case in 112 we displayed when there was a missing thing a white light so in the case of the gnomes Cape you remember it was purple and in the case of this light this lamppost it's purple as well and it's because something's missing we told the we set up this model and we told it that it should emit a light but we didn't say what color it was supposed to be and our engine in 112 said when I don't know what the color is supposed to be I display white and then we don't notice that there's a bug we never noticed so in our modern engine we say you know what let's display purple then we will notice if I see purple I know I have to do something I should investigate at least and find out what the problem is and in this case we don't want to do what we would do in our modern version of the game and battle for Azeroth if we saw this we would have an artist to come and pick an appropriate color maybe like a soft yellow maybe an orange whatever they wanted for the correct aesthetic but for us we have a different goal we want to recreate it as it was authentic as it was so we put it back exactly right pure white and so if you guys check this out on the demo either on the show floor here or at home and you go and take a look at this lamppost you will see that it is white today but that one's purple it turns out there are more than one Westphal lamppost model they look really similar they even have the same bug there's two of them we'll fix this one too don't worry we're not done yet there are other things that weren't able to be solved by just restoring old data it got us a long way but there are some things where even when we restore the old data there is no system that understands it a great example of that is provided by the hunter and his class abilities the hunter had things that aren't represented in our current engine anymore things like pet training or pets happiness or pet loyalty and we needed to bring those back too we had the data for them but we needed code that would read that data so we went it we went back to that original source code and we were able to surgically remove pieces of it that would support that data and bring them forward into our modern game so we have been able to restore these systems I don't have a lot of funny stories about this except for some people forgetting that they needed to buy ammo or some hunters whose pets ran away when they forgot to feed them we brought all this back it's not just hunters of course there was also rogues and their combo points being on the target our modern resource and combo point system doesn't understand anything about changing targets we had to bring that code back and there's also things like the combat formulas to make sure that your critical hits and your crushing blows are distinct and are affected by the defense skill of the defender and the weapon skill of the attacker and we brought back weapon skills as well we brought back the code that levels up as you use them more and the combat the combat formulas that make them affect your chance to get a glancing blow there were also animations there's a pretty obvious bug here on this screen that plane Strider is dead but he's standing up I'm looting him how am i doing that I could even skin him animations are stored across all three of those basic building blocks the source code the art assets the data and they all contribute different things so restoring those we had some problems and it affected one of the most iconic quests that I'm sure a number of you have remembered and gone back to re-experience I'm sure you guys all remember man Crick's wife so we of course named her Aldrin in the expansion I'm sure some of you remember that in Cataclysm we made a memorial to her and declared that her name was old girl but of course in 112 she was only known to you as beaten corpse because you were supposed to discover her and find her dead and she's standing up like the plain Strider it seems a little bit odd to be interacting and inspecting a dead body that's standing up in front of you well maybe not for the Horde in any case we were able to find these bugs we were able to track them down we were able to restore it and now all of our animations are playing correctly you can go and get revenge on the quill boar for what they did to poor man Crick and Olga and you will see them lying dead when they are dead I also want to talk about some of our classic UI screens like the character customization screen this is something you see very early in the game that's really near and dear to our hearts it has great feelings of nostalgia for all of us and I'm sure for you too and when we look at the prototype we had the correct race and class combinations we got that from the data but the art is wrong and so we went and restored that art and here we ran into another case where restoring the art was not enough when we look at these two screens they're a lot closer now but the reference client seems to have almost a snowy effect whereas the prototype here or our work in progress rather does not and we went and looked into this it's not whether it's not snow it's actually a fog effect and we were able to find the engine equations that they control bat and restore them a little bit closer I don't want to promise pixel perfect perfection because we might not hit it but we are doing these side-by-side comparisons all the time and we're going to work as hard as we can to get this as close as possible on that same subject I want to talk about Elwynn forest here's an example where we went through at one point in was history and we changed all of the lighting equations and our environment artists went back and plugged in new data values to control those new equations and make things look correct for that version of the game and so when we wanted to rewind those changes the first thing we did was put back the old data and we got close but there's still some problems like this really bright light over here this doesn't look right you can also see the shadows are slightly different the fog is slightly different but focus on this light for now that light has a really hard edge it's really way too bright and when we dug into this we found that what was controlling this was the distance fall-off equation this is an equation that controls how much light is projected onto a texture based on how far away the light is from the thing that it is lighting and so when we saw that this was different we dug into it we found the formula and we were able to make adjustments in the code to make this look much closer we fixed the shadows and the fogs a little bit too so now we're much closer I imagine at this point you guys are wondering one of two things are you done yet or are you sure that it wouldn't have been easier to take that reference client and fix that and I want to answer that second question first a common theme in all of the problems and the bugs that we've encountered across this presentation so far is that they are visible you can't fix what you can't see so when we see these things when we look at the modern version of World of Warcraft today if I go to battle for Azeroth and I take a look at it I can see what is different between that and classic like this trainer screen it works but it doesn't look right we fixed it we can find these things and we can fix them we can do this over and over again we can get your help finding them so that we can we can get this right if we had started with the reference clients all of those problems are invisible problems we know they're there but we don't know about each individual one there are the kinds of problems you can't see until a malicious actor is abusing them and destroying things for your players or when the servers are crashing only because there are millions of players online at once and you couldn't get that in testing so this is a approach that we took to make sure that we can ensure that same Blizzard level of quality that you've all come to expect as for whether or not we're done we're not we clearly have a lot more work to do besides things that I've mentioned in this presentation so far there's capital cities dungeons and raids possibilities all of our PvP systems are still waiting for us to go take a look at them and so we have a lot more work to go and to talk about some of our design philosophies and how those affect the decisions that are coming up ahead I want to bring back to the stage game director ian has coached us Thank You Bryan so yes so working on WoW classic basic it's a constant Consulting capacity it's been a really fascinating experience as a designer there's normally what I do most of the day with battle for Azeroth is creative work it's problem-solving it's identifying a whole figuring out the right puzzle piece that's going to fit that whole perfectly thinking about things that come about my cause and so on and so forth but in the case of mild classic that work was already done that work was completed 12 years ago and so that raises the question of like what does design even mean when it comes to this project well as Bryan laid out there are a number of differences right there's a countless list of differences between the prototype of the work-in-progress that we have running and the original 112 client and server structure its differences in UI encode in systems in player facing interface elements and so forth and every single one of those represents a decision do we maintain the status quo do we do work to remove something that was added to reintroduce something or in sub cases do we even we had certain bugs that were fixed along the way but felt like parts of the experience and so before we began any of these decisions we wanted to come up with a framework that would help guide us and first and foremost really is authenticity as our goal we want to create an experience that feels just like 2006 world of warcraft if someone was playing wow in 2006 and they lay down and took a very very very long nap and woke up in 2019 and we sat them in front of WoW classic it shouldn't feel like an immediately different experience you might wonder like why is this monitor so thin and all of that but other than that it should feel like the game that you know second when it comes to authenticity that's not just about things like weapons skill and crit and crushing blows and all that it's also about the community it's not the social dynamics that are part of what defines while classic we understand that that is a key part of the experience and anything that might threaten to undermine those dynamics is something that we need to be very suspect about and again use authenticity as our guide even if it might seem minor at a glance those small changes could have large ripple effects that would change the way players related to the world and to each other finally we really had this one 12 data that we've been able to restore and we viewed that as an almost sacrosanct that's everything from you know the world and the quest lines and the stories to individual player abilities creature health tuning and so forth there's some changes in code and architecture in the way the client responds the server and vice versa that if we let stand using the modern structure might have caused this data to produce a different result when it comes to things like gain balance and we definitely worried that if we ever felt like the result was different in a way that compelled us to crack this open it would very much be like opening Pandora's box because the second we start to substitute our modern judgment to solve problems from 12 years ago we are deviating from our goal of a historical recreation of the game as it was and making something different and that's something we want to avoid so let me give you some examples of these problems as we dealt with them a lot of these were really clear-cut you know at the start of the project we came up with a lip like laundry list of literally dozens and dozens over a hundred items of ways in which the initial prototype that we had differed from the original experience some of these were just 5-minute even like 30-second conversations dungeon finder of course we're not going to have dungeon finder or group finder in BAU classic okay that really speaks to the core social dynamic yes it was inconvenient to stand in town spamming trade chat looking for a healer for 30 minutes and yes that meant if you only had you know some time before you had it to work in the morning you couldn't realistically run a dungeon and there are definitely advantages to being able to just instantly matchmaking teleport to the dungeon but it also meant that when you found that healer maybe you'd add them to your friends list maybe you'd have someone that you could rely on because it was super important to have friends to have allies that you could you know join with to not have to rely on spamming trade chat for 40 minutes or maybe when someone made a mistake and accidentally adroit an extra mob and wiped the group you probably weren't going to kick him out of the group for that mistake because it would have meant going back to town and spamming trade shot for 30 more minutes so no dungeon finder and yes I know if you type slash LFR and the current demo clients a window will pop up that's not functional it's a vestige that's being removed I think that's part of you know what Brian just alluded to there's a lot of work still left to do just because there is an element that you see in the experience that's playable on the floor or at home right now please don't take that to mean that that represents a final determination of what the game is going to look like this is what I'm trying to lay out right now crossrealms ring again no way right realm identity reputation seeing the same people over and over again knowing who the best geared warrior on your server is those are important elements in the classic experience that needs to be maintained flying I'm not even gonna dignify that let's skip ahead achievements no again achievements weren't even introduced until Raph the Lich King so even if they even if the infrastructure were there to support them code wise the data wouldn't be there but again this was a seemingly innocuous system but it layered on an additional set of motivations to a world that didn't necessarily need them in its original form that had its own goals to pursue and completionists were definitely a saying back in classic it's just you didn't get 10 achievement points for it you just had the warm fuzzy feelings the satisfaction of 999 out of a thousand exalted down the line and full green bars and that was that was really what mattered back then and another example unified auction houses you know over the years Alliance and horde now share a single auction house no matter where you go not in classic classic if you want to trade with the Alliance and you're a horde player well head up to everlook booty Bay ratchet gadgets then pay the increased goblin auction house cut and maybe you can get your whole your hands on you know some pet or something that's not readily available to your own faction but that's part of a feeling of the world as a whole again these were these were easy decisions now on the other end of the spectrum there number of decisions that we debated about a lot that were much trickier and that in some cases we're still talking about to this day so first off the debuff limit in original World of Warcraft when the game launched in 2004 you could have eight debuffs on a mob and that was it and then things would start to get pushed off I feel bad for you if you're a warrior trying to use deep wounds and trying to convince your a leader that it was the best talent to do good damage I feel really bad for you if you were a rogue wielding a barman Shanker but those were you know that was that was not something that was compatible with keeping key things likes Under Armour on bosses that you were fighting in dungeons let alone raids we raised that debuff limit to 16 in 2005 but that's where it stood all the way until Burning Crusade when went up to 40 and today it's like 255 effectively uncapped well so what do we do here honestly this was a technical limitation I don't think this was an example of design values differing this was just a question of how much memory was being used for each unit in the world and what could the server's handle at the time it's honestly not frankly not great game design to have a game where you have 40 player raids where each member of that raid might apply up to a couple of different debuffs and they're all fighting the same enemy and you can only have a total of 16 of them at once with no real control over what gets pushed off not great that said we are restoring the 16 debuff limit now why are we doing that you might ask if it's frankly objectively worse design that actually implicates the third point on my original philosophy slide which is we don't want to mess with the 112 data we don't want to mess with balance if we change the code in this regard who's to say what effect that would have on balance in raids and PvP and elsewhere maybe suddenly dot classes like warlocks and others are far more effective than they had been and we have actually a different outcome a different meta game than the original classic experience produced and that would actually be deviating from authenticity this was an area where even though we feel it's worse we can articulate arguments for why even the team of 2006 would have raised the limit if they could have technically we're not going to because it would be inaccurate no now shifting from combat to something that seems maybe more innocuous male so back in the day if you wanted to send mail to knowledge to a guild mate it would actually take one hour for it to arrive if you wanted to send materials to someone to craft an item for you it would take an hour before they could get them they could craft the item mail it back to you that would take another hour round trip in fact that made it so that you might actually want to if you're an organ are and your guild mates in booty Bay go to the Zeppelin Tower get them a Zeppelin head out there hand the items to them directly because it would be faster small subtle thing but it's something that actually helped reinforce the feeling of a world and navigating the world and so that's something that we are restoring we are removing instant mail and it's going to go back to how it was now on the other end of the spectrum something that's not gonna so I can do the same so user interface wise back then it was not as easy to manipulate the user interface in terms of attaching items or today you can shift right click to just directly take something out and put it in your bags honestly it doesn't make sense to do work to remove pure UI conveniences that have no impact on gameplay no impact on social mechanics and the sorts of things that an add-on could easily reproduce so yes there'll be slight differences in that you can take a male out of your mailbox a bit faster we think that's okay apologies if anyone disagrees another example flute training so this was a system added in Wrath of the Lich King where if you've loaded an item from a dungeon or raid boss who's a two-hour window where you can give it to someone else even though it's buying on pick up who also participated in the boss kill now this was added to solve a common problem that existed back in classic where if you accidentally looted an item someone else on the raid meant to get mint it was meant to get it or maybe he was master loot it to the wrong person you could open a customer support ticket contact the GM and say I didn't mean to loot this I would like to give it to so-and-so and it might actually take a four or five day turnaround time but Cs would generally help you out with that problem and transfer the item this is a case where we're keeping loot trading in because the end result is the same we're just saving you a four or five day wait or thankfully a shorter weight these days given our support turnaround but we're also freeing customer support bandwidth to focus on other player issues the actual result is not the same and apologies if you were planning on using the ninja looting excuse of like I totally didn't mean to click it I guess I guess I just have to equip it now other small stuff if you played a rogue back then you might remember energy regeneration work differently than it did today today there's predictive regeneration on the client where you get you know a tenth of one point of energy every tenth of a second or so modified by haste back then and this was a limitation of infrastructure client-server communication it came back and much larger discrete chunks that meant you could be sitting at 38 energy wanting to use a 40 energy sinister strike and you might have to wait over a second to do so again not the product of an active design desire but just a technical limitation that no longer exists today but because this impacts things like the pacing and flow and feel of playing a rogue or some PvP implications for pooling for burst we are restoring the old energy regeneration now finally probably the thorniest area here add-ons this is one that we're still actually figuring out we welcome discussion with the community and add-on authors regarding way back in 2005-2006 add-ons could do some things that they can't do today some very powerful things like making intelligent decisions regarding spell casting spell selection targeting cancelling your casts if they weren't going to be effective and using and those those functionality was removed in Burning Crusade now using modern author knowledge and the overall sophistication of the community combined with that old toolset you could pretty much write add-ons or macros that could automate playing your class we just push the same button over and over again it does your rotation perfectly it takes the right targets and so forth that's something that we feel is antithetical to the spirit of World of Warcraft whether it was in 2005 or today and so those functions will not be available in the modern UI on the on the other end of the spectrum though there's stuff that's been added to the UI api since then that allows for the creation of add-ons that communicate with each other and can be used to create social networks within the game we're actually kind of suspicious of these and skeptical about the possibility of add-ons reproducing some of the functionality that we've deliberately removed from classic that we feel could be harmful to the authentic experience and we know that once it's out there saying just don't use it if you don't want it isn't good enough because it will start to become part of the fabric and so we may be restricting some of those new things as well we're likely gonna find some kind of middle ground that combines the old and the new here with a goal towards making sure that the vast majority of the add-ons that people know and expect function with the goal of an authentic experience know as just to wrap up is one big thing that we haven't talked about yet I know I've heard a lot of questions about this so what are we doing with content right in 112 everything was available all the way through next rammus all that stuff was unlocked there were cash up mechanisms and reputations and things that were not there originally what do we do so we understand that world of warcraft especially back then was about a journey and the catch-up mechanisms that might undermine or compete with gear from molten core or Onyxia and make that stuff irrelevant would really shape and not for the better the experience of progressing through that content and so we are going to have staged content unlocks throughout the release of classic we will begin with the game more or less as it stood in the spring of 2005 which for many European players is actually the game that they first emerged into because wow came out of it later there then and that will be molten corn Onyxia as the pinnacle of the available raid content dire Maul existing and the world bosses like cassock and Azure goes notably what will not be present other than later rate content is also the formal PvP reward system including items from metal grounds and the you know high warlord grand marshal grinds because those actually overshadow a lot of the early raid gear it's a big deal if you can just go into all track Valatie and get an unstoppable force that favourably compares to the majority of weapons from the raid there's something wrong about that no when folks are ready for it and this is something that will determine as the game evolves naturally and organically we'll have a second wave of content that includes whoops skipped ahead a little bit but whatever Blackwing Lair battlegrounds PvP rewards in the 20 player rate of zul'gurub after that when folks are ready on garage 20 and 40 the Auto silithus content the so-called tier 0.5 quest lines and the green dragons and yes silithus content means the opening of the gates of Ahn'Qiraj as we see the race to become the new round of scarab Lords unfold and then finally naxxramas and the accompanying content again exact timing of this to be discussed further and I'm sure there's stuff that we're not accounting for that we've forgotten look forward to a dialogue with the community in the coming months to figure out exactly which bucket things should fall into and how this will all work out so there we have it that's where we stand today thank you so much for joining us for you know this look back and this look ahead to what remains between now and next summer we can't wait to get back to the office after Blizzcon listen to feedback from everyone playing the demo and do everything in our power to get this wrapped up and into your hands as soon as possible and we can't wait to join you in pre Cataclysm Azeroth next summer thank you [Applause]

38 Replies to “Restoring History: Creating WoW Classic (BlizzCon Classic Panel)”

  1. Gollum finds Activision:
    WoW Classic Executive Producer John Hight Interview:
    Warcraft Reforged Panel:
    Ion Hazzikostas on Sharding:
    There's this video…:

    This panel has given me a lot of hope when it comes to Classic, purely because they are all dedicated to bringing us an authentic experience and have said time and time again that they want feedback, in an interview that they did prior to this panel, they said 'please help us', which I definitely plan on doing. I hope that they hold a beta soon so we can all jump in and help to recreate a perfect vanilla experience. I'm glad that we, as players, are incredibly passionate about the game, so we can come together to help Blizzard make this what we want it to be. I have other videos that you guys can watch, if you're going to be interested in Classic in the future then feel free to subscribe to my channel as I'll be uploading a lot of content in the future.

  2. Why not just create "REMASTERED" version of vanilla. Good old game with it's functions, while resembling modern game whit it's quality graphics, art work, movement etc…

  3. I feel bad for the team behind Classic because no matter what they do people will hate it and say they ruined it. Personally, I think they are doing a great job so far and fans of classic need to give them some credit for doing something so epic.

  4. a big part of vanilla/classic WoW is the grinding and farming, if you want to buy gold with tokens, stay in BFA.

  5. When BfA sends its players, they're not sending their best. They send players that have lots of problems. They're bringing drama. They're bringing whinning. They're noobs. And some, I assume, are good players.

  6. He was wrong.. achievements came in TBC, not WOTLK. Remember i was anoyed coz i had to do some heroics again to get the achieve.

  7. I've been pretty critical of Blizzard of late, and with very good reason. But this panel, and the entire story of Classic WoW has gone a long way to restoring some of my faith in them. This is what authenticity and integrity in game development looks like. Bravo to everyone involved – including the community and ex-Dev Mark Kern for making it happen at all.

  8. I spent years of my life playing vanilla WoW. One of the greatest times of my life, can't wait to be back playing the game I loved so much in it's original glory. Now a days private servers were fun and all but were never too reliable

  9. All of this extra work they have to do because they didnt keep their old files backed up properly. For a multi million dollar company these guys sure are stupid

  10. Fast forward months later, and now they are putting in big sharding in Classic for weeks or months, spanning across entire continents, splitting up a server into big shards. LOL! Good one Blizzard.

  11. Does anyone remember when these assholes sat on the stage and pointedly told WoW fans that we don't know what the hell we want? That we think we want Vanilla WoW, but we really don't? Does anyone recall that?

    The fucking thing hasn't even made it out of BETA yet and it's already god damn blockbuster.

    Look, I love Vanilla. Been playing for years now on private servers. And I am going to pay my $15 a month to play Classic and I am going to GRIN the whole damn time like a schoolboy going to his first dance. But I want Blizz to know that it's going to take a hell of a lot for me to ever praise them again. They didn't give us Classic out of the goodness of their hearts. They did it because so many people were playing on private servers, and they just couldn't have that. Blizz does not want or need "My Praise". But people, in general, should not so quickly forget all of the miserable things Blizz has done over the years. Play Classic. Enjoy the shit out of it. But NEVER FORGET. Blizz may not care about me,,,, but they should damn well learn to respect the people that pay for their games.

    Edit: P.S. Ghost Crawler can still BITE ME!

  12. I’ve always wondered how a person can be involved in the gaming industry and content providers, yet is completely unable to FUCKING SYNC SOUND AMD VIDEO.

    YouTube should fine people for it.

  13. My best friend died a couple of years ago, and this video brings back so many memories about him! First of all, he loved Mötley Crue, so the Molten Core T-shirt made the connection. He was called "Oldschool" and "Firedragon" by those that knew him, and juggler was his profession IRL. With only keyboard and mouse pad on a toaster of a laptop he leveled from 0-60… Seriously, it was unimaginable! But he did it lol. Plus he leveled all my character's fishing to the max. – he loved that shit lol. Ahhhhh – can't wait for Classic WoW!

  14. This is something I've wanted for so long. I just want new server openings with like 6 servers all restarting at the beginning of the game and slowly evolving back to the current content. I mean at this point Hurricanes, wild fires, mudslides, tornados, school shootings, car accidents or any other random event could take me away from this realm of existence and deny me this replay, but I still support it, god damn it!

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