Blizzard have stretched out their plans for World Of Warcraft Classic, now intending to roll out new raids and dungeons and other content updates for the vintage version of their MMORPG over six phases instead of four. They want it to better reflect the pace of original content updates, where additions slowly prepared players for the next to come rather than loads blasting out at once and upsetting the flow. WoW Classic is still expected to launch this summer, as far as we know, and will come included with standard WoW subscriptions.
Blizzard laid out their revised content lineup in a forum post yesterday. They had previously planned to divide the original post-launch content by raid power progression, and now say they're "also aiming to capture what it felt like to play in a realm community in original WoW."
And so, Blizzard say, "We'll launch Classic with content from original WoW through patch 1.2.x, then the second update will include content that was in original WoW 1.3 and 1.4, the third Classic update will have 1.5 and 1.6 content, and so on."
That's more like the way several unofficial/illegal community-run WoW servers have done it. Blizzard's forum post goes into a lot more detail about what's coming in which phase and why they're breaking it up, so do check that out if version numbers make your heart skip a beat.
We sent Christos Reid back to The Crossroads over November's preview weekend and he found it, well, the same as he remembered.
"For me it was like scanning my teenage bedroom to see if my stuff was still in the same place. And it is! I know where the Quillboar hang out, and why I need to kill a load of them, and I could probably draw you a map of Wailing Caverns from memory. Even if you're not as familiar as I am, there's enjoyment to be had from carefully going over quest details, stocking up on equipment, and heading out not knowing how long it'll take or if you’ll be successful. There are no flying mounts — no mounts at all, for a good while, and definitely not in the demo's level range. Just you, the open road, and a load of odd-looking mountains."
I played WoW in two stretches, back in vanilla then again several expansions later after Cataclysm. It definitely felt more mysterious and intricate on my first crack and I liked that, but WoW was my first MMO so I might've been caught in a reverie. By the time I returned, progression definitely was sped up too much, I was whipped through zones before I'd finished half the quests and it felt more like a playground. Oh sure it was way more polished and parts were massively improved but ah, I do so the appeal of that wild wild WoW.