Everything you need to know about World of Warcraft Classic

World of Warcraft Classic has arrived, warping fans of the most iconic MMO of all time back to 2006. It reintroduces players to Azeroth as they remembered it, mimicking the look and gameplay systems of a time where WoW was quite different than it is today. Whether you’re a longtime subscriber, someone who might want to jump back into the game, or a player thinking of trying WoW for the first time, we’ve compiled everything there is to know about World of Warcraft Classic right here.

How do I play?

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World of Warcraft Classic is available now on PC and Mac. You can download the game client on Battle.net. As far as price, World of Warcraft Classic doesn’t cost anything upfront. However, you need to have an active WoW subscription to play. Subscriptions are $15 per month, and if you already have a current WoW subscription you’re good to go. A subscription covers both modern WoW and Classic. You can save money by purchasing a six-month subscription for $13/month or a three-month subscription for $14/month.

One of the cool things about Classic is how little it requires of your system. Basically, anyone with a desktop or laptop built in the last decade can play.

PC minimum requirements:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit (Windows 10 works of course)
  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600/AMD Phenom X3 8750 (or better)
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB/AMD Radeon HD 4850 512MB
  • RAM: 2GB or 4GB for systems with integrated graphics
  • Storage: 5GB

Mac minimum requirements:

  • OS: MacOS 10.12
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 2.0GHz
  • GPU: Metal Capable, 1GB VRAM
  • RAM: 2GB or 4GB with integrated graphics
  • Storage: 5GB

What is WoW Classic?

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World of WarCraft rewinds time back to 2006. This means it takes place prior to even the first expansion, The Burning Crusade. WoW originally launched in 2004, so we’re not quite back at the beginning. WoW Classic uses the Drums of War patch (1.12) as a jumping-off point. From looting to builds to look and mechanics, WoW Classic is certifiably 2006.

Combat is slower, more methodical, and generally more dangerous. Movement across the map takes much longer than in modern WoW. Additionally, quests are more straightforward, with less chance of happenstance events occurring mid-run. You also may have to meander a bit to find out where you’re going and prepare for more backtracking. Your primary stats will look quite similar to modern WoW, but secondary stats are really different, as Blizzard has overhauled that aspect of builds over the years.

Overall, vanilla WoW takes more effort to make progress. Though the level cap is only 60 (instead of 120), you’ll spend far more time making your way around the map to find dungeons, connect with other players, and grind for loot. Even your build choices are more consequential, as you cannot just instantly switch up your specs. Everything is earned through hard work. But yes, you will need to spend much longer working towards your goals. That can be rewarding, though.

Still, Blizzard has implemented some technical changes to improve the experience. You can set up macros and install add-ons, right-click to report players, and see things clearly if you’re colorblind thanks to colorblind settings.

Realms

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Prior to creating your character, you have to choose a realm. WoW Classic has 29 realms right now, a mix of normal PvE, PvP, and combination realms. You’ll see if a Realm has a low, medium, or high player count before you jump in. Realms with higher player counts will take longer to queue into. Just a heads up: Wait times during launch week have peaked at around 10 hours. That’s the extreme, but prepare for the possibility that you could wait hours to get into a realm. Here’s the full list of realms:

  • Normal (PvE): Ashkandi, Atiesh, Mankrik, Myzrael, Old Blanchy, Pagle, Westfall, Remulos
  • PvP: Bigglesworth, Blaumeux, Faerlina, Fairbanks, Herod, Incendius, Kirtonos, Kurinaxx, Kromcrush, Rattlegore, Skeram, Smolderweb, Stalagg, Sulfuras, Thalnos, Whitemane, Arugal, Yojamba
  • RP: Bloodsail Buccaneers
  • RP-PvP: Deviate Delight, Grobbulus

Players can have up to ten characters designated for each realm, but you’re capped at 50 characters overall. If you join a PvP realm with an Alliance character, you’re locked into Alliance in that realm. This rule doesn’t apply to PvE realms, so you can have Horde and Alliance characters assigned to the same realm.

Choosing your class

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When creating your character, you’ll have to choose your class: Warrior, Druid, Hunter, Warlock, Paladin, Rouge, Priest, Mage, or Shaman. It’s a matter of personal preference, but if you need help deciding, we have a detailed class guide to assist you.

Features, not bugs

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During the beta period, some players started relaying bugs they found to Blizzard. It must have been a lot of players because World of Warcraft community manager Kaivax released a “Not a Bug” list. For example, quest objectives and points of interest do not display on the mini-map, and Gnomes and Taurens are indeed rendered in the appropriate dimensions. WoW has changed a lot since 2006, so it’s easy to see why traveling back in time would lead some players to believe things are awry.

Update schedule

Yes, World of Warcraft Classic seeks to bring players back to the early life of the MMO. But that doesn’t mean it won’t evolve over time. Blizzard has already outlined six phases of content for World of Warcraft Classic. Essentially, Blizzard wants the game to grow in the same way that it did in 2006, all the way down to small updates like gear stat changes, which will arrive as they did originally. Keep in mind that at launch PvP isn’t trackable and you won’t receive formal rewards for PvP content.

Blizzard hasn’t revealed a release window for the upcoming phases at this time.

Phase 1 (launch):

  • Molten Core
  • Onyxia
  • Maraudon

Phase 2:

  • Dire Maul
  • Azuregos
  • Kazzak
  • Honor System (PvP)
  • PvP Rank Rewards (PvP)

Phase 3:

  • Blackwing Lair
  • Darkmoon Faire
  • Darkmoon deck drops begin
  • Warsong Gulch (PvP)
  • Alterac Valley (PvP)

Phase 4:

  • Zul’Gurub
  • Green Dragons
  • Arathi Basin (PvP)

Phase 5:

  • Ahn’Qiraj War Effort begins
  • Ahn’Qiraj raids open when the war effort dictates
  • Dungeon loot reconfiguration, including tier 0.5 dungeon gear, relics, altered drop rates, and location changes

Phase 6:

  • Naxxramas
  • Scourge Invasion
  • PvP objectives in Eastern Plaguelands and Silithus (PvP)

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