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World of Warcraft Classic: News, guides, and everything we know

WoW Classic

WoW Classic is finally here. And if you love nostalgia, this remake aims to rekindle that insatiable desire to grind that kept so many of us up late into the night. World of Warcraft's vanilla launch—before expansion packs took players to faraway locales and significantly changed the core game—is one of the most pivotal moments in PC gaming. With new (old) features on the way, we're slowly getting a better idea of how the game will be supported moving forward.

Here's everything we know about WoW Classic, including the latest news, update schedule, and more.

What's the latest news on WoW Classic? 

Now that World of Warcraft Classic is released, the big news is what features and updates players can look forward to over the months and years to come. Here's the biggest news about WoW Classic:

Right now, WoW Classic is currently in Phase 1, which includes Molten Core, Onyxia, Maraudon, and open-world PVP but no Honor system.

The Dire Maul dungeon was released on October 15 ahead of its originally scheduled release in Phase 2.

Phase 2 is rolling out on November 12 and includes world bosses like Kazzak and Azuregos, as well as PvP rewards and PvP Honor system.

Layering, which arbitrarily splits players up between instances of a zone to better manage realm population, is almost entirely disabled on all servers. Once server populations have naturally stabilized a bit more, layering will be turned off altogether and Phase 2 will be that much closer to launch.

The Hallow's End Halloween event is taking place in Classic until November 1.

In addition to all of that, we recently spoke with game director Ion Hazzikostas about Classic's launch and future. The interview is worth reading in its entirety, but one of the more interesting tidbits is that WoW Classic's post-release updates won't follow a regimented deadline. Instead, Blizzard will release new updates when it feels the community is ready based on data collected on how many players have completed whatever the latest endgame activity is.

"We want to make sure that we're not rushing players through content ever and not obsoleting stuff before it has a chance to breathe," Hazzikostas said. "If we're rushing players onto Ahn'Qiraj when most of them only have three or four pieces of their tier-2 sets from Blackwing Lair, that's kind of cutting the content short. We want to avoid that."

Is WoW Classic worth playing?

Absolutely. We gave WoW Classic a score of 80 in our new review, because it's a remarkably faithful recreation of old school WoW that does a great job of evoking that feeling of exploring Azeroth for the first time. While it's clunky and punishing as hell, the community is what makes Classic a joy to play. Players are constantly working together to complete quests, craft gear, and run dungeons, and that social atmosphere alone is worth experiencing.

What WoW Classic server should I play on?

One of the first decisions you'll make when you start playing is choosing which realm you want to play on, and there are quite a few PvP and PvE options to choose from. Take a look at our WoW Classic servers list to see what's available in your region and decide which realm to commit to.

Keep in mind that queues right now are extremely long for most servers during their local evening hours—often extending to two hours or more. So if you want to play when you get home from work, either prepare for a long wait or find a way to log in before the evening rush.

What are the best WoW Classic addons?

Despite Classic being so old, you can still update the user interface with some modern bells and whistles thanks to addons. These mods range from meters that track your aggro against enemies to inventory reworks that make managing bags much easier. And unless you're a purist, we absolutely recommend using at least a few addons to make playing a bit easier.

Check out our recommendations for the best WoW Classic addons.

What WoW Classic race and class is best?

That's a complicated question and one that largely relies on your preferred playstyle. Take a look at our class guide which breaks down each individual class and their relative strengths and weaknesses. Our race and class combo guide will also help you determine the best race for each given class—though we strongly recommend you to go with whatever combination you think is cool. Min-maxing isn't everything.

How much does WoW Classic cost? 

The price of WoW Classic is simply the price of a WoW subscription. No additional purchase required—you don't need to go out hunting for an original boxed copy of World of Warcraft. Those who already subscribe to WoW will have WoW Classic included in the price of their subscription. Those who don't actively play WoW will have to sign up to pay the usual $15 USD a month to play it. 

How do I level up quick in WoW Classic?

Getting to level 60 is an enormous marathon—something that will take the average player a hundred or more hours. Fortunately, we have a leveling guide that'll help you get to 60 fast. Using this guide, you'll pick up some nice tips especially tailored for this opening week of WoW Classic, when the servers are swamped and quests are hard to complete with so many players competing to kill every monster.

How do I make gold in WoW Classic?

There's a ton of ways to farm gold in WoW Classic, but one of the best methods requires learning crafting professions and selling items on the auction house for other players to use. Have no fear, though, we have a guide to the best professions for those looking to amass an ungodly amount of wealth.

What is WoW Classic, exactly? 

More on WoW Classic

(Image credit: Blizzard)

WoW Classic servers: which you should join
WoW Classic race guide: the best for your class
WoW Classic class guide: choose wisely
WoW Classic name reserve: how to get your title
WoW Classic professions: make money fast

World of Warcraft is practically a different game than when it first launched back in 2004. Through a continuous cycle of updates and expansions, systems have been changed, entire continents added, and character classes overhauled countless times. Many people like these changes (modern WoW is more accessible than ever), but a lot of people are nostalgic for Warcraft's days of yore and the way it used to play.

Until WoW Classic was announced, there were hugely popular private servers that illegally emulated World of Warcraft as it existed in 2004. But now Blizzard is creating an official version that it plans to support with continual updates.

WoW Classic is an almost exact recreation of World of Warcraft as it existed in 2006, just before the first expansion, The Burning Crusade, came out. That means combat will be much slower and more lethal, quests will be less intuitive and dynamic, and getting around the world will take a hell of a lot longer. At the same time, WoW Classic resurrects that hardcore breed of MMO that so many people originally fell in love with.

How does WoW Classic work? 

WoW Classic is built using patch 1.12, titled Drums of War, that released on August 22, 2006. The reason for this specific patch, Blizzard has said, is because this patch represents the vanilla version of WoW at its most feature-complete, stable, and well balanced. But, like modern World of Warcraft, WoW Classic won't be a static game that never changes. Blizzard wants to recreate the experience of playing WoW between 2004 and 2006 by releasing updates in Classic on roughly the same schedule as the original. The idea is that these updates will introduce new dungeons and core features but won't tinker with specifics like item or ability balance—which will stay the same over the course of WoW Classic's life, rooted in patch 1.12.

Blizzard has plans to roll out six phases of updates that will each introduce new raids, dungeons, items and equipment, and PvP features. These six phases are as follows:

Phase One: 

  • Molten Core
  • Onyxia
  • Maraudon
  • You can PvP one another in the world, but there is no tracking, and no formal rewards for doing so.

Phase Two:

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

Phase Three:

  • Blackwing Lair
  • Darkmoon Faire
  • Darkmoon deck drops begin
  • Alterac Valley (version 1.12 869)
  • Warsong Gulch

Phase Four:

  • Zul'Gurub
  • Green Dragons
  • Arathi Basin

Phase Five:

  • Ahn'Qiraj War Effort begins
  • Ahn'Qiraj raid opens when the war effort dictates
  • Dungeon loot reconfiguration: Tier 0.5 Dungeon gear, Relics, drop rates and location changes

Phase Six:

  • Naxxramas
  • Scourge Invasion
  • World PvP objectives in Silithus and Eastern Plaguelands

The world events associated with these dungeons and raids, like the Opening of the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj, will also happen. So your dreams of being a fabled Scarab Lord can still be realized.

What comes after is anyone's guess, but I'm personally hoping Blizzard announces plans to also add The Burning Crusade and the other expansions that followed, similar to EverQuest progression servers.

One thing to keep in mind is that while WoW Classic will roll out updates in similar pattern to its original release, all equipment, items, and abilities will mirror their final 1.12 versions. For example, the Tier 2 Helm of Wrath won't undergo constant stat revisions like it did between patches 1.5 and 1.9. Instead, no matter what phase you finally get the helmet, its stats will always be derived from its 1.12 patch version.

Do you know where Mankrik's Wife is?

 No. Stop asking that.

Steven enjoys nothing more than a long grind, which is precisely why his specialty is on investigative feature reporting on China's PC games scene, weird stories that upset his parents, and MMOs. He's Canadian but can't ice skate. Embarrassing.