WoW Classic devs on the changes they've liked most in Season of Discovery so far: 'It just sounds like utter chaos, but I've just been having a blast'

WoW Classic: Season of Discovery
(Image credit: Blizzard)

This week marked the start of phase 3 of World of Warcraft Classic Season of Discovery, the wild experiment taking place within Warcraft's original vanilla flavor.

WoW Classic Season of Discovery is a bit of an oddball. It includes all-new features that were never in the original 2004 version of the game, and doesn't allow public testing before new phases go live. In some ways, it's more experimental than the "modern" version of WoW, but carries the original low-res Classic graphics.

We asked two Blizzard developers on the project to give us their impressions of what the coolest new features of Season of Discovery have been so far.

Lead software engineer Nora Valletta likes the innovative ways that Season of Discovery has added things that used to only be available to the Horde or to the Alliance to both—Windfury, for example, was Horde-only in Classic and Blessing of Kings was Alliance-only. Runes for druids and hunters have made them available to both factions in Season of Discovery.

"I think on a macro level, I think the measures we put in place to preserve faction balance were a great success," she said. "That's something we've never done before."

Having everybody just laughing and giggling because it's just chaos, and it's a big free for all, has been great fun.

Nora Valletta

Some of the runes and new abilities that have been added for various classes are also big hits, she said: "One that has been most successful is the Crusader Strike rune for Paladins. They were very, very excited about that—and as it turns out, they've continued to be very excited about it."

Associate production director Clayton Stone said that he's personally a huge fan of Warcraft Classic Hardcore, the permadeath flavor of WoW, which isn't part of Season of Discovery. But when it comes to SoD, the Dark Rider questline is his favorite addition. 

The Dark Riders are seven high-level elite enemies scattered around the game world that drop Dalaran Tomes for the quest. It's a long and difficult series of quests that requires players to work as a group, rewarding a powerful new rune-based ability for each class.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

"It requires players to group up and really scour the world to find these unique tomes and bring them back to a central location," Stone said. "There are some challenges to overcome as a group. That's been really fun to play, and fun to watch players discover."

"I've really, really been enjoying the Stranglethorn PvP event, the Blood Moon," Valletta said. "That's what I do when I get off work."

Stranglethorn Vale turns into a PvP free-for-all at set times for the Blood Moon event, with high stakes rewards for players who do well. Valletta said that was her final suggestion for the best changes introduced in Season of Discovery.

"I initially wasn't sure if it was for me," she said, because you could only group with five players and it felt a little wild. "It just sounds like utter chaos, but I've just been having a blast and getting into Discord. Playing with your friends, participating in the event, having everybody just laughing and giggling because it's just chaos, and it's a big free for all, has been great fun."