WoW Classic's Season of Discovery devs announce plans to slash mount prices in half, ramp up XP gains to 100%, and create an eventual 20-player Molten Core

Ragnaros the fire lord, a towering elemental of flame, does battle with players in World of Warcraft Classic.
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Season of Discovery phase 2 has been chugging along, bringing players to a level cap of 40—also leading to a harsher demand when it comes to Classic's old XP and gold grinds. In case you missed the boat entirely, SoD is a version of WoW Classic with a smaller team that's all about mixing things up: Smaller, phase-by-phase level caps, new abilities, low-level raids, taking rogues and healing mages, and so on.

In a recent developer update, the SoD team unveiled a few plans for the future, both immediate and distant. First up—XP Santa is here ahead of schedule. Discoverer's Delight is a catch-up mechanism for returning players, which lets them get to season-current content just that bit faster. Previously, this was a 50% boost that stopped at level 24—the past season's cap. Now it'll be a 100% boost that stops at level 39, just one level shy of the current phase's ceiling. 

"When we first concepted Season of Discovery we knew we wanted alts to be a major fixture of the experience, and so we decided to add an XP buff, Discoverer’s Delight, into previous level bands at the beginning of each phase," the update states. "... but if you went into phase 2 with several characters at 25 already, it can be a little daunting to level them right now."

Blizzard adds: "We had always intended to increase Discoverer’s Delight to a 100% buff from [levels] 1-39 when phase 3 launched, so this is merely moving this change forward from the start of next phase, to a midpoint of this current phase." 

In addition, level 40 mounts are half-price. In Classic these things would run you a pricey 100 gold—20 for the riding skill, 80 for the mount itself. These savings coincide with a buff to cash rewards from questing across the board, in an attempt to "make questing while levelling a bit more lucrative". Which makes sense—faster levelling means fewer quests, and fewer quests makes for a poorer character. Bites if you'd just spent a pretty penny for a pony, though.

Lastly, Molten Core's going to be a 20-player raid when SoD eventually makes its way to Classic's original cap. The team says that, initially, 40-player raids were considered an integral part of the experience they didn't want to change, "[40-player raids are] such a defining characteristic of Original WoW and are utterly unique to this version of the game. It wasn’t really even in consideration to eschew them entirely."

WoW SoD Phase 2

(Image credit: Blizzard)

However, "we’ve realised that we’ve set some communities up to potentially struggle a bit by asking them to recruit up from one or two 10-player raid groups to a full 40", which is fair. Imagine being an established group, then having to triple your size just to play the current content—a lot could go wrong. 

Instead, SoD's devs currently intend to use raids like Molten Core to "bridge" 10-player raid groups to more crowded content. A reduction of other 40-player raids isn't off the table however, but there are a lot of technical issues to consider:

"While overhauling all 40 player raids down to 20 would be theoretically possible, this may be prohibitively difficult and detract significantly from the other features and content we have planned to implement in a post-60 Season of Discovery … Molten Core is definitely unique here in that it is simple enough mechanically and under the hood that it would be relatively easy to pare down." The SoD team also has plans to switch around some raids in the level 60 ecosystem—though it's all whiteboard plans and napkin documents at the moment. 

A "theoretical example" is floated around traditionally "catch-up" raids like Zul'Gurub, which "could see adjustments that bring their challenge level up slightly, but also greatly increase the quality and diversity of the rewards, so that they feel like a viable progression path alongside other current content in that phase."

Ultimately, it's just nice to see the SoD continuing to cook with abandon—the more controlled, cautious and streamlined space of retail WoW is like that for a reason, but it's also a touch dry. I'm glad to see the SoD team given the continued freedom to go buckwild with changes, for good or for ill.

Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.