World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic: Release date, news, level boosts, and everything we know so far

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Looking for details on Burning Crusade Classic? If you played World of Warcraft back in 2007, you should have a good idea of what to expect. As the first expansion to World of Warcraft Classic, it revisits the era where we first stepped through the Dark Portal and into the broken realms of Outland many years ago. The original WoW Classic still exists though, so if you'd rather stick to the original game without the trappings of the first expansion, that option is there, too.

Burning Crusade Classic won't be exactly as it was, either. Unlike WoW Classic, Blizzard is making some pretty big changes this time around. Don't worry, though, because everything you need to know about Burning Crusade Classic is right here.

When does Burning Crusade Classic launch? 

Good news! World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic launches on June 1. 

The pre-expansion patch on May 18 began the transition to Burning Crusade Classic. When you log in after that patch is deployed, all players will have to choose whether to continue on into the Burning Crusade or transfer to a special set of servers that will stay locked in vanilla-era WoW where the level cap is still 60.

How much will it cost? 

Like WoW Classic, Burning Crusade Classic is included in a World of Warcraft monthly subscription, which is $15. You won't have to pay anything extra—unless you want to buy a level boost or clone your character so it can keep playing on vanilla servers (explained below). 

So, what's the deal with The Burning Crusade? 

The Burning Crusade was WoW's first-ever expansion, so obviously that's a big deal. By today's standards, I'd actually rate The Burning Crusade as WoW's worst expansion. Like Classic, it's a relic of a different time when MMOs were a lot less accessible and a lot more demanding of your spare time. It's a very different game to modern WoW, but it also does a much better job of forcing players to socialize and cooperate. Classic is about stepping back in time, and, just like WoW Classic, many of Burning Crusade's rough edges will be what people love the most about it. But if you're already playing WoW Classic and having fun, Burning Crusade Classic is going to be amazing.

Here's some of what to look forward to:

  • The level cap is raised to 70
  • A whole new continent to explore with some gorgeous and memorable areas
  • Flying mounts
  • Some of the best raids in WoW history
  • A much more focused PVP experience with the addition of arenas
  • Two new races: Blood elves and Draenei
  • Horde players can play paladins and Alliance players can play shamans

So how does this work? What if I like WoW Classic? 

This is where it gets slightly complicated. See, Burning Crusade Classic and WoW Classic (which recreates WoW as it existed in 2006) will actually be two separate games. It's your choice which one you want to play on. When Burning Crusade Classic launches later this year, every player will decide if they want to continue onto The Burning Crusade era or stay in the Classic era, where the level cap is 60. All the current WoW Classic servers will continue onto the Burning Crusade, while players who want to stay with Classic will be moved over to a new set of vanilla servers where they can continue playing WoW Classic. Blizzard has also confirmed that, for a fee, you can clone a character so you can play it both on WoW Classic and Burning Crusade Classic servers. It'll essentially just be a carbon copy of your original character.

Aside from that, Burning Crusade Classic will work largely the same way that WoW Classic did. The expansion will be broken into phases that loosely resemble the live updates that Burning Crusade originally received in 2007. Every few months, Blizzard will roll out a new phase and introduce new raids, dungeons, and features to simulate what it was like to play back in the day.

Here are the planned phases:

  • Phase 1:  Karazhan, Gruul’s Lair, and Magtheridon’s Lair Raids will open
  • Phase 2: Serpentshrine Cavern, Tempest Keep, and Arena Season 1
  • Phase 3: Hyjal, Black Temple, Arena Season 2
  • Phase 4: Zul’Aman and Arena Season 3
  • Phase 5: The Sunwell and Arena Season 4

(Image credit: Blizzard)

You mentioned Blizzard is also making changes? 

That's right. While WoW Classic was originally a faithful remake of 2006-era WoW, Burning Crusade Classic is making some improvements to try and cater toward a more modern audience. So while it'll largely be the Burning Crusade you remember from 2007, some things will be different.

Here's what we know:

  • Because WoW Classic's raiders are too good, Blizzard will be using the pre-nerfed versions of Burning Crusade's raid bosses. This just means raids in Burning Crusade Classic will be more difficult as bosses will deal more damage and have more HP.
  • Alliance paladins will get access to Seal of Blood, which was originally just for Horde paladins. This is because Seal of Blood is just flat-out better than the Alliance version, so this is being done to preserve faction balance.
  • Arena matchmaking is being overhauled to make it more accessible and in-line with the modern experience. This includes a bunch of tweaks, but one of the biggest is that arena teams will be able to have replacements who can sub in if someone isn't able to log on and play. That's a nice change for PvPers.
  • The Looking For Group tool originally included in Burning Crusade will be modernized. Don't worry, it won't feature automated matchmaking like the Dungeon Finder does in modern WoW. But it'll have better functionality so you can find people to group with a bit easier.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

What if I don't have a level 60 character ready when Burning Crusade Classic launches? 

Good news: Blizzard is selling a one-time character level boost. This will let filthy casuals (like me) jump into the Dark Portal without having to first grind up a level 60 character in WoW Classic. There are some restrictions, though. The boost isn't intended as a way to skip the level grind but rather to help players catch up to their friends or tourists who just want a quick nostalgia fix. We don't know how much the boost will cost, but here's how it works: 

  • You can't boost a draenei or blood elf character
  • You can only purchase the boost once per account
  • The boost only works on Burning Crusade Classic, not WoW Classic

World of Warcraft Classic BlizzCon 2021

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Anything else I should know? 

If you plan on playing a blood elf of draenei, you're going to be able to start leveling that character before Burning Crusade Classic launches. Back in the day, players wanting to make the switch had to wait until the expansion was already out, putting them way behind their guildmates. It sucked. This time around, though, Blizzard will build up to the launch with a special pre-expansion event which will let players start blood elf paladins and draenei shamans early, so they can get them up to level 60 before the Dark Portal opens. 

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.