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Everything we know about World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic

WoW: Wrath of the Lich King Classic - The Lich King stands menacingly, holding his sword towards the camera
(Image credit: Blizzard)

It's not long to wait until Wrath of the Lich King Classic, so it's time to get excited all over again for one of World of Warcraft's most beloved expansions. It's hard to believe that the original WotLK launched over 13 years ago, at the end of 2008—the expansion that essentially brought Arthas Menethil, as the Lich King, front and centre for the first time since Warcraft 3.

Like Burning Crusade Classic before it, WotLK Classic won't be exactly the same as it was back then. Much of it will remain untouched though, and the changes that are planned aren't going to alter what made the expansion great. If you're curious to know more, I'll go over everything below. Here's what we know about World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic. 

Release date

When is the pre-patch?

The Wrath of the Lich King Classic pre-patch arrives on August 30. This includes character balancing and reworks, the inscription profession, achievements, and the "new" Death Knight class.

The roadmap for the pre-patch is as follows:

  • September 6 - 13: Zombie Plague event
  • September 13 - 25: Scourge Invasion
  • September 26: Wrath Classic release date

Wrath of the Lich King Classic release date 

Blizzard has confirmed that Wrath of the Lich King Classic will arrive on September 26. The beta started in June and you can opt-in via the official website (opens in new tab).

With the new Dragonflight (opens in new tab) expansion arriving on retail WoW by the end of 2022, the Wrath Classic release date gives it some breathing space if you're hoping to check out both.  

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How much will it cost? 

Wrath of the Lich King Classic will be part of the monthly World of Warcraft subscription ($15/£10/€13) and includes access to WoW Classic/TBC Classic/WoW Shadowlands. 

It's unclear whether you'll need to pay to clone your character (if you also want to continue playing the other Classic versions), but I'll update this guide as soon as there's more. Otherwise, you will only need to pay extra if you decide to use a level boost or transfer your existing character to another server.

Expansion summary

(Image credit: Blizzard)

What to expect from Wrath of the Lich King Classic 

The second World of Warcraft expansion is one of the most popular. Arthas Menethil's journey started back in Warcraft 3, and this expansion takes us to Northrend to essentially conclude his story and face him as the Lich King in Icecrown Citadel. This is also the expansion that introduced the popular Ulduar raid as well as the Death Knight class.

Here's a summary of what the expansion includes:

  • Level cap increased to 80
  • Death Knight class (starts at level 55)
  • Northrend continent opens up with 11 new zones
  • Several new raids including Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel
  • Dual talent specialisation
  • Achievements
  • Inscription profession added

What's changing

So, what will be different? 

Blizzard has stated that a number of quality of life changes will be added to Wrath of the Lich King Classic, that weren't there in the original. 

You can roll your first Death Knight without the need for a level 55 (or higher) character on your realm. This essentially means you can skip a huge chunk of leveling and get to Northrend much faster than you would if you were just starting your journey in Classic. This will only apply to the first one you make though—any subsequent Death Knights will require you to meet the original unlock requirements, which includes one Death Knight per realm and an existing level 55+ character on the same realm. 

Level 70 boosts will be available to buy so you can step into Azeroth and begin your journey to Northrend from launch, rather than having to grind through the previous 70 levels before you're able to hit the new stuff. Level boosts were offered for Burning Crusade Classic, too.

One of the more surprising changes is the removal of the dungeon finder tool, which was originally added in the original WotLK expansion. Many of the complaints about modern WoW is that it's lost its sense of community, and this is largely blamed on the introduction of automated group finders where there's little need to communicate with one another to get into group content.

The Barber Shop will see many improvements over the original and might even include many of the options that are available in modern WoW. And thanks to player feedback during TBC Classic, Personal Arena Rating will replace Arena Teams in WotLK. 

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Wrath of the Lich King Classic will introduce 'Fresh Start' servers 

Wrath of the Lich King is one of the most fondly remembered of all World of Warcraft expansions, and Blizzard is clearly expecting a good number of players to jump into WoW Classic for the first time. But no one likes to feel that they're late to the party, so "fresh start" servers aim to let people create a new character from scratch and build a new community with like-minded players.

These new servers will come with some restrictions (opens in new tab)

  • For at least 90 days, you will not be allowed to boost a character on Fresh Start realms.
  • For at least 90 days, Fresh Start realms will not be available destinations for character transfers.
  • Death Knights cannot be created on these realms without a level 55 character on that same realm.

It's important to note that the 90-day limit is the absolute minimum that Blizzard is considering lifting these restrictions. A post on the official forums (opens in new tab) reassured players that feedback would be listened to and Blizzard won't rush any decision regarding character transfers.

Additionally, all WoW Classic and Burning Crusade Classic zones and dungeons will be unlocked on these new servers, including the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj.

Phases

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Wrath of the Lich King Classic phases 

We don't know what the planned schedule for the WotLK phases is, but we do know what content you can expect for each one. Here's the list: 

  • Phase 1 (October 6): Naxxramas, The Eye of Eternity, The Obsidian Sanctum
  • Phase 2 (TBA): Ulduar
  • Phase 3 (TBA): Trial of the Crusader, Onyxia's Lair
  • Phase 4 (TBA): Icecrown Citadel
  • Phase 5 (TBA): The Ruby Sanctum

You'll be able to make a Death Knight during the WotLK pre-patch, too, which will give you the chance to try out the "new" hero class before arriving in Northrend for the first time. 

Sarah started as a freelance writer in 2018, writing for PCGamesN, TechRadar, GamingBible, Red Bull Gaming and more. In 2021, she was offered a full-time position on the PC Gamer team where she takes every possible opportunity to talk about World of Warcraft and Elden Ring. When not writing guides, most of her spare time is spent in Azeroth—though she's quite partial to JRPGs too. One of her fondest hopes is to one day play through the ending of Final Fantasy X without breaking down into a sobbing heap. She probably has more wolves in Valheim than you.