What Do Blizzard’s Recent Changes Mean for the Future of WoW Classic?

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What Do Blizzard's Recent Changes Mean for the Future of WoW Classic?



Blizzard recently published a series of Blue Posts detailing the reasoning behind the recent proc effect change in Classic WoW coming with Patch 1.13.6, using peculiar language such as “err on the side of fun”, “we know that perfect authenticity is ultimately impossible”, and “keep Classic fun, in the “spirit” of the original game”. In addition to other incoming changes, Blizzard seems to be fixing and adjusting various issues across Classic that doesn’t necessarily apply directly to Phase 6 or Naxxramas in general… could these changes be a clue to the future of Classic WoW?

Warning And Account Actions Against Multi-Boxers

For the first time in World of Warcraft’s history, Blizzard is taking a stand against Multi-Boxers. Multi-Boxing has been a thorn in the community’s side for a very long time. In a very direct way, Multi-Boxing has been a perfect example of “pay to win” and in a world like Classic WoW, where open world PvP can be vital for gathering valuable resources, Multi-Boxers have been plaguing Classic PvP Servers since launch. The community is ecstatic for this change, other than the Multi-Boxers themselves, of course. While this change applies to both Classic and Retail World of Warcraft, it is a welcome change and an overall positive for the future of both games.

While this direction that Blizzard is taking won’t be killing Multi-Boxing outright, it does ban third party programs sending keystrokes to multiple game clients. Essentially, those giant roaming 40-man raids who all Arcane Explosion and Fire Blast at the same time will no longer be allowed by Blizzard’s post. However, players can still run around with multiple characters on follow, but they won’t be able to send keystrokes across multiple clients simultaneously, an important distinction that has to be clarified.

As World of Warcraft has evolved, our policies have also evolved to support the health of the game and the needs of the players. We’ve examined the use of third-party input broadcasting software, which allows a single keystroke or action to be automatically mirrored to multiple game clients, and we’ve seen an increasingly negative impact to the game as this software is used to support botting and automated gameplay. The use of input broadcasting software that mirrors keystrokes to multiple WoW game clients will soon be considered an actionable offense. We believe this policy is in the best interests of the game and the community.

We will soon begin issuing warnings to all players who are detected using input broadcasting software to mirror commands to multiple accounts at the same time (often used for multi-boxing). With these warnings, we intend to notify players that they should not use this software while playing World of Warcraft. Soon thereafter, the warnings will escalate to account actions, which can include suspension and, if necessary, permanent closure of the player’s World of Warcraft account(s). We strongly advise you to cease using this type of software immediately to maintain uninterrupted access to World of Warcraft.

Thank you for your understanding.

Changing Attack Power Buffs For Hunters

In the patch notes for 1.13.6, Blizzard mentions a bug fix for Hunters where Attack Power Bonuses weren’t applying to Ranged Attack power. While this change won’t shake up the Classic Raiding meta too much, it is a welcome change that makes playing a Hunter feel a bit better, as your buffs will now impact your character in a more significant way. And it always felt kind of odd clearing out a Dire Maul Tribute on a Hunter and not really needing to take those buffs in there! Another welcome change, but you have to wonder why make this change this late into Classic WoW’s timeline?

Many helpful auras and buffs that improve Attack Power now properly apply to Ranged Attack Power.

Developers’ notes: This was an issue that was the result of a technical limitation in original World of Warcraft that was fixed in later updates to the game. During internal testing we discovered that this issue also affected the Paladin and Shaman 6-piece Tier 3 set bonuses, and in fixing that, we decided to also fix it in many other situations where buffs and auras should affect Ranged Attack Power.

Warsong Gulch Map Adjusted To Counter Griefing

In a fairly ambiguous Blue Post, Blizzard explains they changed the Warsong Gulch map on the PTR and after many players reached out, Blizzard reverted some of the changes. As an avid “gulch enthusiast” myself, I saw these changes first hand on the PTR, where it left many of the WSG community dumbfounded. To summarize, the three most significant changes were around the Horde base, making it impossible to jump onto the top of the tunnel from the mid-field, putting up an invisible barrier around the Leaf and Zerker Huts, and changes to the Horde’s “banana” inside the base. Quickly, the community begged Blizzard to revert the Horde Top of Tunnel jump, as this is a critical jump for the competitive scene. Thankfully, Blizzard quickly reverted the change, ending up wth a net positive in changes to the Gulch. To learn more about Warsong Gulch jumps, check out the Advanced Warsong Gulch Guide.

Advanced Warsong Gulch Guide

Sapphiron Changed To Match Original Vanilla

In a unique “Deep Dive” Blue Post, Blizzard goes through the thought process and decision making around changing Sapphiron’s Frost Aura to tick every two seconds instead of every one second. Basically, on the PTR for the Frostwyrm Lair testing, Sapphiron was ticking the Frost Aura once every second, dealing 599 Frost Damage to every player in the raid, every second. Players quickly raised concern, as this wasn’t the way the ability worked in Original Vanilla, as videos from the time showed it ticking every two seconds. Blizzard digged into the code and spoke with the original coder from Vanilla and got to the bottom of it. Essentially, it was supposed to tick every second, but it was bugged. Blizzard decided that they should go with what people experienced in Vanilla, even though it was bugged in Vanilla. Another welcome change leading up to Phase 6 and Naxxramas launch.

Sapphiron Strategy Guide

Debuff Proc Weapons Changed To Allow Procs During Global Cooldown

In another fairly longer Blue Post, Blizzard explains why they are changing items like Nightfall to allow procs during the global cooldown. This is certainly an unprecedented change. Blizzard even went out of share their reasoning behind this change, surprising most of the community by erring on the side of fun. With this quote being the most surprising, “we know that perfect authenticity is ultimately impossible” which can be interpreted as Blizzard saying directly that they are deviating from the initial premise of Classic WoW somewhat. Originally, Classic WoW was supposed to be a historical time capsule, the original game as it was, over 15 years ago, bugs and all. At least that was what the entire premise behind “No Changes” was about. But overtime, the community has evolved and taken a slight step back from a hard “No Changes” stance.

A perfect example of this is the change to Ectoplasmic Distiller, which had a bug in original Vanilla that created a massive amount of threat on bosses when used on them. But nobody really knew about this bug in Vanilla, so it wasn’t abused. If this bug stayed in the game, it would have essentially trivialized all the content in Classic, even more so than it already is. So this was an example of the community saying, “Hey, we wanted No Changes, but not for this” and Blizzard obliged.

With items like Nightfall being changed to be more useful, it won’t be likely that raid compositions will drastically be shifting to accommodate for this item or that Retribution Paladins will be replacing Warriors by the dozen. But this does set an interesting precedent for Blizzard and Classic’s future. How much will Blizzard be willing change for the good of the game? For Fun? or even the actual health of the game?

Blizzard Wanted To Change Honor Pools But Decided Against It

Stemming from a Blue Post that surprised the PvP community, the playerbase pushed back against Blizzard asking why this change was coming so late in the game. Nearing Phase 6, stopping players from “Bracket Expansion” won’t do anything except making it harder for people that are ranking this late in the game, so many people already took advantage of this throughout all of Classic. People were wondering why Blizzard would make this change now, before Blizzard went back on this decision.

To break it down, players were creating hundreds of level 1 characters, getting 15 Honorable Kills, and then deleting the level 1 characters. The way the Honor System works in Classic, it would count all of these non-existent players, creating a larger total pool, and adding extra players into the top brackets artificially. By Naxxramas’s launch, hundreds and hundreds of players have reached Rank 14 by using the “bracket expansion” method, why make the change now? Who benefits from this change? All it does is hurt the last couple of people still ranking in Phase 5. So that begs the question —

What Do The Most Recent Changes Mean For Classic’s Future?

Many people have been speculating what will be coming to Classic after Naxxramas launches. Many players are hopeful that Burning Crusade comes next, especially after Blizzard sent out a Survey on what the community would prefer on how this content would be rolled out (I’m a fan of the fresh 58!). But if you take a step back, and think about who the target demographic was for Classic, as a whole, it was private server players. Private Server players once numbered 800,000 strong on Nostalrius, one of the largest Private Servers to ever exist. One of the unique thing about Private Server players, was that they had constantly played over and over again, on new servers, often called “NEXT FRESH”.

Even in Classic WoW’s launch, one of the most exciting times around the game was the launch period, when everyone was starting at level 1. Nobody had 100’s of gold, nobody had an epic riding mount, nobody had killed Ragnaros yet. It was an extremely exciting and fun time for World of Warcraft. Why not capture that same excitement again? Why not launch new FRESH servers after Naxxramas?

If you think about it, many of the changes that are coming out from Blizzard wouldn’t have much of an effect on a Burning Crusade launch. Honor Pool changes have actually no effect whatsoever on Burning Crusade, as that entire system is thrown out the window. Warsong Gulch map changes? Everybody plays arena at that pont, nobody does competitive Gulch for ranking. Debuff procs off Global Cooldown? There are so few weapons like Nightfall in Burning Crusade, other than Stormherald and Deep Thunder, but their proc effect is a Stun, which doesn’t even apply to Raid Bosses. So then the question is, were these changes implemented this late in the game for a new Classic Fresh?

Going back to a previous question posed, how far would Blizzard be willing to go to make changes for the community and the health of the game? And what would more changes even look like? Let’s take a look at what things Blizzard could do for “Classic Season 2” if FRESH servers were to happen —

1. Smaller Spell Batch Window

This is pretty much a no brainer. Right now, players have been dealing with 400 ms spell batching windows for a year and some change, that is way, way too much and surprisingly has created a slew of problems on its own. With a smaller batch window, the game feels tighter and high end PvP communities would feel the difference immediately. Whether Burning Crusade or Classic Season 2 happens, this is a must fix issue. I can only imagine how awful Arena will feel with 400 ms spell batching windows.

2. Patch 1.5 Alterac Valley

1.5 Alterac Valley was something the community was clamoring for leading up to Classic WoW’s launch. Those week long Alterac Valleys are a thing of the past, a relic of a truly Classic Experience. 1.12 Alterac Valley is heavily nerfed, simplified, and dumbed down, and it makes sense as to why Blizzard did it in the original Vanilla. They wanted players to hit Alterac Valley exalted for those sweet Frost Resistance pieces for Naxxramas. For Classic Season 2, 1.5 Alterac Valley has to happen, as the entire community saw how awful the Alterac Valley Honor Ranking ended up being…

3. Overtuned Raids

Look, nobody ever claimed Raiding in Classic WoW was hard. These raids were created 15 years ago and the majority of its difficulty was based on getting 40 people online with Dial-Up internet and playing with ~5 frames per second. But what if Blizzard made them harder? What if Blizzard changed armor values, spell resistances, health pools, or damage of trash mobs and raid bosses? It could breathe new life into a “Classic Season 2” while creating a new challenge around old content.

4. World Buff Changes

One of the most toxic things in the Classic WoW community is the “Purge Meta” around PvP servers. In addition to the toxic environment, World Buffs can make new content insanely easier than it already is. One of the unique ideas from private servers, was when new content was released, players would have their World Buffs purged off them by zoning into the raid. Both making the content harder and relieving a ton of stress from the community, where they don’t have to worry about zoning into the raid with their buffs the night new content comes out. Lastly, this concept gave guilds a goal to strive for, to beat the content without world buffs, before the content “goes on farm status”. While there isn’t necessarily a best option for dealing with this issue, it is something that should absolutely be addressed before Classic Season 2.

Announcement At Blizzconline?

No matter what is coming next for Classic WoW, hopefully Blizzard will announce something at Blizzconline, which will be taking place February 19th and 20th of next year, 2021. Blizzard also announced that Blizzconline will be free to watch, for everyone, so be sure to tune in next February!





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