Blizzard Entertainment has revealed that World of Warcraft Classic will see up to six phases of raid progression. These phases are meant to mirror the original release of raid content during the early days of World of Warcraft. Previously at BlizzCon 2018, the studio said that there would be four total phases.
"Our focus is still primarily on player power-progression, but we're also aiming to capture what it felt like to play in a realm community in original WoW," wrote WoW community manager Randy 'Kaivax' Jordan in a post on the WoW forums.
WoW Classic will launch with content up through the original Patch 1.2. A following update will move to Patch 1.3 and 1.4, including Dire Maul and world bosses like Doom Lord Kazzak. The next update after that will cover Patch 1.5 and 1.6 content, with the Blackwing Lair raid. Here's the current release plan:
Phase 1 (Classic Launch)
- Molten Core
- Dire Maul
- Blackwing Lair
- Darkmoon Faire
- Darkmoon deck drops begin
- Green Dragons
- Ahn’Qiraj War Effort begins
- Ahn’Qiraj raids open when the war effort dictates
- Dungeon loot reconfiguration: Tier 0.5 Dungeon gear, Relics, drop rates and location changes
- Scourge Invasion
This schedule is slightly different from the original release schedule, but most of the changes are meant to provide clear, easy progression. Certain content releases would break other future raid content.
"First, Zul'Gurub and Blackwing Lair unlocking at the same time would differ from how they originally came out, and it makes sense to not have gear and enchants from Zul'Gurub available during early progress into Blackwing Lair. Secondly, the Emerald Dragons should be available earlier than the opening of Ahn'Qiraj, as they give us a way to start preparing nature resist gear for some of the encounters in AQ," wrote Jordan.
There's currently no time table on the post-launch phases of content. Blizzard also noted that PVP content is not on the planned list at all, because the team is still looking over PVP reward progression. There's also no word whether World of Warcraft Classic will extend to future expansions, including Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King.
WoW Classic is meant to give players who have fallen out of favorite with modern WoW a chance to relive their glory days. (I played the BlizzCon demo and found a game that wasn't for me.) It follows classic servers for other MMOs like Everquest and Rift, which have proven to be very successful for both games. Access to WoW Classic will be included with every World of Warcraft subscription. WoW Classic is scheduled for a Summer 2019 release date.