Rogue combo points posed another challenge, because the game’s modern resource system knows how to gain and spend combo points, but not how to lose them when changing targets. There are also the older combat formulas to consider, so we had to bring back the code for the prior combat formulas including critical hits and crushing blows. Their chance to occur is also modified by the difference between the defender’s defense and the attacker’s weapon skill. Yes—weapon skill is back. We had the data for this aspect of the classic game, but we also needed to restore the code that increased your skills when you used them and made your skill level affect your chance to hit or get a glancing blow.
In-game mail between guildmates now is instant, but in the past, it had a 1-hour delay, just like mail between strangers. The change to instant mail made things more convenient, but removed the social interaction of having to meet up with someone to make a transaction if you wanted something sooner. So we’ve reintroduced that delay for that reason. Other conveniences such as auto-completion of names or quickly clearing a mailbox have been left in. This seemed an easy enough call given that someone could create an add-on to do the very same thing, and we felt those sorts of conveniences didn’t impact the fundamental “classic” experience.
Who is Joana? Joana, (AKA Mancow, or FuriousPaul) speedran 1-60 vanilla WoW from 2005 - 2007. I have been server first to level 60 seven times in a row, along with winning Blizzard's "First to level 50" contest they held back in 2006. I also have the fastest time through original vanilla 1-60 WoW in 4 days 20 hours. I have produced a very useful 1-60 horde speed leveling guide along with a 1-60 speedrun video.
Once we had our starting point, we began taking stock of what we had in the source code and what we could make available, which included restoring the original development database from archival backups. After stitching various key pieces together, we had a locally rebuilt version of Patch 1.12 running internally. The team could create characters and do basic questing and leveling—and dying, which we did many times. For testing purposes. Obviously.
To get past these hurdles, the team looked at what we liked (art and data) of what we had and what we didn’t like (the code). We wanted to see if we could utilize classic art assets and data within our modern code and get things to play nicely together. Things didn’t quite work right out of the gate, but with some trial and error, we were able to pull together a proof of concept of how to get things to work together and have something playable. This built our confidence that we could deliver a Blizzard-quality experience with the modern platform.
Before work began on World of Warcraft: Classic, it was only possible for players to experience the original World of Warcraft by using private servers, which are illegal, often have stability or corruption problems, and generally are very imperfect recreations of the authentic World of Warcraft experience. As much as Blizzard has been aware of the desires of their community, until recently it seemed impossible for them to emulate Classic servers due to the technical hurdles of essentially having to run two massively multiplayer online games side-by-side. A breakthrough was then achieved that made it possible to run Classic servers on the modern architecture of current World of Warcraft servers.
Nov 15 The most hardcore thing you can do. In vanilla? I have a few things that could be it. Playing on a perma death PvP server and kill kel'thuzad. Without dying even once. Being able to kill a mage/rogue/warlock/pally in all BiS gear Soloing a high end dungeon boss like rivendare or dark master gandling. Leveling to 60 with no gear or weapons or pet of any kind. That is by far the most hardcore, life threatening thing you can do in vanilla wowHavell7 Nov 15
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So we asked ourselves, would it still be possible to deliver an authentic classic experience if we took our modern code, with all its back-end improvements and changes, and used it to process the Patch 1.12 game data? While that might seem counterintuitive, this would inherently include classic systems like skill ranks, old quests and terrain, talents, and so on, while later features like Transmog and Achievements would effectively not exist because they were entirely absent from the data. After weeks of R&D, experimentation, and prototyping, we were confident we could deliver the classic WoW content and gameplay without sacrificing the literally millions of hours put in to back-end development over the past 13 years.