Before detailing what is coming next to World of Warcraft — spoiler alert: it’s a big new expansion — BlizzCon revealed a “vanilla” server is in the works, going by the name World of Warcraft Classic. Fans have been asking for a way to officially play ye olde base game for a while, and Blizzard is finally delivering.
That’s right, with the launch of World of Warcraft Classic, you can play the original MMO before the years of updates and expansions morphed it into the game players know today. Several fan-made vanilla servers have surfaced over the years, but all have been shut down.
Now, Blizzard is creating an official server for the classic version of the game, but it’s a big undertaking, according to executive producer J. Allen Brack. In a statement to PC Gamer, Brack said Blizzard has wanted to respond to fan requests for vanilla servers but faced several development issues.
“The original problem was that we would have to run two MMOs,” Brack explained. “We would have to run classic WoW, and then current WoW [at the same time]. Classic WoW and current WoW really don’t work the same way any more. Classic WoW has all kinds of bugs and problems, it has all kinds of exploits and hacks that everyone knows about. And in current WoW, we’d done an excellent job of reducing all of those problems, and we didn’t see how we could possibly run two MMOs like this.”
Brack went on to say the team found a solution to the huge technical challenge by getting classic World of Warcraft running on their “modern technical infrastructure.” Developers have problems to solve still with various technical aspects of the servers, and Blizzard isn’t committing to any sort of deadline or release window yet.
“What we’re announcing is actually extremely limited,” said Brack. “We’re only saying that we’re doing it, that we’re committed to creating and releasing Classic servers. It’s a larger endeavor than people might imagine, but that we’re committed to doing it and we’re excited.”