[Classic] Looking to the Future

Hello, I’d like to kick off a discussion into the future of Classic WoW. Now that we are just a few weeks away from Wrath of the Lich King launching, I think it is a good time to look back and think where the future may lead. Feel free to chime in with your own feedback!

Personally my journey with classic ends with the end of WotLK if there is plans for Cataclysm to follow suit. There’s a few reasons for this but one of the main ones relates to the Shattering. This was a huge turning point for WoW’s history as there was no going back on this one. No way to “relive the old world” as you quest a new alt or as a new player. Sure, TBC and wrath changed the game and how it was played, but those changes weren’t quite reflected until you reached higher levels where you unlocked the new skills and talents.

I remember exploring Azeroth post-Cata release and was in awe of the devastation at first, but then all that nostalgia that I had of visiting thousand needles raceway, or questing in darkshore on a fresh Night elf… it was gone. It was too different from what was a well established introduction to the game for many players.

Another main reason was this was the first expansion that saw class design changes on a more prominent level. Instead of tweaking abilities and skills and adding new ones, they completely re-did classes such as paladin to utilize holy power. Hunter was changed to use focus instead of mana and be able to shoot while moving. A significant change to hunter leveling was they started out at lvl 1 with a pet! Such a drastic difference from the original experience of fighting to survive and then picking out a pet to tame at level 10… Warlock soul shards became a resource instead of a inventory management item… etc. etc.

This was also the first expansion to see sweeping changes to stats, not just additions and minor tweaks (such as vanilla crit going from % to rating in TBC). I guess optimizing so many different stats was too much for the average player to wrap their head around so they wanted to simplify it… personally I really enjoyed the optimization that came with the various stats choices.

Another major change was talent trees. It wasn’t quite the “retail” change as what MoP was, but if I recall you had one specialization and you could no longer split up talent points between trees. You had to pick one and that’s what you stuck with for the most part. (yes I know there was “some” overlap but not much). Your choices for talents were narrowed so drastically that you pretty much only had one or two builds to choose from. The abilities you got were now given as soon as you got the talent tree unlocked instead of this epic ability you get at a later stage of leveling.

There were things it did right too and it was a fun expansion by most standards. Given the above things though to me it just won’t feel like Classic anymore. There was a reason subs started hemorrhaging before Cata was even over. TBC expanded on what vanilla had and polished it. Wrath expanded further on what TBC had and polished it more. Wrath wasn’t perfect either but I think it can be classified as the end of the classic era - with Cata being the true turning point to a more simplified game that pulled away from many of the core elements of vanilla and what made it so unique.

So if no Cata, where do you go from here? Well Classic WoW is already a very different game. Who says we have to continue to follow the expansions? Even if you follow the expansions, do you continue down the same path that retail paved? I’d love to see new content, or even content from different expansions brought into a classic world. Then again, I’d probably be 100% content of just starting over FRESH to play vanilla again, then TBC, then wrath. Rinse and repeat… This was and still is honestly the favorite versions of the game for me. Also for many others, just look at the data from private servers over the years where thousands of people played the same thing over and over for years on end.


Cata is coming whether we like it or not, but that doesn’t mean we need to bring the baggage original Cata came with.

Vanilla was #nochanges, Tbc was #somechanges, Wotlk will be #devschangeit.
I propose Cata be #allthechanges

Bring some more people into the team to redo particular things people did not like, some which sixxfury brought up in the post.

-De-retail-ify the game modes and features by not including things that are synonyms with retail, removing lfr completely is kinda nobrainer and is probably already planned to be axed.

Remove the gate that you are required to pick last talent in a tree in order to unlock other two talent trees and let people have some fun coming up with new and interesting hybrid talent specs.

Remove and replace spine of Deathwing and Deathwing fights, the two that majority of people didn’t like for various reasons and let us experience it in a completely new remake of the fight to dispose of Deathwing ourselves and not thrall with his power stone. Imagine the hype people will get when they know in advance that new fight is planned as last boss of expansion, people would keep sub up just to experience that new fight.

Let people play in the original pre-cata world how it is right now in wrath, and make the shattered content an optional content for those that wanna go into it, old one is no flying, new one is Cata flying, giving people choice which version of barrens to quest in would go a long way into keeping people interested in the game. Chromie time is not the solution in classic but there is not much we can do about the fact that pre-shattered world is far better than the damaged world Deathwing brought to us.

And many many many more changes need to happen to make people excited for the game.

I personally think Cata was a good game plagued with bad pacing of content, people wouldn’t have disliked the game as much if the pace was sped up to what we have now, even #nochangescata would be played and enjoyed by many and would be a slam dunk easy port but it wouldn’t make people come back to classic like wotlk is about to.


I’ll be the pessimistic pos here and say that I have quite literally 0 hope for the future, doesn’t really matter what happens, I’ve made my point clear enough in that other thread. They don’t have enough resources to make Classic into what it should be past original WotLK, regardless of what that might be. Maybe if they start working on it now and daddy Blizzard doesn’t cheap out on it they can figure something out, but I know they won’t.

Regarding Cataclysm, I liked the original Cataclysm overall, it had the potential to be the best expansion for me, but there are a few things I didn’t like that makes Cataclysm the turning point for me from Classic to modern.

  1. The leveling pace and difficulty.

I didn’t mind the shattering. In fact, I liked almost all the new zones. What I didn’t like about it was how many zones became on rails, the complete lack of difficulty in questing and the pacing of the zones, where it became abundantly clear that you would just move from hub to hub with no quest leading you into multiple of far away zones.
I’ll always consider original Redridge Mountains as the apex of questing zones. The keep full of elites requiring a group to do the 3 quests within it. The escort quest that escorts you out of that cave. Lieutenant Fangore and Bellygrub. All mixed together with easier quests. I wish cataclysm questing would have been more akin to that.

  1. Specializations

The addition of specializations to player talents and the shrinking of talent trees was probably one of the worst decision in WoW history to me. It took away player’s freedom to build their character how they wanted by locking them on a path with less choices than before, which eventually led to MoP talents. Dragonflight talents are a step in the right direction for retail, but it is still stuck in this idea of specialization.
How much I wish we had a talent system like the game Rift, unrestricted freedom to choose. Where each of the 4 classes had dozens of variations of specs that all played differently.
I’d love to see a reverse of the changes made to the talent system and instead of removing from the player, adding more or at the very least an horizontal move.

  1. LFR

Just get rid of that. I don’t need to explain why, everybody knows why, even those who wants LFR knows why so many of us don’t want to see it.

  1. Transmog

Yeah, I didn’t like it. It took away the prestige of gear, the ability to tell someone’s strength in PvP at a glance to their armor and it turned player interaction into a clown show when people would wear bikini armors and clown suits like dressing up as Mario and Luigi.
If I had to make a change here, it would be the option to just turn it off. Keep it in game, just allow players the option to see others and themselves without transmog.

That’s about it really. Other minor things here and there, but for the most part, I liked Cata.
I liked the difficulty of dungeons.
I liked most of the class mechanics revamp. Focus for hunter was a good change for me as they never really could get Mana right for hunters. Either having infinite mana in raids or starving mana all the time in PvP, no middle ground.

That’s my 2 cents, and also just my opinion, agree or disagree.


Classic is Vanilla-TBC-Wrath for me.

Sixx sort of laid out the whys - Cataclysm has some of the largest systems changes and world and quest changes. I don’t mind
the map changes in the shattering so much tbh - like Mispeled - but the quest design is just awful: go to hub 1, get 3 quests, complete, get 3 more, complete, get delivery to hub 2. Repeat across every zone for sixty levels. Awful. The idea that a team could rewrite three years worth of content in six months was lofty and it showed.

Having said that, Cataclysm did do one thing I uniquely liked: it placed new zones next to old ones. There is something quite dumb and cliche about having all of your expansion’s content on an island, frankly. Having Twilight Highlands and Uldum tie into shattering content and placed seamlessly into Azeroth was something I felt made Cata’s world special.

But the largest bit for me is simply the feeling of Cataclysm. It is a fine game in its own right and I am sure many love it or have fond memories of it. But it isn’t Classic. Somewhere between the world changes, the system changes, and the talent changes, the game became different enough that it is no longer the same game anymore. The Classic team has been hitting on the concept of ‘What is Classic?’ with the design pillars - and to a not-insignificant extent the idea that once you open a door you cannot close it again with their decisions to exclude certain systems - and Cataclysm, to me, is no longer Classic. It opens too many doors and it changes too much.

For me, Classic ends with Arthas.


Ive always thought about what if Cata is where they go branching out since every expansion after that is either love or hate. I think maybe since personally I hated Cata but loved MoP they could offer both expansions you either go to MoP or go to Cata. You could also have the regular route available also

Or we could just skip Cata (and WoD)


I want Cataclysm as it was. I want Mists as it was, I Want WOD as it was, etc. We got vanilla pretty close to warts and all with minimal changes, why we can’t get that for other expansions confuses me.

Sure at some point, we will be at a pace where we just catch up to the current retail expansion but I see nothing wrong with that. I’ll always want it as it was and I’m tired of people wanting to change what used to be and what others enjoy for their own benefit. Make an argument for changing the retail game, not the game that already existed.

You didn’t like it and that’s okay. We don’t need you to keep chasing the current expansions that drove you away when you should always have the options of the past expansions you did enjoy.

I see nothing wrong with spinning up different era realms and leaving them as is, if that is the case that needs to be done for me to get the game. If y’all feel it’s too much monetarily, make people choose which 3 games their sub gets access to (Since currently, we get 3 with the 15-dollar sub) and add a higher-priced option to get access to every server.

I don’t need these realms to necessarily progress though it would be nice to have that option of moving forward if people choose with their characters while leaving others in Wrath or whatever expac We are leaving behind. Free of charge move forward, no clones. You make that choice and you stick with it.

Cataclysm is a lot closer to Wrath/TBC/Vanilla than it is to Retail for me. Maybe call it the Transitional phase with CATA/MISTS/WOD. It’s far and away a continuation of the design philosophies before it than what we currently have now, given how we pivoted to the borrowed power era for 3 expansions in a row, and now 10.0 is another start, another era of the future. It is different lines drawn in the sand for each individual person for what ‘Classic’ really is.

Maybe the problem is calling it Classic then. If that’s what is holding you back change how you see the servers, just call them ‘Era’ Servers or something else. Let people live in the game they enjoyed the most with their little groups while the game gets resources to forge onward with the retail game. It can be the preservation of what was. Almost a living museum in a sense, something most games in the gaming space don’t have.


Thanks for kicking this off Sixxfury and to everybody who has shared their thoughts so far.

Some of you have covered this already, but we’re very interested in hearing what you all are most excited about after the Lich King is defeated. Based on the discussions in this thread so far, there seem to be two general directions for this:

  1. If Wrath is a bit of a stopping point for you, what would make you most interested in playing WoW Classic in the future? (Seasons, Fresh Start experiences, or anything that appeals to you)
  2. Does the possibility of continuing on to Cataclysm sound exciting to you? If so, are there still changes you’d like to see? If not, are there certain changes that would get you excited?

Note that these questions aren’t meant to be all encompassing, so if you have something else to add, please share that. We look forward to reading your feedback!


I think the thing that would get me most excited and cause me to not lose interest would be to have the ability to skip Cata and go straight into MoP. I think the ability to choose which expansion I wanted to play and just play it would be absolutely amazing. If we could have a toon that would just scale around which ever expansion I was playing/wanted to play would also be supremely ideal. It would just be amazing to see the ability to switch expansions easily and play whatever I wanted without having to jump around on different toons and servers.

  1. For me Classic has ended with WotLK after that it was a totaly different game and WotlK . TBC and Wotlk were the best Addons for me and everything after that was getting worse because of many changes that were made. I think nothing would change my mind to join all these expansions again, not only because they were worse but because i allready played all of them and just adjusting some things doesn’t change a thing for me.
  2. For me as a main retail player every further classic relaunch seems to divide players more and more as everyone has a certain addon he likes for whatever reasons the most.
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I haven’t played classic near to the extent of some others in this thread, but I do agree with some that Wrath to me, is the end of the “Classic Era” of WoW. Once Cataclysm hit everything changed, and going back to the “Old World” was part of the appeal of Classic WoW.

Honestly I would really enjoy playing some end game of some expansions, but it’s the levelling that keeps me from doing it more frequently. I’d love to see “seasons” where 1 expansions end game is available and players can make a max level character with a standardized set of gear (a set not as strong as raid gear so upgrades are still needed). The seasons could be however long makes sense. 1 month, 6, 1 year, anything. But I think it would be a lot of fun to run Blackrock Foundry again at level 100 with a bunch of friends for a month or two, where we can all just make a level 100 character.

I understand this is very… against the grain… for WoW, but I think where the content isn’t new, and therefore not being “missed out on” in a manner of thinking, that it’s a possible solution that would get me to play Classic going forward.

I think this could be done in conjunction with a fresh start Vanilla Classic experience that goes all the way through to Wrath and continues on that cycle, if that is something other players would have an interest in.

For the reasons I mentioned above, not really. Cataclysm was the start of the New Era of WoW, and the end of the “Classic Era” that I would personally play Classic WoW for.
As for changes… personally I would rather see new content be devoted to Retail WoW. I can understand wanting new content, but as a player who primarily plays retail I would feel slighted if there was actual new content in Cataclysm that I did not get to experience back in 2009.

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I think to some degree it will depend how fun Wrath turns out to be. The seasonal model that … let’s say Diablo uses seems like a no brainer to me. Following Wrath, I’d probably look closely at a Classic/Vanilla season if it had some redesigns on the PvP grind for example. Otherwise maybe a Wrath-era season.

I guess I should say too that the biggest driver for how the players around me play is how “the guild” is going to play moving forward. I really can’t stress enough that people will play something that is objectively less fun (oxymoron) so long as the players they like to play with are doing it. This goes for the server transfer conversation as well, but deciding which game to play going forward is sort of a conversation based on perception and expectation rather than reality. In this, I think Wrath and Classic have the best ‘brands’ for the Classic team to leverage, so to speak.

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Personally for me, classic was a trip down memory lane, a little bit of nostalgia to go see ‘where I grew up’ in WoW. It was nice and I played classic hard, but I had no interest in TBC or Wrath other than a couple hours. I only wanted to see the old world since I cannot visit those places in retail anymore. I don’t see myself playing any classics regularly since it has no future so there is nothing that would make me interested in playing more. It feels like a waste of time to me - like I’m splitting my account for no reason.

I personally never want to see a Cataclysm classic be created, or anything after it. That’s my personal thoughts because Cata isn’t really classic and it was the beginning of a new game. I feel strongly about this because if you start Cata, where do you stop? Are you going to bring out 8 different versions of the game? It doesn’t feel like there’s enough players to support that. These classic games don’t bring in new players, they bring back returning players for a bit of nostalgia for a small period of time or they split off players from retail. Its not a good situation to be in when the main game feels like its declining. It seems best to re-focus efforts on new content and let classic go. It was nice of the team to make them and leave them up for fun, but it has no future sustainability and its going to get in the way of the actual game.


I played all of the expansions when they first came out and really have never felt inclined to play them again or needed to play them for the first time post their initial release. For my own personal interests if Classic consumes development resources that could be applied to retail to facilitate either faster development or higher initial quality, I’d prefer to see classic end; except for putting each of those three classic expansions on some type of endless loop so people can still play them through on some cycle.


Hope I’m not too late.

I’d like for there, regardless of the future, to have a dedicated “PvP Server”. Arena realm with instant max level, full gear/enchants, etc. Many players engaged with third-party servers for many, many years solely for PvP, and I think that there’s enough of a market that a low-maintenance server like this could be maintained.

One of the problems with having separate expansions is that you leave behind those who prefer the previous. For example, some players would prefer TBC PvP over Wrath, but there’s nothing for them anymore (besides third-party). However, if you have a Vanilla PvP server, TBC PvP server, Wrath PvP server, etc, the player base could become too fragmented to have meaningful queues.

I think this “PvP Classic” server should be rotating, perhaps monthly, between expansions. Back port a simple RBG ladder through Vanilla (and maybe back port Arenas to Vanilla too), and then have a “TBC month” where everyone plays TBC Arena/RBG on the server. Then next month could be Wrath, then MoP, then Vanilla, then Legion, etc. The rotations would help keep it fresh and having a tournament realm allows players to opt in and out as they please. Rewards for top Arena/RBG teams could be account wide so that they remain between rotations.