Public reference client

You may well be right. I’m not claiming any special insight into what goes on at Blizzard HQ.

My question about a problem being addressed though was more from the point of view of Blizzard, and its stakeholders. If you were trying to convince someone to give you their money to pay for resources that would do something that ultimately would result in that money growing, what is the current problem that they should be putting money towards solving, and how will that money be spent in a way that increases its value over time?

And where is the data that suggests that is true?

That’s sort of the point I was getting at. If I say, “Hey, you know what would be cool? If Classic was more to my preference, because I don’t like something about it.” And better yet, I’ll add, “If Blizzard doesn’t do this stuff, they are really bad.” I can further add, “It’s obvious that things were like my preference, because I know it.”

But if I actually brought that argument to anyone else, they would probably see that it doesn’t particularly carry any weight.

I mean that the proper reference client would be 1.12, which we know for a fact still works properly on modern PCs. The Legion port should be emulating the original client as closely as possible.

Nah, you’ve got the right concept. I was a little confused as well, but I think Blizzard has been using it as a catch-all term for the game client, database assets, etc.

There may be some. While memory is obviously fallible, I don’t ever recall hearing of or experiencing mobs hitting 5+ times in a single swing after being kited, which has been resulting in one-shots. According to wowhead, thrash should be a proc, but I have mind controlled mobs that have thrash. It’s currently coded in as an active ability. Methinks Blizzard wasn’t able to code in the proc properly and therefore made it an active ability with a cooldown. 

For reference, that was a mind controlled ogre hitting a passing Horde player last night. It swung 7 times in one hit. I cast Thrash three times before he ran by.

Yes. I imagine that is actually what Blizzard means when they say reference client. It would likely be the same game client that would be available for download elsewhere on the Internet, as it’s the same client.

The Legion port is not the reference client. That is Classic. That’s what we have (or at least how it started), it was apparently later updated to an 8.x client.

Fair enough. Please forgive me if I confuse the terms from time to time. I think of the part we download and run on our own computers as the Client, and think of that as being separate from the servers, and other infrastructure that it relies on.

Actually, WoWHead comments may be a pretty good source of proof! If the Thrash Bug existed as is during Vanilla, one might expect being able to find comments there that would support that. Of course, a lack of proof isn’t proof, but …

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Yeah this is exactly the point I was making in the OP.

Eventually it gets to the point where I no longer am buying this “reference client”, or at the very least, need to verify what exactly constitutes a “reference client” in their eyes. And it’s really interesting that obvious bugs that don’t need to be proven are just conveniently left out of all mention, or mentioned without any timeline for a fix.

Sure, maybe some of the values were wrong on private servers, but private servers as a whole were running 1.12 so honestly there isn’t much they could’ve possibly screwed up.

and indeed, we see that, for the most part, private servers were running a more accurate version of vanilla than classic is

in any case, releasing said reference client should not be a big deal at all and would actually save them massive amounts of testing and dev time. Essentially, it would be an open beta with the ACTUAL client (not classic)

They could just release the code, which is outdated and irrelevant anyways, but because of IP reasons, it might be their preference to release a client and have it connect to the server. Either way works

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“The database data includes aspects of the game like the hit points a creature has, the amount of stamina an item has, spawn locations around the word, and millions of other data points.”


There were millions of things they could have screwed up. In fact, the likelihood of them being anywhere near accurate is astronomically bad.

Mob values are an extremely minor part of the game, and very easy to copy paste. They also aren’t known for sure so obviously this is one part private servers were guessing at

Gameplay and mechanics were all largely working as expected or intended on Nost, LH, Elysium, and other major pservers

What does this mean? And, how do you know this?

Because I have years of first hand experience and also played in 2005

My guess is that private server experience has biased your opinion as to what Vanilla WoW was, in an incorrect manner. I could be wrong, but that’s the assumption I have.

There’s an interesting post on Reddit about why there are so many bugs on private servers, where someone is responding and speaking a little to the complexity of software development. I’m reading it now, and haven’t finished yet. Here’s one of the interesting parts:

So you have to code the entire emulator with this data once you have figured it out, encode some sort of database system to store and load everything, work out what all the flags and enums mean (there are thousands), and code it all up. To put it in perspective, the current 3.3.5a TrinityCore emulator counts at about 300,000 lines of code if you run a line counter on all C++ files. And this isn’t just simple programming: you are concurrently writing to handle thousands of connections at the same time all actively requesting and consuming content.


This question kind of gets to the heart of the issue. I’m not sure if you play FPS games, but for sake of analogy, imagine you were playing a ported version of Quake and realized players were shooting rockets through walls. Now, you know that’s not right. Why? Because you played Quake for hundred to thousands of hours and rockets were never able to go through walls. While you may not be aware of more subtle differences between the original game and the port, blatant differences are going to stand out.

The issue is that, when someone say “how do you know this” isn’t how Quake was back in the day, can you really prove it? Should you have to? If you ask a bunch of old school Quake players and the majority of them say “Wow, that’s definitely a bug”, is that enough? I think that Blizzard is exploiting the glut of video evidence of Vanilla gameplay to get away with gaslighting the community. That’s seemingly what Ravid is getting at with this post and it’s been a growing concern in my mind ever since I saw how poorly supported Classic has been regarding bugs.

On a private server that was markedly different from the original? And that that so biased my perspective that I have no idea what I’m talking about? Because that would be a very different claim.

Here’s another post from the comment section of that Reddit post, and I find it quite apt, with regards to client/server and mob behavior, encounter interaction, spells, etc., etc.

The game you have on your computer is only the client. This includes all the animations, zones, icons. We have exactly the same client as people used on retail. The other side is the server. This includes all the mobs’ spawn timers, behavior, the spells they use, npc roleplaying, loot, boss mechanic scripts, spell mechanics and more. We don’t have access to the files on the servers from blizzard, so this has to be made from scratch. Because this is an enormous and hard job, it can’t be done by a few developers.


NOTE: I’m not sure how to link directly to a comment there.

You should only have to if you want others to believe it.

I’ve actually spent very little time on private servers. Maybe a hundred hours tops on Nostal/Elys. In that time period, nothing besides spawn locations really stood out to me as different from Vanilla. Vanish worked properly (you could still get auto attacked/damaged out of it but the window was much tighter, i.e. Vanilla in function). I never played hunter but I didn’t hear any concerns about feign death not dropping combat. I doubt that amount of time did much to change my concept of how the game should function.

Ah, but there’s the problem. Blizzard has put the burden of proof on the players, when they know full well that the proof doesn’t exist because of the passage of time. They hold all the cards in that regard and seem to be using it to gaslight the community (a particularly screwed up method of abuse, by the way).

Sorry if I implied that as being a personal attack on your experience, it wasn’t meant to be. I want to point out that private servers are not representative of what Vanilla was. They may be representative of how the developers who recreated those scripts and behaviors for private servers remembered those encountered and/or developed based on third-party information given to them through forum feedback, etc.

I didn’t play Vanilla enough to have gotten to max level or raid. I think I only got to about level 28~ and then went back to CounterStrike, and Diablo II LoD, which were my favorite games at the time. And, although I maintained a top 5 spot on the D2 LoD ladders for several months, I certainly wouldn’t assert that my memory from 15 years ago is fact that you can bank on.

I picked up D2 LoD again about a year ago, and played for a couple of months, and there were a number of things that I had to re-learn. That was an interesting experience.

Now, is it possible that your memory is much better than mine? Sure. There is a lot that is possible.

Fair enough. And I doubt that as well. Some things are obvious, and that’s a fair point, I think.

The tone here seems like Blizzard is trying to pull a fast one on its fans. This is where I’m skeptical and not willing to jump on the bandwagon of blame without proof.

And it continues…

In any case though, it would be nice (or would have been nice) for there to have been some access to the “reference client” - or rather the “reference data and/or server configurations.”

If there is any argument to be made that such a nicety would result or would have resulted in any sort of benefit to Blizzard or its stakeholders, I have yet to see it.

And, for what I think the vast majority of the player base has been looking for in WoW Classic, if they haven’t found it yet, I would doubt that there is any solution that is technical.

It wouldn’t be the first time Blizzard has misled, patronized, or outright lied to the community. Blizzard, as it exists today, is not a particularly community oriented company. This is a whole other can of worms, but just look at the recent HK debacle. Some players were given 1000 years forum ban for mentioning it. They fired 600 customer service reps last February, apparently for little other reason than $$$. Sure, a company exists to make money. However, this company exists at the mercy of its community.

Whatever happened to the Blizzard we knew in Vanilla? (Well, we know what happened…Activision…) I remember getting a GM response, consistently, within 6 hours, tops, all the way until I stopped playing in Cata. Just the other day I had to wait 3 days for a ticket response that clearly indicated that no one had even read my ticket, and whoever was handling it just slapped a pre-written, non-applicable response on it. The response to some clearly game breaking bugs, bugs which I believe fall into what can be definitely be called the “obvious” category, have been met with radio silence by Blizzard. Even a “Thanks for the report. We’re working on fixing it as fast as possible, but there are technical limitations that are difficult to overcome” would be acceptable to many of us.

You lost me here.

Lost as in you aren’t aware as to what I’m referring to? Or as in you don’t care to read anything else I have to say?

Fair question!

Neither really. I’m aware of it, but I disagree it is a valid example of being or not being community oriented. The HK thing was political issue that, at least in my opinion, was something that got so grossly overblown due to current sociopolitical trends, and not something that should have anything to do with Blizzard. In my opinion.

It being raised, I see as a red flag that one would bring politics, and/or identity politics into an otherwise civil conversation about WoW Classic. But, perhaps we can agree to let that conversation be held somewhere else and away from game-related forums, and continue with the conversation about WoW Classic, Vanilla, Reference clients, and 15 year-old memories.

That’s fair. I brought it up moreso because I feel like banning someone for 1000 years is a bit, how shall I say, draconian? Idk. I have my own opinions on the whole situation, but I won’t get into that hear.