Now that we’ve announced that Wrath of the Lich King Classic will release on September 26th, I want to give you an update on some of the items we’ve been collecting feedback on since our Beta began.
We’ve decided that lockouts should be shared between Heroic and Normal versions of the raid, but NOT between 10/25-player versions of the raid. You’ll be able to do both the 10-player and 25-player version of each raid every lockout period but will have to choose between Normal and Heroic for the raids that offer that choice.
Our original concern was with players feeling “required” to do the same raid multiple times per week in order to “keep up,” but that came more from the original experience of Trial of the Crusader than from Naxxramas. Trial of the Crusader’s original release allowed you to run four different versions of the same content in a single week, all of which provided better loot than anything that had been previously available, which created enormous pressure to run all four versions in order to leapfrog over the Ulduar loot. Making the Normal and Heroic versions of Trial of the Crusader share a lockout does a lot to mitigate that, by cutting the number of weekly runs in half.
Additionally, players have pointed out that in many cases they want to be able to run the 25-player version of the raid with their guild, while pugging the 10-player version. Ultimately, that positive social aspect of having raids of various sizes available each week is compelling to us, and fits our goal of providing a vibrant social ecosystem, for friendships to form and develop in. You might, for example, find yourself pugging 10-player raids with a few of the same people from time to time, and end up inviting them to fill an empty slot on your main raid roster later. By contrast, if you could do both Normal and Heroic in the same week, you’d be incentivized to push your existing group to run them back-to-back, which isn’t the same sort of positive social experience.
This was recently bugged on the Wrath Classic Beta, and both 10/25-player version of Naxxramas appeared to share a lockout, but that was unintended and will be fixed before we launch.
Related to this, we also plan to make any trinkets with both Normal and Heroic versions (such as Death’s Verdict) share a Unique-Equip category, so that you can’t have both versions of the same trinket equipped at the same time. While it was originally possible to do this, it was never intended, and motivated us to create the Unique-Equipped categories back then. Prior to creating the Unique-Equipped categories, we could only prevent characters from wearing two copies of the exact same item.
Race and Faction Change
While it won’t be ready for our launch in September, we have changed our minds on this, and we’re working on adding the Race and Faction change as a paid service in a future patch.
Originally, we planned not to offer Race and Faction change at all, because it felt like it removed some of that fantasy feeling of having dramatically different physical attributes that affect your gameplay. We were also a little worried about players chasing the “flavor of the month” in terms of racial abilities However, we’re convinced by the argument that being able to play with your friends is more important, and that you should be able to bring your accomplishments with you when you do. This turns out to be the same tradeoff provided by transferring between realms, which is already available as a paid service, so it makes sense to make the same decision with respect to Race and Faction change.
In short, this fits our aim to nurture and protect social experiences, so we’ll work on it for an upcoming patch.
Character-Based Mounts and Achievements
As before, we plan to have mounts and achievements be per-character, rather than on the account.
This originally came up in response to our plan to not include Race and Faction change, as a suggested alternative way for players to preserve their accomplishments when re-rolling. Since we’ve been convinced to allow Race and Faction change in an upcoming patch, we’re going to focus our efforts on that, and preserve the original Lich King behavior of keeping mounts and achievement associated with the character that earned them.
We continue to iterate on the bulletin-board style Looking for Group tool, and we do not have plans to add the Random Dungeon Finder.
For players, this has probably been the hottest topic of discussion since our announcement, and we welcome all the continuing feedback on how to improve the tool and make it better. I know this will be disappointing news for some, but we want to settle this topic before launch so everyone knows what to expect and can plan accordingly.
We remain hopeful that our recent anti-boosting changes, especially on Fresh Start realms, will invigorate the lower-level dungeons around launch. We also expect the LFG tool to help facilitate long-term friendship formation for players who are looking for it.
2v2 Arena Achievements and Titles
We’re going to award achievements and titles for the 2v2 Arena bracket, just like we did in Burning Crusade Classic.
Originally, Wrath of the Lich King dropped achievements and titles from the 2v2 Arena bracket, but due to popular demand, we’re going to preserve them in Wrath Classic. When we originally stopped awarding titles and achievements for 2v2s, it was because 2v2 was difficult to balance. Nowadays, rather than try to make all classes equally capable in all brackets, we want to preserve the existing class balance and celebrate the unique play style for the classes that perform well in each bracket.
We’ll always continue to listen to feedback on these and all topics. I hope this answers many lingering questions about what the state of things will be when we release.
Thanks, as always, for your interest and support!