Along with revealing the WoW Classic release date, Blizzard also listed plans for both a beta and stress test of the game. Players who opt-in for the testing on their account manager page and have an active subscription will be randomly selected for the beta starting May 15. Then the developer will have three stress tests where players can log in to play the game for a short period of time on the following dates:
Kaivax, a WoW forum community manager, revealed that WoW Classic's class design, battleground mechanics and stats on existing items will be set to their 1.12 state, despite the game releasing content that expands beyond that. This removes "progressive itemization," so if the stats on a specific piece of equipment was changed during the original updates, that won't take effect in this version.
The vanilla WoW Horde leveling guide you see on this site was originally made back in 2006 by Joana (AKA Mancow, or FuriousPaul). The guides have been tweaked many times over the years to make things "faster". The leveling guides were made because of all the messages I got from people asking me how I was able to level up so quickly on new realms. I was first to level 60 on 7 different realms (3 with Mancow and 4 with Joana), even winning Blizzard's "First to Level 50" contest they held back in 2006.
I made some route changes to the Horde levels 43-44 sections. I have swapped 44 Dustwallow Marsh with 44 Desolace (the entire sections). This allowed me to do Deadmire (at lvl 43 instead of 38) and then go stop at TB to turn in Deadmire + The Black Shield at the same time, then fly quickly to do the Desolace stuff. Doing 44 Desolace is now mandatory because I think its faster with the new routes. This will also make the level 53 grind much shorter. I think these were great changes.
I consider myself a purist in that I would prefer classic to be released as close as possible to the original. Where that is on the spectrum of patch content will be up to blizz. I'm also not vane enough to believe that any single state of the game is the "Ideal" location we should be aiming for. There is common ground that we can agree on, and I would welcome more than a few changes as long as they are made in the spirit of keeping classic on the vanilla rails.
“To fill our pool of beta and stress test participants, we’ll be choosing dedicated players who meet select criteria from both the WoW Classic beta opt-in and the standard Warcraft beta opt-in. Participants will also need to have an active subscription or active game time on their Battle.net Account. While opting-in to the beta is the primary way to make sure you’re in the running to join the test it doesn’t guarantee an invitation to the closed beta test. We may also consider additional factors such as how long a player has been subscribed to the game so that we have the right mix of players to ensure great feedback toward making WoW Classic the very best experience for the community.”
WoW Classic seeks to recreate the "vanilla WoW" experience—that is, WoW as it existed before a series of seven game-altering major expansion packs from 2007's The Burning Crusade to 2018's Battle for Azeroth. To achieve this, Blizzard has rebuilt the game based on archived data from back in 2005 and 2006 (patch 1.12 is the goalpost—the current game is on patch 8.1.5). The company has committed to meticulously presenting the experience exactly as it was back then—warts and all—with only a small number of unavoidable or critical changes.
Analogy: think back on riding the swings in kindergarten. Was it fun? Now, imagine going back to those swings exactly as they were, and sitting in them now, as an adult. They're too small. They don't fit. Your feet drag on the ground because they're so low to the ground. The bar over your head is low enough that you can reach out and touch it, and even at the highest the swing will go, it's only about chest high when you're standing up. It's exactly the same swing, but riding on it now is a very different experience, yes?
Within the context of Classic, the method most frequently proposed is to re-tune bosses to make them harder. Rather than copying the numbers, re-create the relative difficulty. Kind of like, when you first start working out, you use small weights. When you get stronger, you lift bigger weights. The WoW community is more knowledgeable, more experienced, has better hardware, etc. We're "stronger." So give us tougher bosses. There are a lot of forms that could take. Bosses were constantly re-tuned during vanilla anyway, so if Ragnaros does 10% more damage or something, is that really a problem? I don't think it is. What about resistance gear? back in the day, collecting resist gear was a thing people did. But the numbers and strategies are so well known today that only the tank really needs it anymore. Bosses could be re-tuned with more resistible elemental damage so that's important for entire raids to gear appropriately. That would be entirely keeping with the spirit of vanilla even if the actually numbers sitting in a database somewhere were different than they were ~13 years ago. If you want to go a little farther, a few people have proposed adding new abilities to old bosses, adjusting their timing, etc.
So committed, in fact, that modern WoW players are trying the beta and reporting what seem like bugs today but what were actually intended functionality 13 years ago. This became such a common occurrence that Blizzard publicly posted a list of known non-issues called the "WoW Classic 'Not a Bug' List." For example, hitboxes for the Tauren player race are much larger than those of other races. In a modern game, this would be seen as a serious balance issue (see: Apex Legends). But it's what vanilla WoW was like, so it has been faithfully reproduced.
Escort quests can take awhile to do. I have thoroughly tested all the escort quests in the game for time/xp. Most are worth doing, but as long as you are able to actually do them without failing. Most require you to pay special attention to the escortee as most are fragile and will die easily, so do your best to keep mobs off of the escortee during escort quests. The longest one in the game is the Tanaris chicken escort. The chicken escorts are only worth doing if you were able to do all 3 of them, as if you do, you will be able to turn in an additional easy quick XP turn in quest at BB, which makes them worth it.
To actually get access to the beta, which has already started and continue to add more players, you need to sign up via your Blizzard account management page. Under Games & Subscriptions, scroll down to Beta Access and visit the Beta Profile Settings page. Once there, you’ll see a grid of available betas you can opt into. Once you’ve checked WoW Classic, hit Update Preferences and you’re set.