Burning Crusade Classic launches June 1, tweaks the original WoW expansion

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In some ways, World of Warcraft Classic was as much a museum exhibit as game. Blizzard faithfully re-created the original MMO, quirks and all. The upcoming Burning Crusade Classic is a recreation of World of Warcraft’s first expansion, with all of the Outland-related content available to experience with the appropriate power levels and progression mechanics.

Burning Crusade Classic, which launches June 1, aims to be a little less faithful by design; Blizzard is actively tinkering with the experience. It’s a new approach that’s aptly called “some changes,” and it should make Burning Crusade more viable to play longterm.

Those changes include better matchmaking for the new Arena mode, which has 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 competitive matches. The raids, like Tempest Keep and Sunwell Plateau, are also going to be a little tougher. Bosses will be at their pre-nerf difficulty, and it remains to be seen whether players will burn through these challenges in minutes.

“Before Classic came out, a lot of people were saying ‘no changes’ as kind of a hope that we wouldn’t go too crazy, right?” said Brian Birmingham, lead software engineer at Blizzard, in a call with Polygon. “It was mostly like, ‘hey, I want to make sure that still feels like Classic.’”

But the reality of “no changes” was a little unpleasant to deal with. There were bugs that, while very faithful, persisted throughout Classic. There were also balancing issues. For example, some players were hoping that old raids would allow for the Race to World First, an esports-style race through max-level raids. Instead, players burned through the content in minutes.

Near the end of the World of Warcraft Classic development cycle, Blizzard learned that strict recreation wasn’t the best approach. “We would say, like, ‘no, this bug is really not adding anything to anybody’s nostalgia or memories. It’s just an irritant,” says Birmingham.

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Burning Crusade Classic launches June 1, tweaks the original WoW expansion