New WoW Classic Test Realm Has Players Speculating Fresh Servers Could Be On The Way
Fresh WoW Classic servers have been a frequent community request, leading some to believe a new test realm for the game could be a sign such a project is in the works.
Blizzard has silently released a new public test realm of World of Warcraft Classic with little fanfare, causing players to speculate on what, exactly, the realm is supposed to be testing. Many players are hoping it's "fresh" servers for WoW Classic.
The test realm currently only includes raid content from WoW Classic's first phase, although it does include more recent updates to the game, like the ability to purchase a world-buff saving item from Chromie that didn't exist in the original version of vanilla WoW but was added prior to Burning Crusade Classic's release. The arrival of the new test realm has players speculating it could be a sign that Blizzard is looking to roll out brand-new servers for WoW Classic where players can start their adventure into Azeroth all over again from scratch.
Currently, WoW Classic servers are a ghost town. Blizzard required players to decide between playing in what it now calls "Classic Era" servers or moving forward to the game's first expansion, Burning Crusade Classic, back in June, and it seems the majority of players chose to continue on into Outland over staying in Azeroth. But there is still a dedicated community of players who prefer WoW Classic to Burning Crusade.
Many of those diehard players are now flocking to private, unofficial servers for the game that players can play on for free but are technically illegal. It's what many vanilla WoW fans resorted to in the years prior to Blizzard's official release of WoW Classic, and are now going back to in light of a state of California lawsuit alleging a workplace culture of discrimination and harassment towards women at Blizzard and the addition of microtransactions like a level boost and mount to Burning Crusade Classic. Some players no longer feel comfortable supporting Blizzard directly.
Fresh servers then could be a possible bid to win back some of those dedicated WoW Classic players. Various older, still-running MMOs, like Everquest, periodically release new servers that sometimes come with dramatic changes to the experience to keep things interesting. WoW Classic fans have asked for something similar, but it remains to be seen if Blizzard would be willing to make such sweeping changes to the game.
For the majority of WoW Classic, Blizzard took a preservationist approach, looking to keep the experience as close as possible to the original 2007 version of vanilla WoW. That slowly began to change as WoW Classic approached the end of its content, when Blizzard made changes to how world buffs function and reduced the spell-batching window to make the game's responsiveness closer to that of the current Shadowlands version.
If fresh servers do happen, it would come at a time when many of the game's biggest content creators have either quit playing WoW entirely, or have at least diversified their content to include other MMO's like Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIV or Amazon's upcoming New World. The second phase of Burning Crusade Classic, which will add new raids like Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern, is currently being tested and is expected to release in the coming weeks.
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