WoW Classic Players Aren't Pleased With Blizzard's Burning Crusade Announcements
A shorter-than-usual pre-patch for Burning Crusade Classic and the price of new paid services are rubbing some in the WoW Classic community the wrong way.
Blizzard recently announced the news that World of Warcraft: Classic players have been waiting for: The game's next "classic" expansion, The Burning Crusade, will arrive on June 1. But many in the game's community have been less than thrilled with two announcements that coincided with the news about the game's launch date, namely the short length of the Burning Crusade's pre-patch as well as the inclusion of additional services and cosmetics Blizzard is now offering for real money in WoW Classic for the first time.
Pre-patches for WoW expansions typically last about four weeks and lay the groundwork for the upcoming expansion. The patches include class balance and talent changes, new items, and typically some kind of activity or questline that leads into the game's next chapter. For Burning Crusade Classic, the pre-patch is of even greater importance than normal, as it not only brings about class changes and item rebalancing, but also two new races in the form of the Horde's Blood Elves and the Alliance's Draenei. Blood Elves are the only Horde race in the Burning Crusade that can be the previously Alliance-exclusive paladin class, while Draenei is the only Alliance race which can be the previously Horde-exclusive shaman class. That means more than a few players will be rerolling to play these new classes.
Blizzard said during the initial announcement of Burning Crusade Classic that the game's pre-patch would allow players an opportunity to level new Blood Elf and Draenei characters ahead of the expansion's launch. Given Blizzard's pre-patch history, most players assumed this would mean a pre-patch lasting about four weeks.
Instead, when Blizzard announced the game's release date, it also said the pre-patch would be launching on May 18, only giving players a little over two weeks to make preparations and level their new characters. While the time it takes to level in the Burning Crusade pre-patch is reduced from WoW Classic thanks to reduced experience requirements and more experience from quests, it's still a significant time investment that will take most players dozens of hours, and now players have even less time than they expected to accomplish the task or risk starting the new expansion significantly behind.
More than a few players on the game's subreddit have expressed disappointment with the shorter-than-usual pre-patch, as many didn't have time to plan their work schedules around the patch launch or simply wanted more time to play their new characters at level 60 before the release of the Burning Crusade. As the points out in the game's subreddit in an upvoted comment on the topic of pre-patch length, while Blizzard never officially said how long the pre-patch would be prior to their announcement, "The explicit intention of allowing people to level [Blood Elves] and Draenei was to allow them to level to 60 in preparation for TBC. The expectation is there will be a reasonable time frame to do that in...it just seemed tremendously unlikely we'd only get two weeks because that would be a pretty bad way to do it."
Unfortunately, the pre-patch announcement wasn't the only news to upset the WoW Classic community. The introduction of numerous paid services, none of which existed in WoW Classic or in the original version of the Burning Crusade, have also ruffled feathers. Come pre-patch, a level 58 character boost called the "" will be available to purchase one time per account for $40, though new Blood Elves and Draenei characters cannot be boosted. This boost, which some players have criticized as being , gives boosted characters a free mount, a set of magic-quality gear, some gold, and bags. In a game where it can take 100+ hours to reach max level, gold is hard to come by, and mounts and bags can be expensive, the boost has also led to . A digital deluxe edition of the game is also being sold for $70--which includes a mount for both Burning Crusade Classic and World of Warcraft's current expansion, Shadowlands--as well as the character boost, an in-game toy, and a unique hearthstone effect for Burning Crusade.
But players are perhaps most upset over news they would need to pay $35 per character in order to "clone" a copy of their character so it can be played on both WoW Classic servers and Burning Crusade Classic servers. Current WoW Classic servers will be automatically updated to Burning Crusade Classic on May 18 with the pre-patch. No fee (other than the usual subscription fee, which includes the ability to play WoW Shadowlands, Classic, and Burning Crusade Classic) is needed to play the Burning Crusade, but for those who want to keep a foot in both versions of the game, they'll need to pay the $35 cloning fee. As many players have pointed out, the entire Shadowlands expansion is only $5 more than cloning a character, further clarifying how steep the fee seems.
All things considered, it's a lot for a game that many players were explicitly attracted to because of its lack of extra paid services and paid cosmetics, and players in the game's community are already lamenting the fact that Blizzard seems to be taking a similar approach to Burning Crusade Classic as it has for Shadowlands and other recent expansions, each of which supported the ability to purchase new mounts, pets, and other in-game items and services for real money. As prominent WoW content creator recently said in a video posted shortly after Blizzard's announcements: "I'm disappointed because I really didn't think this would happen...I really didn't expect them to do a complete 180. I didn't expect them to go from no microtransactions at all in the game, period, to we are literally selling you mounts and boosts in the game, overnight."
The news comes just as the reveals Blizzard's number of active monthly players has dramatically decreased compared to the same time last year. Despite fewer players, revenue for Blizzard grew 7% year-over-year, in part thanks to player "participation in value added services," i.e. microtransactions.
The announcement of Burning Crusade Classic's release date should have been a cause for universal celebration and anticipation in the game's community, but instead the news that came along with it has more than a few players worried about what changes and microtransactions Blizzard might add next.