WoW Classic: Queues, In-Game Line Hijinks, How To Download, Subscriptions
All you need to know to jump back into the Azeroth of yore.
World of Warcraft has changed a lot since it was initially released 15 years ago, and as much as players have enjoyed seeing the world shaken to its core by the Cataclysm or picking sides in the Battle for Azeroth, it's easy to miss the simple joys of its original incarnation. Blizzard is letting you go back in time with World of Warcraft Classic, a re-release of the original game with only minor functionality tweaks. Here's all you need to know to jump back in to a simpler Azeroth, which is now available, albeit with some temporary hiccups in terms of server queues, completing quests, and more.
Release Date, Server Launch Time
WoW Classic is officially set to launch on August 27 worldwide, but that translates to a slightly earlier August 26 launch in the Americas and parts of Europe to keep aligned with the local launch times in all regions. As noted below, that time has now passed, and the game is officially live around the world.
- 6 PM ET (North America) on August 26
- 3 PM PT (North America) on August 26
- 11 PM BST (Europe) on August 26
- 8 AM AEST (Australia) on August 27
"Server Down" Errors And Long Queues
As was to be expected, launch was brought with it a huge surge of interest. As such, WoW Classic players are encountering long server queues and, in some cases, errors about servers being down. Blizzard said it was anticipating high demand and possible long wait times for joining up as soon as the servers go live. You may want to consider creating or moving your characters to a low population server if you're eager to jump in and don't want to wait.
Specifically in the European region, Blizzard has warned players about an issue right now related to making purchases through Battle.net. As noted below, WoW Classic access is tied to WoW subscriptions, and this issue could see you add game time to your account but not be able to make use of that time right away. This will manifest itself in the form of an error saying "active game time is required to play" WoW Classic. Blizzard says it may take up to 24 hours for your purchased game time to register, so you'll potentially need to be patient before you can get in.
Once you do get in, don't expect the experience to be a normal one--at least right away. With so many players all starting up at the same point, it's become a challenge to complete what should be fairly simple quests. Because players are essentially competing for kills of certain enemy types, you can be forced to wait a long time for them to respawn. In some cases, players have actually begun forming tidy lines in the game as they wait for their turn.
What's The Same, What's Different
WoW Classic aims to be an authentic recreation of the original vanilla World of Warcraft, as of the 1.12 patch. That brings the game up to its state as of August 22, 2006, just before the Burning Crusade expansion.
The Classic format promises classic raids like Molten Core and Onyxia, the classic talent structure, and the world as it stood as of that time during the game's lifespan. It sports the original game's combat mechanics, character models, and skill trees. That also means that the game will lack some convenience features like raid finder. The studio even issued a "Not a Bug" list to clarify that some systems being flagged as bugs by players were actually working as intended.
However, the game hasn't remained entirely untouched. Blizzard wanted the game to reflect the original WoW, but it did implement some small quality-of-life updates.
"Anything that would affect gameplay we want to make sure that we deliver something that is authentic," WoW Classic lead engineer Brian Birmingham told GameSpot. "Where we feel like quality-of-life improvements are okay are things like, tabbing to complete a name in in-game mail. That's not a core part of the gameplay experience of leveling, and questing, and trying to explore the world."
How Subscriptions Work
If you're already a subscriber to World of Warcraft, you're already a subscriber to WoW Classic as well. One subscription entitles you to both games. The same goes the other direction, in fact. If you sign up for a WoW subscription for WoW Classic, you'll get entry to standard World of Warcraft as well.
How to Download
World of Warcraft Classic is its own client separate from your standard World of Warcraft installation, but it can be tricky to find. It doesn't have its own tab on the Battle.net launcher. Instead, it can be found within the World of Warcraft tab. You'll find WoW Classic in the Version drop-down menu just above the Install button.