WoW Classic was inspired by popularity of private servers

The development of World of Warcraft Classic isn’t something that happened out of the blue. Blizzard was inspired by the success of vanilla private servers that offered the original WoW experience, just as it was back in 2004.

In 2016, a cease-and-desist letter from Blizzard to the most popular of the World of Warcraft Classic private servers, Nostalrius, didn’t go down well with the community. This resulted in a petition, prompting Blizzard to meet with the Nostalrius team and discuss the idea of official WoW classic servers.

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Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, World of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas stated that Blizzard was more interested in expanding the MMORPG than working on official vanilla servers. When the idea was being considered, steep technical challenges prevented the team from going forward with the plan.

“A big part of why there had never been any meaningful traction was that this was not an easy thing for us to do. Every time the idea came up, we couldn’t find a viable path to make it work,” he said. “We had the old client, but it was basically full of bugs and exploits and incompatible with the modern hardware we use to run the game, and there was no clear path other than literally redoing ten years plus of engineering work that led to the evolution of the client to get from there to here.”

By summer 2017, Blizzard managed to discover a solution. By using the modern codebase and “teaching it to speak the old data,” and with the help of a few old backups that were deemed lost for good, the project could finally become a reality. This was one year after the meeting with the Nostalrius team, clearly showing that the idea was worth pursuing.

Many tweaks later, the World of Warcraft Classic experience is shaping up to be similar to the one that you may have enjoyed in 2006, with patch 1.12. Many of the commodities were removed, but WoW Classic, which releases today, August 26, maintains the Battle.net integration and associated social features.

Sadly, the skeleton piles from the original WoW won’t be a part of the new journey, destroying many memories in the process.