Since its release in 2019, World of Warcraft Classic has provided players the opportunity to experience Azeroth as it was prior to the world shattering events of the Cataclysm expansion. When World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Classic launches later in 2021, it will update the current Classic world to how it was during the 2007 expansion; with access to Outland, maximum level increase to 70, flying, and new talents and spells, to name a few. For players who do not want to advance into this content, they will be able to remain on Classic Era Realms, in old Azeroth at level 60. There will be a paid option if they change their minds and decide to pass through the Dark Portal to Outland. This is where the tale ends for Classic, but it does not have to.
The world did not stop turning when we passed through the Dark Portal. Adventures and challenges continued for those who stayed behind on Azeroth. Classic Era realms offer a storytelling opportunity for Blizzard. Developing new content for the Classic Era can be accomplished without altering the existing world by making it optional, possibly paid, DLC. Having it phased insures only the player who installed it will experience it.
World of Warcraft expansions unfold like a book. Here, I am proposing stand alone short stories, happening concurrent to the events of The Burning Crusade Classic, but set on a zone level scale. There is precedent for this type of limited development. In patch 2.3, The Gods of Zul’Aman, Blizzard implemented a zone revamp of Dustwallow Marsh, adding the goblin town of Mudsprocket, new quest hubs, and over 50 new quests. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Classic players will benefit from these changes, and other quality of life improvements, when history repeats itself with Classic patch 2.3.
With the champions of the Horde and Alliance on Outland to battle the Burning Legion, malevolent forces in fringe zones decide the time has come to launch fresh offensives. The first point of conflict is Azshara, a zone which feels incomplete, particularly with the presence of Azshara Crater, an unfinished PVP battleground. A Classic Azshara DLC will widen the zone’s scope and importance.
A speculative campaign involves a powerful agent of the Burning Legion organizing the Haldarr and Legashi demons into an army which threatens Ashenvale and Orgrimmar. Performing attacks on the demon camps and other actions may slow but not ultimately stop their war plans.
The military build up of the demons has caused the naga inhabiting the Ruins of Eldarath and along The Bay of Storms to strengthen their positions. This is unfortunate for you, because lost in those ruins is an ancient artifact and the only way to defeat the Burning Legion agent. However, you are not alone in your search. The blood elf contingent in Azshara wants the artifact for themselves, and they will kill anyone, Alliance or Horde, to claim it.
Thankfully, you will not be without allies, if you have obtained Friendly status with the furbolg tribe of Timbermaw Hold. Although Timbermaw Hold quests and reputation grinds take place in Felwood and Winterspring, the hold itself is located in Azshara, behind a massive portcullis. Once Friendly, the gate will open and you will enter the ancestral home of the Timbermaw tribe. The hold also serves as a sanctuary and neutral quest hub for Horde and Alliance.
The Timbermaw recognize the growing demon threat but when you arrive, they are defending themselves from the powerful giants of Azshara. Unless you uncover what has caused the giants to wage war (Hint. Hint. It’s the agent), Timbermaw Hold will fall and the best defense against the demon army will be lost.
And somewhere along the way, you will have to escort someone to safety who doesn’t know how to walk in a straight line.
Coming up with new stories is the fun part. The issue with creating new Classic content is the reward system. This will be end game content, and Classic Era realms will have a level 60 limit, so there will be no experience points. Offering weapons or gear may create an undesirable situation where players feel compelled to purchase the DLC as a required gearing avenue, even if the rewards are existing level 60 gear. Though this itself may be considering unfair by players who purchase the DLC and expect a return for the added expense they have incurred.
A potential compromise would have quests reward gold and reputation vouchers, which can be redeemed in any same faction city. In this manner, the primary return on investment is a faster path to obtaining faction mounts, and becoming Exalted with Timbermaw Hold. Making quests repeatable up until the player decides to initiate the final showdown with the Burning Legion agent, provides a method to obtaining Exalted in all or just desired faction reputations. A player who completes the DLC campaign and decides to transfer into TBCClassic will do so with mounts and a step completed in obtaining the new “the Diplomat” title, but with no other game play advantage over any other player.
I think it is unlikely Blizzard will development content for World of Warcraft Classic, but they are a business and this offers a potential revenue stream and a way to maintain player interest in the game and the world of Azeroth. One thing I have learned from Blizzard is never say “never.”
What future, if any, would you like for Classic?