Hight suggested that while The Burning Crusade would automatically be made available to anyone with a World of Warcraft subscription “one option will also be to be able to get a boost” and that option “may potentially include some other cool stuff” — effectively hinting at some form of boost other than the usual paid boost available with the retail version of the game.Birmingham said that regardless of how it was obtained, it was important that getting that boost didn’t trivialize the accomplishments of Classic players so far. He said Blizzard wants to “honor the sense of accomplishment” that players who had already reached max level in Classic had. To that end, the boost will be limited: only one per World of Warcraft account, characters will be wearing level-appropriate but not overpowered dungeon gear, and the two new races introduces in Burning Crusade — Draenei and Blood Elves — cannot be boosted.
“We know for a lot of people this was their entry into WoW, and we don’t want them to feel like they missed out,” Hight said. “I think if we’d had the notion of a boost back then, we definitely would have used it. When we introduced it with Warlords of Draenor we saw a lot of people return to WoW.”
Character boosting isn’t the only Classic character service being added. Birmingham and Hight also elaborated on the process of bringing a character to Burning Crusade, or choosing to keep it in the original Classic.
Essentially, Birmingham explained, on launch day there will be two separate game clients in Battle.net: one for Burning Crusade, and one for Classic. When you launch one and select a character, it will ask you to confirm if that’s where you want that character to be, and then you’ll lock it in. The choice is per character, so different characters can go to whichever version of the game players want.But what if players want to play one character in both versions? Blizzard has accounted for that, and will be offering a paid service (the amount has yet to be announced) that will let players clone characters across both games.
“We want to make sure that you’re making a meaningful choice, that you’re actually making a decision of where you want to continue your adventuring, but we know that some people would prefer not to make that choice so we’re developing this new service for that,” Birmingham said.
Hight added, “It should be a conscious choice. If we just automatically did it, we could potentially be creating a bunch of characters that are there but nobody’s actually playing. It’s introducing a little bit of friction to make sure this is really what you want to do.”
Hight added that, based on player feedback and surveys, he expects most players will want to move on to The Burning Crusade — but Classic will be kept alive indefinitely for those who want to stay in that community.
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Classic and details about the 9.1 patch for Shadowlands were leaked yesterday and formally announced today at BlizzCon 2021. IGN also spoke with Hight and Birmingham about other Burning Crusade Classic details, including potential plans for a Wrath of the Lich King Classic release in the future, and changes to Burning Crusade from its original version.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.