Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft Classic has been out for over one year, and the game is approaching the end of its life cycle.
Naxrammas, the final raid of World of Warcraft Classic is on the PTR and is likely due to release in the coming months. With the life cycle for Classic coming to an end, the logical progression is to move to The Burning Crusade, World of Warcraft’s first expansion.
Yet there is no official information on the future of WoW Classic. Here is everything we know on TBC and the future of WoW Classic.
The Burning Crusade’s Development
While Blizzard has not announced anything in terms of WoW Classic’s future post-Naxrammas, there is plenty of information that almost confirms it is coming.
The most significant indicator of TBC dates back to March when Blizzard sent emails out to high profile WoW content creators and some of the game’s biggest fans.
The email linked to a poll that suggests the different ways that Blizzard could launch TBC on various server configurations.
The options detail Classic servers advancing to TBC, new servers starting with either level 1 characters or level 58 templates. The other option is to create TBC realms for players to transfer or copy characters over to the new TBC realms.
More evidence of TBC comes from popular WoW Classic YouTuber, Tipsout, who claims a source informed him that TBC and even Wrath of the Lich King are on their way.
His source initially gave him the correct release date for WoW Classic, and important job information which also came true.
The video also goes on to remind us that Jay Allen Brack, the President of Blizzard Entertainment said if Classic is a success, then TBC and Wrath of the Lich king are likely. Brack has since mentioned Classic is a success as detailed in multiple earning calls for Activision Blizzard.
With the evidence building to a TBC launch, the post 1.12 content idea seems to be dead in the water.
Before Classic launched, the community was talking about the potential for WoW Classic to get new content post patch 1.12. However, if the dev team is focusing on TBC and Wrath, then it is unlikely this will be the content plan.
World of Warcraft’s most popular Twitch streamer, Asmongold, warns that Blizzard needs to be careful with the launch of TBC. Speaking back in March when Blizzard sent the TBC poll out, he mentioned they need to avoid splitting the community.
Asmongold said: “The first option Blizzard gave out [in the surveys] was to upgrade all the Classic servers into Burning Crusade servers. Do not do this. There’s a reason people are playing Classic, moving them on from that will alienate them all.”
The call for WoW Classic back in 2015 and 2016 was immensely powerful. Blizzard lost roughly three million subscribers in one quarter in 2015, with many moving to Classic private servers, forcing Blizzard to open conversations with a private server developer. Even with the game out and supported officially by Blizzard, some players will not want to move on. Forcing them to play TBC may not be the best move.
Perhaps moving onto TBC is not the only solution to the end of WoW Classic’s phased content plan. While nothing is supporting this solution, perhaps there will be new Classic realms launching for players that want a fresh Vanilla experience?
The reality of the situation is that Blizzard needs to be careful with the Classic player base departing. Private server developers can get access to more accurate Blizz-like values now that Blizzard restored the old game. Another player exodus to private servers is something Blizzard does not want.
Perhaps Blizzard will have more information on all of this when BlizzCon begins in February 2021.
Release Date Rumour Mill
With the future of WoW Classic looking to Outland, when could we expect a TBC release date?
Rumours originally surfaced back in September 2020 detailing a potential TBC beta expected for Spring 2021, with WoW Classic’s Naxxrammas looking at a December release window.
With the benefit of hindsight, the Naxxrammas release date seems to be correct. Naxrammas is currently on the WoW Classic PTR for testing.
Looking at the recent history of the WoW Classic PTR, the Ahn’Qiraj PTR went live on June 12, with the raid official releasing on July 27.
The Nax PTR went live on October 7, which places it well in the time frame for the rumoured December release window.
The only thing that could throw this away is the delay of WoW Shadowlands. The game’s delay to an unscheduled 2020 date may cause release issues since Blizzard tries to avoid content overlapping on the CDN (Content Distribution Network).
It was only recently there were login server issues when the WoW Shadowlands pre-patch part one and the Call of Duty Black Ops Beta launched on Battle.net on the same day, which also coincided with Blizzard’s Paris office striking.
Since the above release rumour seems somewhat accurate, the suggested rumour dates for a TBC date could be correct. With BlizzCon delayed until February 2021, we will likely have a TBC announcement at the event. Perhaps we will get a TBC demo as we did with the 2018 Classic demo, or even an Alpha/ Beta release date.
It is unlikely we will get an actual TBC release date until the WoW development team are confident with the product. WoW Classic had plenty of launch issues, and Blizzard will not want to repeat them.
If history is anything to go by the WoW Classic release date was confirmed in May 2019, three months before it went live on August 27 2019. It is likely we will not see an official WoW Classic: The Burning Crusade release date until the late spring / early summer of 2021, presuming TBC is the answer to WoW Classic’s future.