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World of Warcraft Classic rewinds, tries a new seasonal model

Entering open beta on Oct. 5

World of Warcraft Classic - a handful of adventurers fight C’Thun, a giant eyeball Old God in the ruins of Ahn’Qiraj Image: Blizzard Entertainment

World of Warcraft Classic was a return to a simpler time, without the bells and whistles of the modern retail game. But time kept marching onwards, and Classic has proven popular enough to lead to the game’s first expansion, Burning Crusade, to have its own Classic iteration. Now Blizzard is returning to Classic with Season of Mastery, a fresh start to the throwback style that begins its open beta on Oct. 5.

Season of Mastery will have some changes to the World of Warcraft Classic experience, which Blizzard has detailed in a blog post on its official site. The six content release phases will remain, but they’ll unlock much faster, with the full cycle completing within 12 months.

Raids are also going to become more difficult, especially now that players have access to so much more information. Once difficult bosses and challenges would be tackled and toppled by players in hours — or even minutes. The developer explains,

With that in mind, we’re planning a few changes to make those early raid bosses pack a bit more of a punch, and attempt to recapture the original challenge they presented. These changes currently include (but are not limited to):

World buffs (like Rallying Cry of the Dragonslayer and others) disabled in Raid instances

Restoring mechanics that were removed early on to some Raid bosses

No boss debuff limit (up from 16 debuffs in WoW Classic)

Increased health on bosses, to offset player buffs and the removed debuff limit

Our intent with these changes is for this experience to feel somewhat more challenging than WoW Classic did in 2019.

It’ll be faster to level in the Season of Mastery, and it includes some quality of life changes, including more mining and herbalism nodes for a better economy.

On Thursday, the developer posted a blog about content in World of Warcraft being changed since early August. This includes changes to in-game assets, in-game references to accused developers, and the upcoming addition of an incubus model for players who use the succubus demon on warlocks.

World of Warcraft publisher Activision Blizzard faces wide-ranging allegations that it maintains a toxic workplace environment that’s particularly hostile to women. A recent lawsuit ended in an $18M settlement.

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