Shadowlands is Classic+

For 15 or so years I have found myself fantasizing about whatever the next WoW patch or next WoW expansion will be. Even now in the midst of this nostalgia fest that is WoW classic I am wondering, "what's next?". We have reached a halfway point of sorts with WoW classic we are about to hit phase 4 of 6 in the WoW classic journey. Phase 5 and 6 are beefy phases of new raids AQ20/40 and Naxxramas, which may be quite lengthy, and after Phase 6 this is where vanilla stopped back-in-the-day. 

But what comes after? 
There is a general consensus that we will just get The Burning Crusade: Classic, the expansion that followed on from the original. I however, have another theory, hinted at from the announcement of the next expansion for current (retail) WoW: Shadowlands. It's unpopular but I have a wild theory... Since we haven't had an announcement and it's not confirmed perhaps there will not be a TBC-Classic. But instead what if there is some plan to bring both Classic and Retail together and merge to become Shadowlands. Level in Classic then go to Shadowlands, making Shadowlands in effect Classic+



Why do I think this? On it's current path Classic is could potentially be phased to finish around the same time as the launch of Shadowlands, and with it Shadowlands now has the the new feature of Chromie expansion revisiting:

Veteran players will be approached by Chromie, who senses they have done Battle for Azeroth before - And offer them the opportunity to level in any expansions! You will be able to choose your expansion to level on and change at any time, in case you need a change of pace.
Leveling through an entire expansion's storyline will bring you pretty close to level 50. However, you are able to return and change which expansion you will be leveling on at any time if you need a change of pace.

Now I know this is not a lot to go on but a couple of things strike me from this little tidbit, this only mentions expansions, no word on what they are doing or how they are handling Classic, i.e could players go back and level through vanilla, or is that just now "cataclysm? as during the cataclysm expansion there was a a complete revamp of vanilla quests, but Cata did have new zones and a new storyline... Also if they are planning on releasing, Classic TBC, Classic Wrath of the Lich King etc. why put the effort of putting this into retail?


There is also a few other contributing factors to my tin foil hat theory

The Level Squish. Everything is getting squished to level 60 upon shadowlands launch, why level 60, which is so co-incidentally the level cap in WoW Classic? One very interesting thing to come with this is that all raids and dungeons ever now being lvl 60, all TBCs, all WotLK, even latest raids will be lvl 60.

Are they making it more Classicy?. It was also announced that a few old talents were being resurrected for shadowlands and a revamp of the talent system, the drop to 60 and quite honestly given the popularity of Classic perhaps a new direction for the game to claim the classic-ers back. Blizz have even come out and said that they are learning more from Classic..

They retrofitted classic into the current engine. One could take a very cynical approach to this and look as classic as means to re-absorb the classic players, the hype from streamers, the progression pacing. It could be seen as Blizzard just using classic as a vehicle to catch the folks who have dropped off and then use retail now as the next step, like a kind of carrot on a stick. From Blizz's perspective why would they want to do 2 lots of work, i.e. create TBC servers AND maintain retail with expansion revisiting? why not give everyone in one package?

With these points in mind I am interested to see where the stats and such compare between Retail and Classic after the squish and the viability of classic talents in lvl 60 squished raids.



How would this work? 
Honestly I dont know, I just feel that the implementation of the Chromie feature feels a little bit like a one size fits all future proofed solution. But I could foresee a couple of scenarios:

  1. Classic is done, you and your guild transfer to shadowlands, you end up as a lvl 60 with access to Chomies Expansion revisiter in retail
  2. Classic continues and Chomie pops up in classic and gives you access to expansion revisiter allowing you to replay raids from any expansion. Again with a some kind of progression model.
  3. Along side Mythic Mode you also get Classic Mode which retains your WoW Classic talents, allowing you to jump into raids with some kind of guild progression model.
  4. Retail to be differentiated with Classic servers where people retain the talent trees and do the content that way.

With the level squish, and just taking your character into these raids, what is the point, what do you gain from doing these raids, how do you progress?
The gear is going to have to be re-itemized for the squish, again if Blizzard are doing this for Retail and it will be retroactive, why not just make this available to the Classic-ers upon the end of Classic. So if gear is being changed to be more lvl 60-like then why do we care about gear from SSC or even MoP if its all going to be pretty equivalent, and would it even be visible/wearable in Classic?
What could these raids offer in exchange for gear? Tokens for gear, mats, titles, gold?
If Classic-ers were to be able to join the ranks of the Shadowlands too, the gold economy would have to be addressed, either by giving classic players a gold reward, or give them the WoW gold tokens that have now been implemented on the China PTR.

In all actuality I am very aware that these are all wild ideas here and quite honestly the idea of TBC coming out is probably the most likely, but I just wonder in the head of blizzard if they are perhaps looking for a more permanent futurepoofed way for the classic community to enjoy the game, offer new content to them but without destroying Classic with the plethora of "quality of life"  systems (e.g. LFD/LFR), by just lifting a bit of work they have done in retail to classic or merging classic with retail.

Love and Chromie,

Richie X

Comments

  1. Hmm. Interesting points as always my friend. If this is indeed the way Blizzard intends to go forward ,it will be the biggest fuckery, in the history of clusterfucks. But from what you've said I just realized: Jesus, I may actually get totally fucked!

    But we'll just have to wait and see I guess. I have gotten my warrior to lvl 60 now, and I am thankful for the classic experience. I am working too much now to get any enjoyment out of the game now anyway. But I played TBC most of all. If that ain't happening, who knows, maybe Shadowlands will be TBC 2.0 and turn out to be brilliant.

    In these Corona times, only the living,will live long enough, to tell the tale.

    As my good old friend Donald Trump always says: 'We'll see what happens.'

    Say hello to the mrs. Stay safe❤

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