Wrath of the Lich King: WoW Classic is now different from the original


Later this year, World of Warcraft Classic is set to receive its second expansion – the Wrath of the Lich King, originally released 14 years ago. The add-on is already playable as part of a beta test phase. However, there is no longer an exact copy of the original.

14 years later there is no exact copy

For many fans, Wrath of the Lich King heralded the golden era of World of Warcraft in November 2008. For others, however, the expansion marks a turning point – not all of the changes associated with the update were well received; the feel of the game has changed forever. In view of this, Blizzard tries to walk a tightrope: World of Warcraft Classic should continue to nostalgically capture the flair of the WoW beginnings, but at the same time deviate from the original MMORPG in some respects. The keyword #NoChanges becomes #SomeChanges with Wrath of the Lich King Classic, as the publisher explains in a blog post.

When World of Warcraft Classic first launched, it followed a very strict design pillar: #NoChanges. At Blizzard, we faithfully recreated World of Warcraft as it existed in 2006, with as few changes as possible, while still making it able to run in the more modern environment of 2019. But World of Warcraft didn't stop in 2006. It continued to evolve and change over the years. […]

However, as we re-release these expansions, we find the design pillar #NoChanges isn't sufficient anymore. With World of Warcraft's expansions came design changes to the game, and some of those changes were not consistent with the way Classic World of Warcraft felt.


This means, for example, the group search introduced with Wrath of the Lich King or the Dungeon Browser – since World of Warcraft with the new comfort function was suddenly much easier to go it alone, community associations would have suffered. It also contributed to the fact that the heroic dungeons were way too easy anyway. As a result, Blizzard is canceling the group search and increasing the difficulty, but in return the loot should also become more valuable. The raid Naxxramas is also affected, which was far too easy at the time, according to the publisher. In World of Warcraft Classic, stronger opponents should now ensure a more challenging gaming experience.

Adjustments can also be expected in the future

Aside from the balancing adjustments, the item system is also undergoing a change – by experiencing fewer changes. After the release of Wrath of the Lich King, the itemization was often chaotically revised. Blizzard wants to do this better this time and introduces the then final changes from the start. The publisher also reserves the right to make such adjustments for future classic extensions. The development of the item system in World of Warcraft Classic will now follow four guidelines:

  • Foster a vibrant player ecosystem engaging in all Wrath of the Lich King instanced content.
    Serves: Nurture and Protect Social Experiences
  • Maintain a healthy density of players enjoying Heroic dungeons throughout the entire expansion.
    Serves: Nurture and Protect Social Experiences and Approachable and Familiar
  • Preserve nostalgic itemization elements.
    Serves: Approachable and Familiar and The World is the Main Character
  • Provide a consistent itemization scheme across all expansion phases.
    Serves: Approachable and Familiar


Meanwhile, the current development of World of Warcraft is approaching their ninth expansion. Dragonflight is also scheduled to appear later this year and take players to the Dragon Islands.