World of Warcraft’s Classic servers have been popular with the playerbase that like to relive their glory days or who want to try the old mehcanics that the current version of the game does not have. This "vanilla" World of Warcraft Classic, as it is colloquially referred to, has provided another stable profit margin for Blizzard.
However, the newest update to World of Warcraft Classic, which brings the Burning Crusade expansion back, has just received a huge amount of backlash after its official launch date was revealed. The cloning fee for characters has been the main point of contention, as well as the Deluxe Edition being offered.
What is World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic?
The Burning Crusade was the first major expansion to Blizzard’s extremely successful MMORPG World of Warcraft. Released on January 2007, Burning Crusade sold over 3.5 million units in the first month, with 2.4 million of that on the first day alone. If there was any doubt about World of Warcraft’s popularity, the release of Burning Crusade quickly erased those doubts completely.
As with any major expansion to an MMORPG, Burning Crusade introduced significant additions and changes to the gameplay. Two races, the Draenei and the Blood Elves, were added to the Alliance and the Horde, respectively. These races allowed players to take on classes that were previously exclusive to each faction: the Paladin and the Shaman. Aside from the race and class update, Burning Crusade also added the Shattered World of Outland, providing the setting and adventure area zone for new creatures, new quests, dungeons, cities, and raids. The Jewelcrafting profession and flying mounts were also added, further expanding the options available to players.
Another major addition is raising the level cap of characters from 60 to 70. Concurrent with the rise of the level cap was the introduction of the Eye of the Storm PvP arena which separated brackets of players from level 61 to 69 bracket to the level 70 only bracket. This would eventually led to the formalization of World of Warcraft Arena Tournaments.
When vanilla World of Warcraft Classic was introduced in 2019, fans had been anticipating the inclusion of Burning Crusade at some point. However, Blizzard was coy about whether they would actually push through with adding the expansion to the base game. It would not be until Blizzcon 2021 that WoW Classic lead producer Holly Longdale, production director Patrick Dawson, and lead software engineer Brian Birmingham confirmed and discussed the details of Burning Crusade Classic. This included the option for players to gain access to the Draenei and Blood Elf races earlier than the actual launch of the Burning Crusade expansion through pre-patching updates to vanilla World of Warcraft Classic. The intent of this is to allow players time to level these characters to a sufficient power in order to take full advantage of the content in the Burning Crusade Classic.
As described on the World of Warcraft official site:
Burning Crusade Classic is a faithful recreation of the original release of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. Enter the Twisting Nether and explore Outland—the shattered remains of the once beautiful orc homeworld, Draenor. Battle to level 70, ride majestic flying mounts, and master two additional races: the mystical blood elves and the pious draenei.
The Price and the Playerbase
Players had expected that the Burning Crusade would be free to play for those who already have paid monthly World of Warcraft account, same with the vanilla World of Warcraft Classic. However, that is not exactly the case.
There will be new servers for World of Warcraft Classic and Burning Crusade Classic. Players will have the option to keep their characters in World of Warcraft Classic, in that realm, or progress to Burning Crusade Classic. If a player wishes to have the same character be available on both realms, they will have to pay for $35 per character to be cloned.
This additional fee to clone a character just to be able to have it on both realms simultaneously is the main cause of outrage from the players of the game. The consensus appears to be that the $35 fee is simply too high, although there are those who have said that there should be no fee at all, given that they would already be paying for the monthly subscription. Regardless, the majority are incensed that Blizzard is essentially forcing WoW Classic players to either progress to Burning Crusade or stay in the Classic realm if they do not wish to pay the cloning fee.
To a lesser extent, the World of Warcraft player community are also voicing their dissatisfaction with the Dark Portal Pass and the Deluxe Edition being offered. The Dark Portal Pass provides players with the ability to boost a character (although not for Blood Elf and Draenei) to level 58 with appropriate skills, mounts, and gear to be used for the Burning Crusade realm for the price of $39.99.
On the other hand, the Deluxe Edition includes the Dark Portal Pass and 30 days of game time. However, the rest of the content of the Deluxe Edition is only cosmetic items, but the total price is $70. Considering that for the same price one can buy a new triple-A game, this is understandably a point of contention among World of Warcraft’s subscriber population. Some have noted that for just a difference of $9.99, one could have the Epic Edition of the recent Shadowlands expansion for the main World of Warcraft game.
World of Wallets
The Twitter post announcing the official release date of Burning Crusade Classic has received many angry and disappointed remarks regarding the $35 cloning fee.
35$ for cloning one character is CRIMINAL! You should be ASHAMED, This service is literally free in PTR, idk how you think you could charge more then 10 Dollars. Imagine some conversion rates. I am disgusted. I will not support this. Thanks for removing me from Classic.
— Damian (@Ghausght) May 7, 2021
Thus far, there has been no official response by Blizzard and the World of Warcraft team to address the concerns being raised. It remains to be seen whether there will be any changes as a result of this as the Burning Crusade Classic release approaches.
World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic will be released on June 1, 2021.