Ahead of this weekend’s BlizzCon game-announcement frenzy, two of Blizzard’s secrets have sneaked out in the form of a leak. Both revolve around World of Warcraft: one for the latest Shadowlands expansion, and another for the World of Warcraft Classic server option.
In the latter case, 2007’s hugely popular WoW expansion pack, The Burning Crusade, will be bolted onto the WoW Classic option inside the Blizzard Launcher starting sometime in “2021.” The news comes from an apparent leak of official BlizzCon press release materials, all formatted with official images and descriptions of what’s to come, as found on Blizzard’s official servers by users at Reddit’s WoW community.
As with 2019’s official WoW vanilla launch, The Burning Crusade will return without any new or special features on top of what originally came with the game. You may recall that this expansion pack included a trickle of content drops while Blizzard maintained it before selling Wrath of the Lich King in 2008. Meanwhile, Blizzard’s leaked document claims that the original version’s update cadence will return: “Content from the original game will roll out in phases, at a cadence paced for the WoW Classic community. Prepare for the opening of the Black Temple, gear up to confront the gods of Zul’Aman, and gather your allies to face the fury of the Sunwell.”
Since the document doesn’t mention any quality-of-life (QoL) changes, you’ll likely have to make your peace with the expansion’s original quirks, albeit boosted by improved balance between the Horde and Alliance thanks to the Blood Elf and Draenei races newly appearing in this expansion. If this is exactly where you want your WoW memories to live on via an official Blizzard server, then you’ll be in heaven—especially since this is a free update for anyone who already pays for a WoW subscription. Meanwhile, if you really want to keep things vanilla, you’ll have the option to hold your WoW Classic characters back to remain in a world that doesn’t know the kiss of the Outland. (If you need help making that decision, perhaps flip through Ars’ 2007 review of TBC.)
Offering both options on official WoW servers is a great indicator of Blizzard’s dedication to the appeal of reliving the old WoW days, though we have to imagine the nostalgia for WoW Classic players may run out with this expansion. Our reports on fans bringing older WoW versions back to life on private servers, which Blizzard fought back on, certainly never broached the Lich King or Cataclysm eras.
The other leak in the wild, for Shadowlands‘ upcoming “Chains of Domination” update, also came in the form of a leaked Blizzard press release, which WoWHead breaks down with plenty of images and descriptions of what’s to come. Fans playing the latest expansion can expect at least one new raid and mega-dungeon, along with more of the usual expansion-patch trimmings, at some point. This leak didn’t include a release date, but we’re not sure if that means we should expect a stealth drop when the update is announced tomorrow.