The idea of WoW modding came up in our circle of friends more than a decade ago, with some of us first getting into WoW during BC. While those of us were excited as hell for exploring this unique gem of gaming, we kept hearing from the veterans in our group how WoW used to be different, and the direction most of the changes were taking worried them. It didn't take much time until we realized what they meant and saw their worries come true. The sooner one joined the game the sooner they would leave, and while a few of us clinged to WoW a few years more, ultimately we all abandoned it after WotLK. However, even during the good old times we refused to fall for the cosmetics and hype; instead we would debate all night long about what exactly the root of the problems are in WoW, and how we could fix it. We were on a constant lookout for alternatives, played on countless private servers, a few modded ones included – that's when we realized that it's indeed possible to carry out extreme changes in the game, so that's what we are going to do.
Classic WoW was great, but exploring the old Warcraft lore and the RTS trilogy prevented us from sinking into mere nostalgia. We liked Classic but we weren't going to stop there – our idea was to take a step further and create an experience more classic than Classic itself: we studied the early versions of the game; great plans that were never realized, mechanics which were cancelled because of practical reasons, elements which were self-evident in WC3 but didn't make it to WoW and so on. We were inspired by a couple of old school and indie games as well and decided to integrate bits from here and there into our plans, since – as Blizzard is fully aware – there is no shame in borrowing successful ideas. Our plan is to gradually implement these changes in an ongoing project and build up the game brick by brick into an adventure it never was, but could have been - and that's where we need the help of those sharing our vision, as this is a project too enormous for us alone to handle and we do intend to complete it before growing old.
For the basis on which our game will be built, we have chosen the 1.12.1 server core of the legendary team Nostalrius. Our first task was to establish the 10 Level Progression System: we set lvl 10 as the maximum and scaled everything proportionally: so to get to lvl 10 on WoW Reforged, you will need just as much time and effort as you needed to get to lvl 60 in Vanilla. We had several reasons for that: first and foremost to balance the power creep between players; secondly, to give more value to levels by having to level fewer times which would be more challenging and thus giving back the joy of leveling; and thirdly, to make it easier on any level to find a group for oneself. We don’t wish to see high level players running around, putting down dozens of their enemies all at once single handedly, but people cooperating with each other while paying attention to the dangers always present. Because of the 10 level system, we decided to make Talent Tables available from level 1. We didn’t touch the tables themselves, so for now players will receive more than 1 Talent Points per level in order to have 51 points by the time they reach lvl 10. However, in the future we intend to return to giving 1 point per level, and in turn adding new ways of earning Talent Points: besides leveling up, each Class Quest will earn you a point as well – the rest you will have to find scattered throughout the world of Azeroth. It goes without saying that we are going to balance talents since a lot of them are outright useless in Classic.
The next feature is going to be that of Level Up Quests. This will add a further challenge to leveling by making it a prerequisite to complete more difficult questlines besides just gathering the XP in order to level up.
One of our biggest problems with the path late WoW is going down is how it brought huge differences to areas which should be balanced (like the aforementioned player levels) and uniformity to areas which should be varied: talents, once ensuring the customization of classes and thus the variety of gameplay styles got radically homogenised, spell bonuses and schools of magic got dumbed down. In addition, these at a later point have been removed along with skills, reagents and ammunition. Hunter pets lost their unique traits and the difference between them nowadays is merely visual. We don't want a game with undeserved advantages or forced equality, but one with rewarding challenges. As a first step to fix this simplifying tendency, we will bring back spell skills from the Alpha version of WoW.
We will also make every trainer unique: skills and recipes will be more difficult to get, as trainers will be limited in knowledge: more experienced trainers would likely to be specialized in certain fields, thus you'll have to meet a good number of them during your journey if you really want to master your class or profession. A lot more of skills and recipes will come from quests and exploration, by finding hidden tomes and scrolls. This, combined with balancing crafted items with drops will raise the value and prestige of professions, while we also avoid to make crafting undemanding. We also expect these measures to revitalize the ingame economy so that players can trade more between each other on their appropriate levels.
One of our greatest tasks is to stop and reverse the inflation in WoW, which gradually became an everyday reality in all areas of the game. With instant gratification, the actual value of ingame accomplishments is on a constant decline, whether we talk about level, gear, instances, prestige items, mounts, titles and so on. In the humble beginnings, the player took up the role of a random adventurer, but over the years his significance radically changed and now he is the worshipped champion of Azeroth – along with all the other players of course. The epic item set which needed great time and effort to obtain in the past, today is a worthless piece of transmog material players use for nostalgia value surrounded by people who don't have a clue about its history. Increasing the number of rare mobs (i.e. making them more common) is another example of how Blizzard is deconstructing fundamental concepts of the game by confusing value with excitement. We reject all that and aim to bring back challenge and difficulty to the game.
Grinding got out of hand, and while it's a necessary evil of the genre, it takes up more and more of the gameplay, not to mention that most of the time it's only there to extend game time. Retail feels more like a job than a game, and that of a rather dull kind. We wish to return to WoW how we remember it from the beginning: mysterious, unpredictable and surprising. One of our principles is to avoid repetitive patterns and instead tossing adventurous players into unexpected and dangerous situations.
The social aspect of the game is under constant attack ironically by the very same people who want to strengthen it. Trying to make it easier and faster for people to get together – just like IRL – resulted in the reverse effect. Flying mounts distanced players from each other; LFG destroyed dungeon groups as group mates became easily replaceable random people for whom nobody needs to (nor can) take responsibility for; phasing turned questing into a single player experience; and so on. People ended up being isolated in a game which encourages socialization but wouldn't entrust the player with it. Instead of letting bonds form between people in the organic way, the game constantly gets in the way to manage these relationships not realizing how detrimental this is to them. You won't get far alone in our game, and because of the dynamic nature of it you can't count on simply grinding your way up either. You will have to cooperate and belong to a group to achieve success.
All in all, we are up to a great challenge and welcome anyone who is willing and able to contribute to our vision of World of Warcraft.
Contact us on our discord server!