If Blizzard releases the classic WoW and then treats it as a new timeline, they have a fresh canvas to work from while keeping the old worlds relevant via "time portals" or something like it. This could bring the game a huge modernized idea that could help the franchise stay relevant. Many cool and new mechanics could be designed around that. If they could recreate your old guild raids and you act as an observer...They could use all that old data to make an incredible experience. If they can reconstruct it, if they still have ALL of that data. I personally am not interested anymore with WoW, it would take something like this to get me back into the game because my interest is in reliving my old experiences with my guilds.
What exactly do you mean by "time portals"?
I also find it unlikely that classic WoW becomes an alternate timeline that will develop its own expansions. The whole point of classic WoW is to bring back the old content, to make it relevant again, and to resurrect the old game mechanics that were gradually scrapped as time went on. Yeah, there are some people who hope that some content that never made it into original WoW (like the Azshara Crater battleground) appears in the new classic WoW, but I'm personally not holding my breath for that.
So, nothing is exact because this is speculation. Blizzard would have the capability to play around extensively with time. Once the nostalgia factor is satisfied and the classic game starts to decline, they can start with the "alternate timeline" theory. Time portals could be as simple as transferring characters between the two realities and having epic clashes like the show "Fringe". If the new reality also has it's own unique expansions than it instantly becomes a must have for the remaining feral base. You double sell expansions something like the Pokemon franchise.
Time portals could get cooler, with a bit of technical wizardry. Taking the data from all of those raids from all of those guilds, one could theoretically reconstruct the encounter and even view the old chat logs. I don't know how precise this could be, but that would be worth getting back into the game to revisit your old guild runs. I could only hope they go this route.
So basically what you're proposing here rests on the assumption that classic WoW is going to be a short fad that will decline very soon. I disagree with that, as I'm personally very fond of replaying old games over and over. Nostalgia tends to come back, you know. However, while it's easy to replay a single-player game (you just find your copy of the game, reinstall it if needed, and have fun all over again), you can't do that with an MMORPG (and any other online game, for that matter). Once you update an online game, the old version is gone forever. So what you are proposing would go against the very idea behind classic WoW's relaunch.
Even if the interaction between the classic and current content servers is going to be very limited (say, cross-realm arenas), how exactly are you going to do that? Remember that even basic combat mechanics are different between classic WoW and current content (Battle for Azeroth). There are no weapon skills since Cataclysm, the hit mechanics are very different, the buff/debuff limit in Classic is smaller, to name just a few things. How exactly are you going to make this work together, and, more importantly, how are you going to balance all that?
However, recording replays for dungeon and raid runs and for battleground/arena battles is an interesting idea.
The devs made it clear, months ago, that Classic WOW will not be connected to WOW. At. All.
Not even achievements or cosmetics can be transfered. It will be a separate game.
If people want it, they will make it. I personally don't see vanilla WoW as the right nostalgia play because they've mistaken what made their game great in the first place.
They've lost some of their smartest people, this is not the right play for them, yet i'm sure they think that it really is. Back to the debate on overuse of metrics in strategic decision making.
Looks like Blizzard weakened there stance slightly: they've offered a Classic WoW special edition for sale that would also unlock vanity items in standard WoW. From what I've heard it was sold out in 1-2 days.
They're still pretty clear on their stance that things you do in Classic will not affect Standard, and vice versa.
A vocal part of the fan base is not happy with it, so lets see how long it takes Blizzard to recognize the sign of the times...
Just a crazy quick note to toss in...
We will never get a 100% Vanilla game as Activision is involved in the mix as well unlike back when Vanilla WoW first came out, so seeing those monetization items likely stems from that. Even if WoW Classic was 150% self sustainable Blizzard will still be pressured by Activision to do this or that to increase profit margins.
Now one thing I did suggest on WoWhead's facebook is that they should intentionally cripple their WoW Classic database for a while so it reflects the amount of data available back when Vanilla was first on the market, that way the players would get the full immersion of how it was back in the day... well other than modems disconnecting and breaking the download that was setup to run overnight but hey that was a whole different struggle there
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