The first—and among the most important—decision we had to make was which version of the game to focus on. As many of you have noted, the classic period was two years long and full of changes. Core features like Battlegrounds were introduced in patches after WoW’s original launch, and class design similarly changed over time. After careful consideration, we decided on Patch 1.12: Drums of War as our foundation, because it represents the most complete version of the classic experience.
A different brand of challenge is presented by the PVP, which has undergone multiple phases and metas throughout the game's long lifespan. As in any competitive live game, some classes will be a fan favorite criticized as overpowered in one era only to be left behind in the next. The team says this is one of the main reasons it chose this specific iteration of WoW.
Our initial runs exposed a few (expected) issues: the game sometimes crashed, didn’t recognize our modern video cards, and was incompatible with our current login system. That first pass also couldn’t support any of our modern security and anti-cheating capabilities. Clearly we had a lot of work to do to make WoW Classic live up to the Blizzard standard of quality, and deliver the experience players want.
WoW Classic seeks to recreate the "vanilla WoW" experience—that is, WoW as it existed before a series of seven game-altering major expansion packs from 2007's The Burning Crusade to 2018's Battle for Azeroth. To achieve this, Blizzard has rebuilt the game based on archived data from back in 2005 and 2006 (patch 1.12 is the goalpost—the current game is on patch 8.1.5). The company has committed to meticulously presenting the experience exactly as it was back then—warts and all—with only a small number of unavoidable or critical changes.
The quickest way to level up is to travel through the game's zones, completing all the quests you encounter along the way. Completing quests grants you Experience points, which will slowly fill in your experience bar with blue or purple. When the bar fills, you reach the next level. Alternatively, you could choose to run Dungeons or Battlegrounds, which are not covered in this beginner's guide.