What Is WoW: Classic?

All you need to know about this legendary version of World of Warcraft

WoW: Classic is a recreation of the MMORPG World of Warcraft prior to the release of the first expansion pack. WoW: Classic is available as a server option for all World of Warcraft subscribers.

Information in this article applies to World of Warcraft: Classic for all operating systems.

What Is World of Warcraft: Classic?

As one of the longest running online games in history, World of Warcraft has changed immensely since it first launched in 2004. WoW: Classic, also called "vanilla WoW" by fans, gives players an opportunity to enjoy the game as it was just before the Burning Crusade expansion came out in 2007.

WoW fans had been running the classic version of the game on private servers for years before Blizzard Entertainment started cracking down on unauthorized servers in 2016. Recognizing the demand for the original game, Blizzard announced WoW: Classic in 2017.

WoW: Classic maintains all of the features present after patch 1.12 (Drums of War). All players begin at level 1, and the level cap was lowered from 120 to 60 to make the game more balanced. Several bugs from the original game are kept intact as Easter eggs for observant fans.

WoW: Classic Release Date

World of Warcraft: Classic launched on August 26, 2019. The servers for the game were overwhelmed as players waited in long queues, so Blizzard added more servers to accommodate returning players. The company announced plans to add more player-versus-player content, as well as more areas, enemies, and events in the order they were originally made available.

What Do You Need to Play WoW: Classic?

Aside from a stable internet connection, all you need to play WoW: Classic is a Blizzard account and an active World of Warcraft subscription. If you're not a subscriber, signing up allows you to play the game in its current state and WoW: Classic. Current WoW subscribers can play WoW: Classic at no extra cost.

Check the minimum system requirements for your operating system to make sure your computer can run WoW.

How to Play WoW: Classic for Free

If you're new to World of Warcraft, you can get started playing WoW: Classic for free.

  1. Create a free Blizzard account if you don't already have one.

    Create an account for World of WarCraft
  2. Download and install the Battle.net desktop app.

    Download for Windows button
  3. When the app launches, enter your Blizzard account username and password.

    Blizzard account name and password fields
  4. Select the World of Warcraft tab on the left side, then select Try for Free. World of Warcraft will install on your device.

    Try for Free button World of Warcraft Classic
  5. When World of Warcraft loads, select the drop-down menu in the lower-left corner (above Play), then choose World of Warcraft Classic.

    World of Warcraft Classic menu option
  6. Select Play to start your free trial of WoW: Classic.

    Play button for World of Warcraft Classic

WoW: Classic Tips

Longtime WoW fans will feel right at home, but if the original incarnation of Azeroth looks foreign to you, here are some tips about classic WoW to keep in mind:

  • Class matters: Classes are much more restrictive in WoW: Classic when it comes to the abilities and equipment you can use, so choose your starting class carefully.
  • Don't hurt civilians: Killing civilian units will lower your Honor, so avoid hurting shopkeepers and other neutral NPCs in enemy territory.
  • Stockpile gold and other resources: The classic version of WoW is stingy with money and everything else, so be frugal and save your gold for things you really need.
  • Mind Your Reputation: Due to the way servers are set up in WoW: Classic, you must stay on good terms with other players, or else you could find yourself ostracized from questing.

WoW: Classic Add-ons and Mods

Numerous add-ons are available for free on the web. For example, the Azeroth Auto Pilot add-on tells players which quests they should pursue to level up as quickly as possible. With the ElvUi add-on, players can customize the interface.

You can download and install add-ons for WoW: Classic with the Twitch app, but some must be downloaded from other websites like WoWHead. Add-ons usually come in a ZIP file, which you should extract to the World of Warcraft > Classic > Interface > AddOns folder on your computer.

Install and run antivirus software before downloading files from the web.

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