Nice summary posted over at MMOchamp about the latest findings from the Classic Panel. I will add the non-tech stuff to the FAQ thread.
They're releasing the raid content in small installations which is interesting. Good to get some solid answers about other things too.
- What's Under the Hood?
- Database Data
- Art Assets
- Source Code
- They kept track of everything in a repository that kept track of all changes made to the game.
- This repository has been keeping track of changes since 1997.
- First bug fix tracked - April 25, 1997.
- Two versions of the game in database - live and development.* * The development data was created over the live version. Eventually they changed it so that the team could work on multiple patches at a time.
- Art Assets include 3D models and textures which combine to in-game models.
- In digging back into the database, they discovered that they only had art assets from recent expansions.
- They found a backup with another backup folder that housed some old art assets.
- The old WoW
- Didn't run in the Blizzard Cloud
- Had no battle.net desktop app
- Had no login servers
- Had no customer support access
- Every bug, exploit and hack re-activated.
- The team decided to layer the old version on the modern tech to solve this issue.
- However, the new source code didn't know how to load the old data.
- They eventually created a prototype that used the 7.3.5 client with the old data implemented. Combat wasn't quite there but you could still learn abilities from trainers and other long lost parts of vanilla.
- When you ventured outside of areas unaffected by the Cataclysm and into zones that were affected you saw weird things like missing water, aquatic creatures on land and terrestrial creatures underwater. There was also armor that was untextured and so on.
- Feeding the modern engine the 1.12 engine doesn't read perfectly. Certain object placements are off which leads to trees flying in the air and stuff like the shattered Loch Modan damn still holding back water.
- The team had technology that could take the 1.12 engine and allow the modern engine to read it and place things correctly.
- Classic has the full devotion of the Warcraft team.
- The team was able to use reference data to find models in Classic that were not correct, such as colors of lanterns. Purple was used as a color to recognize wrong model colors.
- The team set out to recreate the game as authentic to the original as possible.
- Things like pet happiness and training was not able to be restored with this method. They had the data to restore them, however, and managed to re-code them back into the game. Rogue combo points being on the target, weapon skills, and critical blows all had to be re-coded back to how they were in vanilla.
- They were able to find and fix model errors that caused corpses to stand.
- The team even went back and restored the old character customization screen, including art.
- They are not promising pixel perfect perfection, but they use their references side by side to get as close to the original as possible.
- They were also able to fix lighting errors.
- They are not done with the game yet. Certain things still need work including:
- Capital cities
- Dungeons and raids
- Their design philosophy with Classic is to be as authentic as possible to 2006.
- High priority is put on the integrity of social dynamics.
- They want to avoid messing with the 1.12 data.
- There will be no dungeon finder in Classic. This is to preserve the integrity of the social dynamics.
- Typing /LFR on the demo opens the window but it is unusable and won't be in the final product.
- Cross-realm grouping is not in Classic.
- Flying is definitely not in Classic.
- Achievements are not in Classic.
- No unified auction house in Classic between Horde and Alliance.
- The debuff limit was a technical limitation of the time but has NOT been lifted in Classic because it affects the 1.12 code and would cause changes.
- Mail functions just like it did in Vanilla. No more instant mail.
- You can take mail out of your mailbox faster as it doesn't affect anything.
- The 2 hour period for loot trading between group members is staying in Classic.
- Rogue energy regeneration is returning back to how it was in Classic.
- AddOns that pilot your character's rotation are being restricted. They want to find a middle ground between the old and the new for AddOns.
- The content release plan is to have staged content unlocks.
- Molten Core and Onyxia will be there at launch along with Dire Maul, and the World bosses Kazzak and Azuregos.
- The formal PvP rewards system will not be there at launch because they overshadow early raid gear.
These stages will launch when it is determined that it is time for them to happen.
- Stage 2 - Blackwing Lair, Battlegrounds, and Zul'Gurub.
- Stage 3 - Ahn'Qiraj, Tier 0.5, Silithus and the green dragons.
- Stage 4 - Naxxramas raid, Scourge Invasions.
- Silithus will include the opening of Ahn'Qiraj.
16 debuff slots is a good thing--sure it was a technical limitation back in the day... but it'd be a joke without it to progress through the raid content.
Regarding the itemization--they didn't really mention it. Only that high-end PvP rewards will come out with BWL as they're just as strong or even better according to them. That means no ranking at launch?
Dire Maul, Kazzak and Azuregos should be released in another stage and not with Molten Core and Onyxia. It's clear that it seems to be the preferable way of doing it.
I guess... no battlegrounds either?
Right. You're correct. 8 debuffs is what's up during Mölten Cöre and Onyxia. I genuinely hope they don't screw it up with adding it up to 16 during that time.
We don't know yet. They haven't mentioned it. Only what you mentioned regarding the PvP rewards.