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Projected phase dates if they try to keep it close to the original timeline. Thoughts?

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Related but not my post - this is what Teeny came up with:

Teeny wrote:
2 months ago
NOTE: please take the following with a pinch of salt, nothing is confirmed and I'm explicitly using past data as a reference for the future with no evidence whatsoever that this will be the case.

A bit of preamble first:

Having had a look around, it seems like it used to take something like 10 days of /played on average and moving at a decent pace to get to level 60.
Some people report it taking more like 20 days /played, but I would guess that 10 days is achievable if you don't try to get back to the AH twice a level to check for new gear. Also of note is that the fasted time I've seen reported is 4 days 20 hours by Joana/FuriousPaul. This is an incredibly optimised route for questing, and not achievable by everyone. So, something like 240 hours to get to 60, and then you start on going through the process of gearing up, raiding, PvP etc.

I admit freely that WoW Classic is probably not the game for me. My lifestyle at the moment leaves maybe 1-2 hours per week to play games, and often I need to be able to suspend those games at the drop of a hat. Despite this, I'll still play Classic when I can because my time with Vanilla WoW is one of the defining times of my life. Unfortunately, this means that it will take me over 3 years just to hit 60. It might not be this long in reality as my circumstances will loosen up a bit over time and I'll end up with a little more time to play, and occasionally I may be able to dedicate a few hours more per week etc.
This means that I'll have a tough time doing dungeons when levelling and an even harder time going on multiple-hour romps throguh BRD when I do eventually hit 60, let alone raiding.

Lets have a quick look at the known phases as of the time of writing, along with the time from launch for these in Vanilla itself (launch 23/11/04), as well as TBC launch for comparison:

Phase - Content (vanilla patch, release, time since last patch/milestone, time since release)
P1 - MC, Onyxia, Maraudon (patch 1.2, 18/12/04, 25 days, 25 days)
P2 - Azuregos, Kazzak, Dire Maul (patch 1.3, 07/03/05, 79 days, 104 days)
P3 - BWL, Darkmoon Faire (patch 1.6, 12/07/05, 127 days, 231 days)
P4 - ZG, Green Dragons (patch 1.7-1.8, 13/09/05, 63 days, 294 days)
P5 - AQ40/20, Item Update (patch 1.9-1.10, 03/01/2006, 112 days, 406 days)
P6 - Naxxramas, Scourge Invasion (patch 1.11, 20/06/06, 168 days, 574 days)
(TBC) - TBC (TBC launch, 16/01/07, 210 days, 784 days)

There's nothing to say that these time scales will be in any way indicative of the timescales for rolling out the phases of classic WoW, and as far as I know there's been no further communication regarding planned timings.
That being said, Vanilla lasted for 2 years and 54 days give or take, meaning that if we take these timings as a guess for the phases and I get to play as much as calculated above, I'll get to 60 around or after the final phase hits, meaning that I personally will have missed the majority of the progression and can jump right in with a Spellweaver's Turban and some Titanic Leggings.
Assuming people can get a few hours a day for most days of the week (say 3 hours for 4/7 days of the week) they will get to 60 in about 4-5 months, or about when Phase 3 is hitting.

From this, I hope not just for my sake that the timings are extended for the first few phases at least, as many people will want to experience as much of the true Vanilla flavour as possible.
Frostradamus has a video discussing the updates so far in which he touches on his preferred timings (paraphrased from the video, this discussion starts at about the 13:25 mark): phase 1 to last 6-8 months, phase 2 to last 2-3 months, phase 3 to last 5-6 months, phase 4 to last 4 months, phase 5 to last [lots of content, should last a while, say 6 months].
Overall this gives a timeline of 23-27 months, or about 2.5-3 years once we factor in phase 6, again close what I perceive my time levelling to be.
Interestingly, this isn't too far removed from the total original time, just reshuffling the actual timings a bit, but it does mean that my average player above will hit 60 within phase 1 still.

There's a side note here about why we got content thick and fast in Vanilla, which was due to people hitting the cap ahead of what Blizzard expected and them having to get content out to cater to the people at the endgame. It's highly likely that there will be a rash of people that level up within the first month or 2 and quickly exhaust MC and Onyxia if we don't get some more endgame content.

This all leads me leads me onto my next point: what happens after phase 6?

There are several choices here, of which some are more viable than others (note that all outcomes are my opinion only):
  • We live with P6 forever (most likely outcome)
  • All Classic servers progress to TBC (second most likely outcome)
  • All Classic servers progress to TBC, and new or copied Classic servers are created (my preferred outcome)
  • P6 is supplemented with content originally intended for release that never saw the light of day (least likely outcome)
  • Something else entirely?

This is the crux of why I rambled on about my time to level vs the average etc - how long will people be content with the content?

It might be the case that Blizzard is happy to provide Classic servers but also happy to leave this as just that, and never do anything more than let these servers stagnate at patch 1.12.

In the end, my limited playtime means that I'll actually be happy with anything, my simple aim is to level up in my own time and have fun, and eventually I have the lofty goal of getting some decent pre-raid gear and maybe getting into MC/Onyxia with a PUG.

There's a lot going on here which is why I didn't want to make a poll, I'd rather see actual discussion than a single data point, and the points about what happens next and what people are looking for are too nuanced.

So, time for some discussion!
Do you think the timings will reflect Vanilla?
What timings would you prefer?
Do you think you'll get to 60 in time for the content you want to see to be 'fresh'?
What do you think or hope will happen after phase 6?

If you've made it this far then well done, I can't give you your 10 minutes back but thanks for looking!

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I'm super excited to see what they choose to do. I really hope they lean towards speeding the release cycle up for player retention but time will tell. The only thing worse than falling behind is being ahead with nothing to do. "Level an alt!" I'm not sure people really appreciate the lack of content between phases 1-3. 8 months until BWL is a loooooong time. As stated above, the average time to 60 will be about 10 days played (240 hours). Even for the most casual of users who are putting in a couple hours a night on and off, you should expect to hit 60 in 12ish weeks. For the rest of us who will be hitting 60 in 2-6 weeks, we are looking down the barrel of MC for about 7 months straight. MC will be puggable on most servers within about 4 weeks of launch, the only challenging part here is securing members with douses but typically a guild can summon 1 person with access to douses back and forth. Long story short, phases 1-3 should be shortened and the other phases should be increased in duration. The AQ phase for example is only 5 months and that includes the gate event, but there is a TON of content at this portion of the game (BGs, tons of PvE content etc).

I understand some people don't have the time to play, and that's fair, but this game rewards time invested. Vanilla wasn't fair. It was a story of the haves and the have-nots. It would be really unfortunate if we appeased the have-nots by stifling the progression of the haves. Remember that we didnt have as much access to information during actual vanilla. We werent using BiS gear. We didnt have every fight strategy down. Guilds in Classic will be logging into instant 60 private servers to practice fights on private before they even release on Classic. Content is going to get downed incredibly fast. Nothing will hurt the community of this game more than having a lack of content and losing player retention... Vanilla was unbeatable because there was ALWAYS something to do. Lets keep it that way. Authentic.

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Ye, I mean some guilds will clear Molten Core in the first two weeks and then we just farm...and farm...and farm.

So 8 Months until BWL is a long long time...

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7 months between MC and BWL :)))

I wonder how many people will quit... Hopefully they don't follow a timeline, raiding the same shit for as many months are they normally do is such a bore - there should be a benefit to already having the content ready.

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2-3 months of that gap between MC and BWL will be leveling for most

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Swink wrote:
2 weeks ago
2-3 months of that gap between MC and BWL will be leveling for most
Naw, it will take about 10 days played time for the average player to get to 60 give or take a day or two depending on class and experience. This projected release is showing an 8 month delay between server launch and BWL release. If you haven't hit 60 and managed to start raiding in 8 months (which is TOTALLY fine), you probably wont have time in your schedule to be raiding regularly anyhow and thus the content release cycle should be less of a concern to you.

On the other hand, the majority of players who are raiding and have dinged 60 in that time period are already burned out and are not motivated to continue playing. This is where the rose tinted argument actually has some weight. The idea of being in MC for 8 hours is archaic and wont be realistic. MC will take casual guilds less than 2 hours to complete and will be incredibly trivial by modern standards. Regardless of how good the content is, repeating it for 8 months straight without any incentive (your guild will be geared well before this) will drive players (new and old) away from the game.

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4 hours a day x 60 days = 240 hours = 10 days played
How much wow are the kids playing a day now?

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Some people are going to be sitting around twiddling their thumbs, others are going to feel like they won't have enough time to hit all the content. I'm guessing I'll probably be closer to the latter. No matter what Blizzard does, someone is going to be unhappy, so I'm just going to try to enjoy myself and take things as they come. If phase 2 comes along and I haven't even hit 60 yet, then oh well.

@Swink I just have to say, I enjoy looking at spreadsheets and stuff with statistics and data. What you put together is really nice to look at and I found it easy to understand. So thanks!

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Swink wrote:
2 weeks ago
4 hours a day x 60 days = 240 hours = 10 days played
How much wow are the kids playing a day now?
Playing around 10-20 hours a week will be casual by Classic standards. I mean, a large portion of the community are taking time off work for this... lol. The people who plan to raid will be attending 2 raid nights per week, this game requires time. The release schedule, that primarily affects players who will be playing at level cap, is going to have a dramatic impact on their play experience. Lets assume it does take you 60-90 days to hit max, you will STILL be waiting 5 months for BWL... This is the point. Even from a casual standpoint, waiting 8 months between the launch of a server and BWL is not good for the health of the game. 5 months of MC is too long for a casual player, let alone ~8 months for everyone else. "Oh but you arent counting the time it will take to get preBiS and - "... No. You can get attuned and be inside MC before you are level 60 (depending on your role). If you have 2 hours per week to dedicate to a raid team, you will be INSIDE MC the week you are attuned and level 57-60 even if you are casual AF.

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Mmm personally i'm not too bothered about the time between phases right now. Especially once battlegrounds come out. There'll be a lot to do and balancing investment in wow around adulting and real life stuff now still means that a lot of players just won't have as much spare time to sink in as when we were kids playing. For me, i'm defs an altoholic so I have no problem with levelling multiple characters all up at once despite how I tell myself I shouldnt be doing that and just focus on having one main for once in my life.
Its interesting thinking about what could come after the last phase though. I think by that point a lot of the communities views around what they want may have changed after we've been playing for the past 2-3 years. I've seen on reddit i believe the Oldschool Runescape module of content releasing being discussed, for anyone that doesn't know about that, Runescape relaunched their old version of the game from 2007 before a lot of major changes messed it up and now its more popular than the current game. So basically they release content that stays in tune with the old school feel, and they don't update the game with any fresh graphics or engines or make big changes to how everything works like expansions in wow have done.
So I think if done right that could be really good, but they'd definitely have to keep with the Classic feel if they did decide to release more content. Maybe even increase the level cap with anything new, so it doesn't feel too overpowered still being 60, and you have more things to do than just grind out the next new raid.
I duno I didn't exactly think that out very much just kinda occurred to me when thinking about what in runescape keeps me and everyone else coming back to it, and for me it's that theres always more levels to get, and when they add new places to go and skill and quest and fight shit is just refreshing when you've been in the same world for the past 15 years.

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There's quite a chasm between the hardcore crowd and the casual crowd (as time spent matter so much in vanilla), and this does lead to an issue with the content release schedule.
8 months is quite a while for those who hit 60 within the first couple of weeks and start farming MC within say 2 months. On the other hand, for those that only play a couple of hours regularly per week, the phases may basically as well not be there as it'll take them months and months to hit 60 even.

I personally belong to the crowd that will try to put a lot of my available time into Classic, and so I would like to have the content coming in say 3month intervals or something, but I do think some of the more hardcore folks are totally underestimating/dismissing how long it will take the more casual crowd.
Like for example what is written a couple of posts before this, an average player will take 10 days, and "even the most casual player who plays a few hours a night every so often will take around 12 weeks".
10 days amount to 240 hours. 12 weeks means 20 hours per week. That's essentially 3 hours per day, every single day of the week, for 3 months. How you can possibly call that "even the most casual player" completely baffles me as borderline delusional. There are people even in this very thread who talk about a few hours per week, that's a little ways off 20 hours..
Throwing arguments like "well those who don't put in that kinda time aren't gonna be raiding anyway so they don't count and shouldn't be considered" on top of that strikes me as the peak of arrogance to be honest.

I agree completely with the sentiment that it is likely a little harder on the more hardcore crowd to wait for months with no new content than it is on those who level slower to, say, *miss p1+p2*, because vanilla is nowhere near as bad as retail when it comes to new content invalidating the old. As such, as some others also mentioned, making the first 1-2 phases a couple of months each and then making the later phases last longer would probably be a good compromise. But to completely pretend the more casual players don't exist or dismiss them as insignificant existances that don't matter to the game compared to the *real audience* or whatever some hardcore people seem to think themselves is a little disgusting.

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40 man groups were tough to field with only hardcore players, especially considering how rare loot was. Generally there was a smaller core of ~25 reliable raiders that had all the dkp/gear in each guild. Struggling to fill out raids with those final 15 more casual players held a lot of guilds back.
That’s how I remember it anyways.

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Split runs for more load was also a thing in Classic.

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Raiding MC for months on end, man they're really going for the true Vanilla experience!

That's why I will PVP when I'm not farming my instruments of death. PVP isnt scripted nor repetitive. It's always a fresh fight for your life.

But that's me. (And probably @Cletus ) but I understand were a small minority.

I do love me some MC though. My first love. Gave me shiny things.

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Dolamite wrote:
1 week ago
Raiding MC for months on end, man they're really going for the true Vanilla experience!

That's why I will PVP when I'm not farming my instruments of death. PVP isnt scripted nor repetitive. It's always a fresh fight for your life.

But that's me. (And probably @Cletus ) but I understand were a small minority.
He speaks for all of us!

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Driath wrote:
2 weeks ago

Like for example what is written a couple of posts before this, an average player will take 10 days, and "even the most casual player who plays a few hours a night every so often will take around 12 weeks".
10 days amount to 240 hours. 12 weeks means 20 hours per week. That's essentially 3 hours per day, every single day of the week, for 3 months. How you can possibly call that "even the most casual player" completely baffles me as borderline delusional. There are people even in this very thread who talk about a few hours per week, that's a little ways off 20 hours..
Throwing arguments like "well those who don't put in that kinda time aren't gonna be raiding anyway so they don't count and shouldn't be considered" on top of that strikes me as the peak of arrogance to be honest.
You're right. I guess I should have wrote my post better. My point was that the release schedule primarily affects those who raid. As you said yourself, for those who will only be playing 2-3 hours per week, raiding likely isnt in the cards and the release cycle shouldn't matter to them anyhow. Most of these people will be lucky to crawl to 60 before Naxx releases regardless of the timeline. If we remove them from the conversation and refocus the conversation on the most casual raider to the most hardcore, playing 10-20 hours per week will be on the casual side of raiding. Using that demographic of players, the players who will raid and should actually have an impact on the outcome of the timeline, raiding MC for 5 months will still be likely for the casual raider and will still be bad for player retention. From the most casual raider, to the most hardcore, having a gigantic gap between phase 1-3 is bad for the health of the game.

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Players who want to be retained would be better off sticking to retail?
Capturing the experience of original wow would require a slower pace of progression. Blizzard’s ability and willingness to respond to player desires wasn’t what it is today back then.

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Swink wrote:
1 week ago
Players who want to be retained would be better off sticking to retail?
Capturing the experience of original wow would require a slower pace of progression. Blizzard’s ability and willingness to respond to player desires wasn’t what it is today back then.
Gatekeeping content with dailies and arbitrary barriers to increase the longevity of content is VERY retail. Slowing players down, despite the fact that they have the capacity to go further, is retail. Holding back the top 10% of the playerbase to appease the bottom 10% is retail.

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Stfuppercut wrote:
1 week ago
Holding back the top 10% of the playerbase to appease the bottom 10% is retail.
I don't like retail either but that's just hyperbole and bad math. It's to appease the other 90% of the playerbase, just the top 10% is the whiniest.

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Latsiv wrote:
1 week ago
Stfuppercut wrote:
1 week ago
Holding back the top 10% of the playerbase to appease the bottom 10% is retail.
I don't like retail either but that's just hyperbole and bad math. It's to appease the other 90% of the playerbase, just the top 10% is the whiniest.
Yes, that is literally hyperbole. That math is not accurate. That is an exaggerated claim, not meant to be taken literally, but rather to make a point.

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