World of Warcraft's Burning Crusade expansion is getting the Classic treatment

The long-anticipated expansion will land on WoW Classic servers this year.

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Steph Panecasio was an Editor based in Sydney, Australia. She knows a lot about the intersection of death, technology and culture. She's a fantasy geek who covers science, digital trends, video games, subcultures and more. Outside work, you'll most likely find her rewatching Lord of the Rings or listening to D&D podcasts.
Steph Panecasio
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The expansion is due to land sometime in 2021.

Blizzard Entertainment

When WoW: Classic landed in August 2019, nostalgic fans flocked to the servers in droves to relive the beginning of their World of Warcraft experience. Now those same fans will have the opportunity to continue the story again, in Burning Crusade. 

Leaked early, the expansion was announced officially at BlizzConline, raising a lot of questions about how WoW: Classic might proceed in the future. Where do the Classic iterations stop? Does this open the passage for WoW Classic: Wrath of the Lich King or Cataclysm?

From all accounts, Blizzard appears to be taking it one expansion at a time, putting in the hours to create the best possible remaster of the vanilla games before considering any future changes.

Lead Producer Holly Longdale told CNET: "Our eyes are fully focused on this transition between Burning Crusade and Classic era. Just like we got here in Burning Crusade -- that was all in response to the community, [so] we'll keep our ear to the ground as we always do and look forward when the time is right, but we are so focused on this right now and making it the best possible experience."

Historically, Burning Crusade was the first in a long line of expansions to the WoW universe, introducing new playable races -- blood elves and draenei -- and allowing players to take to the skies in flight for the very first time. 

Rolling out in stages, the Classic iteration will follow a similar pattern, with the new races available in prepatch so you can get them geared and leveled in time.

Current players will be given the choice to either proceed to Burning Crusade content or remain on Classic-specific servers. Returning players who don't want to slog through the admittedly rigorous leveling experience in Classic can purchase a one-off character boost to get them ready to enter the Dark Portal (excluding the new races).

Mechanically speaking, the process of bringing Burning Crusade to Classic required a certain amount of balance between authenticity and playability. There are some elements of modern WoW that just weren't possible back in 2007, but there's also a certain appeal in the difficulty and nostalgia of the original game.

According to Longdale, "There are some things we have changed in Burning Crusade, just to improve quality of life. Players are different now than they were then. They're a lot more savvy, we might say, and they know everything now."

Production Director Patrick Dawson echoed those sentiments, "I think we had such a successful relationship with having the community help us develop what they wanted in a game for Classic, that we're kind of following that model again for Burning Crusade."