As predicted, after a whirlwind week of Honor the community is getting what we could all see coming. On December 10th Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley will be released prior to their original content Phase in a Dire Maul-esque Phase 2.5. This will give the world in World of Warcraft a bit of breathing room, allowing serious rankers to enter a sequestered realm of PvP battlegrounds and leaving the majority of the world to those still seeking to level and farm. Much of the horror of the first five days will subside and the community can resume its normal pace while those dedicated to PvP can slate their thirst for glory.
Now that BGs are secured for an earlier release, it might be time to slow down and smell the roses. That is only if we want Classic to live a decently long, minimum two year, life. The early opening of BGs gives the opportunity for Blizzard to push Phase 3 with Blackwing Lair earlier as well. Instead of mirroring the eight months from the launch of Vanilla to the release of BWL back in 2005 Blizzard can now expedite the content and release BWL in either January, February or March of 2020.
A release in March would allow MC, honor and BGs to have been the primary content for just about six and a half months, one and a half months less than Vanilla’s eight. A March release date would also provide some of the more casual player base a chance to hit 60, farm gear for their characters and potentially step foot into MC prior to BWL. More importantly, it would allow for a minimum of six months for each of the iconic Classic raids sustaining a two year long Classic experience.
While possible, pushing Phase 3 into February could shorten the entire lifespan of Classic by one month. Potentially greater impact could be felt by encouraging the community to dash through content, shortening consecutive Phases and raids and abbreviating Classic in its entirety. Despite PvP gear being extremely powerful in relation to BWL gear, Blizzard should absolutely not rush a Phase 3 release in January. That would almost certainly be the beginning of a precipitous slide toward rapid Phase releases and a drastically shorter, less enjoyable game.
To explore this hypothetical timeline; if Phase 3 were to be released after the New Year, we could expect Phase 4 by March of 2020, in turn forcing Phase 5 as early as June, accelerating Phase 6 to no later than October of the same year. A schedule as aggressive as that would see the life of Classic cut to just one year and eight months. Classic would become a mad dash through content with very little break or possibility for the vast majority of players to experience any form of meaningful character progression or any element of gear completion within a tier.
It is time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the content. Valid points were raised that Vanilla was an incomplete game without honor and without BGs. Arguments that those systems would have been in place if only Blizzard had access to more time and resources prior to the original 2004 launch were strong. Further support was given that implementing those key systems from day one on private servers was successful and lead to a more stable and robust community. Those points have been heard and Blizzard has taken action. Now, with the game nearing its final system form, let us not in our own haste push ourselves out of the great game that is Classic.