We’ve been very pleased by the reception to our WoW Classic Season of Mastery announcement last week, and we’ve seen a great many questions from players about this new version of WoW Classic. With the Beta now underway, we wanted to take a moment to talk a bit about the philosophy around Seasonal WoW Classic.Design IntentionsFirst, it’s important to explain what the Season of Mastery is, a little of what it isn’t, and our overall thoughts about Seasonal WoW Classic. The main goal for the Season of Mastery is provide a WoW Classic experience that brings about “Faster Progression and More Challenging Content”. This is our core design pillar that speaks to many of the changes we’re testing in the Beta, and you can see this reflected in adjustments such as increased quest XP, a 12-month content release cycle, and the Honor System and certain Battlegrounds being available from the launch of the game.We’re increasing the difficulty of raid encounters, restoring raid mechanics removed in early iterations of certain encounters, and we’re prohibiting the use of world buffs inside raid instances. Of course, these are just the changes we’ve announced so far, and we’re still reviewing feedback and suggestions from the community. There’s certainly room to include additional adjustments if they’re consistent with this season’s design goals.While these are significant changes, we want to make it very clear that these adjustments aren’t intended to become a permanent change to all versions of WoW Classic going forward. When the Season of Mastery launches, existing WoW Classic Era realms will remain configured as they are now.Loot and World Buff DetailsThere have been a lot of discussions about loot, and specifically the rate at which players can get loot from raids, as we don’t currently have plans to increase that. Part of the challenge of Season of Mastery is the speedy arrival of content throughout the year, and this raises the notion that you may not approach every new challenge with the level of preparation you did in WoW Classic. We feel that loot scarcity was an important part of what made original World of Warcraft challenging and hope to recreate that feeling. Of course, we’ll be watching this closely and are open to adjustments here if we identify a need.The issues raised by world buff play in WoW Classic have been discussed at great length for years now. We really like the Chronoboon Displacer as a solution to the raid log dilemma, but for the Season of Mastery, world buffs in raids are contrary to the “More Challenging Content” part of our core design pillar. There is a truly great feeling when you get fully buffed and then race through raids to try and beat your best clear time, and we’ll continue to look elsewhere for a place to bring that about again.
Please note: the Chronoboon Displacer will be present and will function in Season of Mastery. You won’t lose buffs that are stored in the Chronoboon Displacer when you zone into a raid. You will, however, lose your buffs if you restore them from the Displacer while in a raid instance.Speaking of raids, we’re quite aware of the concerns around the opening of the gates of Ahn Qiraj on a truncated timeframe. We don’t have anything specific planned for that yet, but we do have the ability to accelerate the completion of the War Effort, should the need arise.The PvP Honor SystemAchieving Rank 14 in original World of Warcraft was always meant to be a prestigious accomplishment that few players obtained. We feel that maintaining that level of prestige is important, and we’ve got to consider how it will play out with the Honor system active from the moment Season of Mastery launches. This is especially difficult, considering how powerful the Honor gear is for many classes.We’ve read many great suggestions from players on how we could improve this system. We’re currently discussing what we could do to fit our goals for Season of Mastery. Please keep your feedback coming!Looking ForwardEven though we’ve just gotten started with the Beta, many players want to know what might happen after the 12-month schedule is completed. While we don’t have specifics to share now, we’re currently exploring all of our options, especially when it comes to allowing characters to persist in some way when the Season ends. We’ll let you know!