After much waiting, Blizzard has finally announced its full scheduling plans for World of Warcraft Classic, the legacy server for its 15-year-old fantasy MMO, which time travels all the way back to version 1.12 of the game from 2004.
World of Warcraft Classic will release as a free expansion for anyone with a base subscription to the main game on August 27 worldwide, but you may not have to wait that long to explore Vanilla Azeroth before that. Starting today, Blizzard is inviting actively subscribed World of Warcraft players into a "small-scale, focused closed beta test", though the studio won't be randomly sending out invites to anyone across the user base, instead "choosing dedicated players who meet select criteria".
We don't know what that criteria includes exactly, but Blizzard has stated that it'll considering "factors such as how long a player has been subscribed to the game so that we have the right mix of players to ensure great feedback toward making WoW Classic the very best experience for the community."
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Following the beta, Blizzard will also be holding several Stress Tests for World of Warcraft Classic running from May through to July, which active WoW players can opt into via the Account Management section of their Battle.net account. For a chance at getting in, you'll either need an active subscription to World of Warcraft, or proof of dedicated playtime on your Battle.net account.
In short, opting into the Stress Tests doesn't guarantee an invite, but it will give you a decent chance. Meanwhile, Character Creation for WoW Classic will be open as early as August 13, giving you a chance to claim your character name before the servers open a few weeks later (you'll be able to make three characters on one account).
You can find more details, including the full dates and times for stress tests on Blizzard's website here but, for now, it's time to start thinking about what you're going to call that Gnome Warlock you've been waiting to role play as for years.
Can't wait till August 27? See what other new games of 2019 are on the way, or watch the video below for an update on everything out this week.