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World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic release date, beta, and everything we know

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)
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World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic is now officially front and center after its announcement at BlizzCon 2021

While rumors had been swirling even before the release of WoW Classic's phase six content patch in December 2020, including the Vanilla release's final raid, Naxrammas, now that we've gotten an official announcement, there's now a lot more information about WoW Classic's first expansion.

Fortunately, we're pulling together all the latest World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic news, rumors, and more to make it easy to keep track of what's known, what's rumored, and what we'd like to see from the relaunch of one of the most beloved MMO expansions ever.

World of Warcraft The Burning Crusade

(Image credit: @Kaelaris/Twitter)

World of Warcraft Classic: The Burning Crusade release date

Ahead of BlizzCon 2021, a leaked press kit confirmed that World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic was going to be announced during the event and so it wasn't exactly a surprise when WoW Classic lead producer Holly Longdale made it official during the opening night of the event.

There are many in the WoW Classic community who wanted the classic servers to stay as they are with only the original Vanilla release's content as is. It seems like many more players want to reexperience The Burning Crusade, though, and Blizzard clearly wants to give these players what they want. 

Blizzard surveyed World of Warcraft Classic players themselves about the future direction of the classic servers, including gauging interest in dedicated World of Warcraft Classic: The Burning Crusade servers, progressing existing Classic servers to The Burning Crusade expansion the same way the original Vanilla servers did, leaving everything as it is, and even a mix of several different options.

All this pointed to Blizzard trying to find a way to release World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic for those who want to play it. Given the money it will no doubt make by keeping Classic players' interest – and subscriptions – going, it's no surprise that Blizzard is going to keep the Classic experience going.

For those who want to keep their characters as they are and remain in the Vanilla Classic era, prior to Burning Crusade Classic's release, they will be able to decide whether to advance their characters to the Burning Crusade era with their realm or to continue on dedicated Classic (non-progression) servers. They will also have the option to copy a character over to a Classic server and let that character stay on a progression server, so that they could do both if those chose - though this last option would involve a fee of some sort.

The original World of Warcraft launched in November 2004, with The Burning Crusade expansion launching just over two years later in January 2007. World of Warcraft Classic launched in August 2019, so if it were to keep to the original schedule for some reason, that would put a launch somewhere in October or November of this year.

Fortunately, rumors are swirling that we won't have to wait nearly that long. Flagged by Wccftech, World of Warcraft streamer "StaySafe" claims multiple sources confirmed the launch of some form of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade servers as soon as May 4.

There still isn't any official word yet on when the servers are expected to launch, so such "leaks" and rumors need to be taken with a grain of salt. Even if the leak is legit, circumstances can change quite quickly. World of Warcraft: Shadowlands was delayed after an official launch date was given, so there's only so much faith you can put into leaked info.

World of Warcraft Classic The Burning Crusade

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic beta

In a deep dive segment after the event, World of Warcraft production director Patrick Dawson revealed that there would be a World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic beta starting up soon, but no specific date was given.

As for how to get yourself into the closed beta for Burning Crusade Classic expansion, your best bet is to have a Twitch stream with lots of followers or to be a previous beta tester for World of Warcraft Classic.

Barring that, you're likely stuck out here with the rest of us waiting for the official launch to finally set foot in Outland after all these years.

World of Warcraft Classic The Burning Crusade

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Where is World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic set?

In addition to new playable zones across Azeroth, an entirely new world is opened up for heroes to explore by passing through the Dark Portal: Outland, the ruined remains of the planet Draenor, homeworld of the Orcs and redoubt of the Draenei fleeing the corruption of their homeworld Argus at the hands of the Burning Legion.

WoW: Burning Crusade Classic new zones

In addition to the various zones found in Outland, World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic will also feature new content zones for new players from the expansion's two new playable races, the Draenei and the Blood Elves, as well as two new capital cities, Silvermoon City for the Blood Elves and Exodar for the Draenei.

There is also a new PVP battleground, Eye of the Storm, as well as the introduction of a new PVP Arena mode that lets players fight in 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 team deathmatch-style brawls. The PVP Arena mode features three maps: The Ruins of Lordaeron, The Circle of Blood, and the Ring of Trials.

The Burning Crusade Expansion Loading Screen

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

WoW: Burning Crusade Classic's new playable races

Burning Crusade Classic will introduce two new playable races: The Draenei, part of the alliance, and the Blood Elves, allied with the Horde.

Beyond new models, leveling zone content, and capital cities, the new races end the exclusivity of the Shaman and Paladin classes.

In World of Warcraft Classic, the Shaman class was exclusive to the Horde, playable for Orcs, Tauren, and Trolls, while the Paladin class was restricted to the Alliance races, Human and Dwarf. 

With Burning Crusade Classic, Alliance players will be able to play as Draenei Shaman and Horde players can roll a Blood Elf Paladin. Draenei can also be warriors, priests, paladins, hunters, and mages. Blood Elves, meanwhile, can be paladins, warlocks, hunters, priests, rogues, and mages.

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic – why it matters

When World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade launched in 2007, it broke sales records and was highly praised by critics. For many World of Warcraft veterans, The Burning Crusade - along with Wrath of the Lich King, the game's second expansion released in November 2008 - encompasses somewhat of a Golden Age for the world's most popular MMO.

For many Classic players, reliving the nostalgia of The Burning Crusade is a no-brainer and for many who missed it the first time around, diving into what is arguably one of the greatest MMO expansions ever is too good to pass up. 

John Loeffler

John (He / Him / His) is TechRadar's Computing Staff Writer and is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Twitter at @thisdotjohn

Currently playing: Back 4 Blood, Metroid Dread, EVE Online