Diehard World of Warcraft fans will soon get to relive the magic of 2004. This week, Blizzard will launch WoW Classic, a remastered version of the original “vanilla” MMORPG that took the world by storm fifteen years ago.
The game’s servers will open Monday, carrying over into Tuesday in some regions. Players in North America will be able to log in starting at 6 p.m. ET (or 3 p.m. PT), but given the anticipated popularity of the launch, it’s worth doing some preparation ahead of time to avoid lengthy server queues. Thousands of gamers on the WoW Classic Discord have discussed their favorite dungeons, the most lucrative in-game professions and eagerly shared their nostalgic feels in the leadup to the game’s release. But questions about server launch times and potential waits dominated the conversation.
There will be five regional launches of a total of 56 servers worldwide. Blizzard has expected a massive influx of players, prompting it to add an extra four United States servers on August 22. Anticipating many servers will reach capacity, Blizzard urged players to log into less populated ones to get into the action more quickly.
“All realms that have a Full or High population tag are expected to experience extended queues,” wrote Blizzard Community Manager Randy “Kaivax” Jordan on Monday. “We urge players on realms marked Full or High to plan to play on one of these new realms to avoid the longest queues, and to help spread the player population as evenly as possible and provide the best play experience for everyone.”
Below, you’ll find further details about when each region will begin hosting players and how to start playing.
‘WoW Classic’: Server Launch Dates and Times
The U.S. will be the first to have access to WoW Classic on Monday. Below is a map posted by Blizzard of when major cities should expect servers to open and a list of regional launch times.
- Americas: August 26 at 6 p.m. Eastern / 3 p.m. Pacific
- Europe: August 27 at 11 p.m. British Summer Time/12 a.m. Central European Time
- Taiwan: August 27 at 6 a.m. Central Time
- Korea: August 27 at 7 a.m. Korean Standard Time
- Australia: August 27 at 8 a.m. Australian Eastern Standard Time
‘WoW Classic’: How to Avoid Wait Times
After starting a free trial (or subscribing to WoW Classic for $15 a month and downloading the Battle.net client), avoiding server queue times will be a matter of good preparation.
Blizzard has allowed subscribers to log into the game and create characters since August 13. It’s recommended players create their perfect avatar before the game launches, to avoid doing so just as thousands pile onto the servers. Once their character is ready, players simply select a server and dive into the action. That may sound simple enough, but logging in too early or too late could result in tedious waits.
Gamers in the WoW Classic Discord channel noticed the game disconnected them after 30 minutes of being on the character select screen. That means subscribers will want to time when they log in, preferably a little less than 30 minutes before their region goes live. Discord user CordovaBoomBoom explained how they plan to avoid wait times.
“Relaunch client before launch but do not select server until approximately 29 minutes to launch, you may get put in a queue or not,” they wrote. “If you go in 30 minutes before game goes live you will be autokicked from the character screen and for sure go into the back of the queue.”
‘WoW Classic’: A Second Chance for a Legendary RPG
Blizzard announced WoW Classic on November 2017, after years of fan requests for a throwback server.
Since 2007, Blizzard has updated WoW through expansions released roughly every two years. The company automatically applied all previous expansions to all accounts at no cost, but forced all users to keep up with updates. (Gamers can’t play the 2008’s Wrath of the Lich King right now, for example.)
Without throwback servers, old-school WoW players had turned to private servers, with older expansions not hosted by Blizzard. The company slapped many of these communities with cease-and-desist orders.
Blizzard shut down a vanilla server named Nostalrius in 2016, which had 150,000 active accounts at its peak. The company later acknowledged the community’s desire for legacy servers, which eventually led to the announcement of WoW Classic.
Monday’s release has been a long time coming for longtime devoted WoW fans, and it’ll be a chance for series newcomers to get a taste of the game that has enchanted fantasy lovers around the world for fifteen years.