World of Warcraft Classic more than doubled the game's subscriber count. Though the most recent WoW retail expansions have failed to capture the attention of players, the classic experience represents a huge draw for World of Warcraft fans who love the game but are dissatisfied with its evolution over the years.

When WoW Classic launched in August 2019, servers quickly became crowded with players struggling to complete quests in the starter areas because enemies died almost as fast as they spawned. On top of that, performance issues arose due to lag. Players on some of the more civilized servers posted screenshots showing long, weirdly polite lines to kill quest mobs. Server queues for World of Warcraft Classic reached hours as Blizzard greatly underestimated the allure of this version of the game. Overall, WoW Classic has been an astounding success.

PC Gamer reports that subscriber numbers have more than doubled since the launch of WoW Classic. Blizzard president J. Allen Brack made this announcement during a Q4 financial Q&A call. He says that the company is "committed" to continuing support of both retail and classic versions of the game "over the long term." Brack says that engagement numbers for WoW Classic has been especially "strong in the East" where it enjoys particularly high levels of player retention.


WoW Classic runs mostly with the 1.12 version of the game, though Blizzard has chosen to slow-release content in a manner that is different from vanilla WoW's release schedule. The game launched with both the Molten Core and Onyxia raids available as well as some dungeons like Maraudon that released after the original game. Battlegrounds Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley, as expected, released well after launch with the Blackwing Lair raid due to drop later this month something that will surely bring back even more players thanks to the raid's popularity.

World of Warcraft Classic player counts show no sign of dropping off, but the stripped-down version of the game represents a lesson for developers. The retail version of the game has been simplified, re-simplified, repackaged, and changed to appeal to what Blizzard thinks the casual audience wants. Despite this, both casual and hardcore players rushed to join Classic because it offers a unique experience where even questing and leveling feel like epic experiences. Classic, unlike retail, feels less like a loot collection and grinding game and more like a real, living world. Overall, it is the experience players seem to want and companies should give it to them.

World of Warcraft is available on PC and macOS.