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WoW Classic's Success "Surprised" Blizzard, Dev Thought It Would Only Appeal To Core Fans

When Blizzard announced World of Warcraft Classic, the developer had no idea it would become the hit that it is now. The developer thought bringing back the OG WoW would be something appealing to hardcore fans but not many more than that. As it turned out, that wasn’t the case, and the game is now gigantic, with an expansion, The Burning Crusade, on the way this year.

Executive producer John Hight told GameSpot at BlizzConline that the community for WoW Classic is “as large” as the modern WoW community, but he declined to share any further details about specific numbers when pressed. Still, what’s clear is WoW Classic is a huge hit, and it’s changed how Blizzard as a studio approaches its ongoing development and support.

“It certainly surprised us. When we put out Classic, we weren’t sure is this going to be a big deal or not. We kind of thought, ‘Our core fans are really going to love this, so let’s do this for them.’ And then, no, it became a whole big community of WoW players. As large as our modern WoW community. That surprised us,” Hight said. “We realized, ‘Oh gosh we have to support two communities. How do we do that?'”

“And so, I think part of that is adapting to that … we have a dedicated team specifically for Classic but also the main Warcraft team is responsible for supporting Classic,” he said. “It’s fun in a way because two sets of content we have out there and keep people entertained. I’m really glad it’s part of your WoW subscription. We have people that play both games.”

Asked to clarify the “as large” comment, Hight declined to give any specific figures, but he said confidently that Blizzard stands alone in the MMO community thanks to Classic.

“Suffice it to say, I believe we probably now hold the record for the two biggest MMOs on the planet Earth. So it’s a significant community. Much bigger than we thought it was going to be,” he said.

Hight acknowledged that there is variation by region between player population for WoW Classic and modern WoW, pointing out that the player base in China is much bigger than Blizzard believed. He said Blizzard believes WoW Classic would have similar player numbers to modern WoW in China, but the game has done better at appealing to subscribers there and also bringing in new players who never played WoW and want the Classic experience.

GameSpot will have much more from our interview with the Blizzard developers soon, so keep checking back for more.

Next up for WoW Classic is the Burning Crusade expansion, which launches later this year on PC. For more on what we know so far, check out GameSpot’s breakdown of all the key Burning Crusade details.

In the meantime, you can check out some of the top BlizzConline stories below, as well as our roundup of all the big BlizzConline news:

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