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Burning Crusade Classic launched in June 2021. More than 14 years after the original Burning Crusade was released. In January 2022, the most integral antagonist of the Burning Crusade expansion, Illidan Stormrage, the Betrayer, was defeated once again atop the summit of Black Temple alongside his Tier 6 Eredar lord partner-in-crime, Archimonde the Defiler in the uninspiring Mount Hyjal raid.
Something was different about the Tier 6 raids this time around. Back in 2007, it took 26 days for both the Black Temple and Mount Hyjal to be fully cleared. In 2022, it took a mere 2 hours to clear all 14 bosses. Burning Crusade Classic uses the same in-game mechanics, gear, and in-game systems that were around in 2007. What was it that made this content cleared 312x faster than it was the first time?
The first differentiator is experience. In 2007, guilds that progressed through Mount Hyjal and Black Temple were seeing it for the first time. Live streaming was nowhere near to what it was today and back in 2007 resources like Thottbot, Wowhead, and the Elitist Jerks forums had its content provided by people who experienced the content in real time. There was no PTR either (Public Test Realm) to test the raid instances for bugs or to strategize how these encounters would play out.
By comparison, before Burning Crusade Classic was even released, motivated enthusiasts who are only loyal to World of Warcraft because of their experiences, continued to play private servers. Private servers gave players the opportunity to go through content the way it was first released, only giving them more practice in becoming more efficient throughout the Black Temple and Mount Hyjal. This went on for years and years until Blizzard finally released Burning Crusade Classic, a Blizzard owned and operated version of the nearly 15 year old version of the game.
Additionally, Burning Crusade Classic had a PTR where thousands of players would push the limits of their armor and weapons, creative uses of their engineering tech, and optimize kill strategies for every boss for when this phase of Burning Crusade Classic was released. There has been nearly 15 years of Youtube videos, private server streams on varying platforms, and countless written guides that review every minor improvement a player can do to maximize their efficiency in this content. Fully fleshed out Best in Slot (BiS) lists, talent builds, rotation macros, addons, everything that gave players advantage in the live version of the game was able to be translated in some kind of fashion in Burning Crusade Classic.
The second thing that sets these experiences apart, is technology. Putting a 15 year old game on newer hardware is going to make a huge difference. In 2007, players would raid on CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitors, dial up internet, and had to somehow communicate with the most challenging piece of all, Blizzard’s servers and in-game bugs. Due to no PTR where thousands of bug reports could come in and Blizzard proactively releasing functioning content, major game breaking bugs and gameplay impacted glitches would have to be fixed reactively and a majority had to wait until a region’s weekly reset to be resolved.
The last thing that made this release of Tier 6 cleared so much faster than its initial release, is Attunements. Back in 2007, in order for a character to enter the next tier of raiding, they had to complete a questline from each raid that could only be completed by killing bosses from the raid before. Attunements are still a factor in Burning Crusade Classic, but because of the game’s staggered release schedule (phases) it gives everyone who desires to raid a generous amount of time to get their attunements done. When Serpentshrine Cavern (SSC) and Tempest Keep (TK) were released, there was more than enough time to clear those raids to get attunements prepared for the Black Temple and Mount Hyjal. It also helps to note that these raids on Burning Crusade Classic were bug-free and accessible and were possible to form a pick-up-group (PUG) locally to clear it. In Burning Crusade Classic, Blizzard has also been removing the attunement requirement for the current raid that is out to lower the requirements for people to experience the content and it probably won’t be long until the Black Temple and Mount Hyjal attunements go away.
Now that Black Temple has been cleared, Burning Crusade Classic only has two raids left for release (really 1 ½ but we respect all raid instances here). Zul’Aman, a 10 man catch-up raid that offers the prestigious Amani War Bear mount and Sunwell. Sunwell, home of the Deceiver, Kil’Jaeden and the boss, M’uru were revered from 2007’s Burning Crusade as the most difficult encounters in WoW’s history (for their time). Will the Sunwell be able to hold up against 15 years of practice, guides, and dedicated fans? Probably not, but we can expect Sunwell will probably still offer a challenge to the casual player who has never seen the content before.
Since the content gets cleared so easily, it’s fair to ask if one should still give Burning Crusade Classic a shot if the most challenging content is pushed out of the way in mere hours after release. Our answer is yes! If you never experienced the Burning Crusade in 2007, Burning Crusade Classic still offers players the opportunity to enjoy what many call WoW’s golden age. No matter the age of content, older raids offer decent quality items to empower players and even today, Karazhan is still cleared despite being the first raid of the expansion for some classes’ BiS items and the afamed mount from Attumen the Huntsman.
With that concludes the comparison of the Burning Crusade’s (arguably) best raid, Black Temple. Burning Crusade Classic is free to play with an active subscription to the retail version of WoW, Shadowlands. We recommend giving it a try so you can experience some of the most iconic encounters in the game’s history.