WoW Classic Season of Mastery promises big changes to vanilla gameplay

Earlier in the year, Blizzard said it was plotting something for those who wanted a fresh start in World of Warcraft Classic, and now we've learned what that thing is. Blizzard has announced WoW Classic Season of Mastery servers, new realms that will give players a fresh start in WoW Classic with some significant changes to the vanilla WoW formula. If you're looking for a more challenging WoW Classic, it sounds like this is where you'll find it.

As described in a post to the World of Warcraft website, Season of Mastery servers will follow the same content phases that the original WoW Classic servers followed, only this time, the phase releases will be sped up. Blizzard sees Season of Mastery servers playing out over a 12-month timeframe, with new phases arriving every couple of months.

You can find the complete phase breakdown in the post we've linked above, but if you played WoW Classic, you're already familiar with the structure and the content of each of the phases. Phase 1, which will be live when Season of Mastery servers begin, will include the Molten Core and Onyxia's Lair raids, Maraudon, and the PvP honor system and battlegrounds, which are actually moving up from phase 3.

Speaking of raids, it sounds like they will be a bit more difficult in Season of Mastery. Blizzard says that it is removing the boss debuff limit and increasing health on bosses as a result. While that might sound like a change that will make raids easier, on the whole, Blizzard has also confirmed that world buffs will be disabled in raid instances and that it will restore some raid boss mechanics that were removed early on in vanilla WoW's lifespan.

In addition to the raid changes, Blizzard also plans to bring leveling speed close to what it is in The Burning Crusade Classic. It will also make a couple of quality of life updates, converting the Meeting Stones outside of instances into Summoning Stones and increasing the mining and herbalism nodes that appear in each zone to provide "a more consistent economy."

These are some significant changes, and removing world buffs from raid content alone should ramp up the challenge for those interested in more difficult raids. Season of Mastery will enter open beta on October 5th, but no specific release date has been set for Season of Mastery realms yet.