The World of Warcraft classic demo doesn't go live officially until 2nd November, but people are already playing it.
Earlier this week, Blizzard made the hotly-anticipated demo available to pre-load for those who own a BlizzCon 2018 Virtual Ticket (you need a virtual ticket to play the demo).
While you can download the demo, it's not set to unlock until BlizzCon kicks off. But that hasn't stopped some people from making it all work.
I was contacted by a YouTuber known as Dodgy Kebaab, who pointed me to a comparison video showing gameplay of the World of Warcraft classic demo compared to World of Warcraft as it was in late 2006.
Dodgy Kebaab's YouTube channel focuses on cracking open demo, alpha and beta versions of games to discover undocumented secrets, focusing on older aspects of World of Warcraft.
He said the World of Warcraft classic demo client was leaked as a Google Drive download on various Discord chats. Under normal circumstances, this client would be unplayable, but Dodgy Kebaab used what's called a sandbox emulator to get inside. This sandbox emulator tricks the game so that instead of connecting to the Blizzard game server, as it should, it connects to a program running on a PC.
Playing the demo in this way is a limited experience. There are no quests or NPCs available, so you can't level up. However, you are free to explore the landscape.
Dodgy Kebaab said the World of Warcraft classic demo has some graphical differences compared to vanilla World of Warcraft. There is different lighting and textures, he said, as well as a different menu system and more options in terms of graphics and user interface customisation than the 2005 game had. But it's worth noting there's a "classic" button in the settings menu, which reverts the graphics to the 2005 version.
When I asked Dodgy Kebaab whether he was worried about Blizzard moving to take down his graphics comparison video (I've asked Blizzard for comment), he replied: "Well they've left people uploading screenshots alone on Reddit. So we'll see.
"As someone who has uploaded private server footage, this seems quite tame!"
The World of Warcraft classic demo goes live around 8pm UK time on 2nd November for virtual ticket owners. A virtual ticket costs £34.99. The demo ends at 5pm UK time, 8th November.
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