If you’ve been holding out for World of Warcraft Classic since its announcement at Blizzcon last year, you’d best find a comfy seat. The seemingly simple task of loading the 1.12 version of WoW onto a few servers is a far, far, bigger task than we’d ever anticipated. It’s so big, in fact, that Blizzard’s ex-level designer thinks WoW Classic won’t be ready until at least 2022.

“If Classic comes out…I’m guessing after 2021. MMOs are tough, they take a lot of time and testing”, said World of Warcraft 3D level designer, Jonathan Staats, during an AMA on the ‘classicwow’ subreddit. He’s responsible for building the vast majority of Vanilla WoW’s dungeons, so he’s coming from a knowledgeable perspective, despite no longer actively working on the game.

Staats is currently in the process of writing a book called the World of Warcraft Diary, an extensive look at the development of Blizzard’s most successful game ever. Staats was heavily involved in the development process and the book has additional insights from many past and present Blizzard developers.

It’s interesting that Staats leads with the proposition ‘if’, rather than when. Perhaps he knows more than he’s letting on here, and Blizzard may actually be finding WoW Classic is a much bigger task than it initially thought. If the development is too lengthy, it’s easy to envision Blizzard canceling it outright rather throwing good money after a bad.

Whatever’s happening though, 2022 is a heck of a long time away. World of WarCraft will be nearly 20 years old by that point, will people really want to head back and play it was it once was, warts and all?

Are you looking forward to playing WoW Classic? When do you think it’s going to be ready to release? Let us know your thoughts below!