WoW Classic seeks to recreate the "vanilla WoW" experience—that is, WoW as it existed before a series of seven game-altering major expansion packs from 2007's The Burning Crusade to 2018's Battle for Azeroth. To achieve this, Blizzard has rebuilt the game based on archived data from back in 2005 and 2006 (patch 1.12 is the goalpost—the current game is on patch 8.1.5). The company has committed to meticulously presenting the experience exactly as it was back then—warts and all—with only a small number of unavoidable or critical changes.
The original World of Warcraft was released in 2004, and World of Warcraft Classic aims to recreate the state of the MMORPG before its first expansion, The Burning Crusade, was rolled out in January 2007. Previously, players looking for a “vanilla” version of the game were only able to experience it on custom servers such as Nostalrius, which Blizzard shut down in 2016 to protect its intellectual property.