For the 15th anniversary of World of Warcraft (WoW), Blizzard Entertainment is going back to where it all began.

World of Warcraft Classic is an authentic re-creation of the original, massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMPORPG) that first hit the scene in Nov. 2004. Players will be able to relive the early days of Azeroth — or experience it for the very first time.

For World of Warcraft Classic, Blizzard rebuilt the original WoW in what is considered to be its most complete and polished state — as it was at the time of the “Drums of War” update (patch 1.12.0), originally released on Aug. 22, 2006.

“Building and launching World of Warcraft back in 2004 was immensely challenging,” says J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. “A tornado literally tore the roof off one of the game’s data centers during the early days of testing — but Blizzard was fortunate to have hundreds, and then thousands, and then millions, of people around the world cheering our developers on.”

World of Warcraft 15th Anniversary

“Like many of our players, everyone at Blizzard was fueled by the excitement of seeing the world of Azeroth from the ground level, through the eyes of the heroes inhabiting and fighting over it,” Brack continues. “Azeroth has always been a wondrous and deadly place, and it was especially so at the time of WoW’s launch, when everyone was discovering its vistas and exploring its dungeons for the first time — all while helping and supporting the company as everyone here worked through the many technical struggles of hosting a game of this size.”

“That early experience was incredibly important to Blizzard,” he adds. “It taught us many things about ourselves as a developer and publisher, and about the global community of players that we feel honored to be a part of. The World of Warcraft Classic experience is very different from the Azeroth we know today, but we love it for what it is and what it stands for. We can’t wait to get reacquainted with this dangerous, demanding, and rewarding world with all of our friends, new and old.”

World of Warcraft Classic will be available at no extra cost to WoW subscribers beginning on Aug. 27. In-game, 15th-anniversary events are planned, and a World of Warcraft 15th Anniversary Collector’s Edition will be released on Oct. 8. The collectible-packed edition will be available at select retailers worldwide.

Photos: Blizzard Entertainment