A hot potato: Blizzard's decision to implement mandatory playtime limits and cooldown periods won't be popular with everyone but it's how the company has chosen to handle high demand. The other option, of course, would be to add more servers but that costs money.

BlizzCon 2018 starts today and with it comes the arrival of the World of Warcraft Classic demo. Offered to those who purchased a BlizzCon Virtual Ticket (and available on the show floor), WoW Classic is a "vanilla" version of the popular MMORPG that lets players experience the base game without all of the expansions.

To ensure that everyone gets an opportunity to try out the demo, Blizzard is implementing a playtime limit and cooldown period that starts as soon as you log in. It starts with a cumulative 60 minutes of playtime and a cooldown period of 90 minutes. Here's how that could look across different scenarios.

  • Gamers that play for 30 minutes then log off for 60 minutes will have a fresh 60 minutes to play when they come back.
  • If you play for an hour, you'll be disconnected for 30 minutes before being able to return to the game.
  • Those who play for 20 minutes can log off for 20 minutes then return and play 40 more minutes. After that, you will subsequently be logged off and have to wait 10 more minutes before returning.

Blizzard said its goal is to lift the session limits as quickly as possible once the demo goes live and will only reinstate limits during times of unexpected high demand.

As for what to expect, Blizzard said its mission was to present World of Warcraft as it existed in 2005 and 2006 before Cataclysm "altered the world as we knew it." Players will start at level 15 so they'll have some freedom to explore and try out core systems like professions or talents. All characters will be capped at level 19 although you'll be able to create multiple characters in order to experiment with different classes and races.

The demo will be available today at the conclusion of the BlizzCon opening ceremony.