Speculation on the New Delayed Shadowlands Release Date
01/10/2020 à 19:01
Earlier today, Blizzard announced they are
delaying the Shadowlands expansion launch
until late 2020. In this post, we speculate on when the new date could be coming based on the duration of past pre-patches and possible scheduling conflicts with the holidays.
Most of the pre-patch lasted only four weeks, with a more-staggered approach taken for
literally set Azeroth on fire, leading to a massive old-world revamp, while
offered several weeks of early-access for the Demon Hunter class. But traditionally the pre-patch hits a month before the expansion with a special themed event added several weeks after.
Durations of Past Pre-Patches in WoW
Burning Crusade - 6 weeks of pre-patch
Pre-patch: December 5, 2006
Dark Portal event: January 7, 2007
Expansion launch: January 16, 2007
Wrath of the Lich King - 4 weeks of pre-patch
Pre-patch: October 14, 2008
Zombie Infestation event: October 23, 2008
Expansion launch: November 13, 2008
Cataclysm - 8 weeks of pre-patch
Pre-patch systems: October 12, 2010
Elemental Invasion event: November 1, 2010
Shattering event: November 23, 2010
Expansion launch: December 7, 2010
Mists of Pandaria - 4 weeks of pre-patch
Pre-patch: August 28, 2012
Theramore event: September 17, 2012
Expansion launch: September 25, 2012
Warlords of Draenor - 4 weeks of pre-patch
Pre-patch: October 14, 2014
Iron Horde quests: October 14, 2014
Expansion launch: November 13, 2014
Legion - 6 weeks of pre-patch
Pre-patch: July 19, 2016
Demon Hunter early access: August 9, 2016
Legion invasion event: August 9, 2016
Expansion launch: August 30, 2016
Battle for Azeroth - 4 weeks of pre-patch
Pre-patch: July 17, 2018
War of the Thorns event: July 24, 2018
Expansion launch: August 14, 2018
Shadowlands in Late November?
With Shadowlands pre-patch launching on October 13th, four weeks of the pre-patch would put the expansion launching on
and six weeks at
. As the Shadowlands pre-patch has massive system changes for leveling and character customization, we tend to think the pre-patch will be on the longer side to iron all the bugs out and give the developers more time to balance covenants and end-game features.
November 10th also feels too early, as pushing back an expansion is a big deal and the developers would have only really bought themselves two extra weeks of time.
release date also lands the week of American Thanksgiving, a long holiday weekend for many players. As many players took time off for the old expansion launch and may not be able to book more time, a launch on a holiday week means some players still have time off.
Season 1 and Holiday Conflicts
If Blizzard wants to stick to the raid opening two weeks after the expansion launch, the release date can't be in December, as it would push the Season 1 launch over the holidays. Blizzard historically shuts down for several weeks over the holidays and many people have personal family commitments during this time.
If Blizzard maintains a two-week delay between expansion launch and Season 1, a November 24th launch then means a
raid release, with a
Mythic start date. While first raid tiers are generally short, this timing could be a bit hairy so close to Christmas. However, with many in-person events cancelled, transportation complications for RWF events shouldn't be as much of a factor this year.
Shadowlands in December? Raid in 2021?
But looking at the problem from another angle, what if the raid opens in January 2021, bypassing the entire holiday season? Shadowlands launch was promised for 2020, but the end-game raids aren't considered part of launch. With the delays, players would then unlock more soulbind rows and craft more legendaries than initially anticipated.
If Blizzard is fine moving the raid back to 2021, then we could see a December release date for the expansion along with a longer-than-average pre-patch, buying them several months of time to balance Shadowlands end-game systems, and even more time for Mythic+ and Raid balance.
All of these dates are just speculation at this point, as Blizzard has not yet released a new date. But now that we've shared our thoughts, let us know in the comments when you think the expansion is coming and why!
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