On Friday, John Hight, World of Warcraft Executive Producer, gave us the news we had been hoping would not happen (but had suspicions might be coming).
Shadowlands is being delayed. No word on how long. Just a delay to make sure they get it right.
As everything started coming together and we’ve been listening to and building upon your feedback, it’s become clear we need a little more time for additional polish, and to balance and iterate on some interlocking pieces—particularly those related to the endgame. Shadowlands is one of the most intricate expansions we’ve yet created, and while we’ve made great progress, the challenge of tuning the endgame was compounded by the team having to work from home.
The rumblings around the beta and the tweaks to the MANY complex systems being introduced with this new expansion have seen quite wide swings that suggested the team still feels there's a need for big adjustments, not just some delicate tweaks. So buying a few extra weeks, or maybe a month or two, will give us a better day one in the new lands we're about to explore.
But with that news also came the confirm that we will get the pre-patch for the new expansion on October 13. The core of what comes next might not be ready, but the major underlying mechanical changes are. This means big changes to character classes and a massive change to how the entire levelling experience will work into the future. Level 120 becomes level 50. A new starting zone for new characters. The ability to go play any old expansion as your levelling experience and see whole storylines instead of truncated XP farms to just carve your way to max level as fast as possible.
We'll get the max level faster than ever before, but the changes mean there will still be a story experience to go with that journey. And this is what I'm most excited about.
I'm an alt junkie. I love trying new classes and races and exploring the old world. Getting this new lease on life for old content is exciting me more than almost anything else for what Shadowlands has to offer.
So for me, getting the pre-patch with what might end up being 4-6 weeks (at my best guess) of time instead of just two weeks makes me feel like I can scratch that itch across the new squished levels and the new levelling experience before I need to focus my energy into heading into the Shadowlands. I'm super excited to have time to test out how my various favourite classes feel under the new 9.0 settings so I can decide on what I will main in the new expansion before wanting to race to the new level cap without fear I've picked the wrong class.
We often feel stuck in this last window of the existing expansion for way too long. I hope that maybe this extended pre-patch will offer a new path forward, where we get a better preparation window under the new system settings before the new storylines send us racing into the future.
If this was some ordinary, subtle shift from one expansion to the next? Yep, the delay would have been pure disappointment. But there is so much changing that this time around.
So as much as I was sad to hear the news, and I feel for those who booked leave to align with the original launch timing, I'm excited to have a little breathing room to enjoy the big squish and feel more ready to enter the afterlife.