Is Dragonflight too Early? World of Warcraft Expansion Timeline Comparison
As players express concern over the surprising announcement that
Dragonflight would be launching before the end of the year
, Redditor Disargeria has taken the time to put together a
graphic comparing the content timelines of each World of Warcraft expansion
and their respective alpha/beta testing periods, to see if the upcoming release date really is too close for comfort.
Created by Disargeria
Of course, we know that Dragonflight testing has not yet started, already reducing potential Alpha or Beta time with each passing day. There's also some question over what the 10.0 pre-patch will be, or whether Dragonflight even will have a pre-patch event, as outside of early access to the Evoker class, there doesn't yet seem to be an obvious content tie-in like the Scourge invasion, War of Thorns, or Iron Horde Incursion. Presumably there will be something wrapping up our adventures in the Shadowlands and bringing us back to Azeroth with enough time to explore the new expansion changes, but it may not necessarily last the three to four weeks we've been experienced
since Warlords of Draenor
Mists of Pandaria: Theramore's Fall
This pre-patch event dramatized key moments from the pre-patch book
Tides of War
, which is still worth a read as it explains the political intrigue leading up to the bombing, sacrifices made, and Jaina's inner turmoil.
Started September 17, 2012
Lasted one week
Link to event summary
There's also something to be said for the fact that Dragonflight contains significantly less additional systems than recent expansions, which could be seen as a reason for the accelerated launch and reduced test phase, although new features like Evoker Empowerments and
revamped talent trees
remain a major source of concern for many players. There's also general quest and activity testing to consider, although as we saw in Patch 9.2.5, Blizzard has been more willing to keep major story elements hidden from the public until release. This idea was even discussed in
Asmongold's interview with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas
, referencing new encryption technology that could be used to help preserve the sense of mystery and exploration that many players felt was a successful element of the recently released Elden Ring.
They liked the way the final 3 bosses worked in Sepulcher, where they weren't tested in advance. There's something magical about going in blind, also regarding the story. As an example, when playing Elden Ring, during the first week people are figuring things out and you can go to a wiki page and it's completely blank because no one has figured it out yet.
They're working on new Encryption technology and ways to test parts of upcoming content while hiding others to preserve a sense of exploration and hidden things.
Whatever the case, the upcoming release date also means a compressed Shadowlands Season 4. Although we were already told it would be
shorter than the typical 7-8 month season
, it doesn't look as though it will last more than three to four months at this rate. This might come as a relief to some however, as the intent to re-release existing raids with scaled up difficulty and new modifiers hasn't generated the same amount of interest as brand new content, with many well established guilds expressing little interest in revisiting them, so the shorter duration may even help keep players from feeling content drought while waiting for the new expansion. That lack of new content may feel like a drag for some, but Blizzard hasn't been shy about the fact that the season is really being used as a test bed for new content delivery systems, such as
limited currency raid vendors
and remastering old dungeons for Mythic+ - ideas which are already
making their way into Dragonflight
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