I speculated just yesterday that, with the clock running down on the WoW team, the Shadowlands expansion might end up being delayed as rather large changes were still being made late in the beta.
And today we have this from the WoW team:
To the WoW community,
I wanted to let you know that we’re delaying the release of Shadowlands to later this year—and while we’re still in the process of determining the right new date to launch, we felt it was important to let you know about this change in plans as soon as we could. This was an incredibly difficult decision for the team, as we’re as eager to get the expansion into your hands as you are to play it—but ultimately, we feel it’s the right decision for the game—and for our players.
Over the past several months of testing, we’ve made significant progress iterating on and polishing the core features and gameplay of Shadowlands. We’re at a point where the zones, the campaign, the level-up questing experience, and the story we have to tell are essentially ready to share. We’re excited by the Covenants at the heart of the expansion, and it’s been a thrill to see Torghast take shape into a fun new kind of WoW experience, thanks in no small part to your input.
However, 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.
Blizzard has a commitment to quality. We believe Shadowlands will be something special, and we’ve heard from many of you who feel the same. We need this extra time to ensure that Shadowlands lives up to its full potential.
In the meantime, we’re excited to announce that beginning October 13 we will be releasing the Shadowlands pre-patch, which lays a lot of the groundwork for the expansion and includes our revamped character leveling, new-player experience on Exile’s Reach, and a host of new character customization options. And once we get closer to Shadowlands’ release, you’ll be called upon to defend Azeroth against a resurgence of the Scourge during our pre-launch event.
Thanks for your support and passion, and for your continued help and feedback as we head toward the finish line.
We’ll see you in the Shadowlands soon,
John Hight, Executive Producer of World of Warcraft
The original promise from Blizzard was that we would get the expansion in the fall of this year, a season that runs until December 21st, so they still have enough runway left to make that target.
We shall see how this rolls I suppose.
In the mean time, we did get a date for the pre-patch. We now have until October 13, 2020 to finish up what we’re doing before that hits. Then we can start wrestling what the level squish really means.
Addendum: Word is that Blizzard sent out a note to everybody who had already purchased the Shadowlands expansion offering up a refund if they wanted it, no questions asked. It is nice to see that Blizz has learned some lessons over the years. Most people won’t take it, but the fact that they offered it is good PR.
I expect that this is also the reason they waited until today, the first day of Q4 2020, to make this announcement. Q3 is locked in and if they ship before the end of Q4 they will be able to recognize revenue for all the pre-orders and new purchases, which will make the quarter for them. But there was no point in letting even a few refunds drag down Q3 I guess.