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When Can We Expect WoW's Next Expansion to Go Live? (Speculation)

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World of Warcraft's next expansion will be revealed on April 19, and in this post, we're speculating when it could be released based on previous expansion announcements and release dates.

Warlords of Draenor (Patch 6.X)

Warlords of Draenor was revealed on November 8, 2013, and went live exactly 370 days after that on November 13, 2014.

Legion (Patch 7.X)

The expansion was announced on August 6, 2015, and released on August 30, 2016, which means 390 days passed between the announcement and release.

Battle for Azeroth (Patch 8.X)

284 days passed between Battle for Azeroth's announcement (November 3, 2017) and the expansion's release date (August 14, 2018).

Shadowlands (Patch 9.X)

The Shadowlands expansion was delayed by 1 month due to COVID-19. The expansion was set to release on October 26, but was released on November 23, 2020, and announced on November 1, 2019, which means 388 days passed from announcement until release.

Upcoming Expansion (Patch 10.X)

World of Warcraft's forthcoming expansion will be revealed on April 19, 2022. Based on the time between announcements and releases of previous expansions, when can we expect it to go live? 

  • Based on Warlords of Draenor: April 24, 2023
  • Based on Legion: May 14, 2023
  • Based on Battle for Azeroth: January 28, 2023
  • Based on Shadowlands:  May 12, 2023

As you can see above, the most likely release date hints at April/May 2023. We'll learn more about Patch 10.0 and the new expansion on April 19, 2022!

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Okay, so because it must be said, for some positive / naive / optimistic vibes:

I say November / December 2022 ! 😄

Edited by Baharok
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1 hour ago, Baharok said:

Okay, so because it must be said, for some positive / naive / optimistic vibes:

I say November / December 2022 ! 😄

You and I are on same page. I think with the acquisition of Blizzard by Microsoft they are in rebuild mode. They want to retain as much of their player base as possible. The longer it takes for a new expansion, the more people they loose. This genre is about retention more than anything else and when you have timely expansaions offering good content players will stay around. 9.2 has been one of the best patches in recent memory. The didnt hold out on flying very long. The rep grinds are minimal without having to farm for hours on rares to do it.. If this trend keeps up, WoW will be in a good place again soon.

 

And yes, I know you dont believe it.. I actually think its a possibility. I called the release date of 9.2 and was spot on.

 

Edited by Krimzin
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Pandaria announce/release distances were: 
days from October 21, 2011 to September 25, 2012 = 340 days.

If they took that long it'd be March of 2023 before the release would be fully out.  

I rather hope they would NOT completely dump and re-sort the talent system like they did in those years, which it seems took a lot of coding time.
 

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3 hours ago, Baharok said:

Okay, so because it must be said, for some positive / naive / optimistic vibes:

I say November / December 2022 ! 😄

I'm guessing March 2023

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My guess is that they will increase the crunch at the company, so that Daddy Phil gets his money returned on time.

 

Jokes aside, I can't even imagine the pressure there

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They don't want to release next crappy expansion so my guess is they will take as much time as they can. 

Similarly to WoD -> Legion transition. Content was also finished at x.2 and even then it was one of the longest (if not the longest) period in-between. Back then it turned out to be a good solution, but now people are used to bad content and don't expect much from them.

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Announcement is already late, normally we would learn about this expansion around October-November last year (usually they announced new expansion every two years). Of course, we don't know exactly what is happening there, perhaps they will have to do whatever they can with a more limited budget and manpower, as probably most funding is going towards their newer games. Hard to say when they will release something, since everything got delayed, but we should expect at least few months of content drought (it happened before after all).

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I think a longer than average cycle would garner more faith than a quick one. I think that would be the option to get people back, not rush out with a lesser offering.

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A 3rd consecutive "less than stellar" expansion, would be the absolute death knell for the game. The playerbase which has already crumbled amidst in-company scandals, and the lackluster performance of Shadowlands. To expect a speedy release of the next expansion, is just asking for it to fail.

If they had announced in November 2021 (at a never-held Blizzcon), as they traditionally would've. I would say an expansion release around December 2022. With the announcement pushed back until April 19th 2022, I expect the next expansion won't be released until April of 2023. At the earliest. On the one hand, they undoubtedly would want to hold onto the players they still have, and likely would lost a lot if the interrim drags on between 9.2.5 and 10.0. But I think there's a greater chance that more players return to the game, than they lose if the next expansion launches a bit later.

Add to that, the next expansion has to be something truly great if they wish to have a chance to rebuild the playerbase they've lost over this past year. Starting with, no more borrowed power systems, no more time gating content, no more "Azerite-grind" systems. Expansion needs to launch with a *filtered*-ton of content, ready to go and without time gating. Let people play the game at their own pace again, and not decide how far players may progress before hitting the "time gate wall".

Lastly, there's the inevitable fact that: WoW is old. We're pushing into 18 years since it first launched. Players who turn 18 this year, weren't even born when this game launched. Games have largely moved on. People expect different things from games these days. Not the least of which, being graphics. A complete graphic overhaul is likely never gonna happen, but a proper full-scale 100% world revamp (which includes overhauling graphics to an extent), is almost necessary at this point. "Cataclysm 2.0" but on a larger scale.

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I don't think it can possibly be another "release a year later".    The game is in trouble like it never has been before, there's been huge exoduses to other games like final fantasy and new world.     This is when they have to actually spend the money to save the golden goose, or the goose is cooked.    Especially considering how they so obviously cut shadowlands short by a whole tier.

Edited by Migol
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I believe that they've already been heavily working on the next xpac for a significant amount of time. Look at things like zero new dungeons since Taza'vesh was added as a mega dungeon (later split into 2 mythics). I believe teams like that were pulled off of SL to work on the next xpac full time. I also think that blizz knows they need to get one out before next Summer. If it doesn't have a release time within 10 months, they're going to really start hemorrhaging subs. I mean, we're already on final content and will have been for some time before the announcement next month. They need to get this one out faster, but the only way that will happen is if they've already been committing serious time to it.

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I'm really not confident in their ability to turn this around.

 

If it's the same people that have created BfA and SL, I'm not sure what hail mary could come out of patch 10.0.

 

It would have to be a massive trifecta of good mechanical gameplay, exciting stories, and a mountain of long-time fan desires/wants/Quality of Life changes.

 

I just don't see it. But we'll see.

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Not sure when it will actually release.... But I am going to go out on a limb and guess that it is going to include an increase to the sub fee in the US. Surprised they haven't done it here yet. At this point I am thinking it should just be F2P with all the paid items and services. But as long as enough people pay the sub fee, they will keep charging it. Right now I am heavily leaning towards either not coming back, or just coming back to level the new expansion and that's it. I just can't get back on the hamster wheel again. I want to want to play. if that makes sense.

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9 hours ago, Migol said:

I don't think it can possibly be another "release a year later".    The game is in trouble like it never has been before, there's been huge exoduses to other games like final fantasy and new world.     This is when they have to actually spend the money to save the golden goose, or the goose is cooked.    Especially considering how they so obviously cut shadowlands short by a whole tier.

It was the same in WoD. They cut out a tier (Was even hinted at, at one of the grave sites at your garrison early in WoD). And many other features were cut in WoD release. Legion was a stellar expansion that showed us that the devs were not done with the game yet. But since then, BfA only managed to keep my interest for half a year, and I didn't even try Shadowlands, which they rushed to hell and the story evaporated (Though that started in BfA already)

 

I'm still not over the whole "Undercity is so terrible, Sylvanas raising undead! Such sacrilege!" And Anduin a few expacs later also resurrects people into undead. Dreadlords being some sort of "angels" before they were corrupted by the Burning Legion (And there's a follower or two in Legion that's a Dreadlord "angel") . And apparently there's some story going on with Dreadlords in SL and they were never really enslaved or something like that?

 

Yeah. Top tier writing.

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12 minutes ago, Yridaa said:

It was the same in WoD. They cut out a tier (Was even hinted at, at one of the grave sites at your garrison early in WoD). And many other features were cut in WoD release. Legion was a stellar expansion that showed us that the devs were not done with the game yet. But since then, BfA only managed to keep my interest for half a year, and I didn't even try Shadowlands, which they rushed to hell and the story evaporated (Though that started in BfA already)

 

I'm still not over the whole "Undercity is so terrible, Sylvanas raising undead! Such sacrilege!" And Anduin a few expacs later also resurrects people into undead. Dreadlords being some sort of "angels" before they were corrupted by the Burning Legion (And there's a follower or two in Legion that's a Dreadlord "angel") . And apparently there's some story going on with Dreadlords in SL and they were never really enslaved or something like that?

 

Yeah. Top tier writing.

Well legends say there's also still a Giant Sword in Silithus bleeding azeroth dry, but that's probably not important.    The difference here though again is that back in WoD -> Legion Wow didn't have "serious" competitors and players weren't leaving in droves.     That's changed, due to disappointment in the expansion, Sylvannas still being the story focus, disgust at real life Blizzard corp, etc

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2 hours ago, Yridaa said:

It was the same in WoD. They cut out a tier (Was even hinted at, at one of the grave sites at your garrison early in WoD). And many other features were cut in WoD release. Legion was a stellar expansion that showed us that the devs were not done with the game yet. But since then, BfA only managed to keep my interest for half a year, and I didn't even try Shadowlands, which they rushed to hell and the story evaporated (Though that started in BfA already)

There was some content cut from SL as usual, but it doesn't look like it was supposed to have more tiers. More like it was supposed to be released faster, but then everything got delayed, another expansion included.

2 hours ago, Yridaa said:

I'm still not over the whole "Undercity is so terrible, Sylvanas raising undead! Such sacrilege!" And Anduin a few expacs later also resurrects people into undead. Dreadlords being some sort of "angels" before they were corrupted by the Burning Legion (And there's a follower or two in Legion that's a Dreadlord "angel") . And apparently there's some story going on with Dreadlords in SL and they were never really enslaved or something like that?

Anduin didn't resurrect anyone into undeath. Dreadlords weren't "angels", but they were created in Revendreth. Legion and Scourge were all pawns for the Jailer, Dreadlords were his servants all along. So this is why a lot of previous lore doesn't make sense anymore, like Kel'Thuzad saving Arthas from Dreadlords and fighting them in The Frozen Throne, even though both KT and Dreadlords have been serving under the Jailer all this time. There is more, like incident of Wrathgate making no sense now, since Varimathras' and Putress' rebellion was now apparently against other forces of the Jailer (they deployed plague against Scourge as well, which had KT at a time who's true master was Jailer all along). All these changes, so they could write Jailer Zovaal as a mastermind behind it all, only to die after saying few one liners.

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Long time lurker, made an account here to post this. Because of of how big 10.0 feels from just a history perspective. It is very possible that they started working on 10.0 as early as Battle of Azeroth 8.0 and treated 9.0 as a cover of sorts, to not go all in, but to put their best talent on 10.0 for maybe you could say the beginning of shadowlands? The long term decline means it does make sense from a software perspective to release a temporary bandaid and allocate 80% of resources towards next expansion to make it shine as best as it can be. 

10.0 is also where some new leadership finally get to take the helm. Judging from what i've seen from how they are handling classic, wow mastery, all of that, they have very real understanding of the value of the current azeroth nolgastic feel and to double down on it.

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Blizzard you can do it on Nov 22, 2022! 

We are behind you.

Edited by gurupak

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16 hours ago, Fenir said:

It is very possible that they started working on 10.0 as early as Battle of Azeroth 8.0 and treated 9.0 as a cover of sorts, to not go all in, but to put their best talent on 10.0 for maybe you could say the beginning of shadowlands?

People were saying exactly the same thing about SL, it was supposed to be a better expansion after BfA, since it was generally considered weaker than Legion. This didn't prove to be true, so there is no guarantee of such "cycle" existing.

16 hours ago, Fenir said:

10.0 is also where some new leadership finally get to take the helm. Judging from what i've seen from how they are handling classic, wow mastery, all of that, they have very real understanding of the value of the current azeroth nolgastic feel and to double down on it.

There is no new leadership for this game. Ion Hazzikostas remains as game director, John High is still the executive producer. Let's not forget, Steve Danuser is still the main writer and he messed up the current lore.

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With the end of shadowlands now, I can’t imagine that it’s going to take another year for the new expansion to be released. Do you know how many people Blizzard would lose? We are already replacing our epic gear with greens and getting replacement epic armor in Zereth Morris. Unless they continue to add content to this new zone, I can’t think of anything that would keep players enthused enough to continue on for another year. I’m sure Blizzard’s got a plan, just not sure what it is. I don’t think a years wait for the next expansion is part of it. Microsoft now owns Blizzard, but I read they don’t actually take hold until next year. Activision is still in the picture, as far as I know. There’s a reason why we are gearing up and I think the next expansion is just around the corner. I’m sure Blizzard’s been planning this. I guess we will find out on April 19th. 

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