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Holly Longdale Unveils Details on Patch 10.2.6: No PTR for Upcoming Content, Launch Set for March

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In the latest update, Executive Producer Holly Longdale shares details about Patch 10.2.6, letting the community know that there won't be a PTR for the upcoming content update and that the patch is set to launch in March.

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Greetings Azeroth,

2024 is underway and it’s a big year for World of Warcraft as the game reaches a milestone 20-year anniversary!

To think that 20 years ago Facebook launched, MySpace was cool, and many of us were playing on a Nintendo DS and a Playstation Portable. Friends aired its final episode and Lost delivered its first. And that same year friends, family, and coworkers started playing a game called World of Warcraft!

It fills my heart that Azeroth has become home to so many different types of people and players around the globe who have shared memorable moments these past two decades. *hugs* As Morpheus cried in Matrix Reloaded (2003, but anyway) “WE are STILL here!” I’m glad I chose this rabbit hole and have never regretted how deep it goes. WoW is my wonderland – all day, every day.

Thinking about the year ahead, and our roadmaps we remain committed to, we want to share with you three things we’re focused on as a development team:

  • #1. Continue to evolve the living world for all players.
    • Build on our learnings from 2023 to deliver content regularly for Dragonflight and Classic.
    • Update and modernize your experience and quality of life in all flavors of WoW.
    • Listen to your feedback and keep improving.
  • #2. Deliver the first installment of our most ambitious story with The War Within.
    • World of Warcraft: The War Within is preparing to invite players for testing in the coming months, and we are working hard to deliver on the epic journey of our Worldsoul Saga.
  • #3. Try new things and take risks to bring you new experiences.
    • Our development team  is trying new approaches. Invention and creativity are critical to this ever-evolving world of Azeroth we craft for—and with—all of you. 

All that in mind, immediately ahead of us we have WoW Classic: Season of Discovery Phase 2 launching on February 8 at 1:00 p.m. (21:00 GMT)  globally. For more details, get the full scoop from our overview. You’ll notice some new approaches mentioned there that we’re trying out and (as always) we will listen to feedback. (“New runes, a new PvP experience, skill books, and more!)

WoW Classic Hardcore’s Self-Found mode is coming in late February, followed shortly after by the Beta for Cataclysm Classic. More news on that will be coming soon.

As many have noticed, this is the first period of time since Dragonflight launched that we haven’t had an active PTR and we understand that it is creating some curiosity.

For the 10.2.6 patch for Dragonflight, we created what we think is a unique event inspired by past musings from the community. We can say that it is open to anyone with a WoW subscription if they want to participate (Classic or Dragonflight players). That's all we’re going say. Sorry, not sorry?  Our goal is to continue to keep it secret— and keep it safe. The speculation is great! We watched the reaction to the surprises in Season of Discovery and thought we’d try a similar, but different, approach for Dragonflight.

That means there will be no PTR (Public Test Realm) for a portion of the next content update as we have traditionally done. What we can say is that it will be coming in March. A finer point, but the update will also include everything that’s needed for Dragonflight Season 4 but will be hidden. Around (after) the launch of the update we will make Season 4 available for testing on a 10.2.6 PTR before it goes live.

Why are we doing this? We like the idea of releasing content that has some surprises and isn’t datamined or revealed in advance. We also like to see the joy the community gets out of uncovering it all together as they all jump in to play. We look forward to seeing if the community likes this type of surprise and look forward to hearing your feedback. This is risky experiment and could be a bit bumpy, though we are doing everything we can to ensure success.

The WoW team prides itself on ensuring a solid, quality launch. We are sensitive and reactive to problems and issues that can and might arise, so I hope you can forgive us if we experience some hiccups with this experiment and work alongside us as we try this out in March. ALL WILL BE REVEALED THEN!


With gratitude and excitement for the new memories we create together, 

Holly Longdale 

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Great! No PTR! That means we won't even know about all the bugs they will introduce in the patch and the new event and won't fix before releasing despite all the PTR reports. We are going to dive fully blind into another bugged patch release and have an amazing bugged filled first week of the patch! Just what everyone wanted!

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1 hour ago, Arcling said:

Perhaps those 1900 layoffs were the real surprise.

So  fun story, from what has been said, 3 out of 5 people in the lore department were let go, leaving only 2.  

However, from what they've been saying, those lore people...were only ever applied after the fact.     Like, they tried to retcon earlier mistakes or make things work when Danuser or others messed up the story hard.     Boggles the mind that that's how they were being used.

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1 hour ago, mtmf said:

Great! No PTR! That means we won't even know about all the bugs they will introduce in the patch and the new event and won't fix before releasing despite all the PTR reports. We are going to dive fully blind into another bugged patch release and have an amazing bugged filled first week of the patch! Just what everyone wanted!

You say this like it won't be a buggy mess like always even when there is a PTR

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1 hour ago, Migol said:

So  fun story, from what has been said, 3 out of 5 people in the lore department were let go, leaving only 2.  

However, from what they've been saying, those lore people...were only ever applied after the fact.     Like, they tried to retcon earlier mistakes or make things work when Danuser or others messed up the story hard.     Boggles the mind that that's how they were being used.

Well that explains a lot lol.

Maybe Metzen will get em back on track with lore.

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1 hour ago, Migol said:

So  fun story, from what has been said, 3 out of 5 people in the lore department were let go, leaving only 2.  

However, from what they've been saying, those lore people...were only ever applied after the fact.     Like, they tried to retcon earlier mistakes or make things work when Danuser or others messed up the story hard.     Boggles the mind that that's how they were being used.

Afaik, these people who were laid off were from lore checking team. Not the ones writing it, but they were checking lore and art for consistency. Regardless, we might still see some further decrease in the quality of writing if there are no people to fact check the writing team.

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5 hours ago, Q said:

You say this like it won't be a buggy mess like always even when there is a PTR

No, I'm not saying it like that, I'm saying it as I wrote. When there is a PTR, at least we know the bugs that the patch will have at launch cause they won't fix them anyway despite all the reports on PTR. And yeah, every patch has been a buggy mess cause the new development model is to rush things into live and maybe fix it later, but with PTR, at least we know what to expect. But without it, it's gonna be even worse, like that secrets of azeroth event, where every single day was a buggy mess we didn't know beforehand and we had to deal with it live without previous testing. Except this time we are talking about an entire patch, not some random event.

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3 hours ago, mtmf said:

No, I'm not saying it like that, I'm saying it as I wrote. When there is a PTR, at least we know the bugs that the patch will have at launch cause they won't fix them anyway despite all the reports on PTR. And yeah, every patch has been a buggy mess cause the new development model is to rush things into live and maybe fix it later, but with PTR, at least we know what to expect. But without it, it's gonna be even worse, like that secrets of azeroth event, where every single day was a buggy mess we didn't know beforehand and we had to deal with it live without previous testing. Except this time we are talking about an entire patch, not some random event.

It's just a .6 Patch, not even that big of a deal.

And beside that, it's just a game. If you don't want to play a fresh patch with all bugs etc. just tune into the patch a few days later. I like the Idea of not getting a PTR and everything that's coming will be new and not datamined.

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Uncommon Patron

Personally, I don't like surprises, so I prefer to know what to expect, in advance.

But what bothers me a little more is that the entire community of mod developers will be in total darkness until release day and will have to update their code urgently. And that's not cool for them.

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11 hours ago, mtmf said:

No, I'm not saying it like that, I'm saying it as I wrote. When there is a PTR, at least we know the bugs that the patch will have at launch cause they won't fix them anyway despite all the reports on PTR. And yeah, every patch has been a buggy mess cause the new development model is to rush things into live and maybe fix it later, but with PTR, at least we know what to expect. But without it, it's gonna be even worse, like that secrets of azeroth event, where every single day was a buggy mess we didn't know beforehand and we had to deal with it live without previous testing. Except this time we are talking about an entire patch, not some random event.

Again, most of the time there are bugs regardless of whether there is a PTR cycle or not. Even when people report the bugs, which most people on the PTR don't, they don't get fixed until the patch has been live for a while.

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We don't honestly know who does or doesn't read our bug reports on the back end (because if they had to reply to Us on every bug report, their hands would be bloody stumps past their elbows).

Because QA teams also got to stand in the fire, we don't know if the people who usually read those still exist or not, even if a given bug was being addressed(i was gonna type "fixed" but... repairs isn't always how they address them, I suspect)

.......... long hrmmm noise over my head here .......

I'd be pretty happy if they gather a team together to fix OLD bugs.  This might get me yelled at by people who want them to fix NEW bugs.   That's okay.  What I really want to see gone is the bugs that were released en masse (and a mess) because they met some marketing deadline years ago.   In the not-gamer version of the software industry we call this "technical debt".

cruft like mission-table entries with no blurb.  Cinematics where the caption text addresses the champion as $p or disconnect you if you cancel them before they complete.   Basically anything that can disconnect us because some internal variable blew its stack.    Invisible yes.  Painful - doubles, because it feels like we've known them for years and it's still exactly like that.

I don't know if we'll get a chance to ever see this type or "war within" ever solved.

 

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