WOTLK was released in November 2008 and here we are today, September 2010 almost two years later. Many are well into the pre expansion blues with guilds falling apart, people quitting and all sorts of other random discontent about anything and everything. Most will blame stale content as a result of WOTLK being dragged on way too long. But has it really? Lets actually sit down and take a look at the timing of Blizzard’s expansions and see if there is any validity to said complaint.
First, lets compare length of expansion as a starting point:
- World of Warcraft (Nov 04 – Jan 07) 25.8 Months
- World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (Jan 07 – Nov 08) 21.8 Months
- World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (Nov 08 – Present) 21.8 Months
So really, we are right on track in terms of expansion length, so why does this one feel so much longer? Well lets consider the timing of final content patches. Specifically, lets compare the release of Naxxramas, Sunwell Plateau and Icecrown Citadel against the end of the expansion pack. NO, Ruby Sanctum does not count as real content and will not be used in this comparison!
- Naxxramas (Patch 1.11) 7 Months
- Sunwell Plateau (Patch 2.4) 8 Months
- Icecrown Citadel (Patch 3.3) 9 Months
Hrmm, very interesting, so again it seems we are right on track again, sure its slightly longer than Naxx or SWP but really its not extremely completely out of line. So what is it about wotlk that makes it feel so tiring and stale? My personal take is its the normal vs heroic strategy Blizzard has employed for wotlk. The complaint of prior expansions was that a very small percent of the population ended up seeing the end of Naxx and SWP, so as a result they implemented normal/heroic modes so that everyone could see the Lich King die. Problem with that? Most people saw Arthas take a dirt nap many months ago. In my case it was 7 months ago, so really is there incentive to keep pushing forward knowing you’ve already seen the fight and the rewards are things that will be replaced within a week into Cataclysm? Not really. So back to the original question, is Blizzard really dragging wotlk out? guess not.
With that being said, when is Cataclysm coming? The Beta is well underway and the most recent changes have allowed players to hit the level cap (85) and test a significant portion of the expansion. So here is my prediction and the logic behind it. Blizzcon is slated for Oct 22-23 so definitely nothing will be released before that date. So really it comes down to whether it gets released at end of year or beginning of year aka Late Nov/Early Dec or Late Jan/Early Feb. My feel is they want to release late 2010 but if they can’t complete on time it’ll be early 2011. So for an overall prediction, I will say the 1st week of December!