Blizzard has announced that the upcoming expansion to World of Warcraft will be delayed while the developer works on the final polishing before release.
In a blog post yesterday, executive producer John Hight spoke about the current state of the expansion, and how testing has revealed some work which still needs to be done. "Over the past several months of testing, we’ve made significant progress iterating on and polishing the core features and gameplay of Shadowlands", said Hight.
"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," He continued.
"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"
Hight indicated that the expansion was still on track to come out this year, but it will not be coming on October 13 as originally scheduled. However, the pre-expansion patch will be coming out on that date, and a pre-expansion "prelude" event will announced closer to the actual release date, with the Alliance and the Horde once again having to square off against the Scourge.
Food For Thought
After the reception of Battle For Azeroth in some circles, it's understandable Blizzard would want to take its time and get Shadowlands done right. However, one has to wonder if the game is basically too much at this point, if they're having so much trouble getting the endgame balanced. It may be Blizzard is having trouble coming up with new mechanics which harmonize with existing mechanics, because there is a practical limit to how long an MMO can keep going without a genuine sequel that breaks from the existing environment.