Blizzard has confirmed that they have decided to delay the release of World of Warcraft‘s Shadowlands expansion.
“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,” says John Hight, Executive Producer of World of Warcraft, via a recent blog post. “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.”
This announcement is somewhat surprising as Shadowlands was previously scheduled to be released later this month (October 27). Now, it’s not entirely clear when we’ll be able to play the game beyond the vague mention of an intended 2020 release date.
As Hight notes later in the blog post, this decision ultimately came down to the team’s feeling that the current Shadowlands build just wasn’t living up to expectations.
“Over the past several months of testing, we’ve made significant progress iterating on and polishing the core features and gameplay of Shadowlands,” writes Hight. “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 doesn’t expand upon exactly what the team will be working to fix, but recent fan feedback has noted that the current version of Shadowlands suffers from balancing issues as well as some notable technical problems. Generally speaking, fans seem happy about this delay, as it will hopefully give Blizzard the time they need to address some problems the game seemingly would have launched with.
For what it’s worth, we’ve praised Shadowlands for its innovative Torghast dungeon, altered leveling system, and other key elements. That being said, there’s always room for fine-tuning, and with the production problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s understandable that the Shadowlands team may not have had the time and resources needed to get the game where they wanted it to be by launch. Hopefully, this delay allows them to do just that.