World Of Warcraft Shadowlands Expansion Delayed

WoW's Shadowlands expansion will still come out later this year, Blizzard said.

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Blizzard Entertainment has delayed the release of World of Warcraft's Shadowlands expansion due to working from home conditions caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A new release date has not been determined, but the studio said Shadowlands will still release later this year.

In a blog post announcing the delay, executive producer John Hight said it wasn't an easy decision to make but one that was necessary for the expansion and for World of Warcraft players. Hight also said the additional development time will allow the team to add extra polish to Shadowlands' endgame. In general, a pre-patch arrives about one month before a new expansion releases. That hadn't happened yet, leading some players to think the release date was being pushed back before the news was official.

"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," Hight said. "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.

"Blizzard has a commitment to quality. We believe Shadowlands will be something special, and we've heard from many of you who feel the same. We need this extra time to ensure that Shadowlands lives up to its full potential."

Despite the setback, the studio still plans to release the Shadowlands pre-patch on October 13. This update lays the foundation for the expansion, replete with a revamped character leveling system, new-player experience on Exile's Reach, and a bevy of additional character customization options.

Blizzard previously announced back in July 2020 that the Shadowlands expansion would launch in Fall 2020, with Hight saying it will happen "even if we end up shipping it from our homes." It seems that's likely now. The pandemic, at least in the United States, has kept many game developers working from home.

The Shadowlands expansion will make a number of adjustments and changes to World of Warcraft, including reducing the level cap from 120 to 60 and adding controller support. World of Warcraft has never come to consoles, despite recent Blizzard games making the jump. It's the eight expansion for the game, following 2018's Battle for Azeroth. With the exception of Burning Crusade to Lich King, there has been a two-year gap between all expansions.

Shadowlands will also allow players to align themselves with a Covenant, a new kind of in-game faction system that teaches new abilities and assigns quests. Additionally, the expansion will no longer charge players for changing genders.

While there will be no BlizzCon this year, BlizzCon Online is coming in early 2021. Blizzard is currently working on Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV, on top of World of Warcraft. We don't have a firm release date for either of those two games.

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