Last week, we speculated the final release date of Shadowlands and the possibility of a delayed rollout for the expansion. We even longed for some kind of confirmation from today’s developer update featuring WoW Game Director Ion Hazzikostas. And although speculation arose surrounding the possibility of Shadowlands getting pushed back to 2021 in the scope of the current ongoing global circumstance, we received some confirmed positive news that should all but reaffirm that idea that WoW’s next expansion will launch sometime this year: beta is coming – and it’s coming with plenty of time to spare.
As it currently stands, Shadowlands has been available for pre-order since last November, and the promise on Blizzard’s end of the bargain is that the game would be released on or before December 31, 2020. Of course, that bargain could have been altered if the development cycle of the expansion needed to be extended, but with the announcement during today’s livestream that the Shadowlands beta is coming next week, there’s no reason to worry about the release date of the full game getting pushed back to next year.
If anything, now is the time to invest your confidence into Shadowlands. Today’s live event was a reassuring omen that the expansion’s development is right on track and keeping pace with its internal schedule.
Additionally, mostly everything we saw during today’s content dump was intriguing to some degree. From additions to the covenant system that remind me a lot of Legion’s Class Halls & Artifacts all the way to Torghast, whose playability restrictions have now been lifted. In short, the changes and additions that were announced today are certainly inspiring to say the least.
But if there’s any major takeaway from today’s Shadowlands live event, it’s that the beta’s imminent arrival in just a few days is a good sign of things to come – especially in regards to the game’s release date. Traditionally, WoW’s betas haven’t lasted incredibly long once they become available to play. If we think back to the Battle for Azeroth beta, which launched on April 26, 2018, the full game was released just about 3 months and 3 weeks later, on August 13, 2018.
Moving back further to another expansion, Legion’s beta was available for play on May 9. 2016, and the full game launched on August 30 of that year – precisely 3 months and 3 weeks later. If once can be considered an occurrence and twice could be a trend, then it’s fair to assume that Shadowlands is due for an early November release date. If we’re following the precise rules of the formula, (which, disclaimer, could be based entirely off of a coincidence – but it’s still fun to speculate) then Shadowlands will release precisely on November 5.
If we eliminate those nagging delayment theories from a few weeks ago, then a late-fall, early-holiday season release date was the original, largely-accepted theory surrounding Shadowlands’ release date. It feels like we’re right on track.
Featured image via Blizzard Entertainment.