Sorry, death. With the news that World Of Warcraft: Shadowlands has been delayed out of its October launch, it looks like we'll be avoiding the grave a little while longer. Blizzard today announced they've pushed their behemoth MMO's next expansion back to "later this year" to give the underworld a bit more polish as developers continue to deal with the weirdness of remote working.
Posting on Twitter earlier today, executive producer John Hight explains that the while most expansion is basically ready to go, the team need a bit more time for polish, balance, and "to iterate on some interlocking pieces."
— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) October 1, 2020
To what must feel like a broken record at this part, our old foe Covid-19 has had a part to play in this delay. While some last-minute tuning isn't particularly unusual, Hight notes that efforts were "compounded" by the development team adjusting to working from home.
Even so, it's somewhat surprising to see no concrete revised date for WoW's next expansion. Shadowlands was set to launch on October 27th, less than a month from now. The statement says the team is still in the process of determining a new date, of course, but reckoned it best to announce the delay before too many people took time off work to go grind in the land of the dead.
In the meantime, we do at least have a date for the Shadowlands pre-patch. That update will go live on October 13th, bringing in the game's drastically-overhauled levelling system, the new starting zone of Exile's Reach, and some new character customisation options that aim to fix some woefully lacking skin and hair options.
While I'm far, far too burned out on WoW to think about installing Shadowlands, I hear it's supposed to be a good'un. According to our contributing Azeroth expert Christos Reid, it might even be the best jumping-on point the game's had in a long, long time.