John Hight, Executive Producer of Blizzard's World of Warcraft, announced in a blog post (opens in new tab) Thursday that World of Warcraft: Shadowlands was being delayed until some time later this year.
"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," Hight said, "we felt it was important to let you know about this change in plans as soon as we could."
In a post on Wowhead (opens in new tab) about the news, several commenters actually applauded Blizzard for delaying the official launch of their highly anticipated expansion to the best-selling World of Warcraft MMO, apparently due to considerable work that remains to be done polishing up the game - something Hight himself acknowledges in his post.
"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," Hight said. "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."
On the bright side of the Shadowlands, there's finally a date for the prepatch
While it's disappointing to hear that Shadowlands itself is being delayed by several weeks or even a couple of months, Hight did announce that the Shadowlands prepatch - where the expansion's level rebalancing of existing characters and other changes will be implemented - will drop in two weeks.
"In the meantime, we’re excited to announce that beginning October 13 we will be releasing the Shadowlands pre-patch, which lays a lot of the groundwork for the expansion and includes our revamped character leveling, new-player experience on Exile’s Reach, and a host of new character customization options," Hight said.
"And once we get closer to Shadowlands’ release, you’ll be called upon to defend Azeroth against a resurgence of the Scourge during our pre-launch event."
While this will likely break the hearts of an entire burning legion of diehard fans, no doubt it's for the best. It is 2020, after all.