Previously scheduled to launch on October 27, it will now be released “later this year”.
World of Warcraft executive producer John Hight said in a blog post that Blizzard is “still in the process of determining” a new launch date but wanted to inform players of the delay as soon as possible.
“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.”
In July, Blizzard launched the Shadowlands beta and Hight committed to releasing the expansion “this fall even if we end up shipping it from our homes”.
The following month Blizzard announced its late October release, but things have not gone to plan.
Hight said today: “Over the past several months of testing, we’ve made significant progress iterating on and polishing the core features and gameplay of Shadowlands. We’re at a point where the zones, the campaign, the level-up questing experience, and the story we have to tell are essentially ready to share.”
He added: “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.
“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.”
Hight also said Blizzard intends to release the Shadowlands pre-patch on October 13, which will include revamped character levelling, new player experience on Exile’s Reach, and fresh character customisation options.