World of Warcraft’s next expansion, Shadowlands, has been delayed from Oct. 27 to “later this year.” An exact date is not yet known. In a post on the official Blizzard website, executive producer John Hight wrote the following:
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. [...]
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.
World of Warcraft players have had some criticism about aspects of end game progression in Shadowlands, including the Covenants. Players have to choose one of four powerful factions who live in the Shadowlands, and ally with them for special in-game items and cosmetics. Players are worried that their various abilities, which include both universal bonuses and class-specific tools, will force certain characters to choose certain Covenants. Blizzard has already been testing solutions to this on their test servers, including the ability to switch factions, but it has remained a point of contention throughout the beta.
A delay will allow Blizzard to address this feedback, as well as polish systems like Torghast, the endlessly repeatable Tower of the Damned.
On Oct. 13, Blizzard will release the Shadowlands pre-patch, which includes the new player experience of Exile’s Reach, and a bevy of new character customization options. A pre-launch event, where the Scourge invade Azeroth, will begin later in the year.