Setting out the plans in a frank post, executive producer Holly Longdale acknowledged “the need to do better than we have at times in the recent past,” gesturing toward the (at best) mixed reception from players to the ongoing endgame experience of last two expansions, Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands.
The last expansion that WoW’s community seemed to unequivocally enjoy was 2016’s Legion, and Longdale pointed to it as an inspiration for the way Blizzard wants Dragonflight to evolve. “Years after its release, Legion is remembered fondly as much for the 11-week content update cadence that served as the framework for its first year as it is for artifact weapons or Khadgar’s brilliant dad jokes,” she said. “Our goal for Dragonflight is that there should always be something right around the corner, with a new update hitting our test realms shortly after the last one is live and in your hands.”
The six content patches planned for 2023 will be “fairly evenly spaced,” she said. Two mid-sized patches offering a mix of new content and systems updates will be followed by a major patch introducing a new raid, new zone, and new competitive multiplayer season in the first half of the year. Then this rhythm will repeat in the second half of the year.
The next patch, in winter, will bring the already announced Trading Post, an intriguing battle pass alternative that allows players to earn cosmetic items usually only sold in the in-game shop. In spring, a new storyline will bring players back to the Forbidden Reach, the starting zone for the new Dracthyr race.
After a rough period that has seen many longtime World of Warcraft players desert the game for rivals like Final Fantasy 14, Dragonflight has been going down well with players. The proposed 2023 roadmap is a solid plan that should help shore up the game’s reputation even further, and with Blizzard’s former story chief Chris Metzen returning to the fold to get the lore of the Warcraft franchise in order following some controversial decisions, it seems things are looking up for Blizzard’s 18-year-old warhorse.