As we get closer and closer to World of Warcraft: Shadowlands‘s release in late October, we’re getting closer and closer to pre-patch. There’s only one problem – we still don’t know when pre-patch is, despite the expansion coming on the 27th of October.
For those who may not have been part of the community for long, or who simply don’t play World of Warcraft at all, the pre-patch is the last major patch before the release of an upcoming expansion, taking place at the end of the previous expansion’s lifespan.
This patch serves as the transition between expansions, helping to prepare for the full release of the upcoming expansion. It also brings events with it that can give exclusive gear, items, cosmetics, and experiences that can’t be replicated.
One pre-patch event that many long-time players remember fondly came just before the release of Wrath of the Lich King, the titles second expansion. The Undead Scourge swept across Azeroth as players worked to defend their homes, earning special, exclusive items in the process.
From what we’ve seen on the PTR, we’ll be revisiting such a theme – which makes sense, given the lore shown in the cinematic release trailer. With the Helm of Domination shattered and the Scourge masterless, they’ve begun to sweep across the land in mindless violence as Terenas predicted.
The #Shadowlands pre-patch is a time when players can experience class changes and system revamps before new quests and end-game content are available. We've put together a guide detailing what's available with the pre-patch! #Warcraft https://t.co/8CPIyd6TJB pic.twitter.com/utzIjzOfmi
— Wowhead (@Wowhead) August 25, 2020
One reason we may not have seen the release date yet is that, on the PTR, only about two weeks worth of content is shown. This means that we could expect it in mid-October, perhaps around the 13th, which would set it exactly two weeks before the launch of the Shadowlands expansion.
Compared to other pre-patch events, though, two weeks is drastically shorter than usual. Four weeks is more common, having been the case for Wrath of the Lich King, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, and Battle for Azeroth.
The Burning Crusade and Legion both were given six weeks, even further. The longest pre-patch given was granted to Cataclysm, lasting eight weeks and including two events – the Elemental Invasion and Shattering events, both of which reshaped the game entirely.
So why would Blizzard give such a short amount of time to their latest expansion? It seems like two weeks would certainly not be enough time for players to experience all there is to offer, especially given the countless players that aren’t able to dedicate a massive amount of time to the game.
If they intend to give a four-week period as they have before, we could expect it as late as the end of September. If they intend to go even longer than that, than we can expect to see the pre-patch event released very, very soon.