Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cataclysmic Math (Release Date Speculation)

So we’re all on vent discussing our theories on when Cataclysm might drop. I’m looking for a Christmas 2010 release, others in my guild were looking more for a May release.

The logic behind the Christmas release is fairly straightforward. I predicted back in May that the Expansion would be unveiled at Blizzcon.

“Blizzcon is coming up, and I believe there is a good chance Blizzard announces the next Expansion at Blizzcon. Wrath was announced two years ago at Blizzcon 2007.” (http://honorscode.blogspot.com/2009/05/future-of-engineering.html)

The other prediction I made in that post was not entirely true, but I was darn close. I predicted an Engineer class, but instead we got a Goblin race. Goblin is one of the specialties of Engineering so you might say ‘from a certain point of view’, that I was right on that one as well.

So my logic goes something like this. Burning Crusade drops, the next Blizzcon (2007) they announce Wrath. Wrath drops around Christmas 2008. So following the same pattern, Wrath drops. The next Blizzcon (2009) they announce Cataclysm. Then we conclude Cataclysm will drop Christmas 2010.

Brilliant, eh?

During the course of the conversation, we discussed how long patches were lasting as a predictor of when the Expansion would be upon us. If you look at the first patch, it lasted from mid November to mid April, or about 5 months. The Ulduar patch lasted from mid April to early August. Again, that’s about 5 months. Now if Crusade lasts about 5 months that puts Ice Crown out around January. That perfectly positions it near the time when people playing Aion will be done with their free month they get for buying the game. And just as they will be making a decision on getting their Aion subscription or not, here comes Arthas, in the....err..flesh? Blizzard is not unaware of these kind of things. You can’t be as successful as Blizzard is and not have some really smart people working for you.

That scenario would require IceCrown to last almost an entire year if my guess of November is right.

If Icecrown were to last only about the same time as the other patches have, that is about 5 months, then that would put the Expansion out around July which is much closer to my guildmates guess. That would also put it out before the next Blizzcon. Which would make sense given that while discussing the new Goblin race, Tom Chilton (a lead designer for World of Warcraft) voiced a thought something along the lines of “I’m sure Alliance will be complaining about Goblin rogues at the next BlizzCon.”

But I was thinking, what if Blizzard’s goal was actually that each major patch lasts about 4 months, and the reason it looks like 5 months is a week here and week there on delays. If you remember not too long after Burning Crusade came out, Blizzard stated their goal was 1 expansion per year. Obviously, that turned out to be a little ambitious. So instead of a full 10 level expansion, which took 2 years to get out, why not cut that in half, to say 5 levels. Now, maybe that’s something you can get done in a year.

Then recently, when answering the question if there was more beyond Ice Crown in Wrath, the Community Managers responded that they plan on having 3 major patches each Expansion. Ice Crown is it.

Now you do the math. 3 major patches per Expansion. Each patch should run about 4 months. That’s 12 months, or 1 year worth of the content, and boom! you are ready for the next Xpac.

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