Dragonflight Release Date: Not So Fast Development

Dragonflight Release Date: Not So Fast Development

Along with the release of pre-orders for the next World of Warcraft expansion, Blizzard has announced that Dragonflight’s release date will be no later than December 31, 2022. While the expansion was expected in 2023, some players wondered if this exit was not going to be a little premature.

Since Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard’s mechanics have been well-oiled. Extensions are announced during odd years and the release of these is done each time the following year, during even years. This has been the case since WotLK and it continued through to Shadowlands.

Alas, the Covid-19 pandemic has arrived and Blizzard had to resolve to cancel its BlizzCon, the show where the company unveils most of the MMORPG expansions. It is also possible that following the numerous harassment scandals, Blizzard preferred to keep a low profile until things settled down, putting aside the organization or its presence at trade shows. Still, these events have certainly postponed the announcement of Dragonflight which, normally, would have taken place at the end of 2021.

On April 19, Blizzard lifted the veil on the Dragon Islands, the new Evoker class and the overhaul of the talent system. Two months later, and while we are still waiting for a first public test phase, the studio confirms a release of the extension for 2022.

This may give the impression that Dragonflight was developed faster than previous WoW expansions. But when you look at the numbers, that’s not particularly the case. Of course, between the first drafts and the release, the development of such a video game lasts more than two years, but we should not rely on the elements that are in our knowledge. And what we do know is the lifespan of the extensions.

Between two WoW extensions, it usually takes between 650 and 750 days. Battle for Azeroth has lived a little longer, but again, that’s no doubt a consequence of the pandemic, as the devs had to move to homeworking where they used to work from Irvine studios with everything what it involves in terms of habits and meetings.

Between Shadowlands and Dragonflight, and based on a release at the end of November, we would have 730 days, which is a fairly standard duration.

Number of days between announcement and release of an extension

Extension Announcement Release date Number of days
The Burning Crusade October 28, 2005 January 16, 2007 445
Wrath of the Lich King August 3, 2007 November 13, 2008 468
Cataclysm August 21, 2009 December 7, 2010 473
Mists of Pandaria October 21, 2011 September 25, 2012 340
Warlords of Draenor November 8, 2013 November 13, 2014 370
Legion August 6, 2015 August 30, 2016 390
Battle for Azeroth November 3, 2017 August 14, 2018 284
shadowlands November 1, 2019 November 23, 2020 388
Dragonflight April 19, 2022 December 31, 2022 at the latest 256 max

Number of days between two extensions

Extension Release date Number of days since previous expansion
The Burning Crusade January 16, 2007
Wrath of the Lich King November 13, 2008 667
Cataclysm December 7, 2010 754
Mists of Pandaria September 25, 2012 658
Warlords of Draenor November 13, 2014 779
Legion August 30, 2016 656
Battle for Azeroth August 14, 2018 714
shadowlands November 23, 2020 832
Dragonflight December 31, 2022 at the latest 768 max

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