Blizzard looking for "meaningful difference" in expansion releases

Mathew McCurley
M. McCurley|08.23.11

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Blizzard looking for "meaningful difference" in expansion releases
World of Warcraft's expansion cycle is not the norm in the MMO genre. The Blizzard expansion cycle is a new boxed expansion every two years, on average. According to Gameinformer, which got to talk to Tom Chilton at the Gamescom show in Germany last week, Blizzard is on track for a more timely release schedule with World of Warcraft expansions.

Chilton told Gameinformer:
We've been able to do it in one sense, but not as much as I would like to in another sense. I would like for all patches to reliably have raid bosses. Our first Cataclysm patch didn't have raid bosses. From a raider's persepctive, it probably doesn't feel any faster than it did before. For us, where the biggest improvement is going to be in this cycle is in the actual expansion release. Traditionally we've only been able to do an expansion about every two years. We're really hoping to make a meaningful difference in that.

According to Chilton, the Deathwing raid is not going to have any locks or gating in front of it, meaning every encounter will be available from the get-go, unlike Icecrown Citadel's wing unlock schedule. Since patch 4.3 is going to be the last patch update and raid tier for Cataclysm, we can only assume that the next expansion will be coming sooner rather than later in order to stem the tide of players completing the newest patch's content.

Blizzard has said in the past that it is trying to push smaller and quicker patches in the future since the release of patch 4.1, but patch 4.2 was a big endeavor, and 4.3 is looking to add huge new features to the game with no release date in sight. While Blizzard has stated its goals of faster, smaller patch updates and this new resolve to get expansions out quicker, we have yet to see that philosophy materialize. However, all that being said, I am hopeful that the newest patch and expansion content will come at a quicker pace, especially with the MMO market moving in the way that it is.

Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Look at what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

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