Blizzard has had their hands full with World of Warcraft lately, pushing out patches and updates at a near-frantic pace. As the end of the year approaches, they’re only having more and more popping up for them.
The end of the year brings several of the biggest optional events in the game, primarily in the form of holiday events. Hallow’s End, Pilgrim’s Bounty, and Winter’s Veil all arrive as mirrors of the Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas holidays.
But in November, there’s another holiday being celebrated that’s specific to World of Warcraft. On November 23rd, the anniversary of the title’s release arrives, with this coming anniversary being the title’s 16th birthday.
But in what might strike some as a strange move, Blizzard has altered time to celebrate the anniversary a bit early instead. Now, players can expect to begin celebrating on November 1st, up through the 22nd – just before the actual anniversary itself.
The reason for this is much more simple than one might think – Blizzard has set the 23rd to be the release date of the highly-anticipated and once-delayed World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion.
After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.#Shadowlands#Warcraft pic.twitter.com/bqKnmTvXXB
— Wowhead (@Wowhead) October 30, 2020
Having these two holidays overlap could be a bit detrimental to the launch of the expansion. The 16th anniversary brings several world events and buffs that change the game heavily to let players celebrate in style, as well as snagging some obtainable items that might lessen the impact of the expansion’s acquirable items.
This would have a direct effect on the expansion’s release, namely with the experience and reputation buff that Blizzard will be applying. Stepping into the Shadowlands with a sizeable buff to reputation and experience gain could harm the first-time experience of the expansion for the players.
More than that, it also heavily damages the way that Blizzard has balanced the expansion. With the developers having tuned the expansion to level at a proper pace throughout the zones, dropping a 16% increase to all experience gained would destroy that completely.
There are also the world bosses that’ll be wandering around, leaving players torn between whether they chase down these bosses or focus on the content. By changing the date so that they don’t overlap, players have a bit easier of a time.
Overall, it’s been well-received by players that were concerned about their experience in the Shadowlands zones, not wanting to have their first encounter changed as it was. As the month moves on and the release comes closer, we’re likely to see several other changes as well.