WoWJun 16, 2016 6:14 pm CT

WoW to have more patches, fewer expansions moving forward

You may have missed it while at work today, but this afternoon Blizzard held an hour long Legion Q&A with World of Warcraft Assistant Game Director Ion Hazzikostas (Watcher). While there were plenty of interesting tidbits, the most interesting was a change in the Warcraft team’s development goals.

For years now Blizzard has promised to deliver yearly expansions but they’ve yet to manage that quick turnaround — and it never seemed to mesh with Blizzard’s philosophy of releasing games “when they’re done.” Attempting these fast-paced expansions seems to leave us with content droughts (like the one we’re in now), when Blizzard clearly expected to have another expansion ready to go… but didn’t.

Now Instead of continuing to try for those quick expansions, Blizzard wants to give us more content between expansions. And while we’ve been burned by promises of more content before — which Hazzikostas readily admits — I think this is a great change.

Patch 6.2 came out on June 23, 2015, which means we’ve been running around Tanaan Jungle and Hellfire Citadel for nearly a year. While Legion is on the horizon, that’s still a long time to go without new content — and since Blizzard has struggled getting out big content releases on a regular schedule, maybe small, more frequent content releases could work.

But with Blizzard’s track record, it’s hard to take these new goals without a grain of salt. (A really big grain of salt.) Still, if they manage to get us more regular content patches — something the rest of the MMO industry has been doing pretty well — I’ll be a happy gamer.

While we wait to see if that materializes, Hazzikostas also let us know that leveling up your Artifact weapon for secondary specs and alts is going to go more quickly than we thought. While we already knew an Artifact Knowledge system would permanently increase the rate at which we gained Artifact Power — making it increasingly easy to earn as we progressed and helping us gear our off-specs — now we know that Artifact Knowledge will accumulate more quickly as the weeks pass after Legion’s release. While researching Artifact Knowledge on launch may take five days, later it may drop to four, three, two… you get the idea. Hazzikostas didn’t give specific numbers, but it seems like a great catch-up mechanism for all of us playing multiple specs on multiple characters.

Finally, the hot-button topic: flying. As in Warlords, flying in Legion will be unlocked through an achievement, the first part of which will be live at launch — but you won’t be able to complete it initially. Now we know that Blizzard intends to add the final flying achievement (or achievements) about mid-expansion, rather than rolling flying out at the very end.

But this is just the highlights. If you want to catch up on every question, you can catch the full Q&A on Twitch. There will be another Q&A next Thursday at 11AM Pacific that will focus on Legion professions. Stay tuned!

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