Today during a World of Warcraft: Shadowlands developer update, Blizzard Entertainment finally gave players a release window for the expansion. At the beginning of the stream, Shadowlands executive producer John Hight revealed that the studio is committing to a fall release.
Shadowlands's development has been a unique period for Blizzard. Not only has the game's development happened during the pandemic, forcing developers to work remotely, but Blizzard has also been exceedingly open in regards to new features. As they've been added to the alpha, additional features have also been detailed in public developer blogs and Blizzard has allowed alpha players to publicly provide feedback without any NDAs.
It's a new style of working for Blizzard, one that Shadowlands game director Ion Hazzikostas calls "active, organic development" of the expansion. Hazzikostas pointed to feedback from alpha players and the community leading to the removing of gates within Torghast, the roguelike tower dungeon that's part of Shadowlands' endgame.
"The work that goes into Shadowlands is as much yours as it is ours," says Hazzikostas.
Heading into beta, Hazzikostas says that Shadowlands is feature complete. Following the disappointing Battle of Azeroth expansion, which had significant problems post-launch, Shadowlands is another makegood expansion for WoW. The developers have promised to "just let loot be loot," with a new leveling experience and returning abilities. There's also been a host of improved character customization heading to the game, across all races, leading to things like Black and Asian faces for humans. (Huzzah!)
Blizzard will be revealing more about the direction of Shadowlands heading into beta and its fall launch.