World of Warcraft players still have the big Shadowlands pre-patch to look forward to this month, but they'll need to wait a bit longer than previously expected to sink their teeth into the new expansion. This afternoon, Blizzard announced that Shadowlands is being delayed "to later this year" with an emphasis on the extra time going toward improving the endgame experience.
"Over the past several months of testing, we've made significant progress iterating on and polishing the core feature and gameplay of Shadowlands," says WoW Executive Producer John Hight in a statement released today. Those elements are all "essentially ready to share" says Hight, but the hours and hours of stuff after the main Shadowlands arc are in particular need of some extra love.
"Shadowlands is one of the most intricate expansions we've yet created, and while we've made great progress, the challenge of tuning the endgame was compounded by the team having to work from home," Hight explains. Shadowlands, of course, is far from the only release of 2020 that's seen a delay due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, and even as we enter October, it may not be the last.
Expansion delay aside, WoW players are close to the launch of the Shadowlands pre-patch that adds "revamped character leveling, [a] new-player experience on Exile's Reach, and a host of new character customization options." Blizzard isn't ready to share a new release date for Shadowlands just yet, but the pre-patch will debut on Oct. 13.
For more on what Shadowlands will have to offer when it officially launches later this year, be sure to read USgamer's deep-dive preview from our Reviews Editor Mike Williams. You'll be able to see the MMO's underworld for yourself soon, just not end-of-October soon.