On one the junkiest MMO news sites, OnlineMassivelyMuliplayer.com posted today that Cataclysm is going to be delayed. At least, that’s what you’d think if you only read the headline. The actual quote the article is based on comes from Frank Pearce, Blizzard’s Executive Vice President of Product Development, and is a reply to the question of whether cataclysm will be released in 2010. “Hopefully. If it’s ready,” says Pearce. “If not, then we’ll hold onto it.”
I take this as a standard vague answer from someone with the explicit intention of not committing to a release date, rather than a statement that there will be anything that can be called a delay – there’s a reason, after all, that Blizzard doesn’t announce release dates until they’re sure they can hit them. Ergo (ha! Latin!) I suspect that Cataclysm – already well into friends and family beta – will still see release this year. It’s not like Blizzard can’t hold back some content until the first patch.
Nevertheless, even if the rumor proves false, it raises an interesting question – what happens at the community level if the expansion gets pushed into next year? It’s interesting because WoW is well into the pre-expansion doldrums, and everybody, including myself, is convinced that Cataclysm will be out before the end of the year – maybe even as early as September. How strong does the current level of lethargy get?
Mind you, it’s not a big factor for me, personally, although I’m very excited about Cataclysm – more than I was about Wrath of the Lich King by quite a lot. Firstly because of the new starter zones and leveling content, but also because I can start this playing the expansion content when it comes out and everybody is enjoying it, rather than many, many months afterward. But for much the same reason, it’s not a crisis for me if Cataclysm gets pushed to next year – I’m nowhere close to seeing all the content from Lich King, nowhere close to having what could be remotely described as “good gear”, and I will absolutely have stuff to do between now and then.