This Fall, Blizzard will release World of Warcraft: Cataclysm as the third expansion to World of Warcraft. As usual, we don’t know the exact release date, but let’s try to speculate and theorize about when it will be release.
First off, let’s see how it’s been done before:
- World of Warcraft was released in the US on Tuesday November 23rd 2004, and on Friday February 11th 2005 in Europe.
- World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade was released in the US and Europe on Tuesday January 16th 2007. The closed beta started Thursday October 12th 2006.
- World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King was released in the US and Europe on Thursday November 13th 2008. The closed beta started Thursday July 17th.
From what we’ve seen on screenshots and such from the Cataclysm Alpha, we can assume the closed beta will begin within the interval of mid-June to mid-July. Since many are, assumingly, going to pre-install the expansion from Battle.net, we can assume that the DVD production will take significantly less time than for Wrath of the Lich King. Furthermore, we can assume that the beta period lasts for about two months, given the data trend from The Burning Crusade, where it lasted about two months, and Wrath of the Lich King, where it lasted about 2.5 months.
We can predict the beta period to last for 2 months and the DVD production to take 3 weeks, assuming all the extra stuff is pre-made so that the only thing left to do is to produce tons upon tons of DVDs. Given these predictions, by having the closed beta start in the middle of June, Cataclysm would ship around the second week of September.
Then we add Blizzard’s “When It’s Ready” factor, rub our magic eight ball and read that Cataclysm should ship in the end of September. My guess is September 30th or October 1st.
Edit June 13: Blizzard just lifted the NDA of Cataclysm, meaning that the Beta will surely commence very soon™!