WoW Dragonflight is set to release at some point late this year, around two years after the launch of the most recent MMORPG expansion. But that’s just in the real, meat-based world. In the digital world, the Warcraft universe also advances the passage of time, and not always in line with meat space.
The timeline gaps between expansions tend to be consistent at around one or two years, starting from year 25 in World of Warcraft (25 years after the initial opening of the Dark Portal in the first Warcraft game). Unlike previous expansions, however, Blizzard is introducing a three-year time-skip between the end of Shadowlands and the beginning of Dragonflight, bringing the start of the new expansion to year 40.
Why this gap? To put it simply, Blizzard decided that the everyone deserves a rest between world-ending catastrophes. “It felt like an opportunity to give Azeroth and its inhabitants a bit of breathing room before Dragonflight,” WoW dev Erudician tells the WoW forums.”When you look back at the Warcraft timeline… [you’ll notice] that a lot of massive, world-changing events were tightly clustered together.”
It’s a valid point. The civilisations of Azeroth barely got a break between the reopening of the Dark Portal and subsequent outpouring of demons, the assault of the Lich King and his undead legions, and the world-wide apocalyptic Shattering inflicted by Deathwing and the Black Dragonflight. And you thought the last few years on planet earth have been rough.
If you’re worried that you’re going to have to spend time and money catching up on events that happened between expansions, don’t be. “Our purpose here is not to have a litany of events…that you need to read about in a novel or other media,” adds Erudician – though they do mention a short story that will soon be released that covers a “particularly joyous occasion” during the time skip.
For more of the latest, check out our rundown of the WoW Shadowlands bug that will take the auction house offline for several days or the wholesome WoW Dragonflight quest that lets you pet a dog – perhaps the most important new addition of the expansion.