Thursday, September 30, 2010

Release Date Shuffle!

There's been all sortsa speculation about when Cataclysm is coming out. Here is just a quick rundown of the sources and what I think of their liklihood for the moment. and Other Retailers
Amazon widely reported that they would be distributing pre-orders of Cataclysm around November 23. A few days later, I and another 14 million people received an e-mail saying that it would be early January.

I know all these people who go to Gamestop and say that the release date is printed there, or who know somebody who know somebody at EB Software that says "blahblahblah"  but experience shows that there is no way the retailers ever know this stuff with any accuracy before the WoW community. There are too many people in WoW following this one detail extremely closely, whereas EB and Gamestop are probably more concerned about the next Splinter Cell sequel, among 1,000 other titles they are handling.

So, my trust in Amazon here is low. I have one theory going however: That the two dates reported for Cataclysm shipments may be related to the Collector's Edition. Perhaps, pre-orders for the CE were so strong that essentially Amazon "sold out" and the January release date that I was notified about is sorta the second run.  Which is kinda frightening. I woke up the morning the CE was announced and ordered it right then.

For better or worse, there are no EB's or Gamestops where I live, so I can't mosey down to the store to see what they are saying. But I bet it's probably wrong.
I've said this before, but Boubouille has great inside (secret) sources that keep him up to track. He said about a month ago it was going to be early November. At this point, it is too late for that possibility. The expansion has not yet "gone gold," or gone into mass production, and now there's not enough time to hit that kind of a date.

Earlier this week, Boubouille reported that his sources indicated a delay to early December. Which is a more realistic time frame now.

Blizzard Hints
Finally, and most reliably (if not "officially") Zarhym, the nom de guerre of Blizzzard Community Manager Johnathan Brown, stated in a post that Arena Season 9 would begin "one week after the release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm"

Boubouille (see above) then mined the following error message out of patch 4.0.1 data files. This error message is set to appear if people try doing Arena after the current season ends:

+ARENA_MASTER_NO_SEASON_TEXT = "Arena battles and Rated Battlegrounds are only available during an active player versus player combat season. Season nine will begin on December 14th, so be prepared at that time to take your shot at glory!"

When we do that math, the suggestion is that the first week of December will be Cataclysm time.

However, it is the simplest thing in the world for Blizzard to change that error text to a different date. This supports MMO-Champ's secret sources, but again is not "official."

I can't help but think that Blizzard is saving the official announcement for Blizzcon now, a mere three weeks away.  It feels like it's going to be a long three weeks.

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