I was thinking about some of the information about the next patch (5.4) for WoW when a few questions occured to me. How many major content patches will we see this expansion? When will the next expansion be released?
As my brain started trying to answer this on it's own, a few other thoughts sprung up.
How much time passed between all previous expansions? How many patches were released during previous expansions?
Well, my brain isn't that good. So, I had to resort to trying to find answers in the interwebs.
(I got the following patch release date info here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/patch-notes/5-3)
'World of Warcraft' was released on November 23, 2004. It contained eleven patches, ending with patch 1.11. Technically, I guess you could say it only had ten patches if you don't count the initial game/patch (1.0) itself. Seven months passed between the last patch and the release of TBC.
(For conversation's sake, I'll just assume we are counting the initial patches in these counts. Also, I am only referring to "major content" patches. There have been many more patches released over the years to take care of bugs and that kind of stuff...or have just been "fluff" patches...but for this conversation only "major content" ones will be considered.)
'The Burning Crusade' was released on January 16, 2007. That is roughly 2 years and 2 months after WoW was released. TBC contained four patches, ending with patch 2.4. Eight months passed between the last patch and the release of WotLK.
'Wrath of the Lich King' was released on November 13, 2008. That is roughly 1 year and 10 months after TBC was released. WotLK contained three patches, ending with patch 3.3. One year passed between the last patch and the release of Cata.
'Cataclysm' was released on December 7, 2010. That is roughly 2 years and 1 month after WotLK was released. Cata contained three patches, ending with patch 4.3. Ten months passed between the last patch and the release of Pand.
'Pandaira' was released on September 25, 2012. That is roughly 1 year and 10 months after Cata was released. So far, there have been three patches, ending with 5.3. The fourth patch (5.4) is in production/testing now.
We have had 3 patches during the last 9 months. So, roughly every three months we have been getting a patch. This brings me back to my first two questions...how many more patches and when's the next expansion?
If we follow WoW's history of expansion releases, it goes something like this:
WoW to TBC = 2yr2mo
TBC to WotLK = 1yr10mo
WotLK to Cata = 2yr1mo
Cata to Pand = 1yr10mo
Does that possibly mean that the next expansion won't be released until 2 years (plus some months) after the release of 'Pandaria'? Could it be somewhere around November of 2014 before we see another expansion?
If that's the case, then does that mean we will end this expansion with patch 5.8 somewhere between August and September of 2014? If they keep releasing patches as quickly as they have been, then it's possible we will end up somewhere around there. That's also if we assume the release of the next expansion follows the pattern of previous expansion releases and is somewhere in late 2014.
Although, it just occured to me that the time between an expansion's last patch and the release of a new expansion has been from 7 months to one year...so we could only end up with patch 5.5 around the end of this year...
Let's hope that's not the case.