Today we got the news: Shadowlands has been delayed until later this year. And the response has been … well, kinda mellow.
I think everybody involved was kinda aware that, a month out, the beta was kind of a hot mess. I, personally, can not relate that one way or the other – even though I have a beta invite, I’ve never felt all that excited about unstructured testing of software that hid its design from the tester. I come from a QA past, and I prefer my testing more structured.
But I digress.
While I was not involved in testing, I hear things. From people that were testing. And those things were along the lines of “damn this worries me”.
And then there’s Blizz’ contribution to the general zeitgeist. While they’re very clearly hiding the design behind very thick walls, they can’t hide the patch notes without, well, just not issuing patch notes – and we’re not there yet. So as each beta patch came out, and they indicated that yet again another system was reset, or tweaked, or redesigned, the mood among those of us that are noting this sort of thing becomes more and more uneasy.
Let’s be clear. A month out from the announced launch date, there should be NOTHING subject to redesign, rebaselining, or reset. And yet, we’ve seen all three within five weeks of the proposed launch date. So, let’s be clear, SHADOWLANDS IS A HOT MESS.
This evening Blizz announced via public channels that they were definitely not ready for launch, and via private channels (email) that they’d even refund your repurchase for Shadowlands if this for some bizarre reason caused you major butthurt. (They wrote it more diplomatically but I don’t give a damn about diplomacy so if you have issues with that, take your butthurt ass about a mile down the road and make a left turn into I don’t give a fuckland.)
The upshot I have seen from most humans has been positive. They are aware of the issues currently in place (i.e. covenants suck) and are more than happy to wait for this to be fixed. I agree. The 10% or so against that I’ve seen are basically the entitled asshats that bitch about anything, especially the ones that haven’t pre-purchased. Go demand to speak with the manager, Karen.
Back in the day, Blizz had a “it will ship when it’s ready” attitude. For example, BC was scheduled to ship in 2006, but actually shipped in 2007 when they famously delayed the launch to put in some polish (whereas “polish” means fixing game-killing bugs). Side note: Day One of the patch was, in fact, a major clusterfuck. I was still levelling in Wetlands and the entire realm crashing when my guildies entered Hellfire was an experience I wish not to repeat.
So it’s nice to see that that attitude still exists. I have no doubt that somebody will take a fall for this, and when they do, look for Activistion and Bobby Kotick to be holding the smoking gun. That will tell you all you need to know – who the hero(es) are, as well as who the villain is.
I personally am pleased that Blizz is committing to quality over schedule. As a former QA person, I am especially pleased, but, as a customer, I am also pleased. I feel comforted that somebody is trying to avoid pushing rotten code onto my PC. I have enough rotten code sitting here already, so anyone pushing against rotten code is my hero.
Listen, guys, “later this year” is at most an 8-week delay. 8 weeks is nothing. The year 2020 has been what, 200 weeks long so far? We can do this.