Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tick Tock Time - Time between patches and releases

Now that Mists of Pandaria has been officially announced for release it has sparked in me a curiosity. When have all the patches occurred in WoW, what were they for, and how long did we wait for them?

Searching for Patch Notes
Thus began the research. I wasn't able to find any previous patch notes at Blizzard, and I remember when they posted patch notes that there was always a link to old patch notes. With the current iteration of their "blog" I was unable to find them. Somewhat distressing considering that info is their own history. I guess they turned it internal. I was bummed. It reminded me of how much information is just not on the website anymore, or perhaps its just more difficult to find. I don't know.

Off to my old friend Google where I searched patch releases. I found the best collection at WoW Wiki. It is very cool, they have patch info dating back to pre-launch vanilla, and they did a pretty decent job of compiling everything. It is really fun to trip down memory lane and pinpoint exactly when I began playing in the sequence of events. Then to remember what was happening and how I was feeling as certain things were brought on line in-game. My plan is to try and keep track of releases and patches going forward, and have my own notes and timeline about what was launched when.

So I took all this information and plopped it into an excel spreadsheet for my own reference. I briefly thought about putting it up as a page here but it seems too long and not as complete as I'd like it to be to post it.

What I Found
Not surprising, as the cycle of expansions has gone on, the time between patches has increased. That is a good sign actually. That means there is less Blizz is fixing, and that the game is more stable than it's ever been. Though that also means that the time between new stuff is longer as well. Both the time between patches and the time between patch and expansion.
From the last big installment in vanilla (Naxx release) to the pre-launch BC events there was 6 months. (Jun-Dec 2006). I do remember the wait for BC seemed forever. I think because I was so excited to be a part of everything going on.
From the last BC event (Sunwell) to the pre-launch Lich King events was 7 months (March-Nov 2008). This was surprising to me. It seemed like we had so much to do, and I wasn't even raiding any of the larger raids. This was also when we saw the biggest influx of dailies with the Isle of Quel'Danas. Before that the dailies were rather insignificant and many were zone pvp related (Hellfire nodes, Nagrand's Halaa etc.). We had new ways to spend our time.
From the last Wrath big patch (Ruby Sanctum) to the Cata pre-launch events was only 4 months (June-Oct 2010). I think most people would count from when ICC launched though. In that case we're talking 10 months (Dec 09-Oct 10). It did indeed feel that long, even though I was raiding ICC from probably 3 months after it came out until right around 4.0 dropped. I had things to do and my guild was relatively vibrant. Everyone was still logging in regularly. As you can probably deduce from that sentence, it is not that way right now. I did level a large range of alts. More than ever before. I believe I raised 7 toons to 80 before Lich King was done.
Well, here we are waiting for the next launch. So when was the last big patch? I'm sure you all know it was DragonSoul but when did that come out exactly? I was surprised that DS was launched back in Nov 2011. If we use that as the last big infusion of content then we are looking at 9 months. Assuming that we'll start getting pre-launch events in August, or early September. This was only surprising in that it has been just shy of how long we waited for Cataclysm to drop, and yet this time around it feels like this has been the longest one yet. I fully expected there to be more of a difference. It certainly feels like more of a difference.

Patch Content
That being said I thought another point was really interesting. The number of patches we've seen over the last two expansions has decreased. Again a good sign and something we would expect to see over time. It's just not something at the forefront of my mind as the months roll by.
Vanilla hit version 1.12 before it was done, with around 38 total patches. BC was at 2.4 but it had a lot of versions, approximately 28 in all. Wrath went to 3.3 with its own passel of versions, about 22 total. Cataclysm is also at 4.3 but has only seen around 14 patch releases. In fact, I was incredibly surprised to find our last patch was in late February. We've had nearly 6 months of patch free time. Very unlike all the last expansions we've been through. That means we haven't even seen anything new in 6 months.
A lot of speculation has gone on about why we are so bored this time around. Looking at both Cata and Wrath timelines we've spent about the same length of time waiting for things to happen. We've had a little less dropping in between than previously but it just seems like we have less to do this time around. Perhaps its the number of zones, or that we only had 5 levels as opposed to 10. It may be that 1/2 the expansion was dedicated to 1-60 leveling which left less content for the 85's. We had a lot of end-game content up front this time around and the dungeons seemed strangely spaced throughout Cataclysm to me. Whatever the reason we are all hitting the top end of boredom.

Regardless of the reasons I thought the information I got from this data was rather interesting and strangely relevant as we wait for our next big WoW fix.

No comments:

Post a Comment