We described World of Warcraft: Dragonflight as "a promising new foundation for a very old MMO" in our recent 80% review (opens in new tab), and Blizzard seems to see it the same way. In a "Dragonflight in 2023 (opens in new tab)" update laying out its plans for Dragonflight next year, the studio said that older expansions like Legion are still "remembered fondly" by fans, and acknowledged that it hasn't lived up to that standard with more recent releases.
Blizzard intends to put out six content patches for Dragonflight over 2023, including two major updates with new zones, raids, and seasonal rewards. It also wants to ensure plenty of new content between those big updates, though, including new world events, dungeons, narrative chapters, and cinematics.
"A WoW expansion is not a single moment in time but a journey—we know that the merit of an expansion hinges on the sustained quality of its entire arc," executive producer Holly Longdale said. "Years after its release, Legion is remembered fondly as much for the 11-week content update cadence that served as the framework for its first year as it is for artifact weapons or Khadgar's brilliant dad jokes.
"In planning out the road ahead following the release of Dragonflight, we've been mindful of the duty we owe our players to nurture this living world and, frankly, the need to do better than we have at times in the recent past. Our goal for Dragonflight is that there should always be something right around the corner, with a new update hitting our test realms shortly after the last one is live and in your hands."
An update adding the Trading Post to Dragonflight is expected to go live in early 2023, shortly after which the next update, with a new quest campaign and repeatable world content, will launch onto the PTR. That will set up the next major chapter of Dragonflight, "and by its conclusion, it should be obvious what our next destination must be."
This is what the roadmap looks like right now:
Naturally, not everything is nailed down at this point: Longdale said there will be content updates in the second half of 2023 to bridge between the major updates, but isn't committing to any specifics just yet.
"The goal is simply more Warcraft: more story, more content, more rewards, more events, more tech improvements, with less downtime between them," Longdale said. "I don't want to spoil everything, and I'm confident that there are at least a couple of surprises coming along the way that no one is expecting. And some of the details simply aren't decided yet, because your feedback will help shape exactly what we prioritize in these updates."
For those who are curious about Dragonflight but not quite ready to commit, Blizzard also announced today that a trial version of the expansion (opens in new tab) is now available to all World of Warcraft players with either a subscription or active Game Time on their accounts. Only for a limited time, though: The trial version of Dragonflight will run until January 2, 2023, after which players will need to purchase the expansion to continue playing.