Blizzard dropped a tweet and a blue post with information about patch 10.1 and every planned World of Warcraft patch in 2023: all six patches. In what I'm sure is Wow's first-ever public expansion road map. I'll let WoW's executive producer Holly Longdale explain the thinking behind this unprecedented move:

"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. 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. Frankly, we need to do better than we have at times in the recent past. Our goal for Dragonflight is that there should always be something around the corner, with a new update hitting our test realms shortly after the last one is live and in your hands."

Of course, Holly isn't the first person on the team to express this sentiment. Ion Hazzikostas said pretty much exactly the same in a couple of interviews in the wake of Dragonflight's initial announcement, but Ion didn't have the entirely laid out detailed graphic to show us.

If you're new to this game, we, as WoW players, have never seen anything like this. Here are the promises:

Patch 10.0.5: Winter 2023

  • Trading Post

We've already seen the Trading Post on the 10.0.5 PTR, and we already have a guide you can check out.

  • Primalist Tomorrow

Primalist Tomorrow is a new one described as an area with

"...a bit of new world content".

I wouldn't get too excited about that. I think it's almost certainly going to be like a couple of dailies or world quests that appear in the once again accessible Primalist Tomorrow map - the alternate future version of The Bronze Dragonflight Zone in Valdrakken, which we visit in the story campaign.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if those world quests and dailies are straight-up reruns of the story quests that we did in that area, too, the first time around. But new world content is neat.

Patch 10.0.7: Spring 2023

  • Return to Forbidden Reach

This patch has a new quest campaign and repeatable content on Forbidden Reach, which honestly should feel like a new Zone to lots of us because either you haven't been there at all because you don't like goofy Dragon people for some reason or you've been there max a couple of hours as the starting area for your goofy Dragon person. Even then, there are vast parts of that place that you have yet to see because the leveling quests never even took you there.

Holly says these story quests will directly lead into the beat of the 10.1 patch. I wouldn't be surprised if there's an awesome cinematic or two associated with it, and it's incredibly satisfying to read:

"...and by its conclusion, it should be obvious what our next destination must be."

Concluding an arc or beat with each story installment is very important, but in WoW, it's equally important to include a clear marker of what is coming next. It's really cool this sentiment that Holly clearly stresses several times in this post that the team appreciates now too.

  • Human & Orc Heritage Armor

I'd like the Orc and Human heritage armor quest lines to explore and fill in some gaps in the whole time skip between Shadowlands and now. That is an excellent place to have some fun with that.

  • Holiday Updates

Even the update to recurring holidays is brilliant, and I know you disagree with me because, honestly, who cares about minor holidays? Yes, that's my entire point. One of the cool things about the Trading Post is how the monthly challenges to fill your traveler's log and get your extra 500 attendees are gonna be basically very similar every month. There will always be x amount of raid bosses to kill and x amount of auctions to post or whatever. Players will find the most variety in those monthly challenges when they utilize seasonal, and micro-holidays like Love Is in the Air, Hatching of the Hippogriffs, The Balloon Festival, Pirate Day, T-shirt Day, The Moonkin Festival, etc. Micro holidays will be a thing a lot more people look at once the Trading Post is up and running.

Patch 10.1

Then 10.1 is our next big content patch. It does contain what you'd expect. Season two, new mythic plus dungeon pool, a new raid, a new zone, UI improvements, and profession updates.

So it's nice to see they're doing better on the UI updates. As a side note, the 10.0.5 PTR data mining suggests we'll get editable XP bars, bags, and a micro menu.

As for the professional updates look, it's hard to know what that means because that could be just another rank of crafts. It could be an update to secondary professions or even an Archeology. We just don't know yet.

Patch 10.1.5: Summer 2023

The second half of the year then looks much the same. We have 10.1.5 dropping in the summer with a Megadungeon, new world events, and content and system updates. In interviews, Blizzard has alluded to revamped archeology and a new Mage Tower-like feature in this expansion. As we go through this roadmap, there are obviously loads of opportunities in spaces for content like that to be slotted in.

Patch 10.1.7: Fall 2023

Patch 10.1.7 looks similar enough to drop in the autumn with story and quest updates and another holiday refresh. So I would pause it lightly for Hallows and through to at least Winter's Veil so that those feel up to date. Then, of course, more content and system updates.

Patch 10.2: Winter 2023 - 2024

Finally, patch 10.2 heading into the winter with season 3, a new zone, a new raid, a new mythic plus dungeon pool, and additional content and features.

A new mythic plus dungeon pool is kind of interesting because the whole split between four new dungeons and four old dungeons for season one and two have been to keep Dragonflight seasons feeling new with an entirely new dungeon pool but by the time 10.2 comes out, all eight original Dragonflight dungeons will have been used. Of course, the Megadungeon will be split into two for mythic plus. Will the Megadungeon be so big it'll actually have room for four dungeons for mythic plus content? I appreciate their commitment to us not having to play the same eight dungeons for two years straight.

  • 10.2 Predictions

Actually, I do have something to say about 10.2, and it's a baseless prediction with zero evidence, but it might happen. 10.2 will be the Murozond patch disconnected from the expansion's main story in the same way that Ulduar was a standalone, self-contained patch in Wrath of the Lich King. I've just got this hunch that that's how they will deal with Murozond and the infinites in Dragonflight. Not as a culmination of the main story but as a short side separate thing starting and finishing within the 10.2 and 10.2.5 patch rollout.

Road Map on the Calendar

Let's put it on the calendar. The big picture is in 2023, we'll have six content patches. Divide a year into six, and you get a patch on average every 60.8 days, and that cadence is faster than Legion's every 77 days. It's every 10 weeks versus every 11 weeks. That is a lot stronger than recent expansions too.

Data mining suggests 10.0.5 will land before January 20th because it has some Lunar Festival stuff. Now, if that's the case, then:
  • 10.0.7 would be March 28th;
  • 10.1 will be June 13th;
  • 10.1.5 August 22nd;
  • 10.1.7 November 31st.
  • 10.2 January 2024
My method broke because if we were to space things out evenly every 61 days with a linear extrapolation of those dates, then 10.2 would be in 2024, which is different from what it's raised for. That suggests that these minor patches will be closer together or that we won't have precisely linear spacing for all six patches.

  • Dragonflight vs. Shadowlands Patch Releases

We can expect six-month seasons, which will have 10.2 dropping around the same time in 2023 that Dragonflight launched in 2022. If you want to have some fun, we've got to compare these patch timings to Shadowlands, and it will be challenging for Shadowlands. Shadowlands launched on November 22nd. Patch 9.1 launched June 29th - a mass of 220 odd days afterward, which is mad. Sure, 9.0.5 did exist but content-wise, it didn't have anything. If it has six-month seasons, the Dragonflight would have its equivalent patch 10.1 be around 40 days sooner but more importantly, with two content patches in between and ones that actually contain things to do, which is pretty crazy. And on top of a base expansion far more effective than Shadowlands, Patch 9.2 was released February 22nd, 2022 - a lovely 238 days after 9.1. That's just crazy. Blizzard's Dragonflight roadmap has 10.2 launching within 2023. They'd be 60 days faster than they were from the previous 0.1 to 0.2 gap, and that's while also shipping to content patches in between. Patch 9.1.5 was a more substantial patch for the game, but that was mainly just fixing some fundamental problems the shadowlands had. Dragonflight, though not perfect, suffers from none of the foundational issues that shadowlands did, which means that these patches can indeed be additive things giving us reasons to play the game rather than ways where the game will feel less harmful. If you're feeling hope here, you're right. Even if 10.2 got bumped into January 2024, we would still be dealing with a radically superior value proposition compared to Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands.

Final Thoughts

I'm incredibly excited all around for what this roadmap promises. I like looking at it as well as the fact that I'm excited by just knowing this far in advance what the plan is.

It's ambitious, brave, and like the rest of Dragonflight, it comes from a confident, happy team and off the leash. For me, there's actually even more about this I love because this road map and what's on it is like the final missing piece that I needed to be confident that Dragonflight is legitimately on the road to being one of the all-time great World of Warcraft expansions. I don't say that lightly.

Also, the space that the narrative team will have with this roadmap - what is essentially an extra installment in every major patch cycle to tell their story. WoW's feature dump patch style in recent times has definitely contributed to the tilted nature of the story, and anything that helps smooth out the delivery of quests and narrative beats can only be a good thing. The story team must be extra excited to see how they can utilize that more regular rollout.

There's never a complete consensus on anything, but most people would agree that Dragonflight is an absolute banger so far and in ways that are clearly different from how other expansions are always bangers at the very start. Right now, the game is racking up win after win to the extent that the only genuine concern I had, the one question that hadn't received any kind of answer, was one of the most critical questions of all: patch cadence. And now we have that answer.