It’s basically a trademark of Blizzplanet to speculate about everything Blizzard, especially beta testing. So here is a quick view into the history of statistics between the announcement of a World of Warcraft expansion, how many months after the announcement the beta testing started, and how long beta testing lasted.
The numbers vary from expansion to expansion, which makes it hard to guess-timate accurately, but the data below does gives us a glimpse into a date range when likely Warlords of Draenor beta might start.
World of Warcraft
Announced: September 2, 2001 (ECTS)
Beta Launch: February 2004
Release Date: November 23, 2004
Announced: October 28, 2005
Beta Launch: October 2006 (12 months after announcement)
Release Date: January 15, 2007 (3 months of beta testing)
Wrath of the Lich King
Announced: August 3, 2007
Beta Launch: July 17, 2008 (15 months after announcement)
Release Date: November 13, 2008 (4 months of beta testing)
Announced: August 21, 2009
Beta Launch: June 30, 2010 (10 months after announcement)
Release Date: December 7, 2010 (5 months and a week of beta testing)
Mists of Pandaria
Announced: October 21, 2011
Beta Launch: March 21, 2012 (5 months after announcement)
Release Date: September 25, 2012 (6 months of beta testing)
World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor was announced at BlizzCon 2013 on November 8th, 2013.
Based on the data from past expansions, especially post-Mists of Pandaria, one might extrapolate that Warlords of Draenor should start approximately 5 months after BlizzCon 2013 — within April 2014 – May 2014. Note: The window for Warlords of Draenor actually opens up from April to September (counting the 10 months range of Cataclysm’s announcement to beta testing); but that would push release date by February-March 2015 (which is not good at all).
World of Warcraft expansions have mostly been released on November — with the exception of Cataclysm (December 7) and Burning Crusade (January 15).
For Warlords of Draenor to ship on November, beta should start on May 2014.
May – Starts
June – 1st Month
July – 2nd Month
August – 3rd Month
September – 4th Month
October – 5th month
November – 6th month (release date)
However, there is an equation that might completely debunk any potential speculative beta/release date. Blizzard Entertainment once more mentioned they wish to release expansions in a yearly basis. That has been said again and again in the past few years, and it hasn’t happened. What if this time that kicks in in 2014? Blizzard might surprise us with a brand new trend. None of these past beta and release dates would mean squat.
What if beta started early 2014? I don’t know how long a beta testing period would last for a yearly expansion time-table. Would it still be six months of beta testing? Would they shift the yearly expansions to release on July? Usually, RTS games are released around July — so in that case, January-February would need to be the beta launch time-frame. With July the release date.
With the data presented above, when do you guesstimate Warlords of Draenor beta might start?