The expansion is still in Alpha as of this post. This is NOT good news. This is terrible news. This is "If you got hyped for Warlords of Draenor, don't preorder." bad news.
For those of you who've never done the WOW expansion dance, let me break this down:
- There is a pre-patch before the expansion goes live, 6-8 weeks prior.
- Anything exclusive to the soon-to-end version gets cut off.
- (New for Legion) Early access to the new stuff.
- Smart vets prepare for the hard gear reset and bank gold.
No, what this date means is that the devs are about done. Nevermind the lack of a proper Beta period; we ain't getting one, so other than tuning passes and major bug hunts in testing, what we see in the livestreams of the expansion test is what we're going to get at launch. That does not sit well with me because it means that the devs have learned NOTHING from their failures with Warlords.
We're going to have a serious content drought before the end of the year, unless the devs demonstrate that they finally grokked content patch pacing and have a 7.1 content patch that actually has content (i.e. a new zone, a new raid, etc.) by December/January.
Yes, I read all of that just from this release date.
The latest test client just added the final class specialization and related Artifact Weapon into the expansion build. Just now. Raid bosses are not final yet on all difficulties. Dungeons are not final yet on all difficulties. There are bugs--game-breaking bugs--that need to be found and fixed. The baseline game mechanic changes need to be finalized; some specializations are still being tweaked, and the new Demon Hunter class has some tuning to do yet.
Those baseline changes need to be fixed and finalized between now and the pre-patch, which we can expect in June. JUNE! (To coincide with the film release, of course.) That's 10 weeks, roughly, and we're still in Alpha. Shit ain't done, and it won't be done on time. Unless they get a fucking miracle, we're going to see a repeat of Warlords.
So, if you're on the fence, don't pre-order. Wait for the first wave to pass through and listen for their feedback. If they're still happy by December, then buy in. Otherwise, move on- you're done with World of Warcraft.