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An expansion is additional software (usually made available for retail sale) that adds new content and features to a game.

The content of an expansion is usually not available to anyone who does not own the expansion. Most expansions will not install or run as stand-alone products.

For example, the Frozen Throne expansion for Warcraft III added new campaigns, units, maps, and other content to the game.



It was stated in an interview prior to the first expansion, that concepts for that expansion had been made, and that Blizzard already had enough ideas for 5-6 more. As of 2013, four have been released and a fifth announced.

Blizzard tend to plan expansions far in advance of the current content; in February 2014 (prior to the Warlords of Draenor alpha) the team had already begun planning the next two expansions.[1]

Following the release of World of Warcraft's first expansion in 2007, Blizzard announced plans to release expansions once per year. However, this rate of production was never delivered, with subsequent expansions arriving roughly every 2 years.

Activision Blizzard CFO Thomas Tippl stated at the Citi 2011 Technology Conference that 6 expansions for its most popular titles are planned by 2014, of which 2 of them are to be for World of Warcraft following Cataclysm.[2]


Warcraft II

Warcraft III

World of Warcraft

How long until the next expansion?

This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

Blizzard develops everything on Blizzard Time, which is more specifically "Soon". As a player, we want to know now. That being said, you can always look at the past four expansion's timelines to get a very rough idea.

Amount of time since previous expansion
    • TBC: 26 months (2004-11-23 – 2007-01-16)
    • WotLK: 22 months (2007-01-16 – 2008-11-13)
    • Cataclysm: 25 months (2008-11-13 – 2010-12-07)
    • MoP: 22 months (2010-12-07 – 2012-09-25)
    • WoD: Planned: 24-27 months (2012-09-25 – fall 2014)
  • Blizzard has always announced new expansions at Blizzcon, which occurs in the fall. The expansion is then released a year or so later.
    • TBC: Announced 15 months before official release
    • WotLK: Announced 15 months before official release
    • Cataclysm: Announced 16 months before official release
    • MoP: Announced 11 months before official release
    • WoD: Announced November 8, 2013. Planned release: 10–13 months (2013-10-13 – fall 2014)
Beta testing
  • Beta testing happens several months before release, when some lucky players get to taste the expansion for free.
    • TBC: 3 months before release
    • WotLK: 4 months before release
    • Cataclysm: 5 months before release
    • MoP: 6 months before release
    • WoD: Not announced yet
Release date announced
  • The release date is announced a few months before release:
    • TBC: 4 months before release
    • WotLK: 2 months before release
    • Cataclysm: 2 months before release
    • MoP: 2 months before release
    • WoD: Not announced yet
Amount of time between last raid patch and release
  • A substantial part of a year has taken place between the last raid patch release from the previous expansion and the launch of the next expansion:
    • Patch 1.11TBC: 7 months (2006-06-20 – 2007-01-16)
    • Patch 2.4WotLK: 7.5 months (2008-03-25 – 2008-11-13)
    • Patch 3.3Cataclysm: 12 months (2009-12-08 – 2010-12-07)
    • Patch 4.3MoP: 10 months (2011-11-29 – 2012-09-25)
    • Patch 5.4WoD: Not announced yet. Planned release: 12–15 months (2013-09-10 – fall 2014)
  • Almost all releases have been between September and December, one reckoning of autumn.
    • TBC: January 2007
    • WotLK: November 2008
    • Cataclysm: December 2010
    • MoP: September 2012
    • WoD: Not announced yet. Planned September – December 2014

In as best a conclusion as can be made:

According to the past releases we know we will learn about new expansions at Blizzcon, and have an 11-16 month wait for their releases.

At release time

While not a part of the expansion, the release of an expansion is usually a gold rush for the savvy player. Many wealthy (in-game) players and guilds try to level up their characters as quickly as possibly and will pay any price for profession materials in the auction house. If you can part with the raw materials for your profession for a week or so, you can make a tidy profit until the prices come down.

See also