Timeline (World of Warcraft)
As time passes in game, and the lore moves and changes, another story is written - the Real Life world surrounding the game. As people start to play over time periods of years they remember some events ingame as "Before X patch" or "I remember the first time World of Warcraft was in a question on Jeopardy". You also run into older players whose stories you may find hard to believe - was there really a plague that unexpectedly hopped out of a raid and into the capital cites? Was there really was a time when you had to land and pick a new flight-point at each flight-point?
This page follows the timeline from the release of World of Warcraft through present day in its culture as it applies to the players, helping us remember exactly when things happened.
Development of World of Warcraft begins
Sometime in 2003: World of Warcraft friends and family alpha released
September 9 - World of Warcraft (Livejournal Community) created
February - World of Warcraft Beta Test begins
November 23 - World of Warcraft launches in North America, Australia and New Zealand
- Starting level cap is 60
- Only Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor available at launch
- Starting races:
- Starting classes:
- Faction-specific classes:
- 60% speed land mount at level 40, 100% speed epic land mount at level 60. (No flying mounts.)
- There were 88 United States realms at launch (43 PvP, 40 PvE, 5 RP), plus more realms for Europe and Oceania.
- The average computer a player was using in 2004 to log in:
- Many were still using a 4:3 CRT monitor and a desktop computer to play. Most laptops didn't have enough power to run the game smoothly.
- Processor speeds were 2.0 - 3.4 Ghz
- Memory: 1 - 4 Gigs of RAM
- 3D cards had 256 or 512 meg ram
- People were using Windows XP, but some were still using Windows 2000 or earlier
- The game had to be installed via CD/DVDRom drive. The game was on 4 CDs (5 for the "Game of the Year" edition) which needed to be installed, and then patching had to happen. You could not download the game.
- Some players played via dialup modem, and this made their characters jump around as they walked when viewed by other players
November 24 - WoWWiki Launched
December 18 - Patch 1.2.0
- Maraudon added
January 18 - World of Warcraft launches in South Korea
January 28 - The world first of world first raid boss kills, Onyxia falls at the hands of Chosen (Elune-KR)
February 11 - World of Warcraft launches in Europe
March 7 - Patch 1.3.0
- Dire Maul added
April 8 - Patch 1.4.0
- PvP Honor System
April 26 - World of Warcraft launches in China under licensee The9
June 7 - Patch 1.5.0
July 12 - Patch 1.6.0
September 13 - Patch 1.7.0
- Zul'Gurub added
- Arathi Basin battleground added
- Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza
- Corrupted Blood (debuff) begins as the result of a glitch in Zul'Gurub
October 28–29 - BlizzCon
- Burning Crusade announced
October 10 - Patch 1.8.0
- Corrupted Blood fixed
November 16 - World of Warcraft is featured in a question on the game show Jeopardy!
January 3 - Patch 1.9.0
- The Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj added
- The Temple of Ahn'Qiraj added
- Gates of Ahn'Qiraj event begins
- Faction-Linked Auction Houses
March 28 - Patch 1.10.0
- High-Level Armor Set Upgrade Questlines
- Quest Experience to Gold Conversion at Level 60
- Weather Effects
- Linked Flight paths
- Widescreen monitors supported
April - The "-50 DKP/More dots" Onyxia Wipe Animation becomes popular
April 30 - WoWRP is launched
June 20 - Patch 1.11.0
July 7 - Wowhead website launched
August 22 - Patch 1.12.0
September 11 - Burning Crusade announced to be released on January 16, 2007
Sepetember 22 - The game is brought up in an episode of Stargate: Atlantis
October 4 - The TV show South Park features a Warcraft-themed episode, Make Love, not Warcraft
December 5 - Patch 2.0.1
December 14 - Burning Crusade cinematic trailer released
January 9 - Patch 2.0.3
January 16 - The Burning Crusade Expansion released
- Level cap raised to 70
- Outland added
- Draenei and Blood Elf Races Added
- Shaman and Paladin now available to both factions (previously were Horde and Alliance specific, respectively)
- Eye of the Storm Battleground added
- Heroic mode instances introduced
- Launch was plagued by server crashes and a huge percentage of the player base questing in Hellfire Penninsula, all at the same time
May 22 - Patch 2.1.0
- The Black Temple added
August 3–4 BlizzCon
- Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Announced
September 27 - Patch 2.2.0
- Voice chat introduced
- On October 5, the game is brought up again on Stargate Atlantis
- Toyota's commercial airs, featuring a fictional truck mount ingame
- On the American court show Judge Judy, Judith Sheindlin shows she has never heard of the game
November 13 - Patch 2.3.0
January - World of Warcraft gets to 10 million subscribers globally
March 25 - Patch 2.4.0
- Isle of Quel'Danas added
- Magister's Terrace added
- Sunwell Plateau added
- The Shattered Sun Offensive begins
April 7 - The Daily Show plays a clip of Democratic US representative Jane Harman chiding another congressman (on an unknown date) saying:
- "I actually suspect that the real reason we're here is so you can get some pointers on how to get past the seventh level of the World of Warcraft, but I do think you need to know that chairing this hearing is only worth two experience points."
July 15 - Patch 2.4.3
- The point a player can first get Riding skill and use a mount lowered from level 40 to level 30
July 17 - Wrath of the Lich King Beta Test begins
August 21 - Wrath of the Lich King cinematic released
September 15 - Wrath of the Lich King release date announced to be November 13, 2008
October - The "Additional instances cannot be launched" issue begins on high-population servers. This continues to be an intermittent problem until after the dungeon finder is introduced in patch 3.3.0, the next year.
October 14 - Patch 3.0.2
- Several changes were made to the gameworld to prepare for Wrath of the Lich King:
- The Zombie Infestation becomes so rampant that the capital cities and many aspects of gameplay are rendered almost useless. This was intended by Blizzard, and was very similar to and probably inspired by the Corrupted Blood issue, back in 2005.
- Players were affected by the plague, sometimes taking it into their raid groups and instance runs
- NPCs were also affected, meaning no NPCs for repair, sales, auction house, quest turn-ins, etc
- Many capital cities and small towns were littered with skeletons of dead characters
- The capital cities return to normal as the Zombie Infestation ends.
November 13 - Wrath of the Lich King Expansion released
- Level cap raised to 80
- Northrend added
- Death knight Class Added
- Strand of the Ancients Battleground added
Either by or in 2009 - the "Ghostcrawler promised me a pony" saying became popular on the forums and around WoW sites, but it's hard to pinpoint when
April 14 - Patch 3.1.0
April 16 - Blizzard announces that they are changing their Chinese licensee from The9 to NetEase
May 15 - The Mountain Dew Game Fuel Choose Your Side promotion begins
June 6 - World of Warcraft shuts down in China
August 4 - Patch 3.2.0
- Crusaders' Coliseum added
- Isle of Conquest battleground added
- Instance Lock Extension
- The point a player can first get Riding skill and use a mount lowered from level 30 to level 20
August 20 - The Mountain Dew Choose Your Side promotion ends
August 21–22 - BlizzCon 2009
- Cataclysm Expansion Announced
September 2 - Faction Change service offered
September 19 - World of Warcraft relaunches in China under its new licensee, NetEase
September 22 - Patch 3.2.2
- Onyxia's Lair revamped to level 80
October 27 - Race Change service offered
November 11, 12 - The deadline passes for account mergers with Battle.net for US, EU players
December 8 - Patch 3.3.0
- Frozen Halls added
- Icecrown Citadel raid added
- The Lower Spire is open at release
- Cross-Server Instance grouping
- Improved Dungeon Finder
January 5 - The Plagueworks of Icecrown Citadel opens
January 19 - The Crimson Hall of Icecrown Citadel opens
February 2 - Patch 3.3.2
- The Frostwing Halls, the final wing of Icecrown Citadel, opens
- The Lich King encounter is implemented
February 12 - The People's Republic of China approves World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade for release, three years after its release everywhere else
March 23 - Patch 3.3.3
- The random battleground system is implemented, and the honor system is overhauled to account for the removal of battleground Marks of Honor
May 3 - The Friends & Family phase of the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm alpha begins
June 22 - Patch 3.3.5 in North America
- Real ID is implemented
- The Ruby Sanctum opens
July 6 - Blizzard announces their intention to have Real ID names visible when posting on the official forums. This resulted in a massive outcry against the idea, based primarily on concerns about privacy issues and potential harassment.
July 9 - Due the overwhelming flood of criticism, Blizzard rescinds their plan to put Real ID names on the official forums
July 27 - Blizzard releases Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, notable in that it was Blizzard's first non-Warcraft related game in ten years, since 2000's Diablo II. Many were curious what the effect would be on the player base, but the implementation of the Real ID system ensured that players playing Starcraft could keep up with their friends in World of Warcraft.
August 10 - The People's Republic of China approves a heavily edited Wrath of the Lich King two years after its general release
October 4 - Cataclysm release date announced to be December 7, 2010
October 7 - World of Warcraft reaches 12 million players for the first time, and the all time record
October 12 - Patch 4.0.1
- Cataclysm Launcher Update
- Complete talent and ability overhaul for all classes
- Removed from game: Emblems, Badges, Marks of honor
- Ammunition for ranged weapons removed from game (Yes, you once had to keep ammunition)
October 17 - All but one of WoWWiki's active administrators leave Wikia forming Wowpedia. Over the next couple weeks, most of the active users follow.
- World of Warcraft Cataclysm cinematic trailer released
- Parts of the trailer were aired on television in the second quarter of the Dallas Cowboys/Minnesota Vikings football game on the same day. The commercial asked, "Where will you be when the Cataclysm begins?"
October 22-23 - BlizzCon 2010
- Announcement that Cataclysm will be available for direct digital download, rather than having to buy a DVD
November 8 - Elemental Unrest Phase 2 begins
November 12 - Elemental Unrest Phase 3 begins
November 15 - Elemental Unrest Phase 4 begins
- Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor changed
- Specific Troll and Gnome starting areas
- New race/class combinations available
- Upper Blackrock Spire reworked into a 5 man dungeon
- Many American players spent this week torn between the Thanksgiving holiday and exploring the new Azeroth
- The Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor fixed to allow for flying mounts.
December 7 - World of Warcraft: Cataclysm released
- Level cap raised to 85
- Archaeology profession added
- Worgen and goblins races added
- Rather than introducing a new continent or world, several zones were added across Azeroth
January 27 - Blizzard files complaints with the online service PayPal in an effort to make payment difficult for gold sellers.
February 8 - Patch 4.0.6
April 26 - Patch 4.1.0
June 28 - Patch 4.2.0
- Firelands raid added
- Firelands Invasion daily quests added
- The Burning Crusade offered to all players at no additional cost
- The 10-day Free Trial is replaced by the new unlimited-duration Starter Edition
- Subscribers were offered a refund or a collection of all six of the pets available from the Pet Store
October 13 - Blizzard announces it is auctioning off old server hardware for charity
- In the end, the project raised over $333,000 for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
October 21-22 - BlizzCon 2011
- Mists of Pandaria expansion announced
- Announcement that players who commit to a full year monthly subscription to World of Warcraft will receive:
- A free copy of Diablo 3
- A Tyrael mount
- Guaranteed invitation to the Mists of Panderia beta
November 29 - Patch 4.3.0
- Raid Finder
- Void Storage
- Darkmoon Faire moved to Darkmoon Island (Previously appeared in Elwynn Forest or Mulgore)
- The "Ghostcrawler promised me a pony" saying is immortalized ingame with the achievement .
- New instances and raid:
March 21 - Mists of Panderia Beta begins
August 28 - Patch 5.0.4
- Account-wide achievements, pets, and mounts
- The first Scenario is introduced: Theramore's Fall
- AOE Looting
- Cross-Realm Zones
September 25 - Mists of Panderia released
- Level cap raised to 90
- The Continent of Pandaria
- Monk class
- Pandaren race, which can choose its faction
October 7 - World of Warcraft is hacked on some servers, and both players and NPCs die en masse. Blizzard quickly hotfixes this in a few hours and the issue is resolved. 
November 27 - Patch 5.1.0
- The Pandaria Campaign begins with Operation: Shieldwall and the Dominance Offensive
- The Brawler's Guild is added
- Reset times for professions, holiday events, and daily quests are standardized across all realms, regardless of timezone
December - An amusing glitch for some people lists Real ID and battletag friends as last being online "43 years ago". Who knew the game was so popular in 1969?
March 5 - Patch 5.2
- Raid tier 15, Throne of Thunder
- Isle of Thunder daily content is added
- Tap to Faction introduced for world bosses and Isle of Thunder rares (except the one not part of the achievement)
- Item upgrades (temporarily?) removed
- Championing a faction for rep in one dungeon and scenario a day added
May 21 - Patch 5.3
June 26 - a player announces on the forums that at level 56 they probably have the highest level "neutral faction" character in the game by playing a Pandaren Shaman (Doubleagent the Insane) and never choosing a faction nor leaving the Wandering Isle. Experience is solely through herb and ore gathering.
July - World of Warcraft player numbers come down to 7.7 million subscribers, almost down to half of its record subscriber base of 12 million in December of 2010.
September 10 - Patch 5.4
September 25 - The first Connected Realms are implemented
November 8-9 - BlizzCon 2013
- Warlords of Draenor expansion announced
December 9 - It is revealed that the United States NSA (National Security Agency) and the United Kingdom's GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) have been actively spying on MMORPGs, including World of Warcraft.
- It was revealed that a 2008 memo circulated at the NSA had called online gaming a "target-rich communications network" where terrorists could communicate "in plain sight."
December 10 - Patch 5.4.2
- For the first time, players gain the ability to buy mounts, pets and certain items at an In-Game Store, without having to go to the online Blizzard Store
- Cross-realm mailing for Bind to Account items implemented
- This lead to a "bizzard" of amusing comments, with various game-related sites saying things like the sign should have been given more time on the Test realm, try the company's games like "Word of Warcraft" and "Diabo", or the sign was "obviously showing a lack of Spell power"
- Pre-orders open for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
- The Character Boost service is introduced, available to all with the latest expansion for $60/£40, with one Boost free as reward for pre-ordering Warlords of Draenor
Things which have not occurred yet, but are sure to occur or have been scheduled
- Before the next expansion - Patch 6.0.0
- Pre-expansion patch - Assumed to be something like 6.0.1
- Warlords of Draenor expansion, expected release fall 2014 (spring in the Southern Hemisphere)
- World of Warcraft turns 10 years old on November 23, 2014. Players will be awarded , etc; but it is unknown yet what ingame celebrations (if any) are planned.
- The Warcraft movie, tentatively March 11, 2016
- Announcement of the next expansion - So far, always at a Blizzcon
- ^ Web Archive - Fusion NET: Blizzard Entertainment Announces World of Warcraft.
- ^ Wikipedia: WoWWiki.
- ^ Wikipedia: Leeroy Jenkins.
- ^ Wikipedia: Corrupted Blood Incident.
- ^ WoW.com: The Queue: A trip down memory lane.
- ^ Error Macro: Gay Rights Within World of Warcraft.
- ^ About.com: Gates of Ahn'Qiraj Opened.
- ^ Blizzard Press Release World of Warcraft Reaches New Milestone: 10 Million Subscribers.
- ^ WoW.com: Proudmoore server hits Phase 4 first.
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/news/rss-08-2008.xml (News archive from September 2008)
- ^ Examiner.com: The WoW Martin Fury scandal.
- ^ World of Warcraft magazine announced. Gamespot.
- ^ WoW.com: Battle.net accounts required by November 11th.
- ^ Cataclysm Alpha has begun!. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-07-01.
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment Begins Closed Beta Test for World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm™. Activision Blizzard. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
- ^ http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=25626109041
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=25968987278&sid=1
- ^ China is finally getting Wrath of the Lich King. WoW.com.
- ^ WORLD OF WARCRAFT®: CATACLYSM™ IN STORES STARTING DECEMBER 7. Blizzard Press Release.
- ^ World of Warcraft subscriber base reaches 12 million. Blizzard Press Release.
- ^ Blizzard Puts A Stop To Gold Sellers Using PayPal For Payments. Curse.com. Retrieved on 2011-01-27.
- ^ WoW Magazine ending with issue 5. WoW Insider.
- ^ Charity Auction Benefit.
- ^ Blizzard raises over $330,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. WoW Insider.
- ^ WoW Insider: Entire cities dead on some World of Warcraft realms.
- ^ CNN: Leak: Government spies snooped in 'Warcraft,' other games.
- ^ Blizzard's street rename could have used some more PTR testing.
- ^ The Scroll of Resurrection Retires.