Timeline (World of Warcraft)

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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.

After all,  What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been!

1999

Development of World of Warcraft begins[citation needed]

2001

September 2 - World of Warcraft announced at a press conference of the European Computer Trade Show[1]

  • The player base was somewhat divided on it. One of the things which kept people happily playing Diablo, Warcraft and StarCraft was that it was completely free to play those online after buying the game - all you needed was an internet connection. The fact that a Blizzard game would be pay-to-play rankled some.[citation needed]

2003

Sometime in 2003: World of Warcraft friends and family alpha released

September 9 - World of Warcraft (Livejournal Community) created

2004

The original login screen. This was the longest-running login screen, being the login for two years and one month.

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 (LCD existed but was not popular yet) 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 Gigabytes of RAM
    • 3D cards had 256 or 512 megabytes 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 initial game, and initial patch downloads could take a hour or more.
    • 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[2]

December 18 - Patch 1.2.0

2005

The first ever legendary item drop.
The first time World of Warcraft was an answer on Jeopardy! was on November 16, 2005.

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

March 23 - The first legendary item ever to appear to players in the game,  [Talisman of Binding Shard] drops in Molten Core. It is immediately hotfixed out of the game.

April 8 - Patch 1.4.0

April 26 - World of Warcraft open beta test launches in China under licensee The9,[3][4] with 100,000 players signing up in the first hour of registration[5]

May - The Leeroy Jenkins video becomes popular[6]

June 7

July 12 - Patch 1.6.0

August - World of Warcraft reaches 4 million subscribers[7]

September 13 - Patch 1.7.0

September 15 - Corrupted Blood incident[9]

October 28—29 - BlizzCon

October 10 - Patch 1.8.0

  • Corrupted Blood fixed

November

  • World of Warcraft reaches 5 million subscribers[9]
  • World of Warcraft launches in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau[7]

November 16 - World of Warcraft is featured in a question on the game show Jeopardy!

November 23 - WoW Insider launches.[10]

December 20 - The famous Numa Numa song comes to World of Warcraft on YouTube.[11]

2006

The Characters of South Park in Make Love, not Warcraft. L to R: Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny.

January 3 - Patch 1.9.0

January - Blizzard comes under scrutiny by LGBT groups for prohibiting advertising a guild as being LGBT-friendly.[12]

January 23 - Medivh-US becomes the first server to open the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj[13]

March 28 - Patch 1.10.0

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

Sepetember 22 - The game is brought up in an episode of Stargate: Atlantis

October

October 4 - The TV show South Park features a Warcraft-themed episode, Make Love, not Warcraft

October 12 - The Burning Crusade Beta Test begins

November - World of Warcraft reaches 7.5 million subscribers[9]

November 9 - Burning Crusade announced to be released on January 16, 2007

November 20 - One of the world's first well known World of Warcraft parodies, That's the World of Warcraft That You Play!, uploaded on YouTube by ibeckman671[14]

December 5 - Patch 2.0.1

December 14 - Burning Crusade cinematic trailer released

2007

The World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade login screen debuted with patch 2.0.1 and was the game login screen for one year and 11 months. This was not quite the case for everyone, as players who had not yet bought the expansion still had the original login.

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
  • Expansion sells nearly 2.4 million copies in the first 24 hours, becoming the fastest-selling PC game ever[7]

May 22 - Patch 2.1.0

August 3–4 BlizzCon

September 27 - Patch 2.2.0

October

November 13 - Patch 2.3.0

November 20 - Blizzard advertises World of Warcraft on television with ads featuring William Shatner as a Shaman and most notably Mr. T talking about his Night Elf Mohawk

2008

In July 29, 2008 a magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck near Blizzard's offices, causing them to post a message on their login screen about the effect on their in-game and telephone support.
The World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King login screen. This login screen debuted in patch 3.0.2. It was the second longest such screen for the game, existing as login for two years and ten days. As opposed to Burning Crusade, everyone was given this login, if they had the expansion or not.

January - World of Warcraft reaches 10 million subscribers globally[15]

March 25 - Patch 2.4.0

April 3 - Proudmoore-US becomes the first server to complete the Shattered Sun Offensive[16]

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."

June 30 - The original key-fob Authenticators first become available in the Blizzard Store. For the first few months the stocks sell out very quickly.

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 5 - Recruit-A-Friend program introduced[17]

August 6 - World of Warcraft launches in Russia, along with the Burning Crusade expansion[7][18]

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

October 23

October 25-26

  • 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

October 27

  • The capital cities return to normal as the Zombie Infestation ends

September - World of Warcraft reaches 11 million subscribers[19]

November - World of Warcraft commercials featuring Ozzy Osbourne

November 10

November 13 - Wrath of the Lich King expansion released

November 23 - All players logging in are awarded  [Baby Blizzard Bear] and  WoW's 4th Anniversary

2009

"Game Fuel". Wild berry for Alliance, citrus cherry for Horde
During the countdown to the Battle.net merger, Blizzard offered a companion pet to accounts that merged before the deadline.

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

Late April - a player is banned for exploiting the game after using a mistakenly-mailed Game Master artifact called [Martin Fury][20]

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

August 20 - The Mountain Dew Choose Your Side promotion ends

August 21–22 - BlizzCon 2009

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

October 12 - Announcement that all World of Warcraft accounts must be merged with Battle.net accounts.[22]

October 27 - Race Change service offered

November 11, 12 - The deadline passes for account mergers with Battle.net for US, EU players

November 22 - All players logging in are awarded  [Onyxian Whelpling] and  WoW's 5th Anniversary

December 8 - Patch 3.3.0

2010

In China, bones are covered up as with this Forsaken. This led to the need for a massive graphical overhaul before Wrath of the Lich King could be approved.
Previously, you could not play the game until the entire patch was uploaded.
The Cataclysm Loading Screen debuted in Patch 4.0.3a, and was around for 1 year and 9 months - the shortest duration for a loading screen.

January 5 - The Plagueworks of Icecrown Citadel opens

January 19 - The Crimson Hall of Icecrown Citadel opens

February 2 - Patch 3.3.2

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[23]

June 22 - Patch 3.3.5 in North America

June 30 - Cataclysm Beta Test begins.[24] Patch 3.3.5 in Europe.

July 6 - Blizzard announces their intention to have Real ID names visible when posting on the official forums.[25] 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[26]

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[27]

September 7 - The first in-game events leading up into the Cataclysm Expansion begin, with Operation: Gnomeregan (Alliance) and Zalazane's Fall (Horde)

October 4 - Cataclysm release date announced to be December 7, 2010[28]

October 7 - World of Warcraft reaches 12 million players[29] for the first time, and the all time record

October 12 - Patch 4.0.1

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 1 - Elemental Unrest Phase 1 begins

November 8 - Elemental Unrest Phase 2 begins

November 12 - Elemental Unrest Phase 3 begins

November 15 - Elemental Unrest Phase 4 begins

November 23 - Patch 4.0.3a "The Shattering"

  • 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.
    • The actual ability to fly in those two places was introduced in the Cataclysm expansion a few weeks later - however some players found you could at least explore using other methods which could fly like the Warlock ability [Eye of Kilrogg]

November 30 - All players logging in are awarded  WoW's 6th Anniversary

December - Thottbot merges with Wowhead

December 7 - World of Warcraft: Cataclysm released

2011

The original Lightbringer realm server, cleaned up and engraved to be auctioned for charity in October-November of 2011

January 27 - Blizzard files complaints with the online service PayPal in an effort to make payment difficult for gold sellers.[30]

February 8 - Patch 4.0.6

April 26 - Patch 4.1.0

June 28 - Patch 4.2.0

September 16 - World of Warcraft: The Magazine closes after five issues[31]

  • 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[32]

  • In the end, the project raised over $333,000 for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital[33]

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 20th - Players logging in awarded  WoW's 7th Anniversary and a  [Celebration Package]

November 29 - Patch 4.3.0

December - World of Warcraft reaches 10.2 million subscribers, down from 12 million

2012

Debuted in patch 5.0.4, and is close to tying for longest-running login screen in late 2014.

March - Scroll of Resurrection introduced

March 21 - Mists of Panderia Beta begins

July 25 - Release date announcement for Mists of Pandaria: September 25

August 28 - Patch 5.0.4

September 7 - One of the world's most famous World of Warcraft parodies, That's the World of Warcraft That You Play!, comes out with a new version called That's the World of Warcraft That I Used To Play! that features Oxhorn, uploaded by ibeckman671 on YouTube[34]

September 25 - Mists of Panderia released

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. [35]

November 18th - Players logging in awarded  WoW's 8th Anniversary and a  [Celebration Package]

November 27 - Patch 5.1.0

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?

2013

The Battle.net Desktop App replaced the launcher.

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 upgrading NPCs removed (temporarily)
  • Championing a faction for rep in one dungeon and scenario a day added

May 21 - Patch 5.3

  • Item upgrading NPCs re-added, but it is announced that the service will not be implemented for future PvP gear

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.

July 30 - One of the world's most famous World of Warcraft parodies, That's the World of Warcraft That You Play!, comes out with an updated version with Mists of Pandaria uploaded by ibeckman671 on YouTube[36]

August 23 - It is announced that World of Warcraft Trading Card Game will end with Set 21, Timewalkers: Reign of Fire being the last set made.[37]

September 10 - Patch 5.4

September 25 - The first Connected Realms are implemented

November 8-9 - BlizzCon 2013

November 18th - Players logging in awarded  WoW's 9th Anniversary and a  [Celebration Package]

November 27th - Longtime Lead Systems Designer for World of Warcraft, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street announces he is leaving Blizzard Entertainment

December - World of Warcraft reaches 7.8 million subscribers, up from 7.7 million

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.[38]

  • 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

2014

The Character Boost setup, step one.
A group of players gather at the Shrine of the Fallen Warrior to commemorate the passing of Robin Williams

February 6th - World of Warcraft reaches 7.8 million players, up from 7.6 subscribers[39]

February 10th - Blizzard Entertainment gets the street that runs between their buildings renamed "Blizzard Way", but the street sign is misprinted "Bizzard Way"[40]

  • 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"

February 11th - Blizzard announces it is retiring the Scroll of Resurrection on February 18th.[41]

February 18th - Patch 5.4.7

March 10th

March 11th - The  [Hearthsteed] mount is introduced as a promotion to mark the launch of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

  • The World of Warcraft mount is earned through winning 3 matches in Hearthstone, marking the first significant and rewarding cross-over between the two games

April 3- Warlords of Draenor internal alpha testing begins.[42]

May 20 - Patch 5.4.8

  • The maximum upgrade level for items is increased from +8 to +16.

June 4 - Warlords of Draenor friends and family alpha testing begins.[43]

June 21 - The player Doubleagent becomes the first neutral pandaren character to reach level 90.[44]

  • He acheived this without ever leaving the starting area and only mining or picking herbs for experience points. He began in 2012, and his time played on reaching 90 was over 170 days.

June 27 - Warlords of Draenor enters beta testing.[45]

July 4 - Blizzard releases some comical "extra footage" from the Mists of Pandaria cinematic, featuring the human and orc characters drinking in a tavern, supposedly shot "just moments after" the original cinematic's end.[46]

August 12 - Following the death of comedian and actor Robin Williams, known to have himself been a player of World of Warcraft and Warcraft III, many players ask for an NPC to be created in his honour, with one player even creating a petition on Change.org, gathering more than 10,000 signatures in just 16 hours.[47] On August 12th, following assurances from CM Celestalon and Williams fan Brian Holinka,[48] the official World of Warcraft twitter account tweets ".@robinwilliams Thank you. You gave us so much joy in our lives, and we hope you enjoyed your time in our world. We’ll see you in-game."[49] The message is widely taken as confirmation of the creation of an in-game tribute.

August 14 - Blizzard debuts the Warlords of Draenor cinematic at GamesCom, and announces a release date of November 13th.

Soon

Things which have not occurred yet, but are sure to occur or have been scheduled

  • Pre-expansion patch - Patch 6.0.2 very probable in October 2014.
  • The Warcraft movie, tentatively March 11, 2016

Videos

References

  1. ^ Web Archive - Fusion NET: Blizzard Entertainment Announces World of Warcraft.
  2. ^ Wikipedia: WoWWiki.
  3. ^ PRNewswire.com - The9 and Blizzard Entertainment Announce Success in World of Warcraft(R) All-Access Open Beta Test in China (2005-05-16)
  4. ^ a b WoW Insider - WoW Archivist: WoW in China, an uncensored history (2014-01-07)
  5. ^ Gamespot.com - Gamers swarm Chinese WOW beta test (2005-03-02)
  6. ^ Wikipedia: Leeroy Jenkins.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Blizzard Entertainment:20th Anniversary
  8. ^ Wikipedia: Corrupted Blood Incident.
  9. ^ a b c Timeline (World of Warcraft)#Videos
  10. ^ WoW.com: The Queue: A trip down memory lane.
  11. ^ ybay707 2005-12-20. Numa Numa World of warcraft. YouTube.
  12. ^ Error Macro: Gay Rights Within World of Warcraft.
  13. ^ About.com: Gates of Ahn'Qiraj Opened.
  14. ^ ibeckman671 2006-11-20. That's the World of Warcraft That You Play!. YouTube.
  15. ^ Blizzard Press Release World of Warcraft Reaches New Milestone: 10 Million Subscribers.
  16. ^ WoW.com: Proudmoore server hits Phase 4 first.
  17. ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/news/rss-08-2008.xml (News archive from September 2008)
  18. ^ MVCUK.com - Warcraft launches in Russia (2008-08-06)
  19. ^ MMO-Champion - WoW Up to 7.8 Million Subscribers (2014-02-06)
  20. ^ Examiner.com: The WoW Martin Fury scandal.
  21. ^ World of Warcraft magazine announced. Gamespot.
  22. ^ WoW.com: Battle.net accounts required by November 11th.
  23. ^ Cataclysm Alpha has begun!. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-07-01.
  24. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Begins Closed Beta Test for World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm™. Activision Blizzard. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  25. ^ http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=25626109041
  26. ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=25968987278&sid=1
  27. ^ China is finally getting Wrath of the Lich King. WoW.com.
  28. ^ WORLD OF WARCRAFT®: CATACLYSM™ IN STORES STARTING DECEMBER 7. Blizzard Press Release.
  29. ^ World of Warcraft subscriber base reaches 12 million. Blizzard Press Release.
  30. ^ Blizzard Puts A Stop To Gold Sellers Using PayPal For Payments. Curse.com. Retrieved on 2011-01-27.
  31. ^ WoW Magazine ending with issue 5. WoW Insider.
  32. ^ Charity Auction Benefit.
  33. ^ Blizzard raises over $330,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. WoW Insider.
  34. ^ ibeckman671 2012-09-07. That's the World of Warcraft That I Used To Play!. YouTube.
  35. ^ WoW Insider: Entire cities dead on some World of Warcraft realms.
  36. ^ ibeckman671 2013-07-30. That's the World of Warcraft That You Play! v2. YouTube.
  37. ^ World of Warcraft Trading Card Game
  38. ^ CNN: Leak: Government spies snooped in 'Warcraft,' other games.
  39. ^ WoW Up to 7.8 Million Subscribers. Retrieved on 2014-02-06.
  40. ^ Blizzard's street rename could have used some more PTR testing.
  41. ^ The Scroll of Resurrection Retires.
  42. ^ Warlords of Draenor™ Alpha Testing Begins
  43. ^ Warlords of Draenor Friends & Family Alpha
  44. ^ Doubleagent hits Level 90!
  45. ^ Warlords of Draenor Moves Into Beta!
  46. ^ http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/14685348/happy-4th-7-4-2014
  47. ^ http://www.businessinsider.com/robin-williams-will-live-on-in-world-of-warcraft-one-of-his-favorite-games-2014-8
  48. ^ https://twitter.com/holinka/status/499213904808267777
  49. ^ World of Warcraft on Twitter (2014-08-12).

External links