I'm in favor of the timeskip

I was more talking about what has transpired since the end of the last expansion during the downtime.


Hmm, yeah that’s possible. A lot of events are covered by books and comics, which while great and all (novels do allow for stronger character development and better storytelling in my opinion) but it would be nice to see those events, or at least some of them, represented in the game.

It would still be a long cinematic though if you didn’t want to confuse folks, so, I don’t know…

Maybe Blizzard should look at their competitors and how they inject story developments moving forward. Guild Wars 2 is a fantastic example. Episodic content which covers story developments, both cinematic and gameplay, which are fully replayable.

Now I’m not expecting the replayable part, but at the very least they can NOT remove story content from the game that actually removes context from key characters or events.

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Im fine if they do a time skip but the need to update destroyed alliance assets across the world to reflect hat passage of time. If they aren’t willing to do that then time skip is stupid and is nothing but an excuse for them to speed up the return of Anduin/Sylvanas.


We all know that this is the case and the only reason. They want to bring back Sylvanas faster. They’re not going to update diddly squat because, apparently according to the Exploring X series, everything is pretty much exactly as it was in Cataclysm.


A timeskip is a good thing. It gives the writers some breathing room after the constant barrage of world ending threats. Nine years that included the Burning Legion twice, the Lich King, Deathwing, two wars between the Alliance and Horde, multiple Old God threats, Sargeras, Shadowlands, and countless minor other problems that have cropped up. Nine years of constant war.

A skip is desperately needed to put some distance if for nothing else to let less world ending threats develop, so it’s not just a barrage of world ending threat after world ending threat.

In any good D&D campaign there is going to be downtime, and occasionaly a timeskip here and there to advance the narrative, but a good narrative shows what has changed, what has been improved or totally messed up by the player’s actions.

What I do feel is that they’re not going to show until they need to show what’s changed. It’ll be a tool to allow narrative distance.


Would you be okay with me linking to this post in the alpha forum?
I’d like to communicate to the team that it likely needs to be expanded on, but I’m not sure what threads to link to.

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Hello friends,

I wanted to take a moment to address the topic of time passage between Shadowlands and Dragonflight.

There has always been some amount of time passing between expansions, though rarely has it been called out in game. We maintain an internal timeline of what year each expansion begins, and the gap between them has either been one year (as with earlier expansions) or two years (as with most of the later ones). But NPCs in the world don’t talk about how the Burning Crusade took place in the year 26 after the Dark Portal opened, or how we rediscovered Pandaria in the year 30.

When you look back at the Warcraft timeline, one of the things you’ll notice is that a lot of massive, world-changing events were tightly clustered together. This is especially true for WoW, which since launch has seen a multitude of invasions and catastrophes back-to-back in the chronology.

With Shadowlands representing the closing of one book in the Warcraft saga (as we mentioned in interviews around the release of our Eternity’s End update), it felt like an opportunity to give Azeroth and its inhabitants a bit of breathing room before Dragonflight ushers in the start of our next major storyline.

Shadowlands began in the year 35 after the opening of the Dark Portal, and Dragonflight will begin in the year 40.

Given that the events of Shadowlands took place over the course of two years, that leaves a few additional years that we are fast-forwarding through. Our purpose here is not to have a litany of events take place outside the game that you need to read about in a novel or other media to understand the state of the world. The goal of the fast-forward is to provide the people of Azeroth with a slice of “normal” life without a major threat looming over their heads.

When our heroes return from the Realms of Death, you can imagine them easing back into their lives and duties without an immediate crisis to address or enemy to fight. With the Alliance and Horde honoring the truce signed after the Fourth War, the average Azerothian citizen will be able to enjoy a time of stability and reflection.

That said, we plan to offer a digital short story on our website that details one particularly joyous occasion which has been referenced in the alpha build. It’s going to be a fun and charming read, but it won’t be necessary in order to understand the events of Dragonflight.

Besides stretching out the WoW timeline a bit, another benefit of this fast-forward is that it will let our younger characters get a little older, allowing some of them to take a larger role in future storylines. Yet not so much time will be passing that you’d expect characters who are already adults to look significantly different.

As for changes to the world that have been discussed or foreshadowed, such as the resettlement of Gilneas, those will not be happening during the fast-forward. As cool as it is to show locations and populations evolving because of story progression, we want events of this importance to be in-game questing that our players experience for themselves (as with the reclaiming of the Ruins of Lordaeron in the 9.2.5 update) rather than having it happen off-camera.

For your player characters, it has always been left to your own interpretation how much time had passed when they log in after the arrival of a major update or new expansion. Dragonflight is no exception. You are free to imagine what your characters have been doing in that time of respite as you look forward to the arrival of the Dragonflight pre-patch.

Hopefully this post helps clear up confusion about the timeline and explains our goals for having a few more years pass than we normally would.

–Steve Danuser, Narrative Lead


It’s really official! Thank you! It was getting ridiculous for us to believe that so many world ending events happen back-to-back without the population collapsing from sheer attrition.

I look forward to this new story! Thanks for the update and we hope to hear from you again!


That’s remarkably helpful.

…though I really hope whoever is writing the Lor’themar and Thaly story remembers that nightborn are taller than blood elves!


But it’s completely unbelievable that the world has just been sitting in a static status quo for years. You can say there’s been a time skip but if I go out to Westfall and see Sentinel Hill is still on fire, or still see Alliance and Horde at war in the Southern Barrens, then there may as well not be a time skip at all. Everything is still the same.

Don’t get me wrong I agree a time skip needs to happen, it’s ridiculous that so much has happened back to back to back, but said skip needs to be shown instead of told.


Very excited for this, especially if it’s what I think it is. And thanks for the clarification Steve, it’s nice to know the devs still have eyes on this ol’ board.


Hey, that’s awesome to hear something about this!
Still sort of hoping this will show some narrative in game at least in some regard, especially for major passing events, but it’s great to see it clarified and somewhere accessible! Thank you :slight_smile:

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As a roleplayer I just want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for giving an exact amount of time that has passed rather than just the word ‘several’. This is a major boon for us, because it does allow us to fully plan out how old our characters are moving into Dragonflight and for those of us who roleplay having children, how old they are.

Thank you!


Any chances to see Moira’s son? :smiley:


Could we have a clear indicator of the passage of time going forwards? Like even if it is a gnome/goblin in the capitals with a watch that we talk to that will tell us the in game year?


I think its time you need to revisit Eastern Kingdom and Kalimdor and give a good old update like you did with cata. I know that’s a big project but its long over due.


Like how Nomi went from being a little kid in MoP to a full grown adult in Legion after just 2 years? Talk about growth pains :grimacing:

That said, thanks for letting us know just how long the “several years” are going to be in game. Hopefully there will be other, minor, not game breaking changes that will also reflect the difference.

Maybe you guys could publish a timeline from, well, time to time? I know there’s a fan maintained one, but it’s always nice to have something official when it comes to stuff like this.


Feels a little unsatisfying that the time skip allows the citizens and heroes to “get back to normal,” without a major threat, but being unwilling to let important non-conflict events happen at the sametime. Just have the questline be a “flashback” by taking to some NPCs in the newly populated locations if you want players to experience it. Otherwise it just seems like people are just sitting around twiddling their thumbs. What is a normal life for someone that is waiting to recover their home?


Are we going to see these years actually mentioned in game at any point? It’s nice to get clarification here, but it would be even nicer if the actual game story could mention things like this rather than just a vague “several”, so that it feels like the characters know how long has passed.


Thank you so much for listening to our feedback folks, we loved 9.2.5 and can’t wait to see this.

(As a Forsaken fan, I would’ve complained about losing lands to the dreaded alliances, but we’re well fed with 9.2.5 and our furry friends deserve some love. Only a little bit. :kissing_heart: )