Blizzard is notorious for not announcing release dates or patch days until the very last minute -- if at all. Sites like WoW.com and MMO-Champion have had to develop relationships with people in the know in order to have any idea when a patch is coming out, and even then we usually don't find out for sure until about 12 hours before a patch makes it onto the live servers.
Not all MMORPG companies are so secretive however.
CCP, which runs the hard core space based MMO EVE Online recently had to push back an announced patch -- from Wednesday to Thursday.
What happened when they did this? Fans rejoiced that a bug was being fixed. They cheered because you finally could shoot stuff that was 0 meters away with turrets.
Now in Blizzard's world, at least the one they display to everyone outside of their organization, pushing back an announced patch would be the end of world. Cats and dogs would live together, and fire with the occasional brimstone would rain down upon the Earth. They have said many times that the reason they don't want to announce patch dates is because if they don't hit their target, they are going to upset the fans.
This is an admirable notion, one that a lot of other companies could use a little bit of. Don't upset your player base, keep them happy. But there does come a point where a company needs to stand up for what it's doing. If they are targeting a release date of Smarch 13th for Patch 3.3, then they should say it. If they can't hit it because there are still things that need to be worked out -- then say that. Such a level of communication from Blizzard can't hurt, indeed it would help immensely in providing a certain, and dare I say necessary, level of transparency.
Granted if a larger company like Blizzard would announce and then push back a release date, many people would complain and flood the forums. But that happens on a daily basis about anything. Such is life when you're dealing with 12 million people, 6 million of whom are going to complain no matter what Blizzard does.
It's high time that Blizzard stops catering to the whiners and complainers and stands up for the development process that has served them so well. Pushing back a release date isn't a bad thing, especially when there are reasons given to sedate the intelligent of the masses.
With Patch 3.2.2 on the horizon, I have a challenge for makers of WoW -- take a page from EVE's playbook. Let us know when the patch is scheduled to be released, and if it can't be -- communicate briefly why and see what happens.
I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
2n - 1 go left, 2n go right. I don't see enough DoTs! More DoTs now!
Are you ready for the return of Onyxia? With the Brood Mother being revitalized as a 10 and 25 person raid, you'll need to be sure you know everything that's coming at you. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2.2 will make sure your set for the next patch!