MoP – Shortest or Longest XPAC?

There’s a lot of discussion going on regarding the length of Mists of Pandaria and the amount of time it takes Blizzard to deliver new content. MMO-Champion posted a couple of charts comparing the patch duration for each expansion in World of Warcraft. Alt:ernative Chat discusses the topic in this post.

Believe it or not, thus far, Mists of Pandaria is the shortest running expansion that Blizzard has put together, and patch 5.4 currently has the shortest duration of any expansion’s final patch. The meter is still ticking, and when patch 6.0 does arrive, MoP may end up being one of the longest running expansions, and patch 5.4 the longest final patch.

Before I dive into this, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page here regarding numbers.

  • I’m only looking that the four expansions and not Vanilla.
  • Duration is based on the initial release date of each patch. I’m looking at patches and sub-patches as a whole.
  • Release dates are coming from Wowpedia. They may not be 100% accurate, but they’re dates so it’s pretty darn close.
  • For x.0 patches I’m using the release date of the pre-patch, and not the release of the expansion.
  • I did not factor in Beta releases as I do not consider that new content.
  • I drafted this on March 22, 2014, so predictive dates in this post are based on that starting date.

Let’s look at some numbers. Here are the release dates for each expansion’s patch and the total duration of each expansion in days.


Now, here’s a look at the number of days each content patch lasted for each expansion. Patch 3.3 is the longest running patch at a whopping 308 days. Patch 5.4 is the shortest running final patch, but again, the meter is still running, and I’m willing to bet it will surpass 3.3.


What should jump out at you is just how short lived patches 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 were compared to the others. If Blizzard is wondering why were clamoring for content, it’s because they conditioned us to shorter, faster patches, and to their credit they were able to deliver that until now.

Here’s another look that shows the percentage of each expansion that each patch consumed.


One takeaway here is that Blizzard released patch 5.1 much sooner than it needed to be. Patch 5.0’s percentage duration is much shorter than any of it’s predecessors. They could’ve stretched this one out longer. The same could be said for patch 5.2.

The fact that each final patch consumed a greater percentage of content time than other patches should come as no surprise. As of right now patch 5.4 doesn’t seem too out of line, but the expansion is not over and this is just a snapshot of where we are today. Where might we end up?

Let’s assume that 6.0 is released on 8/26/2014. That’s a Tuesday and it’s very close to when 5.0 went live. If we fast forward to that day. This is how the number shake out.

20140322075408Mists of Pandaria’s total duration equals that of Wrath of the Lich King at 728 days. It’s now tied for the longest running expansion in WoW.

Here’s how the percentage durations look.


Patch 5.4 ends up consuming 48% of Mists’ content time and becomes the longest running content patch at 350 days, exceeding 3.3 by 42 days.


For Mists of Pandaria Blizzard wanted to give us new content sooner. Throughout the expansion they were able to deliver on that promise. Where they’ve fallen short is in the transition from Mists to Warlords.

Then end result is that we’ve consumed most of the content in 5.4, and might be faced with the longest wait between the end of one expansion and the start of another.

So as of right now MoP is the shortest expansion on record, however I think it will end up being the longest.

What say you on this?

5 Comments on “MoP – Shortest or Longest XPAC?”

  1. I think that once a beta is released, that is when the countdown begins.

    Back in December, when many people were expecting an earlier-than-usual beta (based on the fast patch conditioning you talked about), I speculated that we would still not see a beta until between mid-Feb and mid-April. We’re already into the back half of that window with no indication of a beta in sight. That could change, of course – maybe they’ll release it this week, for all we know!

    But based on all of the new design that’s going into things like model revamps and Garrisons, and the lack of speed with which model re-designs are are being revealed, I’m starting to wonder if March is even on the table anymore.

    I think that September is an early target for WoD at this point, and 8/26 is probably the earliest I would dare to guess for 6.0. My actual expectation for WoD’s release is now in the mid-Oct to early-Dec range. Basically, unless they have an uncharacteristically short beta, MoP will end up at least as long as Wrath – making 5.4 the longest patch ever.

    I could write more, but I don’t want to leave a whole blog post on your page. Great post, Dark!

  2. The numbers look somewhat different if you only consider raid tier patches, because those came at the usual pace during Mists.

    Mists introduced consistent mid-tier content patches, so the patches seemed shorter in length, but the raid tiers were still the usual length.

    They really should have planned to deliver another mid-tier content patch during SoO after starting that trend in Mists to give people something else to do (new dailies, scenarios, dungeons, something). They’ve said they’re not going to though and we’re going to end up with the longest patch ever. Even if they had dropped a mid-tier patch, it’ll still be the longest raid tier ever.

    I dug through wowpedia as well to get tier lengths. I counted the tiers up until the release of the new content, so #.0.x instead of #.0 because the expansion (and new tier) isn’t actually released until #.0.x.

    Extra dates:
    2.0.3 – 01-09-2007
    3.0.2 – 10-14-2008 (same date Darkbrew used for 3.0)
    4.0.3 – 12-07-2010
    5.0.5 – 09-11-2012
    6.0.x – 09-23-2014 (first Tuesday in Fall 2014, could be up to 3 months later though…)

    TBC was kind of weird. Tier 4 and 5 were both released at 2.0.3 and Tier 6 included Hyjal/BT and Sunwell… I split Sunwell off.
    4/5 – 2.0.3 to 2.1 – 133 days
    6 – 2.1 to 2.4 – 308 days
    6.5* – 2.4 to 3.0.2 – 203 days

    WotLK was more staggered but had 4 tiers and then Ruby Sanctum in 3.3.5. I listed ICC and RS together and separately.
    7 – 3.0.2 to 3.1 – 182 days
    8 – 3.1 to 3.2 – 112 days
    9 – 3.2 to 3.3 – 126 days
    10 – 3.3 to 4.0.3 – 364 days
    10* – 3.3 to 3.3.5 – 196 days (3.3.5 – 06-22-2010)
    10.5* – 3.3.5 to 4.0.3 – 168 days

    11 – 4.0.3 to 4.1 – 203 days
    12 – 4.1 to 4.3 – 154 days
    13 – 4.3 to 5.0.5 – 287 days

    14 – 5.0.5 to 5.2 – 175 days
    15 – 5.2 to 5.4 – 189 days
    16 – 5.4 to 6.0.x – 378 days or more

  3. Great post! I remember ICC lasting forever, so this matches with my memory of each expansion. I never actually minded the long waits, and the short periods between major content in MoP is actually one of things that drove me away. I know I’m in the minority there, but longer wait times gave me a chance to do ancillary WoW projects, or even taper my playing to recharge for the next round of content.

  4. Feels like it’s been forever since 5.4 came out, and with 6.0 now being rumored to be released around christmas, it’s insane to think that 5.4 is going to have been out for a year and roughly 2 months..

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