Timeline of Major Content Patches from PTR to Live Servers

Over the last few weeks, we have seen many questions and concerns throughout the community regarding the fact that Patch 9.1: Chains of Domination, has not yet hit the Public Test Realm (PTR). When 9.1 was announced at BlizzConline, we were informed that the Patch would be hitting the PTR shortly after the online convention was over. Weeks started to go by without any updates on the PTR. As we still had not seen anything new on the PTR by this past week, the last week of March, the questions and concerns started turning into speculations and rumours. These rumours have spread like a wildfire over the past few days, the most prominent one being that we would not be seeing Patch 9.1 hit Live servers until August 2021.

Assumedly as an effort to quash these rumours, Blizzard announced this morning that Patch 9.1 will be hitting the PTR “in about 2 weeks”, and details for testing for the new raid, Sanctum of Domination, would be posted “a week or so” after the PTR goes online.

With 9.0.5 behind us, we wanted to take a moment to update you on the 9.1 content for Shadowlands.

In about 2 weeks, we will have Chains of Domination available for the community on the PTR. Also, raid testing details will be posted a week or so after the PTR is online.

There will be a wide variety of content to check out for Chains of Domination, so as usual, your testing will play a key role in iterating on this update. We can’t wait to get this in front of you and look forward to your feedback soon.

Since the announcement hit the internet a few hours ago, we have already seen a wide array of guesses and speculation on when Patch 9.1 will actually hit Live servers.

We decided to look back at the past few expansions to get an idea of the average length of time Blizzard typically takes between releasing a major content patch on the PTR, and then releasing the patch on Live servers. While this data is by no means conclusive, we thought it might be interesting information to estimate what kind of timeframe we may be looking at for 9.1. We started this look through the history books in Warlords of Draenor and worked our way back to the current expansion. Keep in mind, these past expansions did not take place under the thumb of a global pandemic, so that may skew our expectations slightly.

Dates and information sourced from Wowpedia

Warlords of Draenor

Patch NumberPatch NamePTR Release DateLIVE Server Release DateDays Between
Patch 6.1.0Garrisons UpdateJanuary 9, 2015February 24, 201546 days
Patch 6.2.0Fury of HellfireApril 13, 2015June 22, 201570 days


Patch NumberPatch NamePTR Release DateLIVE Server Release DateDays Between
Patch 7.1.0Return to KarazhanSeptember 14, 2016October 25, 201641 days
Patch 7.2.0The Tomb of SargerasJanuary 19, 2017March 28, 201768 days
Patch 7.3.0Shadows of ArgusJune 28, 2017August 29, 201762 days

Battle for Azeroth

Patch NumberPatch NamePTR Release DateLIVE Server Release DateDays Between
Patch 8.1.0Tides of VengeanceSeptember 21, 2018December 11, 201881 days
Patch 8.2.0Rise of AzsharaApril 16, 2019June 25, 201970 days
Patch 8.3.0Visions of N’zothOctober 7, 2019January 14, 202099 days

What does this data show us? Primarily, it shows us that there has not been much consistency over the years on how many days pass between a major content patch hitting the PTR to it being released on Live servers. The shortest of these durations since WoD was 41 days (Patch 7.1.0 in Legion), and the longest was the 99 days it took for the last major patch of Battle for Azeroth to hit Live servers.

Taking a look at the first major content patch of these expansions, we have 46, 41, and 81 days between PTR and Live. Perhaps BFA is an outlier in this situation, and we could be looking at something around the 45 day mark? If that’s the case, and assuming Patch 9.1 does hit the PTR on April 13, 2021 (two weeks from today), we could be looking at Chains of Domination hitting Live servers around the May 28, 2021 mark (adjusted to land on a reset day, of course). However, taking into account the pandemic, the launch of Shadowlands being delayed, and the rumours floating around, this does feel like it would be very early.

If we were to compare Patch 9.1’s timeframe to the first major content patch of this past expansion, Battle for Azeroth, we could be looking at somewhere closer to 81 days. This would put 9.1 on Live servers around July 3, 2021 (a Saturday, so either the Tuesday prior or after would make sense). This date is probably a lot more likely.

For the sake of curiosity, we also decided to average out all of the above info from WoD to the end of BFA. The average number of days that have passed from a major content patch hitting the PTR to its launch of Live servers is 67. If we go by this number, we’re looking at a mid-to-late June release on Live servers.

However, as we were putting this data together, we did notice that the most recent expansion, Battle for Azeroth, had significantly longer durations between PTR and Live releases, and that was without a global pandemic slowing things down. We are inclined to surmise that Patch 9.1 will likely follow suit and come out sometime in early July of this year.

This is our guess based on the data we compiled. What’s yours? Head on over to our Twitter and let us know what you think!


About the Authors

Hulahoops has been playing WoW since Vanilla. If she’s not leading her Mythic Progression guild TBD through raids, she’s probably practicing for the MDI with her team Angry Toast. Hulahoops is a Holy Paladin in every sense of the term: she moderates the Hammer of Wrath Paladin Class Discord, and she was a practicing Lawyer for the last 7 years. Judgment isn’t just a spell! Hulahoops recently decided to put the law books away and follow her passion for esports by joining the team at RaiderIO and is now working as the Production Manager. She is also passionate about making Azeroth an inclusive, welcoming space for all gamers and is a proud co-founder of the Defias Sisterhood community.

Starym is an old-school raider with a wide history of World Firsts under his belt. He is a long-time news writer and interviewer for Icy Veins and formerly Manaflask. Having raided in the Race to World First (RWF) until the end of The Burning Crusade, he has been covering the events since Cataclysm and the RWF has become his greatest passion in WoW. A (Tauren, obviously) Warrior main at heart, when pushed, he will admit to loving Diablo more than WoW and, thus, should be punished.