Ever since the World of Warcraft PTRs went live, I’ve been wondering why there’s been no mention of the big Firelands raid, you know, the one were we kick Ragnaros’ arse for what will hopefully be the final time. Well Eurogamer has interviewed J. Allen Brack at GDC who revealed the new raid won’t appear in-game until 4.1.

Instead 4.1 is going to be dominated by recycled content - eg Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub as, according to Brack, “the player base isn't really ready for the next raid yet.” Blue Bashiok later clarified things by explaining they plan to shift from major content patches to smaller ones. His full statement is below:

By now you’ve seen that the redesigned Heroic five-player dungeon versions of Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub are on the PTR, featuring all-new boss mechanics, updated epic-level loot, and some rare mounts for players to try to tame.

You may be asking, "where's Firelands?”

Our goal with each major patch release, and especially with each expansion, is to learn from the past and use that knowledge to improve the game as we move forward. One of our biggest regrets in the pacing of Wrath of the Lich King was the Crusaders' Coliseum. The Trial of the Champion 10- and 25-player raid was released while many raiders were still busy with Ulduar, which meant a premature end to Ulduar raiding -- and a lot of players didn't get a chance to experience all of Ulduar's content during the normal expansion progression.

Having learned that lesson in pacing from Wrath of the Lich King, we don’t feel Cataclysm needs a new raid tier just yet. We’re close, though, and Firelands will be part of patch 4.2, which is expected to hit the PTR very soon after 4.1 goes live.

One of our long-standing development goals has been to release more regular content updates for you to enjoy. Our plan is to package features like raids, dungeons, and daily quest hubs into smaller content updates and release them as soon as possible, rather than wait and release them as large but infrequent updates. Our first significant step in this direction will be Cataclysm patch 4.1, and we hope the rest of our content updates moving forward follow this model.

This new flexible approach to updates allows us to release content like Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub so that you'll have more challenges to overcome while we make the flames of Sulfuron even fierier and this second showdown with the Firelord even more climactic.

While we know that some raiders feel prepared to smack down the Firelord once again, releasing an epic raid dungeon before its time would, in the words of Ragnaros himself, be "too soon!"

While it seems 4.1 is going to be a bit disappointing - and small than previously expected - a part of me is a tad relieved. While the Firelands delay does deviate from the trial and tested major patch format, at least it means it should hopefully be everything that the first tier of Cataclysm raiding was not, eg tested, bug-free, appropriately fine tuned and actually playable. Nefarian, Sinestra, I’m looking at you.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016