World of Warcraft screenshot of the various Shadowlands covenants

[Update #2]: The Shadowlands expansion has now gone live without any notable problems!

[Update]: Shadowlands beta will soon be making Covenant and Conduit choices a lot less intimidating.

World of Warcraft's upcoming Shadowlands expansion has been in closed testing for quite a while, and even though most of the content is currently present and accounted for, there is still a noticeable lack of balance and polish. If Shadowlands went live in its current state on October 27th as previously planned, it would end up being a bit of a mess, and that's putting it gently.

Thankfully, Blizzard has chosen to avoid that nightmare scenario and has now announced that Shadowlands has been delayed until later this year. The exact release date hasn't been announced just yet, but barring any major problems, I think it's safe to say it'll be arriving at some point during the holiday season.

"This was an incredibly difficult decision for the team, as we’re as eager to get the expansion into your hands as you are to play it—but ultimately, we feel it’s the right decision for the game—and for our players," reads the brief update. "We believe Shadowlands will be something special, and we’ve heard from many of you who feel the same. We need this extra time to ensure that Shadowlands lives up to its full potential.

It's not all bad news, however, as Blizzard has also taken this opportunity to announce that the Shadowlands pre-patch will be launching this October 13th. It'll bring with it revamped character leveling, a much better new-player experience in the new Exile's Reach zone, a ton of new customization options, and naturally, a whole bunch of fixes and quality of life improvements.

You can read a little bit more about this, as well as keep an eye on Shadowlands' new release date, over at the official website.