Blizzard Entertainment has announced that there will be an extended period of downtime ahead of the launch of WoW Dragonflight season two on Tuesday, May 9.
On May 9, players can expect WoW Dragonflight servers to go down at 9am CT, and come back up at 3pm CT, according to Blizzard’s customer support site, as well as an announcement on the WoW client.
Typically, maintenance can extend beyond the promised timeframe whenever a major update is issued to the game or a new season begins. Still, this wasn’t the case last week when Patch 10.1 was released to live servers (the patch was uploaded two hours before Blizzard’s projected uptime), but players usually can brace for a long day of server downtime whenever a new season begins. Last season, the servers came up just before 2pm CT, three hours after the weekly reset was issued. When Patch 10.0.5 went live in January, servers didn’t come up until 6pm CT.
While Patch 10.1 introduced a host of new features to the game, players still had to wait a week until the launch of season two, which includes the release of the game’s new raid, Aberrus, as well as the start of a new Mythic+ season. If you were looking to jump into Aberrus or start grinding your Mythic+ score right off the jump on Tuesday, you will have to wait until later in the afternoon.
For reference, WoW Dragonflight’s maintenance this week will last five hours longer than maintenance for WoW Classic servers, which are scheduled to come back up at 10am CT.
A side effect of the extended maintenance will be an inevitable delay to the start of the Race to World First. With Aberrus opening on Normal, Heroic, and Mythic difficulties at the same time on Tuesday, the game’s top raiders will have to wait even longer to kick off the race.
A new approach to raiding became cemented with the launch of Dragonflight, as the Vault of the Incarnates was also released on Normal, Heroic, and Mythic simultaneously. This change eliminated the longstanding tradition of “Heroic Week,” which gave world first raiders a chance to enter the Heroic version of the raid one week earlier than the Mythic-level release. Heroic Week significantly reduced the number of split raids that top-level teams had to run before entering the Mythic race.
During the Vault of the Incarnates race, teams didn’t start to pull bosses on Mythic difficulty until approximately 48 hours into the race, as top contenders such as Echo and Liquid opted to gear up their characters as much as they could instead.
When the Race to World First begins on May 9, the game’s best guilds will likely begin their march towards a title with split raids; and with Blizzard announcing extended maintenance today, it’s possible that those splits start even later than they did in season one.