There are some games where patches get so much advance notice that you feel like they’re already here months in advance. Final Fantasy XIV‘s patch previews often laugh for half of the cycle of the previous patch, so for a month and a half you’re hearing endlessly about the stuff you can’t play yet. Sometimes I think Star Trek Online is in a perpetual patch cycle, adding in new things regularly. And there was a long stretch of time when Guild Wars 2 had a new patch feature to announce seemingly every other day, with each feature being patched… the following day.
Then you have games like World of Warcraft, who seem to handle patch dates like an elaborate prank. “The pre-patch is coming! When? Who knows! Will it be… tomorrow? Nope, made you look!”
Hearing endlessly about patches long before they happen is kind of wearying; you already know about it and start to wish that it would just go live already. But there are also things that you want to do before a patch goes live, loose ends to tie up, preparations to be made. Having the patch date as a perpetual mystery undercuts that. So what about you, dear readers? How much advance notice do you want before a patch goes live? Are you happy for unexpected dates, or would you rather just know what’s going down well in advance?