Arknights: Where's Dorothy?

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Article by TacticalBreakfast
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Hello, TacticalBreakfast here. This may come as a surprise, but I do other things beyond Mastery updates. A side hobby of mine is predicting the release schedule. I don't tend to talk much about it outside of my close circles. It's dangerous territory fraught with pitfalls, and I'm not often brave enough to take those stands publicly. Even the best predictors are often wrong. However, the community has been on fire with speculation of late due to our beloved and missing Dorothy. A lot of people (myself included) are quite frustrated, so I thought I'd take a stab at sorting through the mess. The goal here is not to make schedule predictions. I will do that at the end, but the main purpose here is to summarize what's going on and address some possibilities.

I'll do this article in the FAQ format I do in the Mastery updates. I think it reads a little better and lets me address things point by point. Forgive me for any errors. I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff, but as I said, it's a topic full of pitfalls. I've stepped in more than a few in my time, and the only real conclusion here is that no one but Yostar knows what's going to happen.

Where's Dorothy?

Q:  I have no idea what's going on.  What is going on?

A:  The global servers run approximately six months behind CN.  While we usually just run the same events that CN does, in order, Yostar occasionally mixes things up.  This is especially true around anniversary time.  In this case, one anticipated event (Dorothy's Vision) had to be moved so that the anniversary event (Ideal City) lined up with global’s actual anniversary date.

This was already an annoyance for many, but the topic has caught fire in the last week now that Ideal City is over.  Contingency Contract #10 was officially announced with still no word on Dorothy’s Vision.  There’s also been some recent speculation based on datamining that Mlynar’s event, An Obscure Wanderer, could be next instead, further delaying Dorothy.  Many people are upset by this possibility, the delay of Dorothy, and with how Yostar has handled the situation.

Q:  Why is there a gap between CN and Global in the first place?  Why is the "Summer" event the Global Anniversary event in the middle of January?

A:  This isn't directly related to the current drama, but it provides some background and is a pretty common question, so I'll take the space to address it briefly here.

You are probably aware that the global servers (JP, KR, and EN) all run approximately six months behind CN.  What you might not know is that the global servers actually launched *nine* months after CN, not six.  The initial pace of events on global was extremely fast, and Yostar even said that they intended for the servers to be in the same place.

Of course, that never happened, or we wouldn't be here having this discussion.

Why is an open question.  The most common suggestion that I’m aware of is that CN was unhappy with the slow pace of releases, which forced Hypergryph to accelerate the CN schedule.  This in turn made it impossible for Yostar to catch up.  It’s anyone’s guess how true this is, and COVID peaking shortly after the release no doubt also influenced things.  Regardless, the gap was narrowed from nine months to the current six before Global’s release pace evened out with that of CN.  This three month difference between launch’s lag time and the current lag time is why our Anniversary events are actually the Summer and CNY events instead of the proper Anniversary events.

The more you know.

Q:  What do we know for sure about the upcoming global schedule?

A:  A few dates were datamined with the Ideal City patch.  Technically speaking, these dates are subject to change; however, that hasn't happened with datamined dates before, so in all likelihood, these are accurate:

  • Trials for Navigator was datamined to release on Jan 20th (since confirmed).
  • Contingency Contract #10 - Ashring was datamined to release on Feb 3rd (since confirmed).
  • Dossoles Holiday Rerun was datamined to release on Feb 28th (still unconfirmed).

Since event lengths don't change, we also know their end dates, and thus the length of any gaps between them.  In this case, we know that CC#10 will end two weeks later on Feb 17th, leaving an 11-day gap between CC#10 and the DH rerun.

We also knew the Record Restore date for Twilight of Wolumonde was Feb 3rd.  On CN, this came with DV, which led to speculation that DV would run at the same time as CC.  However, we now know that this is not the case, and that the TW Record Restore has been moved up alone.

** NEW ** As of the Feb 3rd patch, we now also know the Record Restore date for Rewinding Breeze.  The date for this will be Feb 17th (the date CC#10 ends).  On CN, this came with the To Be Continued event, however no other information directly related to TBC itself has been found.

Anything else, be it from me or another person, is speculative.

Q:  Alright, given that background, what happened to Dorothy's Vision?

A:  After that first year of chaos, things have been more or less even in pace.  For nearly two years (since W’s release), we have had the same order of events with only minor variation around the anniversaries, so that anniversary events fall on the actual anniversary dates.  In fact, we have consistently been at around 180 days off of CN since as far back as Eunectes, with only a week or so variation in either direction.

This all changed beginning with Stultifera Navis.  You see, Hypergryph (the game creator and CN publisher) realized that for many people, CC was effectively downtime.  Sure, there are some people that play hard, aiming for the highest risk possible.  Most, however, do not. CCs have no story, no new characters, and relatively little broad appeal.  Most players do their Risk 18 and call it there.  Only the daily maps keep things interesting, but even those don't draw people in like a full event.  So what did HG do?  A logical thing many people had been asking for.  They overlapped CC#9 with the end of Stultifera Navis and the beginning of the Under Tides rerun.  This was a popular choice, as the reruns are often also dead time to older players.  CCs into reruns are a drag!  It was often four weeks of relatively uninteresting dead time for many players.

However, Yostar (the global publisher) did not follow suit.  On global they ran SN into the UT rerun into CC#9 sequentially, and even added some downtime in between. In the span of three events we went from 186 days behind to 201 by the start of Lingering Echoes.

At the time, it wasn't the big news it is right now; however, many people noticed it.  I even wrote about it in the Lingering Echoes Mastery update.  Because of these delays and because the anniversary date is relatively inflexible, there wasn't enough time to run Dorothy's Vision in the same order.  Worse yet, HG repeated itself on CN with the simultaneous run of CC#10 and Ideal City, while Yostar has again shown an unwillingness to follow suit.  Meaning even more delays ahead.  Were we keeping pace, we'd have already had DV and be in the second week of CC#10 already!

Below are two charts that I hope will illustrate the differences in schedule that Yostar's refusal to overlap has caused.  The first shows the time frame from Stultifera Navis through Lingering Echoes on each server (CN on left, global on right).  The second shows Ideal City, CC#10, and DH.

Keep in mind that two full events (Dorothy's Vision and To Be Continued) are not reflected here.  While the two global calendars would flow into each other, there’s three weeks of missing content between the CN calendars, so there's an additional three weeks to make up!

Schedule comparison between CN and Global - SN through LE
Schedule comparison between CN and Global - IC, CC 10, and DH rerun

Q:  Why are people upset about this?

A:  This will vary quite a bit depending on who you ask.  Different people have different opinions on what matters to them here.

Some people are simply fans of the characters and have been looking forward to them for a while.  Rhine Labs is a popular faction, but one without a lot of screentime.  All three new units are also relatively popular.  Dorothy is a fun character with an interesting kit.  Astgenne is the long awaited twin of the popular-since-almost-launch Astesia.  Even Greyy is a popular character, with some happy he has a usable alt.

Others are looking forward to the Modules that come with Dorothy’s Vision.  I'm also a big fan of Dorothy, but this is largely where I fall.  The Marksmen Modules are relatively low key, but powerful.  For those of us who use Marksmen a lot, it's frustrating how close they are.  Instead we have to work through pretty difficult content without them.  Many of the most popular characters in the game are Marksmen, which only furthers the frustration.  

Still others are upset about the lack of parity between the servers.  For those that push the very end-game, it can be frustrating to not have access to the full set of tools that CN had.  It is annoying enough during difficult event stages (like with IC), but it will become a more prominent issue during CC#10.  At the higher risks, we will not have anywhere near the same amount of Module resources as CN.  We will have had 3 less cycles of SSS and none of the Module parts from the DV shop.  In addition, while the DV units and Modules may not appear in the higher risks, they do appear in the various niche clears.  All of this will make a difference in what the global servers are capable of compared to CN, and that matters to a lot of people.

Then there are those simply frustrated at the slowing pace.  Many people have long wished to be even with CN.  It makes no sense for us to be getting summer banners in January, and Chinese New Year Banners in August.  Waiting at all, no matter how unavoidable, is inherently frustrating.  Recent delays have introduced a pretty significant difference that only puts us further away.  Plus some of the events like CCs and reruns tend to drag.  Hypergryph began overlapping events for a reason.

Finally, the biggest frustration is that this was entirely avoidable.  Yostar's schedule management is perplexing, and there seems to be little sense in how they have laid things out.  For what purpose has this all happened?  To baby some of the newer players by avoiding overlapping events?  For much of the older player base, the whole thing is nonsensical.

I’m sure I missed some reasons too.  Feel free to share your gripes in the comments.

Q:  You ok there Tac?

A:  I just want my April Module!  The Module story is so bittersweet too.  She's so good ;_;

Q:  Did you write this whole article just to complain about April's Module?

A:  No!  I also did it so I could finally put her in a header image.

Q:  I heard Mlynar is now coming before Dorothy, is that true?  What's in that gap between CC and the DH rerun?

A:  No, Mlynar will (probably) not be coming first.  Before the CC patch today (Feb 3rd) I already thought that this was unlikely, but possible.  However the Record Restore date datamined from the CC patch does some serious damage to this theory.  In fact, I had to re-write this section this morning before this article went up!  I'm tempted to cut it entirely, however since the theory was a hot topic over the last week, I'll still take the time to address it here.

This theory was put forth by a popular Twitter account and caught fire from there.  Essentially, the logic went, there was an 11 day gap in the datamined days and the DH rerun after has no associated banner.  Mlynar's event is only a seven day event, so the event itself would fit cleanly into the gap, and the 14 day banner wouldn't conflict with any other banner.  Further, it would keep at least one 6★ per month to help with revenue flow.

It was a pretty reasonable theory, but I never really bought it for a few reasons.  It just didn't make any sense to do it like that.  While Yostar's scheduling decisions often seem very perplexing and frustrating, they do follow some measure of logic.  The Mlynar first theory only works because of the DH rerun date.  If you ignore the rerun date, there's no reason for Mlynar to come before Dorothy.  The rerun dates aren't beholden to anything in particular, so there isn't actually any reason to run the events like this.

I don't think there's much merit to the "one 6★ per month" thing, either.  If DV starts after the DH rerun, the gap from the end of IC is 35 days.  That's a long gap, but not unheard of.  There were 41 days between the original DH run and Saileach, and a whopping 49 days between Nearl and Gnosis.  Granted those two gaps did have rerun banners during them. However, the idea that Yostar *must* run a new 6★ each calendar month doesn't have much actual basis.

Ultimately, while the idea did have merit, it made far more sense that TBC or potentially dead time would be in the gap.  Now that we know the date of the Record Restore that came with TBC, that seems even more likely to be the case.  Technically speaking it is still possible for Mlynar to be in this gap.  They've shown they are willing to move Record Restore dates already by moving the TW Record Restore up.  However at this point it seems very unlikely.

Q:  Is it possible for Dorothy to overlap with CC and into the gap?

A:  No.  I was a proponent of this theory until very recently.  I thought it made a decent amount of sense and paced things nicely.  However it was announced that the CC#10 maintenance will only be a short 10 minute one.  They would not want to put a full length 3-6 hour maintenance required for an event like DV in the middle of CC, so the short maintenance here effectively kills this theory.

Q:  Okay, so the big question:  When is Dorothy's Vision?

A:  I always hesitate to make firm predictions.  There is a lot still up in the air which makes predictions difficult, and everyone loves to dogpile on you when you're wrong.  However it would be a shame to have written all of this and not predict something, plus the Rewinding Breeze Record Restore date makes a certain outcome much more likely.

The most likely outcome, based on what we currently know, is that To Be Continued fills the gap between Contingency Contract #10 and the Dossoles Holiday Rerun.  In this case, Dorothy's Vision likely starts immediately after the DH rerun on March 10th, or the week after.  There is no reason now for Yostar to place Mlynar first, nor any reason to further delay Dorothy, especially after such a long gap in banners.  I have also considered that the gap could be deadtime, however even if this were the case, Dorothy would still likely run immediately or shortly after the DH rerun.

Schedule Prediction for Dorothy's Vision

Q:  Now I'm hearing that Mlynar could be after Texas Alter???

A:  This is a topic worth its own article, and any predictions here are far more tenuous.  I'll touch on it very briefly to close things out though.  Essentially because of all the delays I laid out above, things would have to be very compact in order to fit all of the events before the usual spring Limited date.  If Dorothy indeed starts on March 10th, she won't end until March 24th.  The spring Limited is usually at the end of April, so that only leaves a month to fit in Mlynar, IS#3, the Chapter 11 Warm-up Banner, and Stainless / Chapter 11.  Something has to give here, and Mlynar seems the most likely.

I'm on the fence about this possibility.  While Rosmontis and Nearl both happened in late April, there's nothing special about this date as far as the game goes.  There's no Anniversary date to try to line up with like with Ideal City.  It does, however, coincide with Golden Week in Japan.  We don't really know if this is on purpose or just a nice coincidence due to the three month offset I talked about above.  Regardless, Yostar may want to keep Il Siracusano there due to Golden Week, and if they do keep it late April, then either Mlynar or Stainless has to move.  Since the Texas banner units use new materials released with Chapter 11 and Stainless, then it seems more likely that Mlynar will be the delay victim here.

It is *really* difficult to predict that far ahead though, so we'll have to wait and see how things unfold.


Anyways, that’s all.  See you for the next Mastery update, whichever event it may be!

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About the Author(s)

Lost redditor, April simp, and Mastery guru
/u/TacticalBreakfast, TacticalBreakfast#1637 on Discord, or TacticalBreakf1 on Twitter. Note twitter may contain NSFW content.