Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Where Next?

In these first days of August, Blizzard has announced they will reveal the next WoW expansion on Aug. 6 This is really important for Blizzard to do at this time, but it's hard to say if it's soon enough.  

Typically, Blizzard reveals new WoW expansions at Blizzcon, but waiting another four months for a reveal would be a disaster for developers trying to avoid the 14-month stalemate we had with The Siege of Orgrimmar at the end of Mists of Pandaria. Moving up an announcement to next week
would be the bare minimum they would need to accelerate the next expansion's release.

But, does this accelerate the expansion enough? 

We can only generalize about the history of past expansions, but Blizzard hasn't let 10 to 12 months passed between an announcement and the release of the new expansion. There's nothing saying they can't do better, and maybe they will this time. But,following this historical trend, we really wouldn't expect to see the new expansion before next summer.

And that's not much better than the last time. It also depends on fairly flawless execution by the blizzard developers.

So, I'm not saying that it will be a year before we get an expansion, just that the historical trends are not favoring us. 

What's it going to be?

Blizzard announced its present at games in Germany a few weeks ago and everybody immediately started speculating that there would be a war craft expansion announcement there. Strangely though, I never saw anybody saying they had leaked information until the expansion announcement was made today. So honestly, I doubt anything that claims to be the inside scoop is for real. But hey! Here's a few things that I'd like to hope for going into next week's announcement.

I know this is about another game,
but the sentiment still holds.
No more orcs – I think this message is been received loud and clear. We've had to expansions of primarily Orc antagonism. I think Blizzard gets it that we're sort of over it right now.

No more trolls – there has been some "leaks" that the Zandalari problem could rise to the forefront of things we have to take care of. I hope not. Troll lore has figured into every single expansion so far except for Warlords of Draenor. I'm not ready for that break to be over. And I don't want another raid tier of gear that makes my shaman look like a witch doctor voodoo kewpie doll.

The Emerald dream? – this potential expansion was initially undertaken in part way back during the vanilla era. But it has never come to fruition. I see no reason why they couldn't come back to this now, except I have no idea what the lore situation is anymore. Malfurion Stormrage and presumably the majority of the druids have left the Emerald dream for the past several years. Even Ysera, Queen of the green dragons has left the emerald dream (and, I believe she has become depowered as well.) Maybe that's the whole problem: nobody's minding the shop. The conclusion of the novel Stormrage suggested that there was an old God presence within the Emerald dream. So, if we're not going there for the next expansion, we're still bound to end up going sometime.

The South Seas – there are a lot of very good lands to explore in Azeroth I have not yet come up in World of Warcraft. The goblin homeland of Kezan, whatever islands the Zandalari are occupying, and Jaina Proudmoore's homeland of Kul'Tiras come to mind. Kul'Tiran humans have a lot to be aggrieved of in the current world order. They could make very good prime antagonists. Speaking of which…

The Alliance/Horde war– I hope The treaty holds. This long cycle of the two factions fighting for a bit and then coming together to find a big bad only to go back to fighting and then make up again has gotten very old and a little ridiculous. Having to break Horde blockades with my fleet makes no sense in the current story of Draenor and whatever reasons there are to tussle in Ashram have been nonessential to the story. I guess if there has to be PVP, then we'll  just have to say, "there is PVP," but there's no compelling story reason for the Alliance and the Horde to just keep taking meaningless swings at one another.

Argus or another Planet - Argus is the original home of the Draenei and probably current home of Kil'Jaden and/or Archimonde (I'm highly unclear if Archi is alive in any continuity). It seems unlikely since we just got a nice big helping of Draenei story. But just where are Turalyon and Alleria, the heroes of the Second War who slilpped into the Twisting Nether when Draenor was pulled apart,  anyway? "Out There" somewhere and it'd be good to get a look at them after all these years too. I'd be happy to just go to new planet, without the time travel, but it would be somewhat random. Apart from Ethereals or where all these other demons came from, we don't have a lot of lead-in for where that could be.

The Burning Legion or the Old Gods - See, at this point, every patch is going to tie back to either The Burning Legion or The Old Gods. They are the two ultimate big bads of our little shared universe here. The thing is: neither of these parties are really capable of making a full-on assault by themselves. They need somebody working on their side from inside Azeroth to get anything done. So, while we will no doubt see machinations by both of these groups, it's still really a matter of what party in Azeroth will be most likely to be working on their behalf. Which brings us to...

Azshara - The Queen of the Naga is one of the last major classic antagonists standing in Azeroth and she has dealings with both Old Gods and Burning Legion. She'd also be the prime antagonist of any "Sea" based expansion. 

So, that's where my money is: South Seas, Azshara and I'm not sure whether it will escalate to an Old God fight or a Burning Legion one, but that's become the norm: Blizzard shows us one set of goals and it escalates into something bigger. I can't think of any route for Blizzard to take that wouldn't also repeat the major themes of one of the past two expansions. 

That said, I really wouldn't mind an off-world adventure to who-knows-where. Just chasing remnants of the Burning Legion would be a fun thing to do and it doesn't have to escalate into a major crisis so long as the story stays compelling.

1 comment:

  1. In Feralas, south of the island that holds the Ruins of Feathermoon, there used to be a large island. I stealthed all over this island in years past, before Blizzard closed it to exploration. It had a Emerald Dream portal on it. This sort of makes sense since the entire area, in fact the whole coast, it Night Elf historic.

    Following on from Merinna's musings, I wonder if this island will be opened up again and for part of an Emerald Dream expansion. I certainly hope so.