Speculation about Future Expansions and PatchesEdit
Let's face it: I'm a fan of the WoW lore. I got the "Loremaster" title early on. It's a really engaging and intricate story. I like to think about what might happen, and I enjoy playing "Wouldn't it be cool if ...?" So my speculations about future events are all about what would be the coolest thing I can think of -- the most awesome game experiences I can imagine.
Speculation about Warlords of DraenorEdit
Not Speculation: After Garrosh's defeat in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, while he's imprisoned, a mysterious character came to him and helped him escape by sending him back in time 35 years to Draenor, before the orcs drank the blood of Mannoroth that gave them their demonic blood lust (and turned them green). Garrosh's actions prevented the orcs from doing this, instead bringing them knowledge of advanced siege technology. They opened some form of portal to Azeroth, and this alternate version of the Horde invaded Azeroth at about the same time that they did so in the original timeline, and the result was the same, generally speaking: war began between orcs and humans, involving the other races of Azeroth and Draenor as well. However, with the knowledge they got from Garrosh, this new Iron Horde posed a much more serious threat. The players had to go back in time to try to defend an unprepared Azeroth and set things right. Blizzard announced all of this well in advance.
As far as we know there will be no new classes or races, but if that is true, this will be the first expansion without a new class or race. After all, BC added the Blood Elf and Draenei races, WotLK added the Death Knight class, Cata added Goblin and Worgen races, and MoP added both the new Monk class and the new both-faction Pandaren race. Every expansion has added new character creation options so far. Blizzard is in fact working on revamping the character models of the original and Burning Crusade races to bring them up to the level of detail that the Cataclysm and MoP races have.
At any rate, it is still unclear exactly when the process of the orcs' corruption is halted. In the original timeline, more and more demons are summoned to Draenor through more and more portals until the world is overrun with them and the portals begin to tear apart the world's fabric itself. But if only a few demons have been summoned and no real portals are open yet, that means the demons won't be able to overrun Draenor. Whose plan is this? My speculation is that Kairos, like Medivh, is possessed by the spirit of Sargeras, or at the very least is being manipulated by Kil'Jaeden, and he's doing this as part of a plan to destroy Azeroth, not really caring about Draenor at all. Of course, I could be wrong.
It's all but an open secret that the "mysterious character" is Kairoz, whose name comes from the Greek word kairos, meaning time in the sense of a moment or experience, as opposed to chronos, meaning time in the sense of a period or interval. (I actually already knew about these two words before Mists of Pandaria even came out, due to researching it for a non-WoW story I co-wrote.) Some are trying to say that there was actually a Greek god named Kairos, but I'm not sure about that. Still, there were two separate concepts of time in Greek thought: the amount of time measured by a clock, and the moments in time experienced by people who make choices and assign meanings to their actions.
At any rate, Kairoz may be Sargeras reborn, now able to travel in time. This may lead to a chain of events that brings Sargeras back for real, the Dark Titan, on Azeroth, where it will take lots of powerful heroes to stop him from destroying the world. The way the WoD expansion is looking, we're charging through a portal into the past of another planet (possibly the past of an alternate version of another planet) to fight some orcs there, which isn't really that epic a storyline, even if there's a threat that this might destabilize time somehow if not checked. After all, it's still fighting orcs. There will probably be more details to the storyline, but I'm not seeing an overall epicness here. Where's the Burning Legion? Where are the Old Gods? Where's any concept of making some sort of progress against the forces that have been threatening to destroy the world since the beginning, forces that are still out there, forces that this seems to be a distraction from?
And that's my prediction, really, at this point: this will all be a distraction from something else, something that is the real threat. In the legendary quest sequence in MoP, Wrathion believes that a threat is coming, a larger threat to the entire world of Azeroth, and although he doesn't state what it is, he does show us an image of green fireballs hurtling toward the world from outside, evoking the image of an invading storm of Infernals. He seems to imply that the Burning Legion is coming back. And, in metagame terms, it's about time: the Legion hasn't been a serious threat since the Burning Crusade expansion, and they're not gone, so it's certainly been long enough for them to come up with a plan. Since Kil'Jaeden the Deceiver is still in charge of the Legion, it's probably going to be a convoluted and ingenious plan that we won't see coming. Except that we know it's Kil'Jaeden's plan, so we kind of do see it. But the Burning Legion needs to be able to find Azeroth in order to invade directly, and they've never been able to do that. They don't have Azeroth's coordinates, so to speak, in the Twisting Nether. They've had to rely on someone from Azeroth summoning them or opening some kind of portal, and the problem with portals is that the weaker the portal, the weaker the demons that can pass through it. Sargeras never really made it into Azeroth because Azshara never fully completed the spell to summon him through the Well of Eternity, which would have been the only doorway big enough for the Dark Titan to fit through. It took a portal big enough to destroy Dalaran for Archimonde to get through. No, the only way to really attack a planet is for the Legion to actually find it within the Twisting Nether, and this plan might somehow be a way to do that. Either that, or Wrathion's warning referred to the expansion after WoD.
Speculation about Future ExpansionsEdit
What has Gone Before: Original WoWEdit
In original WoW, the world of Azeroth faced several threats. I've attempted to list every threat faced in an instance below, grouping some into categories, along with their status by the end of original WoW (i.e. the release of the Burning Crusade expansion).
- The Alliance and the Horde see each other as threats (status: alive)
- The Atal'ai Trolls, priests of Hakkar (status: defeated)
- The Black Dragonflight
- Deathwing (status: unknown; some believe him to be dead, but others aren't sure)
- Onyxia (Onyxia's Lair), Deathwing's daughter (status: defeated)
- Nefarian (Blackwing Lair), Deathwing's son (status: defeated)
- Other black dragonkin leaders (Upper Blackrock Spire) (status: defeated, with the death of General Drakkisath)
- Miscellaneous other black dragons (status: alive, scattered around, mainly in Burning Steppes)
- The Burning Legion
- Kil'jaeden the Deceiver (status: alive, out in the Twisting Nether, and probably actively plotting to destroy Azeroth)
- Demon cults of the Shadow Council, such as the Burning Blade and Mannoroc Coven (Ragefire Chasm) (status: alive; some groups have been defeated but others remain at large)
- "Leftover" demon leaders such as Kazzak, Razelikh, Varimathras, Lord Vyletongue, Alzzin the Wildshaper and Lord Banehollow (Maraudon, Dire Maul East) (status: some defeated, others alive)
- The Dark Horde, remnants of the pre-Thrall Horde from the First and Second Wars (Lower Blackrock Spire, Upper Blackrock Spire) (status: defeated, with the death of Rend Blackhand, War Master Voone, etc.)
- The Defias Brotherhood of Elwynn Forest, Westfall and Duskwood (The Deadmines) (status: defeated, after the death of their leader Edwin VanCleef)
- The Lich King, the Plague and the Scourge (Razorfen Downs,Scholomance, Stratholme) (status: alive -- some powerful Scourge leaders were dealt with, but others remained, and the Lich King launched an attack on all major cities and several zones of Azeroth at one point)
- The Naga and their Murloc servants (Blackfathom Deeps) (status: alive)
- The Old Gods and their servants
- C'thun and the Qiraji (Ahn'Qiraj) (status: unknown -- C'thun was defeated, but it might only have been an avatar, although it seems likely that C'thun was at least weakened by the defeat)
- Ragnaros and the Dark Iron Dwarves (Gnomeregan, Blackrock Depths, Molten Core) (status: defeated)
- Ragnaros's counterparts, the other Elemental Lords Al'Akir, Neptulon and Therazane (status: unknown)
- The Twilight's Hammer cult (Blackfathom Deeps) (status: alive; some groups have been defeated, but others remain at large)
- As many as 4 other Old Gods may be unaccounted for: one under Blackfathom Deeps, one under Tirisfal Glades, one under the Maelstrom, and one under Northrend (status: alive)
- The defeated Old God at the Master's Glaive in Darkshore may not be completely dead; the Titans who slew it neither disposed of the corpse nor removed the weapon from it, so it may be that if the weapon were removed it might revive (status: unknown)
- The Serpentine Nightmare within the Emerald Dream (Wailing Caverns, Sunken Temple), which Malfurion Stormrage has declared to be the doing of the Old Gods (status: alive)
- The Scarlet Crusade (Scarlet Monastery, Stratholme) (status: alive, though some of its more extreme leaders were defeated and some elements of the Crusade reluctantly joined forces with the Argent Dawn against the Scourge)
- The Worgen
What has Gone Before: The Burning CrusadeEdit
The Burning Crusade expansion dealt with the Burning Legion in a way, but only an avatar of Kil'jaeden was destroyed in the final Sunwell Plateau instance; the real Kil'jaeden is still out there and still seeks to destroy Azeroth. Also, the dark Titan Sargeras may still be alive out in the Twisting Nether, plotting to return and lead the Legion to rain catastrophe across the universe. Also, it was confirmed in that expansion that Deathwing is very much alive and is scheming behind the scenes. Meanwhile, a mysterious force known as the Infinite Dragonflight has besieged time itself, seeking to alter key historical events (Caverns of Time). And as revealed by Harbinger Skyriss in the Arcatraz instance, the beings we know as the Old Gods and their Qiraji servants are not unique to Azeroth but rule multiple worlds, possibly posing a greater threat than the Burning Legion itself. The Amani Trolls rose up, retaking their ancient fortress of Zul'Aman, but they were defeated -- for now.
- The Alliance and Horde still see each other as threats (status: alive)
- The Black Dragonflight
- Deathwing (status: alive)
- Lady Sinestra (status: alive)
- The Burning Legion
- Kil'jaeden (status: alive -- his partially-summoned avatar was defeated, but he's still alive and still in charge of the Legion)
- Sargeras (status: unknown -- still no indication that he is still alive, but it's hard to count him out)
- The Infinite Dragonflight (status: alive)
- The Amani Trolls (status: alive -- though their leaders are dead, the rank and file still live and may yet cause trouble again)
- The Old Gods
- Other Old Gods on other worlds? (status: unknown)
What has Gone Before: The Wrath of the Lich KingEdit
The Wrath of the Lich King expansion resulted in the defeat of Arthas as the Lich King but revealed that if the Scourge isn't going to run rampant across the world, someone much be Lich King, and currently that someone is Bolvar Fordragon, who almost died at the Wrath Gate but was saved by the Red Dragonflight. The expansion revealed the name of another of the Old Gods (Yogg-Saron, who was imprisoned beneath Northrend but could still stretch forth its power); it was defeated in the Ulduar raid, but as with C'thun it's difficult to say whether an Old God can really be permanently killed. Also, the Twilight Dragonflight was the result of Deathwing and Sinestra's experiments with magically altering Black Dragonflight eggs with energy from a captured Nether Dragon in order to produce a race of dragons that could rule the world. The events in the Obsidian Sanctum raid seemed to put a dent in Deathwing's plans, but the Twilight Dragonflight attacked again in the Ruby Sanctum raid, so they're clearly not finished.
- The Alliance and Horde still see each other as threats (status: alive), with matters exacerbated by the Wrathgate incident
- The Black Dragonflight
- Deathwing (status: alive)
- Lady Sinestra (status: presumed dead; died in the process of bringing the Twilight Dragons into existence)
- Twilight Dragons (status: alive -- some died in the Obsidian Sanctum, but others are likely still around)
- Many other black dragons (status: alive, in the Obsidian Dragonshrine and other places)
- The Infinite Dragonflight (status: alive -- attacking the Bronze Dragonshrine and involved in Caverns of Time: The Culling of Stratholme)
- The Lich King and the Scourge (status: alive, but less of a threat -- with Arthas dead, Bolvar Fordragon has taken over as Lich King to keep the Scourge under control)
- The Naga (status: alive)
- The Old Gods
- Yogg-Saron (status: dead -- or as dead as an Old God can get)
- C'thun (status: dead -- but its spirit lives on, and there was at least one foiled attempt to resurrect it)
- At least two others, possibly three
- The Burning Legion -- they're still out there and still want to destroy Azeroth
- The Emerald Nightmare (status: alive -- it's still there and still driving Ysera insane)
What Has Gone Before: CataclysmEdit
The Cataclysm expansion resulted in the final death of Deathwing, but in the diminishing of the role of the dragons in the affairs of Azeroth; the Dragon Aspects have expended the power given to them by the Titans and are now ordinary dragons (or as ordinary as dragons can be). The Twilight's Hammer cult is smashed and scattered, but of course many individual members remain. Archbishop Benedictus turned out to be the ultimate leader of the cult, but he's now dead. Ragnaros and Al'Aqir are truly defeated, having been slain in their home planes. The only elemental lords still alive are Therazane and Neptulon, neither of them particularly loyal to the Old Gods. It turns out that the Infinite Dragonflight was led by a future version of Nozdormu, though whether it was an alternate future that is avoidable remains to be seen. It looks as if Thrall is stepping down as Warchief of the Horde for good; he's going to continue to lead the Earthen Ring shaman and perhaps have some kids. Meanwhile, Garrosh Hellscream's future as Warchief of the Horde is looking as if it will change the nature of the Horde, probably not for the better; will he destroy the very world he's trying to conquer? Meanwhile, the Zandalari Trolls have become a threat, taken over by Prophet Zul; their attempt to rekindle Zul'Gurub as a power center has been thwarted, but what else will they do to try to save themselves as their island of Zandalar slides into the Maelstrom?
- The Alliance and Horde still see each other as threats
- The Alliance is rightly worried about the Horde's extreme new Warchief, Garrosh Hellscream (status: alive)
- Meanwhile, the Darkspear Trolls actually reached out to the Alliance to help them stop the Zandalari in Zul'Gurub -- is Vol'jin a potential replacement for Thrall as a voice for peaceful reconciliation?
- The Black Dragonflight
- Deathwing (status: dead)
- Lady Sinestra (status: dead -- for real this time)
- Twilight Dragons (status: unknown -- there may be a few survivors, but not many, and it is unknown whether they can breed)
- Other black dragons (status: possibly dead -- most if not all of them seem to have been killed in battle, though there is one purified black dragon egg that is rescued via a quest in the Badlands)
- The Infinite Dragonflight (status: unknown -- they may have had an effect at other points in time that have not yet been discovered, but storywise their leader has been dealt with)
- The Naga and Queen Azshara (status: alive -- perhaps their plan to defeat Neptulon and rule the Abyssal Depths has failed, but they're still around)
- The Old Gods
- Yogg-Saron and C'thun (status: dead -- as dead as Old Gods get, anyway)
- Another one under Nazjatar, at the bottom of the Maelstrom; Queen Azshara is getting help from it (status: alive)
- One or perhaps two others (status: alive, but not much is known about them)
- Ragnaros and Al'Aqir (status: dead -- both killed in their home planes, so it's for real this time)
- The creature at the Master's Glaive in Darkshore (status: still dead -- it turned out not to have been an Old God, just one of their more powerful servants, and the Twilight's Hammer tried to resurrect it, but were stopped)
- The Twilight's Hammer Cult
- Cho'Gall (status: dead)
- Archbishop Benedictus (status: dead)
- The Neferset Tol'vir (status: alive, although their plans to destroy all other Tol'vir have been foiled)
- The Zandalari Trolls (status: alive -- their attempt to revitalize Zul'Gurub may have failed, but they're still around)
What Has Gone Before: Mists of PandariaEdit
This expansion started with introducing the Mogu as a threat, as apparently the Zandalari Trolls were allies of the Mogu in ancient times, and the Zandalari were reaching out to the Mogu for help, resurrecting Lei Shen and aiding him in attempting to take over Pandaria. This would have allowed the Zandalari to move to Pandaria and abandon their sinking island, but it was not to be, as Lei Shen was defeated by Alliance and Horde forces.
It also introduced another faction of the Old Gods' servants, the Mantid, although they served an Old God that we'd never heard of before, Y'Shaarj, who is already dead. The Titans were said to have attempted to kill one of the Old Gods, and came to the conclusion that they couldn't truly kill them without reorigination (wiping out all life on Azeroth and starting over). It appears that they did in fact kill Y'Shaarj, but they couldn't destroy his corrupting heart and locked it in a chamber beneath the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. It is also possible that Y'Shaarj, which is said to have had seven heads, is also the source of the seven Sha, and that the Sha are the reason why the Titans didn't kill any other Old Gods but imprisoned them instead -- killing an Old God releases its evil upon the world.
Garrosh Hellscream lived up to the worries of both the Alliance and Horde, succumbing completely to his megalomania. Destroying the beauty of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, Garrosh plundered the Titan chambers and despoiled the waters of the Vale with the heart of Y'Shaarj, then took it back with him to Orgrimmar along with a large amount of other Pandarian treasure. However, Vol'jin reached out again to the Alliance and formed an uneasy coalition of Alliance and Horde forces that stormed Orgrimmar and finally defeated Garrosh.
- The Alliance and Horde's status is unclear, now that the Horde is ruled by Vol'jin and Garrosh is no longer Warchief. The extreme element within the Horde has been defeated.
- The Sha are defeated, for now, but it is unclear whether they can be defeated permanently; as embodiments of negative emotion it's possible that they may need to be defeated repeatedly -- perhaps once a generation or the like.
- Sha of Doubt: Defeated in the Temple of the Jade Serpent instance
- Sha of Despair: Defeated at the Temple of the Red Crane during a quest sequence in Krasarang Wilds
- Sha of Anger: Defeated as a world boss in Kun-Lai Summit
- Sha of Violence: Defeated as a boss in the Shado-Pan Monastery instance
- Sha of Hatred: Defeated during a quest sequence in Townlong Steppes
- Sha of Fear: Defeated as a raid boss in Terrace of Endless Spring
- Sha of Pride: Defeated as a raid boss in Siege of Orgrimmar
- With the death of the Thunder King, the Mogu and the Zandalari Trolls are defeated, although there are still Mogu and Zandalari around, and the Prophet Zul is still very much alive.
- The Old Gods and their servants
- Old Gods themselves
- Y'Shaarj: Dead (or as dead as an Old God can be); killed by the Titans. Its heart remains, and the Sha may be the remnants of its seven heads.
- C'thun and Yogg-Saron: Dead, or as dead as an Old God can be.
- Another (N'Zoth?) beneath the Maelstrom: Alive
- Another beneath Blackfathom Deeps in Ashenvale?
- Another beneath Tirisfal Glades?
- The Mantid
- Empress Shek'Zir: Defeated as a raid boss in the Heart of Fear instance. A new Empress will probably succeed her, and with the defeat of the Sha of Fear she will probably be free from the Sha's influence, but we shall see.
- The Klaxxi: Appear to have been partially defeated by the Empress's forces. They then appear to have rekindled their loyalty to Y'Shaarj in the form of his removed heart, but are defeated by Alliance and Horde forces in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid.
- The Mantid usually swarm every 100 years and weren't due for a swarm for about 10 more years, but with the Empress's Sha-fueled push, they swarmed too early. It is unknown whether this will delay their swarming.
- Queen Azshara and the Naga: very much alive in their city of Nazjatar beneath the Maelstrom, but they didn't appear in this expansion.
- The Twilight's Hammer cult: still scattered around the world, but they didn't appear in this expansion.
- Deathwing and the Black Dragonflight: So far it seems there are no survivors, other than Wrathion, Deathwing's son, who says himself that he is the last black dragon, although he could be lying, of course. Wrathion, however, has yet to prove himself an enemy. On the contrary, he helps the adventurers defeat the Thunder King and Garrosh Hellscream. He seems to be worried about an upcoming threat to all Azeroth that the Alliance and Horde will have to unite to deal with.
- Old Gods themselves
- The Timeless Isle mystery: It is unknown what forces maintain the Timeless Isle's status outside of the passage of time. Kairoz is a mysterious figure; he seems to have organized a group of bronze dragons into the Timewalkers to investigate the Isle's properties, but the visions his hourglass shows the player are disturbing and seem to involve him. What does he really want with the Isle? Is he really a bronze dragon, or an impostor?
- The Burning Legion: The demons are definitely still out there and doing what demons do, which is destroy worlds. It is not a question of whether they will return to attack Azeroth, but when. However, they didn't appear in this expansion.
But here are my thoughts for however many expansions remain:
World of Warcraft: The World BeneathEdit
This is not "The Dark Below." This is something I came up with myself during the early Wrath of the Lich King days. And, of course, it is speculation based on what has really happened and what I think would be epic and cool. I have updated it to fit with current events, though.
The Zandalar Tribe, led by the Prophet Zul, are doing everything they can to prevent their island from falling into the Maelstrom. In the past (Cataclysm expansion) they have tried to call upon the power of Hakkar in Zul'Gurub, but that attempt was thwarted. They tried to help their Mogu allies reconquer Pandaria in exchange for being allowed to migrate there, but with the defeat of the Thunder King, Lei Shen, that also failed (Mists of Pandaria expansion). Here begins the speculation: In reality, since the Sundering ten thousand years ago, the Zandalari have been performing rituals that have kept their island afloat, but once the Cataclysm occurred, the rituals weren't powerful enough anymore, and the island's been inexorably sliding into the sea. The Zul'Gurub and Thunder King plans have failed, so the Zandalari forge an alliance with Queen Azshara of the Naga, whose city of Nazjatar lies beneath the Maelstrom, to aid her in exchange for saving them. But the price they must pay is shocking: to aid her, they will need to help her rekindle the Maelstrom into the Well of Eternity, and her aid will come in the form of transforming them into aquatic creatures, just as she and her people, once Night Elves, became Naga. Zandalar will live on, under the waves.
Sine the War of the Ancients, Queen Azshara has been brooding, in close proximity to an Old God -- one that was able to corrupt Neltharion during the war, turning him into Deathwing. Like any other leader she wants to save her people, but the Old God has told her that the only way her people can survive is for her and the Naga to serve the Old Gods as the new elemental lords of water, replacing the rebellious Neptulon. She tried to do this (Cataclysm expansion), assaulting Neptulon's Throne of the Tides, but failed. My speculation: Once the Well of Eternity is reborn, Queen Azshara plans to double-cross the Old Gods and use it to summon some powerful demon, perhaps even Sargeras, as it's impossible to be certain he's dead, because she wants her people to become demons and join the Burning Legion. Once the demons have a gateway to Azeroth, though, they'll be free to summon as many of their number as they want, and the Legion will destroy the world.
This would basically be a rekindling of the War of the Ancients, with the world's races trying to stop the Naga from doing this, only this time there would be no Dragon Aspects to help. The Prophet Zul and Queen Azshara must be stopped at all costs. The players will be able to visit the newly-inundated island of Zandalar, attacking the transformed trolls and their leader Zul, before moving on to attack Nazjatar and Queen Azshara herself ... and whatever lies beyond.
Many of the world's islands will become visitable zones, including Tel'Abim, Undermine (assuming it's a different island from Zandalar), and the Tomb of Sargeras, and we will finally learn what happened to the island-chain nation of Kul Tiras, once one of the seven human kingdoms (Jaina Proudmoore is from there, and yet we hardly know anything about it). Players will be able to purchase and otherwise obtain oceangoing mounts that can safely navigate Fatigue water, from ships to tamed ocean-dwelling creatures to a buffed aquatic form for Druids. Ship-to-ship combat would become a possibility. A new profession of Woodworking will be added, which at high levels of mastery allows players to create wooden sailing vessels (perhaps one piece at a time, requiring quite a lot of time in order to complete a ship), but also allows the harvesting of wood for use by enchanters to create wands (and finally the wands they create will be decent ones). Woodworkers will also be able to create staves and bows.
There will be raids on Zandalar (with the Prophet Zul as the final boss), Nazjatar (with Queen Azshara as the final boss) and the Tomb of Sargeras, as well as probably other island and undersea locations, featuring Naga forces riding the giant sea creatures that have washed up dead on beaches around the world.
World of Warcraft: Return of the TitansEdit
As stated at Uldum in part of the Discs of Norgannon quest, the Titans intend to return to Azeroth someday. And, as we discover in the Halls of Stone instance, the Curse of Flesh that transformed the Titans' servants into the Gnomes, Dwarves, Humans (via the Vrykul) and other races of today was not part of the Titans' design but was caused by the Old Gods when they arrived on Azeroth. This final expansion of World of Warcraft is the perfect time for the Titans to return and confront the Old Gods once and for all, but will the Titans also be a threat to the peoples of Azeroth?
Since it is the final expansion, the opportunity exists for Blizzard to change the face of Azeroth forever. Sooner or later another Warcraft game (or perhaps a World of Warcraft II) will follow in WoW's footsteps and pick up the remaining plot threads, but as the end of WoW, this patch's developments will have to be nothing short of cataclysmic.
The Return of the TitansEdit
The Titans return and are of split opinions on what to do with the races that have come to live on Azeroth (including the Orcs and Draenei, which only migrated there recently), but they are suddenly beset on all sides and have no choice but to rely on them for help ...
The Awakening of the Old GodsEdit
The Old Gods have been waiting for the opportunity to get their revenge on the Titans for their long imprisonment at the Titans' hands. Springing an elaborate trap, they prevent the Titans from simply leaving Azeroth the way they came, and they break free from their prisons, causing unimaginable destruction as the forces of the Titans and of Azeroth struggle desperately to stop them.
The Return of SargerasEdit
At the same time, the Burning Legion's minions on Azeroth come out of hiding to reveal that Sargeras is very much alive and is coming. In the first content patch after the expansion releases, Burning Legion minions manage to summon him through one of Ner'zhul's old portals to Outland, where he gathers his forces for his next move. In the next content patch, he storms the Dark Portal and stands in the Blasted Lands, marshaling his armies for the next step. And finally, in a subsequent content patch, Sargeras walks the face of Azeroth, summoning hordes of demons with a thought and destroying any opposition he encounters with a wave of his hand. It will truly take the aid of the Titans to stop him, and by this time there are enough max-level characters to form a raid that might, just possibly, be able to take him down. When he attacks a zone, though, he destroys it -- leaving nothing but flaming ruins in his wake.
Destructible and Rescuable ZonesEdit
For characters not involved in these storylines because of being too low level, the world appears normal thanks to phasing. However, if players are of the appropriate level range to play this expansion, they instead see periodic attacks on most of the world's zones from the Old Gods and the Burning Legion (and in some of them, perhaps fighting between the two). There will be perhaps weekly quests that enough players must do in a zone to prevent its destruction, though only some zones will be attacked each week. If the forces of evil are not repelled, then the zone is destroyed: there will be no flight paths or NPCs of any faction, and buildings will be replaced by ruins. Or perhaps they will be replaced with another set of NPCs, who give players another set of quests to try to repair the damage and rebuild the towns. This state lasts until the next weekly reset, when a different set of zones will be attacked. Nearly every zone in the world will be affected by this, but as I said, if you are low enough level to be questing in those zones, you won't even see any of this.
Transformation of the BattlegroundsEdit
Every Battleground for brackets above the expansion's starting level will be changed to include an extra element: while the battle between Horde and Alliance is going on, there is also some form of attack from either the Old Gods' servants or the Burning Legion demons, bent on simply destroying the players regardless of faction. Simultaneously, the Titans have representatives in the area who will grant advantages of some kind to those who defeat Old Gods or Burning Legion units.
Retro-Speculation: Was I Right?Edit
In the past I've speculated about upcoming expansions. Here I look at whether I was accurate, or how close I came.
The Burning CrusadeEdit
Blizzard told us that the Dark Portal would open and this expansion would focus on the remains of the planet Draenor and the Burning Legion. The character Illidan Stormrage would be a major factor, they said, and it wasn't long before it leaked out that the Blood Elves, or a faction of them at least, would join the Horde and become the new Horde race.
Speculation was running rampant about what new race Blizzard would add for the Alliance, however. Some were hoping for Worgen, with the lengthy and world-spanning Scythe of Elune quest sequence, and the zone of Gilneas existing within the game but undeveloped. Some were looking at the unfinished Timbermaw Hold areas in Azshara and thinking it would be the Timbermaw Furbolg. Some were thinking it would be the Draenei, which at the time were small, gray, wrinkled beings found in the Swamp of Sorrows and the Blasted Lands (it's now known that these are the subspecies of Draenei known as the Lost).
Right: Latitude of New Alliance CityEdit
Well, I predicted correctly the latitude of the new Alliance city. Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms had major cities at parallel latitudes -- Stormwind and Mulgore are approximately even, vertically speaking, as are Ironforge and Orgrimmar. However, Darnassus was far to the north without a real mirror image on the eastern continent -- until you considered Silvermoon, which was obviously going to be the Blood Elf city. That left the Undercity as the only major city without a parallel. Clearly, I speculated, the new Alliance city would be in Kalimdor and at about the same latitude as the Undercity. But where horizontally would it be? Placing it in Azshara or some island off the eastern coast would put it too close to Orgimmar, so that left putting it in the then-undeveloped zone of Hyjal or somewhere off the western coast. That lent support to the furbolg theory, as the Timbermaw Furbolg's tunnels could easily go under Hyjal, so perhaps they had a city there. If the city were on some island off the west coast of Kalimdor, however, the new race could really be anything. I was undecided about which of the two locations was more likely.
Semi-Right: New Alliance RaceEdit
I also speculated that, since the demons of the Burning Legion would be major enemies and that the Warcraft universe usually has an equal and opposite for each faction, Blizzard would be introducing some sort of opposite number to the demons -- the Warcraft universe's equivalent of angels, if you will. Perhaps these would be the new Alliance race. Thus, my speculation was that the new race would not be furbolgs, but a newly-created race we'd never seen before that would follow the Light and stand in opposition to the Burning Legion.
As it turned out, they fooled us all. The new race was the Draenei, but with a retconned backstory. In the original lore, it was stated that the Eredar were a supremely evil and powerful race that corrupted Sargeras when he encountered him, turning him into the fallen Titan that he later was and causing him to found the Burning Legion. Chris Metzen claimed that he had "forgotten" about this when he wrote the background for the Draenei: in the new version, Sargeras was already corrupt and the Legion already existed when he found Argus, the world of the Eredar. He corrupted most of them, and they joined the Legion, becoming demons, including two of their most powerful, Archimonde and Kil'Jaeden, who became his generals. However, a renegade faction of uncorrupted Eredar, led by the Prophet Velen, fled from Argus with the help of a Light-following race called the Naaru. This faction called themselves the Draenei, which meant "Exiles" in their language. They finally found a world to settle on that hadn't yet been touched by the demons, and called it Draenor, meaning "Place of Exile." Of course, the Legion eventually found Draenor thousands of years later, and in the ensuing chaos many of the Draenei were corrupted, their bodies twisted and broken by demonic magic, becoming the Broken and Lost subspecies. The Naaru returned in their great ship, Tempest Keep, with its satellite ships, the Botanica, the Exodar, the Mechanar, and the Arcatraz, to rescue the remaining Draenei, but a force of Blood Elves led by Kael'thas attacked and took control of Tempest Keep, kidnapping one of the Naaru and taking it back to Silvermoon. A Draenei counterattack managed to retake the Exodar, but its controls were damaged, and it crashlanded on Azeroth, on some islands off the western coast of Kalimdor, where the Exodar remains, serving as the Draenei city.
So, I was right about the latitude of the new city, and it was in one of the two place I guessed it would be. I was sort of right about the new race: they were something we'd never seen before, and they were kind of like angels, in the sense that they were unfallen Eredar. Also, with the introduction of the Naaru, the universe now had an opposite number to the Burning Legion, powerful beings of light that stood as steadfast opponents to the demons, so I was right about their addition to the game, though not about their playability.
Semi-Right: What Did Kael Want with All That Energy?Edit
In the Netherstorm quests, it became clear that Kael'thas was collecting massive amounts of energy from the Twisting Nether using Naaru technology he stole from Tempest Keep. But what was he doing with it all? It was obvious that he'd betrayed Illidan and his people and had made a pact with the Burning Legion, but to what end? His followers would join the Legion, probably becoming demons in the process, but they would survive. In return, the Legion got ... what?
Well, as it turned out, Kael wanted to rekindle the Sunwell, the source of magic for the High Elves that was destroyed by Arthas when he turned Kel'Thuzad into a greater lich. And in exchange, Kil'Jaeden wanted Kael to use the Sunwell to open a portal that would let him into Azeroth, which he would presumably then destroy.
Wrath of the Lich KingEdit
I didn't speculate much about the WotLK expansion before it came out, because no new playable races were going to be introduced, the storyline was obviously going to be about Arthas, the Lich King, and the only new playable class was going to be Death Knights, which were linked to the Lich King. Things seemed pretty obvious.
Wrong: Death Knights Become Something ElseEdit
But after the expansion came out, it seemed to me that Blizzard was really pushing everyone to try out a Death Knight. My thought was that Arthas would take away the Death Knights' power, and they would be forced to undergo a new quest to find a new source of power within themselves, which wouldn't really change how the class worked but might change its name, and would in any case be Really Cool. This, however, did not happen.
Wrong: Plot ConvolutionsEdit
Before the Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel raids had come out, I speculated that there would be an abortive raid on the Lich King's fortress that would fail because Yogg-Saron simply wouldn't let him die; he was too useful a tool. This was predicated on my belief that Yogg-Saron and the Lich King had some sort of relationship or alliance going on, because Arthas has only been Lich King for about 4 years in story time and yet is really powerful, so he must have had help -- but it turns out that if Yogg-Saron helped Arthas, it was covert. I was thinking that the Alliance and Horde would first confront Arthas, then the Old God, and then take on Arthas one final time, defeating him now that Yogg-Saron was unable to bolster his power. It turned out that things were pretty much straightforward: the raid in Ulduar took down Yogg-Saron, then the raid in Icecrown Citadel took down Arthas.
I also speculated that the Lich King would be redeemed in the end, but I was wrong. The spirit of Ner'zhul, the orc shaman whom Kil'Jaeden transformed into the Lich King, might still be there within the entity of the Lich King; the fallen human paladin Arthas might have just provided a new body and a home for both their darkened souls. In the end, Thrall could perhaps have sent Ner'zhul's soul to its final resting place with honor, and Tirion Fordring and/or Bolvar Fordragon (who survived the Wrath Gate incident with the Red Dragonflight's help) could redeem Arthas's humanity. In the end, though, the Lich King just died, and his soul departed. And, as it turned out, there has to be a Lich King to keep the Scourge under control, so Bolvar took over the job, though the world believes the Lich King to be dead. So there were still a few plot convolutions, but it wasn't as twisted as I imagined.
Wrong: Confrontation with DeathwingEdit
I speculated that there would be a confrontation with Deathwing in a raid expansion to WotLK, given that they were obviously building up to something like it with the Obsidian Sanctum and Ruby Sanctum raids under Wyrmrest Temple. Well, I was wrong. They were building up to the next expansion, Cataclysm, which featured Deathwing as its major antagonist.
Once Blizzard announced that Cataclysm would be the next expansion and would feature major changes to the original WoW world due to the reemergence of Deathwing after his long absence, there wasn't much time to speculate, nor much to speculate about: the new races were announced as the Goblins and the Worgen -- or at least one faction of the Goblins that was rescued by the Horde, and a nation of humans that became infected with Archmage Arugal's Worgen curse but were rescued by the Night Elves.
Wrong: Emerald DreamEdit
In off-camera plot developments, Malfurion Stormrage cleansed the Emerald Dream of the Serpentine Nightmare, which turned out to have been caused by Xavius, the first Satyr, who had hidden there since the War of the Ancients in which he was created. There are signs that things still aren't perfect within the Emerald Dream, but at least that threat has been dealt with. I had been hoping for Emerald Dream content, with perhaps alternate versions of each world zone in which actions taken in the physical and Dream versions could affect each other, and perhaps for a raid instance in the Eye of Ysera, but those turned out not to happen.
Wrong: Undersea RaidEdit
Like many others, I predicted that there would be a raid on the city of Nazjatar, undersea capital of the Naga, with the final confrontation against Queen Azshara and perhaps whatever Old God she had obviously made a pact with. This, of course, didn't happen: although there was a raid portal in the Abyssal Depths, that portal was never used.
Wrong: Zandalar RaidEdit
After the Darkspear Trolls came to warn the Alliance about how the new prophet Zul had taken over Zandalar, who was trying to rekindle Zul'Gurub as a power center, I thought we would see a raid on Zandalar. After all, this Prophet Zul character would make a wonderful raid end boss. However, this ended up not happening.
Wrong: Caverns of Time: War of the AncientsEdit
I had speculated that a future expansion would have the Infinite Dragonflight going back in time to influence the War of the Ancients, perhaps in an attempt to lure Nozdormu into the same trap that caught Deathwing in order to corrupt him. As it turns out, the Dragonflights send heroes back to this time period to obtain the Dragon Soul so as to use it against Deathwing, and it also turns out that the Infinite Dragonflight is led by an already-corrupted Nozdormu (though possibly from an alternate future). In any case, it looks as if that speculation was wrong.
Mists of PandariaEdit
Frankly, when Mists of Pandaria was announced, I was unenthusiastic. I didn't care about pandas and didn't think much of a story could be told by bringing in a previously unknown continent that had taken part in none of the Warcraft story for 10,000 years. I actually quit WoW shortly after MoP was announced. I was done speculating. This was dumb.
I was wrong, though. A friend told me that the storyline leading up to the expansion involved the destruction of Theramore Isle and the turning of Jaina Proudmoore completely against the Horde, when she had formerly thought there could be peace, and that Garrosh Hellscream was becoming more extreme and would be the eventual raid end boss.
This led to my revival of my old hopes, and I started playing MoP partway through, a while after patch 5.2 came out. People had been raiding the Throne of Thunder for a while. The Zandalari Trolls were ancient allies of the Mogu, it turned out, and they were even more desperate. I was speculating again. The island of Zandalar hadn't fallen into the Maelstrom yet, and Zul was hoping to lead his people to a new homeland in Pandaria.