Thursday, July 25, 2013

Who Wants To Live Forever?


Reports of this game's death are pretty much permanently exaggerated.

Making anything successful is a massive gamble: keeping it that way an exercise in chance. Vegas knows a bit about how the odds work, that sometimes the winners are the totally unexpected. One quarter is all it needs sometimes (not just the movies, it does happen) because these guys have a relationship with numbers that anyone who plays a video game should learn not only to understand, but to embrace. Everything's a possibility in this town, and what happens there, stays there (if you believe the stories.)

Hovever, this place never dies, it just continues on in all it's fabulous neon-wrapped seductiveness. The bulbs may occasionally blow, but it never dents the allure or the draw. Can we say that for our game, that by our own admission can frustrate and annoy, that is a massive drain on time and our personal resources. How long reasonably can we expect this entire bandwagon to keep on rolling before all the wheels fall off?

Be nicer to your wife and family, you nasty man ^^

Technically we don't know anything past 5.4 right now, but I think considering the fact they're making a movie about the game next year (and they've kinda committed to that in San Diego in front of real people) that we can expect at least one more Expansion out of this lot before the Cherokees rightfully avenge the taking of ancestral lands. This then raises a logical question: where do they send us? There is now SO MUCH lore that exists that we could go pretty much anywhere. We've already established that this team's not afraid to go pillage original Warcraft for ideas if they need them too, or else Chen Stormstout would still be stuck in Warcraft 3. I think this is the time that I take you back with me to 2007, and a file buried on what is now the Zam Network. The stories of this post are nearly as legendary as the game itself.

Is it too good to be true...?

Some said it was a lie, just another one of those clever deceptions that surface around the time of Expansions. I'm not repeating the list here because (as memory serves) that has caused issues with Blizzard in the past, and I still am very much a friend of the game. The fact remains, that if you go hunting on the Internet and find this list, there are a lot of names that existed well before they actually became real, some years before, with levels beside them that match what then came to pass. This is why, a couple of months back, I saw for the first time a speculative post considering that the next expansion might be taking us back to meet the Burning Legion. That final 'set' of numbers on the document, that covers 95-100, includes sending us to Argus, the home of the Eredar (and by extension the Draenei.)  Considering those who have seen the 'mood piece' that was shown at SDCC are reporting back that it looked as if it could be based in Hellfire, I find myself compelled to return to this document, if only for possible inspiration. Will we really be moving into space to level to 100? It would certainly save the cartographers the trouble of having to redraw the Azeroth map AGAIN... ^^

However, there is another part to the document, which is tied around the Emerald Dream, which has been a popular choice as a possible Expansion destination for some time. It also mentions a second race alongside the Pandarens, who would level in the Xorothian Plains. If you play a warlock, that name should be familiar to you, as that's the place where all your demons come from, plus where your Dreadsteed is yanked from in Vanilla were you lucky enough to earn your Epic mount the hard way. It is easy therefore to see why a March of the Legion expansion might be a popular choice (were that title not already used by the TGC) Ironically, the race that was placed alongside the Pandarans before they were given the choice to be either Horde or Alliance were part of a specific 'set' which includes a lot of the elements that finally made it into Cataclysm. The name of that set might yet have some relevance...

How about World of Warcraft : Secrets of the Planes as the next expansion title?

Of course, the biggest problem in all this speculation is it is just that: speculation. No-one knows what we can expect. What will happen (if history is an indicator) is that at some point in the not too distant future someone will see Blizzard register a domain name/trademark and make the logical assumption that this has something to do with what's coming. If that announcement's going to be made at Blizzcon (or before one assumes for announcement purposes) we shouldn't have too long to wait before we can stop contemplating our navels and actually have some cold, hard facts to work on.

Until then, what happens in this blog post stays in this blog post.


TheGrumpyElf said...

During wrath I had guessed that the mists and the burning legion would be the next two expansions. However by mists I meant a "southrend" type world, not actually this. Then cataclysm came out and screwed up my prediction.

Cataclysm served as a skip stop, an expansion that should have been a patch and then we moved to "southrend".

So with that in mind I need to adjust me original prediction that after wrath would be mists and burning legion to there being another skip stop before the burning legion expansion just like there was a skip stop before the mists one.

I guess when they changed things to 5 levels the needed to add filler expansions. Lets just hope the next filler expansion is better than the last.

So burning legion will be the next next real expansion, I am 100% sure of it. Look for Gul'Dan to play an extremely huge part of that one.

The real question now would be what will be the next cata type fill in expansion for 5 levels. Could that be the emerald dream being you mentioned it? It very well could be. I would be interested to see that.

South seas would still be an option even if we sort of are already in the south seas. Then again, being we are already in the area it would not exactly be a stretch to explore more around where we currently are and discover more after all this sha evil is gone. So south seas becomes an extremely viable option.

That is my speculation. It is fun to play the guessing game.

90-95 : South Seas
96-100: Burning Legion

Dahakha said...

One of the first 'holographic' images that Wrathion conjures up for you during his speeches is a swarm of fel meteors descending on a world, presumably Azeroth. I thought this was a pretty clear indication that the next expansion would be another invasion by the Burning Legion, and that the whole point of testing your worth was to meet this imminent invasion.

If it turns out to not be the Burning Legion, I'm going to be pretty miffed at all the time I wasted progressing that storyline, such as it is.

Grimmtooth said...

It's obvious from looking at the list that things got reshuffled.

For example, apparently "Pandaren" (now Pandaria) was to be coupled with the home of the Worgen ("Wolfenhold") on the opposing factions, and apparently Goblins weren't in the mix at all - or there was a mysterious fourth race that never got introduced. (OR, he says thoughtfully, the Gobs were actually supposed to be the "bi-faction" race instead of the Pandas, which would make sense since they're politics-agnostic and money-friendly. But maybe not ... see below.)

And the whole Planar thing that was seen in Cata would have been part of the Panda thing; I presume Pandaria would have had a smaller role in the game rather than the starring role in xpac4.

Not also how xpac3 got rearranged - Gilneas a higher level zone, Grim Batol a zone and not just an instance, Kul Tiras, Tel Abim .... a LOT got cut completely! Hopefully we can see these cut zones some day, but I suspect that if we do, they'll be in a future post-Legion expansion.

What is most interesting to me is how the origin lore of the Worgen got rejiggered. xpac4 would have apparently introduced them as extra-planar beings, rather than Azerothian beings. As has been noted on lore pages before, the origin lore of the Worgen IS very muddled and contradictory, and they still have some retconning to do to clean it up - even after Cata took a virtual Dyson to the leveling zones. One thing is, I suspect that Gilneas would have had nothing to do with it in this original game plan.

Also interesting is what is not discernible by the list - what, exactly, would have been in xpac3 in place of the new races? I'm guessing they were planning to follow up the Hero Class of Death Knight with something new and interesting in xpac3. Archdruid? Arch-mage? Maybe both, and an arch-warlocky thing in xpac4? Hard to say since "Maelstrom Set" is pretty noncommittal.

The "Legion Set" is pretty much where most lore-wise think we're headed, just based off of the bread crumbs that Blizz likes to leave for the observant. Heck, the epic Warlock "Green Fire" quest line may in fact take us there indirectly. That would be neat.

Will the Legion Set include Ethereal player characters? Will they be bi-factional like the Pandaren? Was the original intent to roll them and the Goblins out together in this xpac? Based on the rest of the list, I'm inclined to say No to all of the above ... there are no starter zones, and nothing that would be clearly Goblinish in nature. That doesn't mean they haven't changed their minds. Might make K'aresh a starter zone for Ethereals and migrate some other stuff around. If they make it 91-95 instead of 91-100, that would be more doable.

One thing worth noting: Blizz has kind of painted itself into a corner in the case of one lore figure. Valen has forseen the future of Anduin Wrynn, which was described clearly in the Valen "leader story" on the Blizz website. The only way they can change that now is a bit of retconning - though as retcons go, this would be a light one ("Always in motion, the future is.") Still, for the moment, Anduin qualifies as "a fixed point in time" for WoW lore. That sort of thing happens when you have prophets - from the future, or not.

Grimmtooth said...

Oh, one last thing? Note the lack of Azjol-Nerub in the original Wrath Zone list. Either A-N had been ruled out as far back as 2003, OR it wasn't in the long-term plan to begin with, which makes GhostCrawler's statements about wanting to have A-N as a whole zone a bit disingenuous, since the plan appeared to be fairly short-lived.