Friday, December 17, 2010

Random Shots: The Expansion After Cataclysm

  • Is it too soon to think about what the next expansion for World of Warcraft will be after Cataclysm? Of course it is. But never let is be said that a little thing like propriety ever got in the way of a good post. Or even a bad one.

  • These last three expansions have been primarily about filling the holes in the world. The Burning Crusade took us through the Dark Portal to experience what was left of Draenor. Wrath of the Lich King wrapped up the story originally laid out in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. And now Cataclysm literally fills in the zones that have long been on the world map, but completely inaccessible. The question becomes "What holes are left?"

  • Of course, Blizzard could take things in an entirely different direction. I'm not equiped to speculate on the posibilities of them following some random plot thread from the lore into some strange corner of Azeroth. Is there some southern continent that I don't know about? A fabulous sky realm that is heretofore unmentioned? Maybe, but my guess springs from the game as is.

  • After the Shattering reshaped the level 1-60 game to match up with where the level 80 characters had left the world, the first two expansions have been orphaned from the story line. Once you step through the Dark Portal, you are stepping back in time. And why are we heading to Northrend at level 70 if characters all across the land talk about recovering from the fight with the Lich King. If there is a hole in the game, it is the loose ends left by these plots being detached.

  • Here is my wild guess two years from when we'll see the next expansion: the next expansion will see the Burning Legion returning in force and we will be using Outland as the staging point to launch an counteroffense. And in order to support the new Outland, Blizzard will take the opportunity to rebuild the 60-70 game to flow quicker, take advantage of the zones everyone skips now, and rewrite the quests so that the story lines match up better.

  • The actual odds of this happening are vanishingly small. Maybe Blizzard will redo those to expansions in their free time and push them out with the patchs during this cycle. And maybe Ghostcrawler will finally give us that pony too.

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. I'm have my doubts the Outlands will ever get revamped much. I'd like to see it personally, I sort of dread going out there again to get from 60 to 70. However, it' only ten levels, I doubt it's much of an issue for player retention.

    On the other hand, one of the developers did mention that they need to do something about the narrative issues.

  2. "What holes are left?"

    Emerald Dream.
    Old Gods.

    WoW has a long way to go my friend, and that won't change for some time to come...

  3. @ Yeebo - I admit to a healthy helping of wishful thinking on my part. If anything, I can see them pushing a revamp during a patch cycle.

    @ Bronte - And thank goodness. At least I'm not in charge or I'll be out of ideas.