What's next for World of Warcraft after Legion?

World of Warcraft Patch 8.0? – Mar 20, 2017

Spent the last few nights playing World of Warcraft till shamefully early hours of the morning. Reason? I unsubscribed and my access was ending. I want to get as many questlines completed before my time runs out.

And no. I didn’t unsubscribe because I was unhappy. I regularly unsubscribe, then re-subscribe when there’s new content. Otherwise, as any WoW player would testify, I don’t think I would ever have time for other games.

Yes, World of Warcraft. The MMO I’ve been on for over seven years now. The one directly responsible for me neglecting all the Steam games I’ve purchased (on the cheap) and installed. After the disappointment that was Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard Entertainment massively revamped the gameplay system, and now it’s more addictive than ever.  Legion, the current expansion, not only features a highly flexible gameplay system, there’s also loads of unique content to experience. Content mostly free of the sort of repetitive grinding that dominated previous expansions.

And then there’s Suramar. The new city zone that’s a gorgeous mix of Venice and Arabia. Moving beyond the usual WoW formula of hack, fetch and collect, adventuring here includes stealth elements. You assist an exiled courtier in overthrowing her sovereign, beginning with subterfuge before resorting to open confrontation. I typically get bored with zone questlines quickly. But the Suramar story kept me engrossed for nights.

The gorgeous city of Suramar in World of Warcraft: Legion
Suramar is easily one of the most beautiful World of Warcraft zones.

Yeah. World of Warcraft. I do wonder whether I would ever stop playing this game.

Which brings me to the main topic for this post. While sneaking down the atmospheric streets of Suramar, I started pondering about the future of WoW. I might be completely off here, but the Suramar questlines felt heavily inspired by Assassin’s Creed. To me, Blizzard is once again experimenting with elements of other game genres so as to sustain interest in WoW. During Warlords of Draenor, they tried RTS elements, which didn’t turn out well. In the case of Suramar, they seemed to have found the right formula, as least in my case. For the moment, all feels great and satisfying. Blizzard has secured my interest in the remaining Legion patches, in other words.

But what about subsequent expansions? What’s next to try? How is Patch 8.0 going to be?

Let me confess something here. While I’m enjoying Legion so far, I’m not playing it as often as compared to during Cataclysm or Mists of Pandaria. I still love the game, but a lot of things have long since started feeling bland. The whole, one world-threatening crisis after another approach behind all the expansions. The eternal animosity between Alliance and Horde, which never seems to improve despite so many instances of working together in defeating overwhelming odds. And then there’s the whole resurrection of classic characters. First was Guldan. Followed by Illidan’s return in Legion. Who’s next? Deathwing? The elemental lords?

Arthas? Everyone’s favourite bad son?

Hmm! Hmm.

 

Ideas for Future World of Warcraft Expansions

These are random thoughts. Ideas that flashed in my head while flying through Azeroth. Or waiting for people to accept invites for raids, etc.

Reclaiming the World of Argus

Many WoW players have suggested this online. That of Azerothian forces launching a direct assault on the Burning Legion’s home base.

It’s an intriguing idea. After being on the defensive in so many patches, I think it’s high time for a change in story direction. The demon-infested world of Argus would also provide for some really different landscape designs. I do wonder, though, whether one expansion could do justice to a whole new world. Each expansion usually features no more than five to six new zones.

On the other hand, this could pave the way for a series of expansions. (Three expansions at least?) An invasion of this nature could also give Blizzard another go at the Garrison concept, which still feels to have a lot of potential, despite being awkwardly executed in Warlords of Draenor. It would be interesting to see what Blizzard comes up with in a second attempt.

A burning legion occurpied area in World of Warcraft: Legion
Argus could look a lot like this hilltop in Legion. But I trust Blizzard designers not to go the convenient way.

 

Queen Azshara and Her Watery Minions

The character of Azshara has long baffled me. She’s directly responsible for Azeroth’s woes with the Burning Legion. She was also actively involved with so many other crises. Yet, no one thought of getting rid of her for good. Is it because, as hinted here and there, she’s potentially as powerful as Sargeras?

Whatever she is, I think it’s high time for her to go. An expansion devoted to her downfall would have enough story content to keep players satisfied. The zones involved need not completely be water-based too. After all, nagas can survive on land. Problem though, an Azshara expansion might feel too similar to Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm. As in, the entire expansion revolves around taking down one immensely powerful antagonist. After which, there would again be the question of “what’s next?” Maybe not that great an idea, on second thought.

 

Queen_Azshara by wibeke.
After hearing so much about her for years, it would be nice to finally meet the queen in person. (Image by Wibeke http://aydalen.deviantart.com/ )

 

Return of the Titans

It’s stated in Legion that the Titans, those godly beings that shaped Azeroth, are long dead. But what is “dead” in the gaming world? Some creative storytelling is all that’s necessary to bring back anyone.

Bring them back as antagonists, that is. A rampaging group of unhappy gods determined to reclaim their greatest jewel. And have another go at reshaping it.

It’s a workable idea, IMO. I’m confident the writers at Blizzard would be able to enrich the basic storyline with all sorts of interesting side-stories too. How approving WoW players would be of this concept, however, is a big question. A takeover by the Titans. Isn’t that similar to the ongoing Burning Legion invasion?

And what about zones? Another unfound secret continent? Or a whole mass of territory raised by the Titans for their invasion? Whichever way, it feels to be a rehash of historical content. Personally, I’m not too keen on this idea.

The majestic makers of Azeroth makes a return? (Image from battle.net)
The majestic makers of Azeroth return in furious vengeance? (Image from battle.net)

 

The Twisting Nether

This is the concept I’m most hopeful for. An expansion devoted to exploring or invading the Twisting Nether.

The purpose for which could be to thwart some nefarious invasion from the Void. Or to rescue imprisoned Titans. Or prevent the rise of another Burning Legion. It doesn’t matter what the actual objective is. Because the thrill of the expansion is space exploration.

Yes. Space exploration. Mass Effect, No Man’s Sky like.

With lots of new worlds to investigate. To settle on. And a swanky command ship as the player’s mobile base.

Crazy? Way too much content for one expansion? But hey, must it be an expansion? Why not a reboot? After all, there’s only so much more Blizzard could do with the World of Warcraft without entirely changing it. After over a decade of the same sort of adventures, wouldn’t a reboot be refreshing?

It would, for me. (Raise hand)

Fingers crossed that this dream of mine would soon be fulfilled by World of Warcraft designers.

The Twisting Nether had a strange cameo in The Burning Crusade 10 years ago. Surely there's more to it than that!
The Twisting Nether was the emptiness surrounding Outland in The Burning Crusade. Surely there’s more to it than that!

About Scribbling Geek

The geek is a lover of everything birthed by imagination. He constantly dreams about faraway lands and distant realms, and through writing, envisions himself as a product of these places.

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