This week is a big one for World of Warcraft fans with Blizzcon kicking into high gear. The Arena Championship road begins today, ultimately culminating in Friday's opening of Blizzcon itself. This year will be a big one for WoW as most fans and players are expecting an expansion announcement as the final Legion raid is ready for release. We're going to take a look at all things WoW + Blizzcon, so sit back and enjoy.
WoW Happenings at Blizzcon
Let's start off with the panels and presentations that attendees and Virtual Ticket holders will see.
On November 3rd:
- "What's Next" at 12:30 pm Pacific / 3:30 pm Eastern - likely an expansion announcement (more on that below)
- Voices of Blizzard - The Powerful Women of Warcraft - "For the Alliance! For the Horde! Join the voice actresses who bring some of the most formidable heroines of Azeroth to life (and undeath) for a discussion of their craft." 2:435 pm Pacific / 5:45 pm Eastern
- Gameplay & Systems Deep Dive - "Sharpen your blades, summon your spells, and party up with the World of Warcraft development team as they dive deep into the latest gameplay and systems updates." 4:00 pm Pacific / 7:00 pm Eastern
- Arena Championship matches - 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm Pacific (3:00 pm to 10:00 pm Eastern)
On November 4th:
- The Art of World of Warcraft - "Join artists from the World of Warcraft team as they showcase recent and upcoming developments in each art discipline, from animation to characters to special effects. Learn more about their craft in a live Q&A with the art team." 12:45 pm Pacific / 3:45 pm Eastern
- World of Warcraft Q&A - "Got something you’ve been dying to know about Azeroth? Join the World of Warcraft development team to ask all your questions about lore, zones, dungeons, raids, and more." 4:00 pm Pacific / 7:00 pm Eastern
- World of Warcraft Boss Design Workshop - "Raid bosses take months of hard work to design—but we’ve only got 60 minutes! The WoW encounter team invites the community to peek behind the scenes at our roundtable, where we'll brainstorm and design a new dungeon boss from scratch." 5:45 pm Pacific / 8:45 pm Eastern
- WoW Arena Championships - 10:30 am - 2:30 pm (1:30 pm - 5:30 pm Eastern)
If you take a look at the Blizzcon schedule, Blizzard's other games have a big presence...well not including Diablo 3 or Starcraft...but none so large as WoW.
With Legion winding down once the final raid, Antorus, launching, it is almost certain that the next expansion will be released. A lot of virtual ink has been devoted to what we might see in the future for the heroes of Azeroth, but let's take a look at some of the most interesting things that may come into play for an expansion. Obviously, not everything can or will be included, but it's fun to try to foresee the future:
Jaina, Kul Tiras, Old Gods & Azshara
One of the most compelling theories about where we're headed next comes in the form of a datamined armor that is simply called Kul Tiras. If you're up on your WoW lore, you'll remember that this is the kingdom once ruled by Admiral Daelin Proudmoore, the father of Jaina Proudmoore. What makes this so interesting is that it brings a number of other locations into play as well as marks the return of Lady Proudmoore herself. She has been absent from Legion since shortly after the death of King Varian Wrynn in the prelude to Legion.
Kul Tiras is, of course, another island location that possibly might also foreshadow the return of Queen Azshara, once the ruler of the Highborne who came under the influence of N'Zoth, the Old God living beneath the waters of Azeroth. As we wrote earlier this year:
Players ruminate that the Old Gods will be the next logical enemy after the defeat(?) of the Burning Legion. After all, the Shadow Priest artifact,Xal'atath, Blade of the Black Empire, whispers to its owner and speaks of an Old God writhing in his prison and slowly breaking free. "You should hurry and defeat the fallen titan...there are greater battles to fight." For those steeped in lore, this is doubtless a reference to the God of the Deep, N'Zoth.
N'Zoth also has ties to Queen Azshara, once the ruler of the Highborne empire and who fell to N'Zoth's corruption that doomed her followers to become the Naga. Naga have been a prominent part of Legion as well, with subtle hints that she is still influential.
Other hints that Jaina Proudmoore will be prominent in the next expansion include the fact that she is the centerpiece of Blizzcon's signature poster:
Silithus & the Wound to Azeroth
As mentioned, the Old Gods may be coming back as the "BIG BADS" in the next expansion. Not only is N'Zoth languishing undersea and whipping the Naga / Queen Azshara into a frenzy, but there's also C'Thun, the Old God thought defeated in Silithus way back in Vanilla Time. Several lines of dialog where Khadgar is speaking to the player character have been datamined from the current beta version. He speaks of a "wound in Silithus" that could "doom us all". The wound, he further expands, was created by a single drop of Sargeras's blood. Interestingly, datamined screenshots of the wound seem to resemble the Eye of C'Thun, one of the Old Gods that was imprisoned beneath Silithus and thought defeated. This seems to indicate that, as many have speculated, the Old Gods will be coming into play, not as single entities, but perhaps as a unified force.
Those are the most promising theories out there, all intertwined and all reasonable. But they're far from the only things that players have speculated on for the next expansion. Here are a couple of others:
The Windrunner Sisters Representing the Fates
The Windrunner Sisters - Alleria has returned from Argus afflicted with the Void. Vereesa continues to lead the Silver Covenant, Sylvanas is the Warchief of the Horde. What, if anything, could their reunion bring? Here's one WoWhead player's thought: "Might the names of the Norns describe The Void (What Once Was) Alleria, the present state of being (What Is Coming Into Being) Vareesa, and The Undead (What Shall Be) Sylvanus? If the spinners of the thread of WoW see the amazing power that the sisters could represent united we might see in them the ultimate source of power for defeating the Old Gods and their minions." It's still tied to all of the above, but with a twist, and a very interesting one at that.
One Player's Wishlist
Other players are hoping for something more mundane, less "hero to the whole world". Our own Catherine Daro wrote: "I want politics and inner-faction intrigue and rebuilding of war torn Azeroth. I want to see the bulk of Army of the Light's Draenei pursue the remains of Legion across Argus and Twisting Nether while some of their number help Velen's Draenei reclaim the planet or come to Azeroth with their brethren. I want to see Highborne Night Elf mages exchange knowledge with the Nightborne. I want to see Gnomes take Gnomeregan. I want to see Moira's son grow up from toddler and how his age would affect the political situation in Ironforge and inside the Council of Three Hammers. I want to see Worgen move out from Darnassus and pursue the cure for their curse through druidic means OR have some cult inside that names the curse a blessing and start actively spreading it against Genn's wishes. I want to see Anduin and Jaina and Kul Tiras. I want to see Dragon Flights - the effect of Ysera's death and whether or not it is permanent or she can ressurect or at least continue living in the Dream. I want to see Alexstrasza's reaction to it all. I want to see Wrathion and Sabellian and Ebonhorn. Nozdormu and the Infinite and his transformation into Murozond - if not happening, then acknowledged."
Lordaeron as the Setting of the Next Expansion?
Just yesterday, an interesting image was taken out of an official pre-Blizzcon video. The two hosts are standing on the PvP stage on the showfloor. In the background, however, the symbol for the Kingdom of Lordaeron is seen. Interestingly, after the image was posted, Blizzard took the video down. What, if anything, the symbol means remains to be seen. However, there is a lot of theorycrafting going on about what it could mean. Given it was only seen on the PvP stage, it's possible that it only has to do with the Ruins of Lordaeron arena. Perhaps it will be getting an update as others were during Legion. Of course others opine it's the retaking of Undercity from the Forsaken, but it is unlikely that Blizzard would kill of a third Horde Warchief...right? Right? * inwardly screams *
What About Those Playable Subraces?
Lastly, there is the speculation that playable subraces will be added, though for the life of me, I can't figure out why people would join Horde or Alliance that have never had anything to do with greater Azeroth and that have been 100% removed from faction conflict would want to join either. I know that I'm hoping the Nightborne, Light Draenei, Highmountain Tauren and Void Elves will be introduced as a third, neutral faction. I'm so confident that WON'T happen that I'm betting Catherine a year's subscription for both of us if it does.
As you can see, there are a lot of interesting things to look forward to come the weekend. What are you hoping for in the next expansion? Where do you see things headed? Leave us your thoughts in the comments!