We are rounding the corner on the home stretch toward BlizzCon. With only one week to go, Blizzard has gone and made a move that gives us a huge hint at what we can expect from the last World of Warcraft expansion. Today they copyrighted the phrase "Warlords of Draenor," according to MMO Champion. This name seems a bit more relevant than "The Dark Below" which was also copyrighted this year, but either are possible.
We know that we will be getting the last WoW expansion soon, as we have the leaked Blizzard roadmap to thank for this. More importantly, we were given the content of this expansion back at the first Blizzcon, when Chris Metzen talked about the content of The Burning Crusade. So let's take a look at what we know about this expansion and see if we can make some hypotheses as to what we can expect Warlords of Draenor/The Dark Below to contain.
Over the years we have encountered many of the lost heroes of Azeroth, many of them in Outland proper. There are still several that are missing though, namely Alleria Windrunner and General Turalyon. As we wrap up the epic saga of Warcraft, it makes sense that we find out what happened to these two. I imagine they have been fighting the Eredar, barefisted with only their wits and their fortitude to keep them going.
It makes sense that we fold in some new (old) faces into the hero lineup. We're in great need of some fresh blood on the old team, with some died off and others -- *cough* Jaina *cough* -- getting as dark as their former boyfriends. Having Alleria return also allows us to bring Sylvanas and her story to the for. Her subversion of the New Horde is hinted at in Cataclysm, but we haven't seen exactly what she was planning. Then there's poor widowed Vereesa. She's been doing solidly fighting in Mists of Pandaria, but once those threats are over with, perhaps she will need a sister's shoulder to cry on as she mourns the loss of Rhonin. I'd also expect to see her twins make an appearance now that their father is gone.
With Alleria is her lover (husband?) General Turalyon. We don't know much about his current location, but his son, Arator the Redeemer has mentioned seeing his father in a dream, surrounded by hordes of red monsters, kneeling as if in prayer. This tells us that while he might be dead, it is more likely that he is out at the front lines of the Eredar conflict, doing the paladins proud.
This joyous bit of news for anyone who's leveled a Pandaren alt was confirmed back at BlizzCon 2010. In the panel where they were asked about revamping Outland and Northrend, Metzen asked "do you want a new expansion or do you want us to fix Outland?" Now they are just going to do both. I don't know if this means anything for Northrend and its broken, broken phasing, but that would probably be a little more complicated as far as aligning the story goes.
We first heard about the return to Outland back in 2007, when Metzen hinted that all those dormant portals in Outland would be used to take the fight to the Burning Legion. Now that we've cleaned house at home, our heroes are ready to fight the ultimate battle, the one that defined Azeroth milennia ago. The sky once rained green fire, and it will again as we know from Wrathion's discussions on the subject. We've been tested, come through the fire stronger and ready to face the monsters from across the universe, and prove once and for all that Azeroth is no longer their stomping grounds.
As such, expect many, many demonic hordes to fight, as well as accompanying races that they have conquered in their path of destruction. Let's just hope that the Burning Legion zones aren't as red as Hellfire Peninsula.
In the end, Sargeras must die. Again. His tomb lies at the bottom of the ocean (in The Dark Below), watched over by The Queen of Eternal Youth and Beauty -- or at least I assume so. We can expect that somehow he isn't as dead as everyone hopes though, because that would be one easy battle. "We have come to slay Sargeras!" "He's a rotting corpse already, you're a little late friend." "Dammit."
This means that Azshara will finally have her reckoning day, and will have to answer for betraying her people. I look forward to kicking her in the scaly shin. I only wish I could have seen her as she was before she was corrupted as a Naga.
So there you have it. An expansion to wrap up ten years of Warcraft, most likely dropping early 2014. If they were smart they would have it launch the same day as the movie, but as the movie has been pushed to 2015, I would rather not wait that long to get back to Draenor.
What are you expecting out of the last WoW expansion?