July 15, 2009

World of Warcraft's Next Expansion

Wrath of the Lich King has been out long enough for the next round of "guess the next expansion" to kick off. For starters, we have some evidence for Cataclysm. And no, it has nothing to do with the fate of WoW in China.
Speculation started to run rampant when Blizzard trademarked the name “Cataclysm” and then again when a WoW test server popped up recently and was named “Maelstrom” (or had that name in it’s title).

This would make sense to World of Warcraft players as Cataclysm is another name for the Great Sundering, an event that created a swirling vortex of water and mystical energies (the ‘Maelstrom’) that has appeared on the world map in-game since release.

Early design work also indicates that Catacylsm would fit in well with previous WoW expansions and would involve the former Night Elf noble Azshara, queen of the Naga and the Goblins whose main city lies in the south seas.
I think that lore is important and its great to speculate on lore-based avenues for an expansion, but I've never bothered to learn anything about Warcraft's lore. I was usually too busy clicking through quest text while following Jame's Leveling Guide. So, for me to speculate wildly would not only be out of character, it would waste all of the work thats already been done!

I like the idea of a Cataclysm expansion that lets players explore the big swirl in the middle of the map. Seriously, I've always wondered what may be out there! Now, I want to take this off the deep end and throw out a bullet list of things I think would take this over the edge:
  • Boats. The damn swirl is in the middle of the ocean, so players will need to be able to get there at their own leisure. Players already have flying mounts and car-like ground mounts. Its about time Blizzard added player-owned boats.
  • A potentially world-resetting Live event. Blizzard needs to shake things up and should the players fail at the Live event for this expansion, their server should literally end and reset to default settings. Cataclysm or Apocalypse? Let players make the choice!
  • Cataclysmic war! Blizzard needs to take the lessons learned from Lake Wintergrasp and apply them to every single new zone they create. That way, one zone isn't heavily burdened and bum rushed once every few hours. Make the entire WORLD a living battlefield.
  • Cataclysmic phasing! Blizzard needs to kick up the phasing a notch and have drastically differing phases of areas within the Maelstrom. It only makes sense for something that is as awe inspiring as a giant swirl the size of half a continent!
  • Celeb cameos for Billy Mayes and David Carradine. Maybe something about Michael Jackson, but that silly story has already been worn out IMHO.
Most likely, none of the above will make it into the game. To that, I say: crazy, absolutely crazy.