Occasionally, we all get the urge to speculate about how the future will turn out. It’s practically a compulsion that’s part of the human condition. Everything from end of the world prophecies that get people in an uproar to gambling show people’s desire to see what’s coming. Us Warcraft players are no different but unlike in the real world scenarios that don’t seem likely (I’m looking at you 2011 raptures) – there is pretty much no end to what Blizzard could bring us. Looking back at Mists of Pandaria, I doubt many people saw the Pandaren coming but finding out there is a new titan facility that we’d yet to discover wasn’t a big shock. Continue after the break for some (potentially) crazy ideas about what I predict is in the pipeline and some stuff that just isn’t going to happen (move on demon hunter dreamers!).
What’s on the Way
The Burning Legion and Space – I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time to rev up the intergalactic war again. Particularly with all the hints that Wrathion is dropping during the legendary quest chain, my prediction for the next expansion is a full on burning legion assault on Azeroth, probably followed by a patch where we take some fight to them – back in space. We could see the Draenei home world or see some Outlands content revisited.
Alliance and Horde Peace Treaty – Our current expansion has been all about the A v H conflict and the consequences. Next round (or the end of this expansion) we’re going to see the Alliance and Horde sign a peace treaty of some sort so they can focus on the new threat. That’s right. Dogs and cats living together! The horror!
New Races / Classes – So far every expansion has brought along a new race, class or both. BC saw Draenei and Blood Elves, WotLK gave us Death Knights, Cataclysm brought the Worgen and Goblins, and MoP yielded both Pandas and Monks. What’s coming next? I can’t say for sure, but given how broken that Monks haven’t been this expansion, Blizzard has shown they can add a new class without hurting the balance like Death Knights did in Wrath, so they’re certainly on the table. I also anticipate, given what I predict for the content of the next xpac, that we’ll see a new alien race or two – anyone for Ethereals?
The 4th Specialization – As an alternative to new classes, I think we could see all classes get a 4th spec. While this would be even more difficult to balance, Blizzard has shown they’re willing to do it with the Druid class. Was that an experiment, maybe?
New Player Models – As long as Blizzard has been saying this is in the works, particularly with them addressing fairly recently that specific races are in process, it’s reasonable that we can expect this announced with the next expansion as a major selling point. Expect a lot of extra customization options. It’s time to stop looking like we’re in 2005.
Dance Studio – As much as I hate to admit it, I see the Dance studio launching along with the player models. This has been a huge demand for years. While they’re adding all the pixels and extra motions to our models, it just makes sense to give the people a little custom groove while they’re at it.
WoW Mobile – I could see a light version of the game go to phones as phones get bigger and more powerful. At the very least, don’t be surprised to see pet battles on the phone.
Not Gonna Happen
Demon Hunters / Bards – These classes are never going to happen. Blizzard could never add Demon Hunters to WoW and have it meet player expectation, match lore even a little, AND be balanced. I wrote a whole post on it. Bards, being traditionally a buff based role, don’t fit into Blizzards buff homogenization, “bring the player, not the class”, design intent. Either Bards wouldn’t bring unique buffs (making them pointless) or the unique buffs would be “mandatory”. Even if they did somehow bring unique buffs, their output would have to be weaker than a class not bringing a buff and we’d have Vanilla Shadow Priests all over again, crying to contribute more than just mana regen (same to be said about Paladins or Shamans when they were nothing but buff sticks).
Player Housing – In Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard has brought a mindset of “get the player in the world”. This makes sense, being a persistent world MMORPG after all. As much as some players have complained about certain areas of this design (removal of Have Group Will Travel, particularly), they don’t appear to be relenting. Player housing, if popular, would result in cities and zones being wastelands as people sat in a private instance and not anywhere in the world, even cities. On the other hand, I don’t see player housing being that popular. It seems likely that the demand for this is a very small vocal minority. So, either player housing would reduce the “MMO” feeling of WoW by sticking people in private areas, or it would be a waste of dev time for a feature that may be more universally used.
A Third Faction / Faction Splitting – Honestly, I think this would be very cool and very compelling, depending on which end of the event you are. A third faction (which some games already have, such as The Secret World) adds an extra level of complexity compared in faction balance, combat and PVP. Unfortunately, WoW is not set up to handle a 3 faction battleground. Also, it seems likely that a third faction could lead to even more faction imbalances on some servers. Sure, having 3 factions could help balance that since one faction may not be able to dominate alone, but I could see many people on the minority faction on a server jump ship to the shiny new third group and leaving the existing one even more decimated. Finally, having a race split off from an existing faction can’t happen. Story-wise, the Forsaken withdrawing (or being removed) from the horde could make sense, but to every undead player that suddenly couldn’t play with their friends it would be horrible.
Killing Sargeras – I don’t think Blizzard is ever going to let us kill Sargeras, the true biggest bad in all of the Warcraft universe. Killing him would basically be the end of the game, so unless / until they finally decide on putting an end of life on new WoW content, it’s just not gonna happen.