It’s no secret that World of Warcraft is still standing and even is the leading MMO for more than a decade now. With Battle for Azeroth paving its way to the inevitable conclusion of the Azerite War and N’Zoth’s Awakening stories, the eighth expansion is looming ever so closely and subtle hints given to us throughout this year indicate that the future of World of Warcraft might change forever. The game has received massive overhauls of its core mechanics, zones and even the additions of completely new ways to play the game (hello Pet Battles!), but even bigger changes might come in the years following the current expansion’s conclusion.
The combined forces of the Horde and Alliance can put an end to N’Zoth.
Alliance & Horde United
After being chained up in Orgrimmar, Baine’s sentence for conspiring against Sylvanas and returning Derek Proudmoore to his sister Jaina is execution. Both the Alliance and Horde plan his rescue and the two sides are reunited shortly before they find Baine. They free the captured Tauren then Jaina teleports them away to safety. What follows next is a cutscene in which Thrall and Jaina dwell on their past, mentioning past tragedies – Cairne’s death, Theramore’s destruction, Garrosh’s tyrannical rise to power and subsequent dethronement. Jaina, however, remains determined that when the Horde and the Alliance work together, they have achieved more than when they are waging war. This cinematic alone can be the start of yet another truce between the two opposing sides, but this time, traumatized by the bloodshed and savagery of their history against each other, might be willing to set aside their differences for good.
And there is no better way in my opinion to conclude this story than for the two sides to face the Old God himself and cast off Sylvanas – wrapping up this arc and beginning anew. Such a controversial decision to remove the separation of factions will definitely not be met with unanimous approval and might not happen at all, but it’s interesting food for thought (What antagonist will they face next?; What will happen with the Pandaren starting zone?; Will a third, completely new faction be added?) Then again, World of Warcraft is no stranger to leading players on one potential resolution, then surprise everyone with an entirely different revelation through a plot twist, either amazing players or severely disappointing them. (RIP ‘morally grey’ Horde)
Azshara’s fate is left unknown after being dragged to the Void.
A Look Back
The true main antagonist of Battle for Azeroth and the most likely endgame for the expansion is for our champions to face none other than N’Zoth, the Corruptor (this time with fewer Deathrattles). When Queen Azshara uses the Heart of Azeroth to break N’Zoth’s seal, the monstrous entity is unchained and declares that ‘All eyes have been opened’, dragging the defeated Azshara to the Void. This ominous warning will inevitably result in the entirety of Azeroth’s forces against the God of the Deep. He is to be taken down at long last, after orchestrating Neltharion’s transformation into Deathwing and Azshara’s people into Naga, with his role as the recurring antagonist throughout the years culminating in an intense battle that would leave the story open to new developments.
This is only one ending that the expansion can take, and the Old God might triumph in his final breath – corrupting a large portion of Azeroth and forcing the two sides to spend an entire expansion driving back this corruption and cleansing the lands which have been infected. Regardless of the outcome, the next addition to the story could be to revisit the continents which we almost fully abandoned. Nostalgia does run high when it comes to the playerbase, and such an update to the game world, one with new content, quests and even visual updates to old zones is capable of bringing back veterans who missed exploring them during their years of adventuring in the World of Warcraft. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to starting a brand new arc and concluding one that has been going on for quite some time.
The future of the Allied Races remains unclear post-Battle for Azeroth.
Future Expansion Changes
There has been a great deal of discussion going over a recent World of Warcraft survey that mentions a level squish that will occur in the future. Blizzard’s goal with this change is to succeed in making the game even more accessible to new players who choose to explore old content. This in conjunction with the level boosts granted for free when you purchase an expansion is Blizzard’s last-ditch effort to reduce the number of characters who are left inactive at the lower levels. Additionally, eight (and more to come) allied races have been introduced as one of the unique additions of the newest expansion. It’s currently unknown whether or not they will be unlockable in the future (without a tedious grind) for players who didn’t venture in Legion and Battle for Azeroth content.
Speaking of future changes, as a battle pet collector, I would love to see more content that doesn’t involve me having to fight against trainers fifteen-thousand times just to get one additional pet. A revisit to the talent tree would please a lot of players too, bringing the best of both worlds together – the simplicity of the Mists talent tree with the customization choices and weird talents of the past expansions. Blizzard can regain their lost trust in the playerbase by catering to what they want, and I am certain that Classic is the right step in that direction. As I am venturing in Mechagon and Nazjatar for the first time, the 8.2 patch certainly tries to improve its misdirected course and revisit some of my old favorites (Mechagon is a revisit on Timeless Isle, and I dig the Mechagnomes a lot as an Alliance player).
Blizzcon is coming soon and only one thing is certain, we’ll get our first sneak peek on our next expansion and how Battle for Azeroth will conclude. Do you agree with this list of changes I want or hope to see? Is there any other possible change that you’d like to see in World of Warcraft in the future? Let me know in the comments below.