Warning: This post is 100% speculation and quite possibly 100% bull shit as well. I have no proof of anything I will say here. I am making it up as I go. This is a tin foil hat post. For fun, discussion, or perhaps even prediction that I can reflect back on in two years from now when we find out what the next expansion will be. Have fun with the post, but do not take it too seriously. Even if I do think what I write here is entirely possible, even if insanely unlikely.
Now for the big reveal. The expansion after World of Warcraft : Legion will be called.... nothing.
Legion is the last expansion for warcraft. It all ends here and it all ends now. But that does not mean that warcraft is all done for. Legion might be the last expansion of the world of warcraft as we know it, but it will lead directly into World of Warcraft 2.
That is what I predict the expansion after legion will be. A complete reboot from the start. We all move on to new level 1 characters, if we choose to do so, with the release of WoW 2.
There are many things that might lead someone wearing their tin foil hat a little to tight to believe this to be true but none larger than the reason that makes the world go 'round, money. The be all end all that motivates companies to do what they can to make more of it.
I will list a few reasons that might point to legion being the last expansion but I do not think any of the reasons will be as strong as the first one. So on to the list of possible tell tale signs that legion will be the end of the world of warcraft as we know it.
PS4, XBox and the like:
They have been trimming down abilities left and right lately all in an effort to make our bars so much simpler. It is not all for the players enjoyment however. Sure having fewer buttons to hit might make some things easier and depending on how they interact could make some things more complex. But the real reason for having fewer abilities is so that it will be easier to port to the many different game stations out there now that seem to live and die with an internet connection.
While WoW can not be reasonably ported to work for PS4, for example, WoW 2.0, if it is built and designed for it, would be able to perfectly be ported for play on the PS4. By allowing people to play on their game station of choice or their computer they open the doors to many more players than they had ever had. Even when they were at their absolute height back in wrath of 12M+ subs the range of players they reached was never as large as it would be if every person on every major game system could play as well.
It only makes solid business sense to find an avenue where you can add players. Even more so after the start of a successful movie franchise (hopefully) that introduces the game to millions of players. Many of whom would jump at the chance to play the game with their friends on the PS4 but don't really care to do so on the computer.
It is all about accessibility and having WoW available through more outlets allows them to get more people into the game and possibility retain people a little easier. Where before it was a choice of playing warcraft or playing on your PS4, now you can play warcraft while on your PS4. It will always be there for you to play so the likelihood of you switching from the game you are currently playing to warcraft would be a lot higher than the likelihood of you turning off your PS4 and getting up and going to your computer instead.
There is a lot more money to be made and with abilities being trimmed down warcraft is pretty darn close to being capable of being ported. Legion is a test to see if and how things work with fewer abilities. All while WoW 2.0 is being primed in the background, designed for fewer abilities to begin with and coded to be ported to game stations like the PS4 and XBox.
You Want It, You Got It:
As many people have already noted about Legion it seems like blizzard is doing a major fan service. People wanted "this" person dead, so we are killing him. People wanted "this" person to return, so we are bringing him back. People wanted Demon Hunters to be a playable class, so have at it. People wanted the emerald dreams, well here it is. People wanted to face Azshara, well here she is. People wanted to wield Ashbringer, go for it and here are a dozen other cool looking versions of it too while you are at it. I could go on and on, but I am sure I do not have to.
Blizzard is going for broke here. They are throwing everything into the pot, they are leaving nothing on the table. They are trying to give everyone what they wanted, or at least the things they saw posted most about on the forums over the last 12 years.
It makes one believe that if they are doing this and basically tying up a bunch of outstanding story lines, or at least giving some sort of closure to remove the ideas of what could be a future expansion like Azshara and the dark below, or the emerald dream, or so many other things that they could have made expansions about or used as a background for them being put to rest you have to think, why not leave the loose ends.
A company looking forward to making more expansions does not tie up all those loose ends they spent years creating so they can have something to build on in the future unless they know, in this incarnation at least, there is no future to save them for any longer.
The fact they are giving us everything we wanted makes you think, maybe that is because this is the end.
I Have to Replace My Artifact With What?
Every expansion is the same. We work our butts off, usually for a year of nothing to do but get better gear from raiding, to get the best gear we can get only to see it replaced with a quest green as soon as the new expansion comes out.
Warlords was, in my opinion, the first expansion that ever did leveling right in terms of gear progression. I leveled to 100 with my SoO gear on and I even did the proving grounds gold on day one when I hit 100 while still wearing all my gear from SoO. My mists gear worked, for the most part, up until dungeons in warlords. And that is how it should be in my opinion. Even more so when you were in all mythic gear like I was. It did still suck to have to take off the legendary cloak, but at least I did not replace it with some quest green as soon as I stepped into the expansion like what would have happened in most previous expansions.
I expect legion leveling to be somewhat the same if they learned anything from how awesome the leveling experience was for many, like myself. But what of the expansion after. Sure we might not replace Ashbringer with a quest green. But we will sooner or later need to replace it and it makes you think that this is the ultimate weapon for my class. How do I get better than the ultimate weapon?
And that is why I think the Artifact weapons show that there will not be an expansion after this one. Even if it is an awesome thing, like the cloak, it is still just some no name but special cloak. It might have been powerful but once you find something more powerful you say good bye to it. How exactly are you going to do that with Artifacts? They are the most powerful weapons in existence. They are not some no name weapon.
Also these Artifact weapons offer not only power, but massive time investment to level them. They have skilled that we will have become used to. What Beast Mastery hunter, after spending countless hours, days, weeks and maybe even months, leveling up his or her Artifact weapon just so he or she could have a second controllable pet is going to feel right throwing that away from some no name weapon. Even if that no name weapon comes from the first tier of raiding in the next expansion. Even if it comes from the last tier of raiding next expansion. When do you let go of the weapon that is the best weapon for your class that you are ever supposed to have?
We would lose the time put into it, which if we are correct will not be just a heavy weekend of playing to level. We would lose all the boosts to our abilities we gained from leveling it. We would lose all the power ups we gained from leveling it. We would lose the thing they spent an entire expansion telling us is the greatest weapon we would ever own.
The Artifact weapons and the power up system they are adding in Legion show that they do not intend for us to ever replace these weapons. So there are three options. 1) dig themselves a really big hole it will be near impossible for them to get out of by the expansion having us drop all that power for what... 2) keep leveling up those same weapons the expansion after with added levels, which will make it harder on new players that join the game because now they would need to level a weapon through 2 expansions instead of only the current one, or, the one we are focused on in this post, 3) they do not intend for us to ever get any weapon after this one because there will be no expansion after this one.
Three seems to make the most sense. One seems like it is asking for trouble, but quite honestly it does fit blizzard idea of never thinking toward the future. Two seems really unlikely. How would you feel if you joined the game in the expansion after legion and found you needed to level your weapon, which could take months for an active player (blizzards words, not mine) before they can actually catch up to the current expansion. So yeah, three makes the most sense.
They are giving us our ultimate weapons. They are letting us power them up to ultimate power. They are letting us choose how they look. They are letting us be the "hero" of the game for our one last hurrah. This is it folks. Your paladin will go down in a blaze of glory with Ashbringer in his hand. Your hunter will die fighting with Titanstrike in his hand and two pets at his side. It doesn't get better than this folks and that is because, it doesn't have to. This is the end, this is the last weapon you will ever have, and it has been designed that way. Just think about it.
The Game is Old:
And I do not mean that in a bad way. I like that the game has history. It is part of the reason I keep playing, I do not want to leave that history behind. But there is a lot of baggage that comes with age that can not just be forgotten about.
Lets look from the outside in and see what someone that never played before sees. The stories of only basement dwellers play this game. The stories of people losing their jobs playing this game. Losing their marriages over the game. Or lets say they know all that stuff is just BS, which it really is because I am sure all those things could be said about any popular game and there is someone out there is might be true for and they look at the game as what it truly is. A game with 6 expansion (soon) and over 110 levels (soon).
Sure it might not take a lot of time to level 110 levels. Sure you can get all the previous expansions for a song if they are on sale and cheap even if they are not. Sure if you buy the most current expansion you can get an instant boost. But to someone new to the game, even if they know all that, it still feels as if you are so so so far behind.
So lets even forget dragging new people in and them feeling that they are so far behind. When people do join the world is so out of order, thanks to cataclysm mostly, but just because as years passed and things changed a lot of the older stuff doesn't fit right, doesn't work as intended, or just doesn't make sense. You get abilities out of any semblance of order. The story line bounces all over the place, if you are the type that even reads it that is. The leveling pace, because they had to change it for people with alts and heirlooms means even a new person without them still often out levels zones before they finish them.
Over all the years the past of the game just, well, got destroyed, for lack of a better description. Blizzard knows this. They know the leveling process does not really make the game look good to a new player because they have not concentrated on getting any new players.
And the reason they are not addressing this is? Who cares, we are starting over again soon. It will be a new game so no basement dweller stigma. It will be a new game so no 110 levels behind for newcomers. It will be a new game so no 6 expansions to buy. it will be a new game so the leveling will be fresh, enjoyable, and in order, as it should be for everyone. It does kind of make sense that a reset would really help this aspect of the game. Doesn't it?
There are Some Things You Can't Fix:
I can't remember what I heard this in reference too, but I am sure at one point I heard a dev say that some things can not be fixed. Maybe it was as simple as the beginning bag space issue being locked to 16. Maybe it was about the continuity issue caused by the redesign of cataclysm. But one thing was sure, there was something in game they did not like how it turned out that they can't, or won't spend the time to, fix.
A complete reset would allow them to fix all the things they did that did not turn out quite as they intended them to be. Those globes in Ulduar, you know the ones that showed all the known world to us. Yeah, it kind of limited where we could expand to with expansions without adding some fancy explanations. Come to think of it, that is what I think the comment I mentioned was in reference too.
They can easily fix the bag space issues. They can easily fix the world issues. They can easily fix everything they have noticed to be a problem area over the years if they design knowing what the problems are, which after 12 years, they should be pretty clear on what they are.
Some of these issues are big, most are not, but each and every one of them can be fixed with a complete reboot. And maybe the reason they are not looking to try to fix and of them now means they know they do not have to fix the issues because the issues will be left behind.
Battle Net Wide Makes Transfer Easy:
Did you ever notice that they do not make things account wide, they make them battle net wide. If our pets, for example, were account wide than all our warcraft accounts would have it. But if they were battle net wide than all our games would have it, such as warcraft 1 and warcraft 2. Just something to chew on.
The Future is Mobile:
Back to design and what warcraft is not capable of but warcraft 2 would be. Mobile games are hugely popular. If anyone says otherwise they are living in the last century, or roughly 12 years ago if you work for the warcraft team.
I am still not sure why when battle pets were added there was no mobile app that allowed us to play with them while on the road, at work, in school, or basically play with them when there are other things we are supposed to be doing. (not that I advocate playing games on work time, but writing blogs is just fine. wink wink nudge nudge). The reason can only be one of two things, no one at blizzard thought of it or the warcraft engine and how it was designed was not capable of supporting it.
I am going to go with the game was not capable of supporting it at the time they added them. I don't think it is possible that not even one person that works for blizzard in a high ranking position did not see the HUGE impact having a battle pet mobile app would be. Heck, I could even see them adding a transmog mobile app, so you can change the appearance of your characters while you are sitting on a bus if you wanted to. Or a dungeon crawler app where you take your character, solo, through dungeons designed strictly for the mobile app.
Remember when I said at the beginning that ending WoW and starting WoW 2.0 would be all about money? Well, the ability to have mobile games where you can attain things that show up in game and the stuff you do in game can show up in the mobile version is a big part of that.
Once they can have integrated mobile and computer and game stations all accessing the same content, and in this case content you can play anywhere, it opens the possibilities for making a great deal of money.
The pet battles can allow you to do something like 20 battles and regenerate 5 per hour but if you run out and want more you will need to buy more battles for 2 bucks if you do not want to wait it out. They could add special adventures, for 10 dollars per, that you need to complete on mobile to get a few pet that will show up in all places.
Maybe the reason there was never a pet battle app is because they could not tie it into the WoW engine, which gives them more reason to make a WoW 2. Why recreate an engine for WoW and invest all that time for only adding thing. Might as well start new all over, which is what they will do and then I will be playing battle pets at work instead of writing this... maybe.
And the Big Bad of Warcraft Has Always Been Sargeras:
We do not know where Legion will lead us but one thing we do know for sure for sure and that is Sargeras is supposed to be the end boss of the World of Warcraft. What better time to have him show up than now? They have set the stage for him completely. All he needs to do is step his feet on the soil of azeroth and we will all tremble as we fight the urge to bow before his god like omnipotence.
A battle between the heroes of Azeroth and the fallen titan can only end in one way. Death and destruction of everything, including the world as we know it. They can easily write the story so that as Sargeras breathes his last breath, the death of a god, as close as we could come to know one, triggers the titans to activate the re-origination button, as was threatened so many times before.
The world, as we know it, would be destroyed and from the ashes we would arise, with knowledge of what we once were, but no power, in a bed being tended to by a care giver that carted our bodies from the rubble. Or gear destroyed, our abilities diminished and our bodies frail after such a long sleep, we would need to journey, adventure and fight to gain our powers back, our strength back, and our gear back too.
In this new world there would be new land masses and blizzard could make sure not to let the full world view ever come our way. They could even keep us on the same continent for more than one expansion, only opening up moving further into it as time goes on. They could create new lore, no stories, new histories of the past. All would be new, even if some things might seem familiar.
What better time to hit the reset button after beating the fallen titan and having the world as we know it reset by the titans? The story just seems ripe to lead us to the new beginning we would need if we want to move into a WoW 2.0 cleanly. They lined it up perfectly, so perfectly in fact that there can't be an expansion after Legion. Sargeras will be dead, and the Azeroth that we know will have died with him.
So what say you fellow traveler? Do you don your tin foil hat with me and get ready for 2.0 or will there be more of the WoW we know and love first? Will there ever be a WoW 2.0?
Come on... put on the hat... you know you want to. Speculate. It will be fun, I promise.