Monday, June 5, 2017

Evaluating a Supposed, Poorly Sourced WoW Leak

It's pretty crazy to think that it is now June and this year is nearly halfway through. For WoW fans, assuming a release schedule consistent with history, it also means that we're looking at an expansion announcement in only a couple months.

One of the really big questions is how exactly, story-wise, they're going to follow up Legion. Given that Kil'jaeden is probably going to die at the end of only the second raid tier, it's hard to imagine us fighting anyone but Sargeras as the expansion's final boss. Even if we don't kill Sargeras, the fact that we will have defeated him marks the sort of logical extreme of our power.

Still, for a long time, level has not really been an indication of lore-wise power - I'm pretty sure they don't mean for us to take literally that some bear in Stormheim is truly harder to kill than the Lich King.

The other day a friend told me he had seen a rumor about the next expansion - a supposed leak. Now, I think it's wise to take any leaks with a grain of salt, but there have been several leaks in the past that proved accurate. I remember seeing some poorly-translated leak of Legion that suggested Demon Hunters and Warchief Sylvanas. The latter I thought disqualified the leak, as it seemed absurd that they would replace Vol'jin so quickly, yet here we are.

So just in case this does prove correct, let's put it out there so we can feel cool about ourselves. We'll break it down element-by-element.


The "leak" suggests that the next expansion would be a nautical/Naga-themed expansion, presumably with Queen Azshara as its final boss or at least an important antagonist. Azshara has seemed like an obvious expansion-carrying bad guy for ages, and every time there's a new expansion announced, people tend to assume that it'll be hers. While it has never been the case, the reasoning is still sound.

Allies on the Sea:

In this rumor, it appears that both Kul Tiras and Kezan would play a role. Again, I think these are pretty reasonable for the setting. Kezan we've been to, but its volcanic activity forced the playable goblins to leave. Still, assuming that things have cooled down there since the end of the Cataclysm, it might be an opportunity to finally see Undermine. And Kul Tiras, being the most navally-oriented of the human kingdoms, is an obvious Alliance location for a sea-based expansion.

New Race: Naga:

Supposedly playable Naga are something Blizzard's wanted to do for a long time. The Naga would be a new neutral race, like the Pandaren. Clearly, there are some anatomical issues to work out with Naga. While simply hiding pants and boots would probably work out (you often don't see shoes on Tauren, Trolls, Draenei, and Worgen) there's also the question of mounts and, if there were to be Naga Rogues or Monks, figuring out how kicking moves would work. One really interesting opportunity here, though, is that Naga would be a perfectly appropriate third race for Demon Hunters, as the Naga have been part of the Illidari longer than even the Blood Elves, and Demon Hunters just got a Naga class champion.

New Class: Tinker:

Ok, here's where I get a lot more skeptical. So far, we've gotten a new class every other expansion, so getting one right after we got Demon Hunters is a little far-fetched. The other question is how any new class is going to work with the class systems introduced in Legion. Obviously any hero classes that come about can just skip Legion content, but if we get a new start-at-1 class, what are they going to do in the Broken Isles? Do they get their own artifact weapons and class hall? To be fair, that's going to be an issue regardless of when they come out with a new class. I'm always excited to see more player options, and a gadget-based class could be a ton of fun. But this aspect of the rumor also seems very player-wishlist-y. Not to say that Blizzard isn't concerned with players' wishes.

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