Life after Arthas: what could Blizzard do for the next expansion?

When Wrath was first announced and we knew for the first time that we would be able to go to Northrend and fight the Lich King, I had mixed reactions.

I was excited. He’s the most iconic villain in the piece. We’ve been fighting his minions since we were little level 1 nooblets. We want to see where that story ends.

I was surprised. They were really going to let us go and fight him? I had expected that as an endpiece to the whole game, a nugget to somehow spread out through a few more expansions first.

And I wondered … isn’t that the end of the game? What on earth could they do next? With Arthas gone, the whole game setting is going to feel diminished.

So I can see a few options:

  1. The switch and bait. He doesn’t really die or if he does, someone else becomes the Lich King and nothing really changes. Bet you feel dumb for getting all worked up about this expansion now.
  2. The omg I can’t believe they did that!!! He wins. For the next expansion, the whole of old Azeroth gets a phasing makeover, we become servants of the scourge in a very dark setting. Imagine LOTR if Sauron had won. And in an even more epic storyline, we defeat them from within. I would love this, but I’d be astounded if they did it.
  3. You killed the lich king and you’re wearing his hat, but here’s something even cooler! So what’s cooler than zombies and necromancers? Nothing. OK, what’s almost as cool then? Dragons or pirates. And dragons win because not only will people want to play them, but fantasy gamers never get sick of fighting dragons. Fact.

So, a dragon based expansion. How could that work?

One of the few iconic bosses left in the game is Deathwing, the leader of the black dragon flight. So let’s cast him as the villain in the next phase of the game. And he’s going to destroy all the other dragon flights as part of his crazy masterplan.

What better reason to open dragons up as a new race for players?

Let’s  allow players to start at a higher level and in their own instanced starting area (similar to death knights). But let them pick any class they want. Maybe the class will influence which flight they belong to – greens for nature based, blues for arcane based, renegade blacks for shadow based, and anyone else can choose. Dragons in Warcraft can also assume humanoid form, so let’s handwave some lore to make each dragon decide in advance which form it prefers to use as humanoid. And as a neat bonus, this effectively opens up all classes to all races.

For example, currently only taurens and night elves can be druids. If green dragons could also be druids but could take any humanoid form, then all those people who were desperate to play gnomish druids would have a way to do it. Also, by introducing no new classes, there shouldn’t be any additional balance issues.

And because they are dragons, instead of buying flying mounts they’ll just shift into dragon form when they need to fly anywhere. Maybe just buy advanced flying skill from a dragon flight trainer instead of extra-fast mounts.

Then handwave some extra lore to say either that the player dragons need to either hide from Deathwing’s watchers or else that the Black Dragon Aspect has crippled natural draconic abilities – in either case, it can explain why the player dragons don’t just go dragon on raid bosses.

For possible raids, there are a couple of solid dragon-based locations and enemies that could easily be brought into play. One is Grim Batol, and the other is the Emerald Dream. Both cool, iconic locations which have been mentioned in game since very early on. Both canonically related to dragons.

That’s about as far as I got. What do you think? Would the lure of playing a dragon bring you back to WoW after the Lich King bites it?

16 thoughts on “Life after Arthas: what could Blizzard do for the next expansion?

  1. Would the lure of playing a dragon bring you back to WoW after the Lich King bites it?


    Dwarf shaman and gnome druids? Now you’re talking!

    And your idea for a phased Old Azeroth which has been ravaged by the black dragon flight is fantastic.

  2. The Arthas take you all and now you work for him taking the land from the good guys would be awesome. Never implemented though.

    Tomorrow I’ll post my ideas about the future of WoW.

  3. How about an under-sea adventure next?
    The big whirlpool on the map of Azeroth where Illidan found the skull of Guldan (IIRC), and all the naga ruins down there, would be fun.

    Too much like SSC? Maybe, but then Ulduar could be called Black Rock Depths Pt 2 as well.

  4. I had originally thought that the then-tightly guarded secret of the raid boss of patch 3.2 would serve to lay the groundwork for the new expansion, but that theory appears false. I think my hypothetical expansion title was “Clash of the Dragonflights” for the same reason you’re describing. Deathwing (and/or Nozdormu and/or Ysera) is the most established available villian, and the Dragonflights are currently distracted by Malygos and Arthas. Whether the expansion takes us into new places, e.g. the Emerald Dream, or old (e.g. Caverns of Time to fight the baddies in the past or future) is another matter.

  5. A phased old Azeroth would be cool but require a lot of work.

    They have quite a few options available to them from the lore, although they’ve run out of the Warcraft III lore mostly.

    Kil’jaeden is still hanging around.
    Deathwing, as you say, ties into Grim Batol.
    The Titans might return, tying into Uldum perhaps.
    The Maelstrom, as Vlad says, could rise again.
    Sargeras is out there somewhere.
    The Old Gods, potentially 2-3 of which remain; thus, in all likelihood, the Emerald Nightmare.

    I do think their main marketing issue however, is that many of the villains and locations of WoW thus far are continuations of the story told within War3. Any further expansions are unlikely to have that lustre to them.

  6. Where do you get to kill Arthas? Did I miss something?

    Yes, I wonder where they will go next since they don’t have any more Warcraft (the RTS) game lore to explore. I’m sure they’ll come up with something. I just hope it’s not too far out there.

  7. I’d hope for a ruined Azeroth, as you mentioned in option number 2. That’s something that could bring me back to the game.

    I always thought Deathwing was going to happen with Burning Crusade, because isn’t his lair in Outlands? I think WoW’s dragons are really lame and boring, though, so a dragon expansion wouldn’t excite me quite as much.

    I’d like to see Queen Azshara and Sargeras involved in a new expansion. Seems like they could milk a good amount of content there.

    I was always pissed by how quickly they introduced Illidan and how easily he was defeated. When I heard Northrend was the site of the expansion, I worried the same thing would happen. If they can avoid doing that, perhaps by doing the second option, I’d be thrilled. Arthas is too cool to become a loot pinata.

  8. Clash of the Titans? What ever happened to the Titans…no one knows. Old Gods are released, and Titans come back to help battle them.

    Or my other thought Burning Legion returns, Sargeras but demons are now a playable race. Dreadlord/Succubus playable toon = pure win!

  9. “You killed the lich king and you’re wearing his hat…”

    Really? I’m holding out for those fabulous ugg boots myself.

  10. I have a version of your #2.

    While we are away defeating the Lick King, he back doors Azeroth and lays waste to both continents in a MASSIVE war. the horde and alliance have to retreat, masses of refugee’s enter the maelstrom, mass camps setup in the outlands (camps that allow new toons of ALL classes/races to start at 55 and go through a newby zone like the DK’s had).

    While all this happens, the old continents are “offlimits” and are completely redone with phasing, we amass armies and retake them. All the old zones are warzones, we get to redo all the old instances on normal/heroic as we retake out home lands. Flying mounts finally useful in old world.

    the retaking of azeroth brings us to level 90, and we finally completely destroy the lich king, fade into new MMO.

  11. A phased Azeroth in ruins would be interesting. I’ve thought for a while now that if they want to justify charging the sub fee for the Old World that they should do more to it than maintain four old code and art assets. A phased version could let new players still see the old world as it “used to be”.

    That said, I’m tired of Arthas. He’s just not very sympathetic or interesting. He’s a cold hearted jerk, but he’s a pretty shallow villain overall. Powerful, sure, but not all that interesting.

  12. I wish Arthas was a better villain. I get it- he was a prince, some bad stuff happened, he turned vengeful, some more bad stuff happened, he turned to the dark side, even more bad stuff happened, Illidan tried to get all up-ons the Frozen Throne, Arthas said “OH NOES!” and got up there, put some armor on, and now he’s uber. Whatever. Where is the coolness? Where am I supposed to care?

    Illidan was cool, despite Blizz taking the pandas away from his blades. The whole intro movie was him taunting us, catching glimpses, and finally you see him in all his half-demon glory. It was awesome. Currently, we see some armored dude stick a sword in ice, a dragon pops out and flies over a bunch of undead. Yay….

    Arthas is tricky though, perhaps the only “depth” to his character. He’s a bit evasive. I could see us fighting him, him saying, at zero-health, “L2Play n00bz you were fighting my image! I now haz ur kings!” and just ruining all of old-world. The idea of refugee camps being setup is cool…but what if it was changed a bit…

    What if the next expansion is a server-wide event, just like people have been clamoring for? Arthas (or someone) lays waste to Azeroth. You think pansey lvl79 troops are going to take down kings? No. Every monster is no less than lvl85 elite. Yes. Every monster is equal to heroic trash in Nax25. All of them. Servers band together- the “hardcore” guilds teach the noob guilds because without the sheer numbers the noobs provide, no progress will be made. All instances require level90 (100?) to enter. Heroic dungeons are a lot more heroic when AOEs cause cave-ins (Deadmines, Muradon, others), players get radioation sickness (gnomer) and players can become zombies again. Heroic VanKleef? No. He was replaced by the lord of the bone dragons. His name is Kip and he just ate the entire boat Vanqueef was hanging out on.

    World pvp comes back as more effective zombies. You think the kings of Azeroth would die by one of those loser zombies? All your armor, weapons, and stats are doubled against the living…but go for more than 10 minutes without HKing someone and you lose 10% durability, 1/4 of your gold and get rez sickness.

    What happens when you finally make it to Arthas or dominate the “world”? Server events reset each month. It can even be on a Tuesday.

    This forces hardcore and noob to work together. This is heroic-WoW-mode all the time. You could even create a neat buff to the mob where the more people within 25yards it gains X% health/dmg. It would be nice to make people think again.

    Sorry if you got critted by a wall of text.

  13. Pingback: Killed in a smiling accident. » Blog Archive » Thought for the day.

  14. Pingback: Killed in a smiling accident. » Blog Archive » Out of their cataclysm but one poor Noah dare hope to survive.

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