- Update Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms in 9.0 and ensure they are never left in the past again. These two continents should ALWAYS be relevant and up-to-date.
- Turn old expansions into Timewalking content.
- Perform a Level Squish.
In patch 8.3, Junker Gnomes and Vulpera will likely join the Alliance and Horde in what is probably the final large content patch of Battle for Azeroth. Then as we await 9.0, we'll probably see the Light-touched Forsaken, and possibly the Ankoan as the final pair in the first set of Allied Races (each classic race besides Pandaren will have an Allied Race counterpart at that point).
The Horde and Alliance will have lost the battle against N'Zoth, and for the next expansion they take the backseat in the story as they try to keep their cities safe from the Old Gods' assault. Sylvanas will be gone and Thrall will have installed Baine or Saurfang as the new Warchief of the Horde, so there will be peace and rebuilding to do, all the while keeping the true enemy at bay.
That's how I see the coming year playing out, and here's what I want to happen next.
- Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms are entirely revamped. They're designed in such a way that they are now always up-to-speed with the current timeline, and any new content added to them in the future will either be time-neutral or phased so that it doesn't affect the primary state of the zones.
- Outland, Northrend, Draenor, the Broken Isles, Kul Tiras and Zandalar are transformed into Timewalking Continents. Basically, they still exist in the lore and Blizzard may still use small areas within them for story quests in the present day timeline, but when you go there on your own it is made clear by the Bronze dragonflight that you are witnessing past events. Cataclysm zones on mainland Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms are revamped along with these two continents, but are also given a Bronze dragonflight representative like Silithus, allowing you to witness them as they were in the past. Over time, Blizzard may update one of these continents at a time to give it a modern and up-to-date version to go along with Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, effectively increasing the size of the present day timeline's game world.
- New phasing technology allows Blizzard to drastically alter a zone temporarily. For example, some of the revamped zones will look overrun and conquered by minions of the Old Gods in 9.0. But over time, the players might cleanse them so that they appear normal (but enhanced) again.
- World Quests are placed everywhere across Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. They are designed in such a way that they can be updated or replaced over time, and they're more tied to regular comings and goings of the world rather than specific story events. So you won't see a world quest which tells you to defend a particular fort against Old God minions, since that might rapidly become out of date. You will, however, see random Gnoll invasions occur over and over, and you might be asked to pick certain herbs, and so on. Story-neutral but world-building content.
- World Quests are enhanced and may now have multiple steps. For example, unless you beat back said Gnoll invasion before a timer runs out, the village will be overrun. This might make your daily life in the surrounding area a bit messier, but the reward for completing the World Quest in its second stage will be greater. Another World Quest might have you explore an area in search of a map, while the next step sends you into a mysterious cave.
- Timewalking is now extended to questing. Whenever Mists of Pandaria Timewalking is up, you may travel to Pandaria and redo all of its quests and story content for a few hours of immersive gameplay, even if you've done it before on the same character. Quest rewards will primarily be Timewarped Badges and Gold.
- If you're levelling alts, you can partake in Timewalker Questing for additional XP bonuses.
Level Squish & Levelling Up:
- Character levels will be reduced to 60. Each level-up will now feel meaningful and significant, and brings with it multiple rewards in the form of new abilities, unlocked features, a temporary XP bonus to give you that boost to carry on, and some additional goodies. The levelling path is updated to reflect many of these changes.
- Starting a new character, you first get to play through a series of race- and faction-specific quests to get your adventure going. This is similar to the current starting experiences from 1-10, but it will be less tied to temporary expansion-specific lore, and will instead focus on stories that are more connected to the central themes of each individual race. As you reach level 10, you will be ready to depart for the rest of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.
- As you head out into Azeroth at level 10, you join other players of levels ranging from 10-60, questing through the content added in AZEROTH REBORN. Because the world is scaled, everyone is at an equal footing. In this expansion, these quests will involve a lot of fighting the Old Gods, cleansing their corruption, and restoring Azeroth to her glory. But as we move into future expansions, these quests will change to ensure Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms remain relevant.
- In case you want to level up without following the beaten path, you can also opt for Adventure Mode which allows you to level up to 60 by completing World Quests.
Levelling at Max Level:
- Future expansions will keep adding new landmasses. But instead of increasing the level cap from 60, there will be expansion-specific "Champion Levels" to obtain. For example, if you complete the story of Kul Tiras as a member of the Alliance, you gain up to 10 Champion Levels for that expansion. Once the new expansion is released, your level would be 60 if you are 120 today, but you would also have some Champion Levels similar to how your Professions ranks are represented in Battle for Azeroth.
To Sum Things Up – What Would This Achieve?
- The point of this expansion would be first of all to clean Azeroth and its many timelines up once and for all, and second to refocus the experience around Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. We keep introducing new continents with each expansion as a sort of band aid to keep the game world relevant, but with every year we're pulled further away from the core experience of Warcraft. It's not about war, or the factions, or the Burning Legion and the Old Gods. Not primarily. The main character of Warcraft is Azeroth, and frankly it's ridiculous that the capital cities are stuck in the past, that places you visit aren't even there in the story anymore, and that you can't play in Elwynn forest (for example) without feeling like you're missing out on the endgame.
- This would also enhance Azeroth visually and make it a place where world content and story is always up-to-date, engaging, and fun. Five weeks from release and five years from release, you'd still find it just as meaningful, fun, and interesting to adventure around Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.
- Old continents and expansions would be preserved both for gameplay and for the sake of not throwing away all of that work, but it would be accessible in a more "orderly" manner under the premise that you are indeed visiting the past. Unlike today, where you are visiting the continents as if you hadn't travelled back, but you still see traces of the past everywhere.
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