Back in Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard decided to release a very peculiar mount for its store, the mystic runesaber. People absolutely hated it; it came out during a time when WoW was in a terrible state. It was said to be a waste of artistic resources and an easy grab for money; the mount quickly became an incarnation of Blizzards greed and mismanagement.
Nevertheless, we're now aware that its unique design didn't come from nowhere, it was an early model used in Suramar for the next expansion. It was showcased in shadowmoon valley, an area sharing similar colors with the city of the nightborne. The shop description actually did fit them, but it was worded in a way we couldn't understand directly:
Sheltered by chaotic arcane energy, the Mystic Runesaber has eluded capture for millennia. Now from the shadows they emerge to hunt for new sources of magical power. Tame their wild energies to gain a loyal companion and ride into battle on wings of pure arcane power.
And now we're here again, Blizzard decided to add another weird mount to its store: The Vulpine Familiar.
It has a very unusual style; it looks like what would happen if you mixed titan Azeroth with a llothien prawler. It is covered with silver ornaments shaped as branches, with a close color scheme to elven Azshara in the middle of Suramar city. And again, the shop doesn't explain us anything at all:
Fiercely intelligent and insatiably curious, this species of fox has travelled the Great Dark Beyond to seek the companionship of the greatest heroes of Azeroth. Vulpine Familiars are born daredevils, and any one of them would make a great companion on your adventures throughout Azeroth and beyond.
During the quests to obtain the llothien prawler, we learn that "Volpin" is the last of his kind. The nightborne knew about it despite its discrete nature; they decided to organize a hunt to entertain the nobles. We can guess that foxes like Volpin used to be less rare in the ancient times of the Night Elf Empire, ten thousand years ago. They probably also were related to the vulpera we recently met, and the vulpine familiar would then be one of their wild gods.
So does it mean the next expansion will take place in the Azsharan empire ? Well, probably not, or only partly.
Just like Suramar used to be an outlier during Legion, this will probably not be the main focus of what's coming, it's only a clue, tied by something else we haven't seen yet, something bigger.
So what if the next expansion will be about Time?
Wait, not like WOD, I promise! Not exactly…
Do you remember who was the mastermind of all these time-travel shenanigans? Many people assume it was Garrosh idea to do all this, but he was nothing but a tool in this plan, same goes for the bronze dragon that went crazy. The true responsible of WoD was Wrathion all along, and it seems he's at it again.
Ever since he ate the spark of Aman'thul back in Pandaria, he's been having visions of the future, always living in the anticipation of what was coming next. From there, he never showed himself directly to the player, and everytime he appeared on alpha, he got removed. We can only meet him with Chromie in some close future where he's complaining about fire undeads that got raised by a demon. We can't even be sure about what's going on here, bronze dragons can easily mix your memories so you won't remember something essential. This demon might have been a lie.
During BFA, we learn that Wrathion decided to go to the "Dragon isles", a place we know little about. From the name we can imagine that some of the dragon powers are still there, but it's all up for speculation. Nevertheless, it's safe to assume he's trying to get his father's power back, and I have some elements that make me think he will suceed in that task. Let's take a look at one of Velens visions from Cataclysm:
The sky-filling, armored form of Deathwing flew across a burned world and landed on a charred, broken tree so vast it could only be Nordrassil, while supplicants draped in dark-purple robes lined up and threw themselves into a volcanic crack in the earth.
We're supposed to think the prophet was wrong, that we can't trust every vision he has, but what if he just misunderstood what he saw? What if this burned tree was actually Teldrassil? This flying dragon is not Deathwing the destroyer, it's Wrathion watching over a world burned by wars. The volcanic crack wasn't caused by the cataclysm, it happened because of all the azerite that came out. And when it comes to these dark-purple robes, I also believe we should express doubts about it. While everyone would see the Twilight hammer as perfect candidates, this is probably deceitful.
We should come back to the shal'dorei again: They, just like wrathion, also have a strong relation with time; they've been imbued with the power of the eye of Aman'thul for thousands of years. Elisande used its power with ease in order to live thousands futures, searching for the better solution to overcome the Legion. Occuleth recently started messing things up as well in order to bring the mag'har to the Horde. Globally, many nightborne NPC express their unhapiness about the current state of the world, some even wish to "reforge" it. They really wouldn't mind returning back in times.
Finally, there is also a strange dungeon from Cataclysm called the "End Time", presented as nothing but a potential future where Deathwing won. Curiously, several BFA protagonists are there as echoes, all haunted by their personal failure : Jaina, Tyrande, Sylvanas and Baine. None of these characters were specially relevant in the times of Cataclysm, so why choose them here? I think Nozdormu lied to us: This is really our future, but he couldn't tell us.
I don't know what will really happen during BFA, whether it is N'Zoth emerging from the dephts, Azshara becoming an old god or Bolvar being lightforged by Anduin; it's all unclear. Yet, what I'm really sure about is that we're going to loose.
All characters from the End Time have a reason to return to the past, they all failed somewhere where they could have made a difference. Jaina and Sylvanas would both look at the mistakes from the third war. Baine would look at his own unability to stop Garrosh, and Tyrande would look even earlier, way back before the sundering occured. But don't be scared, the excessive amount of time paradoxes will probably break the fabric of our reality and shatter the Hourglass of Eternity. After all, we need something to understand we can't just push the "restart" button infinitely.
(a brand new human style in Arathi Basin)
There is also a last thing to take into notice : Now, we have the technology.
While Faction War and Old Gods are the main focus of BFA, there is still this rising presence of gnomes and goblins in the story, starting with the Azerite machinery. Technology is always shown crushing old empires!
It only took mekkatorque one button in order to humiliate the Zandalari fleet as a whole. Goblins gave the kaldorei a very hard time by helping the forsaken. We can guess this trend will continue on, this is no mere coincidence that they decided to release mechagon simultaneously to Nazjatar.
This time, we'll be the iron Horde.
(I just wanted to talk about vulpine familiar, but I might have gone a bit overboard…)
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