Blizzard has stealthily added a bunch of enhanced assets over the course of Battle for Azeroth.
- Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin were remade with new assets to my knowledge not used anywhere else (besides the Arathi Warfront).
- They invented a bunch of zones out of thin air for Kul Tiras and Zandalar, all of which have assets that could be re-used in a revamped Azeroth. Desert zone, jungle zone, mountain zone, grassy zone, harsh coastal zone, swampy zone, snowy zone, etc. It's all there in Battle for Azeroth, but it didn't need to be. It could have been more outlandish or more one-dimensional given its South Seas setting, as was the case with MoP, WoD, and Legion, but it wasn't. There are even new Gnomish and coastal assets being added in 8.2, what are the odds?
Blizzard has been literally tearing the world apart lately, almost irresponsibly so, as if knowing it wasn't worth keeping intact anyhow.
- Giant swords sticking out of Silithus.
- Arathi turned into a Warfront.
- Undercity a toxic wasteland.
- Teldrassil a smoking pile of rubble.
- Darkshore torn apart (again).
Blizzard has been teasing that upcoming patches will take the story in a much more extreme direction than we've seen in the past.
- Blizzard said Garrosh was an amateur compared to Sylvanas, back at BlizzCon 2018.
- Ion said in an interview with Buffed that Queen Azshara will play a major role in the current war, "with a surprising turn of events that players won't expect".
- The story is very focused around Azeroth-specific themes right now. This includes the story of Azeroth the titan herself, and the allusions to Death (the Shadowlands) and Life (the Emerald Dream) as playing pivotal roles in the near future.
- As Bellular among others have been speculating, Elune seems to be getting an increasing role in the story as of late, and Tyrande's suspicious absence from Nazjatar, coupled with her recent change to a Night Warrior seems to suggest that something big is up. These two characters are definitely intrinsically tied to the events of Kalimdor and Azeroth as a whole, and not "other worlds" or mysterious new continents.
- Queen Azshara has a Circle of Stars achievement tied to her, and it is speculated that her fight will somehow lead to N'zoth breaking free of his prison. This is a significant event for several reasons. First because he's presumably the final of the four major Old Gods on Azeroth, which should imply that Azeroth is somewhat "cleansed" once he's gone. Second because his release has been incredibly hyped up over several years and he is supposed to have influenced a huge amount of recent events on Azeroth, so Blizzard will want to turn this into something big. Lastly, he's not just any Old God. There are prophecies unfolding to coincide with his imprisonment and jailbreak. World trees are burning, Sylvanas is going berserk and so on. This feels like the eve of Azeroth's death and rebirth.
Blizzard has more or less used up all the major continents on Azeroth.
- The South Seas, Northrend, Pandaria, The Broken Isles, Kul Tiras and Zandalar, Undermine, etc., it's all been done. While there remain some potential locations for us to visit, such as the Dragon Isles, Plunder Isle, Tel'abim, and a rumoured other side of Azeroth, these are far from certain to be fully-fledged continents and they haven't really been as prevalent in the lore as former locations have been.
- We could obviously visit other worlds, and there is lots of potential to expand upon Draenor (its southern continent, for example). But story-wise, it still feels like we're a couple of expansions away from doing something as radical as going after the Void Lords or anything like that. We still have issues to settle here on Azeroth, that much is clear. So where would we go on Azeroth if all the continents have been visited already?
World of Warcraft's 15th Anniversary is coming up, and the release of Classic.
- This could obviously be coincidental, but given how much emphasis Blizzard is putting on the fact that WoW is turning 15, and the fact that they are actually going through a lot of effort to preserve the traditional Azeroth in the form of Classic, this makes me thing something is up.
- Add to that the fact that the development team is supposedly bigger than ever, and that we're due for a larger expansion according to the tick-tock development cycle, this makes it all the more suspicious. Something big is coming.
Simply put, it feels like a lot of stuff is coming together for this upcoming expansion.
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