Although players are still busy digging through all of the Cataclysm raid and heroic content, some are already starting to wonder what we’ll see added to the game in the 4.1 patch and beyond. While we have some hints, what do you expect to see added over the life of the expansion? How many patches? How many new dungeons? What will happen to your favorite professions? And how will the expansion’s storyline continue to unfold — and which loose ends will be wrapped up by the time the 5.0 patch is released?
It is difficult to predict which way Blizzard will go with any expansion – who really would have predicted as much “vehicle” combat as we had in WotLK? Everyone assumed that the final boss of the expansion would be Arthas himself, and we were not wrong on that score. I don’t think that the developers would let us off without a chance at Deathwing himself; to do so might well alienate a large portion of the playing and paying public. Patch 4.1 will offer up the Firelands raid, ending in defeating Ragranos. I feel confident that we can call patch 4.3 to end with Deathwing – but what comes in-between?
In the pure speculation department, I’ll toss around a few ideas. First of all, expect at least one dungeon, perhaps a secondary raid, which deals events to come in for the next expansion. Bliz has precedent – OS teased us with a black dragon dropping oh so sweet drakes. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a raid centered on the Emerald Dream. And, if I remember correctly, we’ve got Ysondre with nothing currently on her agenda – and some portals scattered around the world. As the only remaining Dragon of Nightmare, I suspect her need for revenge would be high.
There is also untapped lore we haven’t given much credit to, lurking in the gables of this content: the actual corruption of Deathwing. Granted, the Old Gods are responsible; but won’t the mounting campaign against their champion bring them or at least their lieutenants out? Personally, I don’t think that we’ll get a chance to kill N’Zoth, but perhaps as an optional, hard-mode only boss? Can you think of a better way to get Sargeras’s attention than the amount of pure magic required to defeat the Old God that seduced Deathwing? Put yourself in his place – you have creatures that are individually insignificant (in your mind), but they have stymied your plans again and again, and now they’re taking down the lieutenants and main enemies of the forces of your former organization. Perhaps, as any good evil lord would think, it’s time to pay a little more attention over there.
Don’t forget, we have a singular uncorrupted black dragon egg. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we have a raid or dungeon where the egg is once again in peril. Every dictator tries to eliminate the competition, and DW has already tried once – it has to weigh heavily on the lava pathways of what serves as his brain. It seems like there’s potential for the Bronze Dragonflight to be involved here – perhaps something that even puts us in the role of supporters to the bad guys again. Perhaps Nyxondra has been kidnapped by the Infinite Dragonflight, trying to prevent the creation of a potential replacement for Lava Breath. Even an instance where we were healing her while fighting off mobs, a la the Valithria encounter.
Finally, what’s to come of the Black Dragonflight, and the Earth Aspect? In the end, we may possess either an egg or a very young dragon, but the poor little hatchling won’t be ready for that kind of power. While a forced aging might help, and again, the lore provides ample examples, I would think that the young dragon would need help in managing that level of power, something that Thrall and the Earthen Ring might be forced to provide. This would leave the Horde under a chieftain faced with both rage issues, and a Forsaken seemingly willing to destroy the loose alliance for their own gain. Increased attacks on the Alliance (new BG anyone?) might continue to drive King Wrynn over the edge, while his son watches. We’ve witnessed Anduin’s willingness to omit certain information to prevent another temper tantrum, could it be he’s aware that his father is riding a razor blade of sanity? What would the loss of the King of Stormwind do to the alliance, given that we now have another “human” kingdom? Bring it on!