Blizzard is pretty good at keeping secrets, and so far there has not been any slip of what is going on with World of Warcraft past Mists of Pandaria. However rumours are flying as we near Blizzcon 2013. Here is my take on this years Blizzcon and what will be up for World of Warcraft and most importantly whats up for the next expansion for WoW.
For any World of Warcraft player a new expansion is probably the most exciting thing that can happen to the game. Since we have just seen the launch of patch 5.4 and what has been called the last major content patch for Mists of Pandaria, therefore it is time to start getting excited about a new WoW expansion. Will it be announced at Blizzcon 2013?
I firmly believe that the next expansion will be announced at Blizzcon 2013 and here are 5 reasons why I do.
Reason #1 - Last Major Patch
Blizzard has already stated that this last patch 5.4 was to be the last major content patch of the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Since the expansion has now had its story come to an end, it clearly means it is time to move on and get the next part of the World of Warcraft story going.
Reason #2 - Blizzard Will Learn From Past Mistakes
The last WoW expansion saw things go horribly wrong at the end. The last major patch for Cataclysm was 4.3 and brought with it the Dragon Soul raid. The raid was an immediate success and players loved it. However, it was released on November 29th of 2011 and then there was no major content released by Blizzard until just before Mists of Pandarias launch at the end of September in 2012. This meant that players were stuck with the same in-game content for roughly 11 months!
During this time of in-game stagnation subscriptions plummeted as players finished the current content and then had nothing to do. From the launch of Cataclysm with subscriber numbers reaching about 12 million players, by the end Blizzard had lost roughly 3 million subscribers and dropped down to roughly 9 million.
After losing roughly 25% of their subscriber base due to a lack of new content over such a long period of time, I can not see the Blizzard managers letting it go that far again.
Reason #3 - Regular Content Cycle
Blizzard has stated that they aim for an 18 month expansion cycle. Combine this with fact that historically the expansion betas have lasted at least several months. If we average that out at 4 months for a closed beta test, and add it to the 13 months that Mists of Pandaria has already been out for, it is easy to see that the new expansion almost has to be announced this month and the close beta opening within a month or two if Blizzard is to have any hope of meeting their 18 month goal.
Reason #4 - Next Expansion Already In The Works
Blizzard has already stated that they are well on the way to having the new expansion ready for testing. Being on the outside, we have no real idea how far they are in the development process. Blizzard could be almost ready for the closed beta launch, or they could just be starting out.
Having stated they area already working on it, and this was stated a long while ago, I have a feeling we are not far from seeing in-game shots of the new expansion, if not a closed beta date set.
Reason #5 - BlizzCon Schedule
Lastly and maybe most telling is the Blizzcon 2013 schedule itself. The first event that is to take place on the main stage after the opening ceremony is title “World of Warcraft: What’s Next”. Now that doesn’t say a lot, does it. Right after that presentation ends on the main stage at 2pm, another one starts on the Panel Stage called “World of Warcraft: the Adventure Continues”. This to me is another clear indicator that they will be discussing the next expansion.
Keep in mind that Blizzard has been known to post completely false schedules and then announce something new in the opening ceremony and have brand new “real” schedules posted and available on-site. This means almost anything could happen.
However, given all of the arguments above and having WoW taking the most important first slot on the main stage with a clearly labelled “What’s Next” title and key WoW developers being booked on the panel stage right after, I can not see that they would not at least give us a title and a bit of lore about the next expansion. I would actually be surprised if they did not announce the next expansion.
Ok, last comments on the chance of having the next World of Warcraft expansion announced at this years BlizzCon. Given all the reasons above I have to say that I am fairly confident that we will in fact see the announcement of the next expansion. I can not see Blizzard letting the opportunity they have with all of their fans in one place, or watching that place, pass without giving us all something to talk about.
If I had to give odds on the expansion being announced, I would have to give it a 9/10 chance.
What are your thoughts on Blizzcon 2013 and whether we will see a new expansion announced, and if so what will it all be about?