I threw this idea together within a half-hour of wishful thinking. Don't take this as being very serious though, although I have put effort into compiling this idea. Really I am just seeing how an idea on this level would be received. Please keep your mind open regardless.
A problem I have noticed with the storytelling in the MMO setting is that there is never a feeling of uncertainty. We are always assured that our characters will triumph over evil and that everything will turn out alright in the end because the story is continuous and that typically does not allow for radical storytelling. So in my spare time I have been brainstorming an idea for a potential expansion, and so I present you with World of Warcraft: Onslaught.
This expansion assumes that the Burning Legion, the Old Gods, and Azshara have already been defeated prior. The Alliance-Horde War has been halted in the wake of both factions being decimated by constant conflict, leaving them open to a new force rising from the ashes of many fallen organizations. This expansion would also be planned to be the last, thus the capability of putting out radical amounts of content and the dramatic increase of the stakes at hand.
This is a story driven idea. Instead of delving into new classes and such, I am focusing purely on the story here. Also, I haven't yet explored what would occur in future patches, but that will come in time. I also haven't done too much exploration in the typical questing content, as I have been focused on the Scenario/Dungeon/Raid content of this expansion, the highlights of this expansion so-to-speak.
Most of my focus is on the antagonists, who play the largest role in this expansion. I wanted to make it focused on them rather, because it is the antagonists who form the driving force of the game. In doing so, I made it so that they would make regular appearances. However, unlike in WotLK they will actually be accomplishing their goals rather than cackling after yet another setback and yelling at the heroes to chase them further next Saturday.
The basic gist is that three individuals from three different factions who once posed grave threats to Azeroth have banded together to form the Onslaught. Much more dangerously genre savvy than any preceding villains, this organization will truly test the limits of Azeroth's denizens. Many important lore figures will fall, and in the end only a few will remain standing.
Of course, this is just a raw idea that is not very refined. It won't suit the tastes of many largely in part to just how radical it is, but I still wish to share what I have thought up. At some points I will be typing down what comes to mind, so be warned.
The great burning shadow has been vanquished, silenced and scattered. The old lords of the earth scream in unknown terror as they meet their certain fate. The queen whispers her last as she is drowned in her own indulgence. The contesting powers retreat as battles in foreign lands are met with a swift end, from the last roar of a fallen warchief to a final embrace between the lion and its cub as the watchful eye of a prince born in darkness looks onward, all too aware of what is to come.
The great dragon announced the coming of the Age of Mortals. But what she did not realize is that with the coming of a new era, everything of the old must be erased...
We are the mortals that shall forge this new path, and with it the obliteration of our shackles. We stand united under one banner, in spite of our differences in the past. Some once heralded the coming of death itself, while others served as the harbingers of destruction. Yet here we stand together, aware of the future we must carve out, and what must be undone. The corruption of both the Alliance and the Horde has relished for long enough.
Our vengeance shall be swift, and only from this shall the new era truly come unhindered by old hatreds. For we stand together under one banner, united under one cause, marching forward together to a final destination, that of the Onslaught...
- Leiden, former Twilight Lord, now Prophet of the Onslaught
The Onslaught is upon Azeroth. A force conceived as the surviving remnants of enemies encountered in the past unite under a single banner. Led by a council of powerful and influential individuals, their amassed armies stand ready to annihilate all who would stand against their vision for this world.
Leiden, Prophet of the Onslaught: Formerly a high ranking member of the Twilight's Hammer, this particular human will stop at nothing to accomplish the complete annihilation of both the Alliance and Horde. Utilizing tactics ranging from guerrilla warfare to terrorism, he has learnt from the mistakes of those he once served, never allowing pride to engulf his mind. To ensure his objectives are met, Leiden has taken to traveling around Azeroth, devouring the essence of the fallen Old Gods to further empower his being. If successful he may succeed in his planned ascension to godhood. Under his charismatic stride, the scattered remnants of the Twilight's Hammer now stand united once more, ready to do battle.
Highlord Dravian: Formerly an infamous Scourgelord who escaped the Lich King's control during the assault on Icecrown Citadel, this particular death knight has not only managed to amass sufficient forces splintered off from the Scourge, but has also recruited most of the surviving members from the Cult of the Damned. In order to secure an army strong enough to destroy all of Azeroth, Highlord Dravian will challenge the Knights of the Ebon Blade for the fragments of Frostmourne, which have been separated and kept in remote locations kept under high security. Once the dreaded blade has been reforged, the mantle of the Lich King shall be his next objective.
Utor: Nobody truly knows the past of this being, only that it has been left ravaged by void energies, with enchanted robes the sole bindings maintaining its humanoid form. However, the power of Utor cannot be argued, for this being has devoured entire regions of all potent energies to sate its unending hunger, leaving only wastelands that serve as staging grounds for demonic forces who appear to serve this almighty being. Much more of a presence than a person, a force rather than an individual, Utor will prove to be an extremely dangerous foe for factions including the Kirin Tor as it looks for potential sources of magic to devour.
This trinity of powers has united the remaining numbers of the Burning Legion, Scourge, and the Twilight's Hammer under one banner. The only faction not apart of the Onslaught that possesses any significance lie within the remnants of the Naga, who are hunted by the Onslaught who see them as the worst example of Azeroth's civilizations, hatred of their once decadent lives as the Highborne fueling this purging.
Both the Alliance and the Horde remain as hollow shells, ravaged by constant war on several fronts. So many lives have been lost fighting the various threats to Azeroth, leaving both factions at the brink of dissolution and provoding a ripe opportunity for a third party.
* Every zone within Azeroth has been altered to depict the widespread effects of the Onslaught, much like what occurred for the Cataclysm. Albeit the changes aren't as drastic as the Cataclysm. More content focused than terrain.
* The new questing experience will not take place in new zones, rather players will be taken across all of Azeroth while progressing through extensive storylines.
* Scenarios will now become a fundamental leveling experience, with many being added along the road to endgame content. These scenarios will be linked together, serving as devices for players to further immerse themselves in the story.
Scenarios & Dungeons
Scenarios will now serve as another option for gaining experience and gear while leveling. Scenarios will also serve as key devices for storytelling. Unlike before, there will be several scenarios where instead of experiencing content through the eyes of their own characters, players will have the opportunity to see events from the eyes of corresponding characters serving the Onslaught, allowing players to experience integral moments of the prominent antagonists.
Scenarios will be listed in their respective storylines, which lead up to major dungeons that may be experienced when progressing through Onslaught leveling content.
Mantle of the Dead
Highlord Dravian has issued a challenge against the Knights of the Ebon Blade, and is now managing operations regarding the retrieval of the various pieces of the dreaded sword Frostmourne. Once successful, he will ensure his ascension in taking the mantle of the Lich King.
The Forgotten Cave - Within a remote cave system located within the mountain ranges bordering Mulgore and the Barrens, the Knights of the Ebon Blade have set up a secure stronghold in order to ensure that nobody takes the shards of Frostmourne's blade, each fragment located in separate containers located throughout the cave system. Under the orders of Highlord Dravian, a group of cultists will penetrate the defenses present with a now undead Commander Renault Morgraine, once a prominent figure within the Scarlet Cruade, he is now an agent of Highlord Dravian.
Crypt of the Fallen - Within the Western Plaguelands the Knights of the Ebon Blade have stored several more fragments of Frostmourne. Guarded by newly built undead constructs along with many of Highlord Darion Morgraine's chosen death knights, it has been locked down in light of what occured in the Forgotten Cave. Commander Renault Morgraine returns alongside the soul of Kirkessen the Zealous, who once led an attack on Light's Hope Chapel, and is now seeking a method of becoming corporeal by fighting for Highlord Dravian who has promised him a way of gaining his own body once more.
Assault on Acherus: The Ebon Hold - Highlord Dravian has traced the location of the one piece of Frostmourne that he has yet to claim, the hilt which has found its way in the heart of the Knights of the Ebon Blade. Commander Renault Morgraine and a restored Kirkessen the Zealous will lead the assault, directly challenging Highlord Darion Morgraine and his most powerful subordinates. Players now assuming the roles of some of the Onslaught's most esteemed champions must sneak past the defenses of the necropolis to find the hilt hidden within and retrieve it for their dark masters.
Dungeon - Rise of a New King - Players will now witness Highlord Dravian finish the reforging of Frostmourne, all the while fending off a fervent assault by both the Knights of the Ebon Blade and the Argent Crusade. Commander Renault and Kirkessen the Zealous return to help finish off Highlord Darion Morgraine, who appears as the first boss. Following a large battle raging throughout the Necropolis resulting in the demise of both of the Morgraine brothers, the Onslaught's champions are met by the Ashbringer himself on the top of the necropolis. Wielding a reforged Frostmourne along with his own vast powers, Highlord Dravian engages in combat with Highlord Tirion Fordring, yet unlike Arthas he does not hold back. As the players fight against the Brotherhood of the Light who's members have arrived to aid in the assault, their dark master strikes the Ashbringer down in the process and ensured the corruption of the once pure blade.
Once the assault has been fended off, Highlord Dravian embarks on the final leg of his journey. To accomplish this, the ritual of teleporting the necropolis has been ongoing throughout the battle, and after the enemy forces are fought back the great citadel enters a rift, traveling from its location above the Western Plaguelands to the frozen heart of Northrend, Icecrown Citadel. Once reaching its destination, Highlord Dravian has the necropolis crash into the Frozen Throne, thus bypassing the Lich King's defenses as the citadel collides with the Spire. Highlord Dravian and his most powerful subordinates leap off from the top.
It is here where the final battle is met, as Highlord Dravian uses his power to break the ice encasing the current Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon. Although wielding vast powers as the Jailor of the Damned he is without Frostmourne, and combined with the sudden and dramatic entrance of Highlord Dravian with his companions, is struck down in a climatic battle. After being separated from the Crown of Domination, Bolvar Fordragon is left to breathe his last while watching Highlord Dravian take upon the mantle of the Lich King, the ensuring blast wave combined with the still ongoing collapse resulting from the crash manages to obliterate both of the structures involved, leaving only ruins. Yet the reward has already proven itself, as the triumphant Lich King marches out from the ruins with Kirkessen the Zealous and the players at his side as multitudes of the Scourge's numbers gather around their new master.
Leiden, Prophet of the Onslaught, has taken keen interest in harvesting power from the fallen Old Gods, now mere husks after being vanquished by adventurers, yet still brimming with potent energies. His goal to ensure that he will possess the power necessary to shape Azeroth in his vision of perfection by ensuring godhood for himself. Accompanied by trusted champions whom the players will assume control over, Leiden will scour the locations which once hosted his former masters with the intent of devouring their power.
The Ruined City - Leiden has traveled to Ahn'Qiraj, where the city's inhabitants have been growing in strength in the provided gap of time since the last battle where C'Thun fell. Accompanied by his champions and the few Qiraji who have opted to join the Onslaught, Leiden will spearhead an attack accompanied by Highlord Demitrian who has joined the Onslaught's fold. Entering through the fallen city, players will once again delve into the terrible depths of the extensive cave system underneath, fighting off Qiraji left without direction while Leiden forces his way through the rubble left behind by the battle between Cho'Gall and Med'an. Upon discovering the husk of C'thun left behind, Leiden uses his powers to follow through, tracing from the husk until he is able to use it as a siphoning point to drain the Old God's power.
Prison of the Titans - Within the Titan-built city of Ulduar lays the husk of Yogg-Saron, the Old God of Death. Leiden, now empowered by the remnants of C'Thun's might, has traveled to Ulduar with the same intention in mind. Accompanied by his champions, Leiden pierces through the broken defenses left in the wake of the adventurers' assault years prior, being met with only stragglers along the way. Upon reaching Yogg-Saron's husk, Leiden begins the ritual to proceed with draining the Old God's power. However, a strike team led by both Thrall and Malfurion Stormrage arrive, intent on displacing Leiden before the Onslaught's efforts reach full course. Here the champions face off against the two heroes as the ritual is finished, resulting in a further empowered and twisted Leiden destroying the Archdruid in a display of power, grievously wounding Thrall in the process and forcing the shaman to retreat.
Heart of Exotic Turmoil - Leiden, now empowered with the remaining might of two Old Gods, seeks to further increase his own power by paying Pandaria a visit to drain whatever energies he can from the Sha and in turn the long fallen Old God known as Y'Shaarj. Entering the Terrace of Endless Spring, once home of the Sha of Fear, Leiden and his companions enter easily once more as he begins a ritual to draw the remaining strength of the Sha spread across Pandaria in order to siphon them into a single location for him to harvest. However, a vengeful Tyrande leads a strike team of Sentinels against the consensus of the Alliance and Horde. She is accompanied by Shandris Feathermoon along with Aggra, who has summoned elementals to their side to aid in this operation. A vicious fight ensures, with the champions of Leiden holding off the attackers until their master finishes the ritual, unleashing a blast of newfound negative energies which result in the complete annihilation of the opposing forces. Aggra manages to retreat, while the fates of her Kaldorei companions appears to be grim.
Dungeon - Enter Godhood - Leiden has amassed an immense amount of power, which has twisted his form in the process. Undeterred, the Prophet of the Onslaught travels to the Maelstrom alongside his companions, intent on using the place where Deathwing the Destroyer fell as a focal point to draw out the remaining might of both the fallen aspect and his dark master N'Zoth. Once again accompanied by his champions, he is met by the combined powers of both the Cenarion Circle and the Earthen Ring led by a still recovering Thrall and Aggra. Highlord Demitrian makes an important appearance here, using his power bestowed upon him to lay waste against the enemy forces while Leiden's champions face off against important figures of both organizations, handily slaying them in a power-driven fervor.
Finally, Thrall and Aggra combine there powers to form a single assault upon Leiden, however Highlord Demitrian sacrifices himself to shield his master, leaving both shamans robbed of their energies as Leiden finishes the ritual. It is here where he causes the surrounding islands of the Maelstrom to collapse into the swirling vortex, leaving the fate of the couple a grim one as Leiden ascends above, taking flight with his companions with his newfound power. After this, it would not be a mistake to label Leiden as a living, walking deity.
Path of Hunger
Utor, the figure who has united many of the scattered remnants of the Burning Legion, has taken upon itself to scour Azeroth with a simple goal in mind, annihilation. Already has Utor devoured towns and cities, now the being seeks to eliminate potential threats.
Damnation - Utor has been drawn to Sylvanas, and seeks to eliminate both the Banshee Queen and her remaining Val'kyr servants. A team sent by Leiden has followed the Devourer to the Undercity, where the being makes its assault upon its denizens. The champions follow Utor as demonic gateways are formed in the being's destructive wake in the great catacombs. Protecting these gateways are key, as they will allow demons to enter Azeroth in order to wreak further havoc. After defending several gateways, the champions follow Utor into Sylvanas' Chamber, where the Banshee Queen makes a desperate attempt to defend herself. Utor easily slays her alongside Leiden's champions, however the Val'kyr sacrifice themselves to revive her through three defeats. Finally they abandon her, allowing Utor to complete obliterate the Banshee Queen. This proves to be a devastating blow against the Forsaken, who are forced to retake their city once again in a different scenario under the leadership of Nathanos Marris.
Prophesied - Utor has been drawn to the Prophet Velen, and has thus made its way to the Exodar. Once again, Leiden's champions are sent after the Devourer to ensure that the demonic gateways formed in his destructive wake are undisturbed in forming as Utor marches towards Velen, devouring the energies within the Exodar and causing the great vessel to be defunct in the process. Velen proves to be a worthier foe than Sylvanas, holding his own against Utor for a time. Eventually Turalyon and Alleria, who have returned prior to this expansion, arrive at the Exodar via summoning alongside a counter strike force. A battle commences, with Leiden's champions facing off against the newly arrived force as Utor slowly drains Velen of his energies, leaving a broken husk in the aftermath. Turning its attention to Turalyon and Alleria who have held their own against the champions alone, the Devourer unleashes a blast which knocks both of them out before commencing its draining of their bodies. Their fate is left uncertain as Utor leaves Exodar, a grave hit to the Draenei and the Alliance who are forced to rescue the three individuals from the vessel and reclaim it from its new demonic inhabitants.
Fall of the Reborn - Utor has traversed to Silvermoon City, where it intends to completely annihilate the Blood Elves in preparation for a future visit to the Isle of Quel'Danas. Now formally accompanied by the Champions of the Onslaught, Utor will march through Silvermoon City, however it is left to discover that only token forces remain to defend the city which has already been evacuated. Infuriated, Utor begins to lay waste to the forces that remain, draining them of useful energies and leaving twisted husks. Grand Magister Rommath enters the fray, battling Utor as the Champions face off against an influx of spell breakers who seek to present a counter-threat to Utor. However this is left in ruins as Utor twists and bends Rommath's own energies, utilizing them against the Grant Magister who is forced to blink away, having been stripped of most of his power, however the experience has left him as a 'rift' much like Utor, which will play a major role later on. The spell breakers are defeated in turn by the Champions, allowing Utor to continue rampaging through Silvermoon City, intent on reaching Sunfury Spire.
Halduron Brightwing and Lady Liadrin stand in way, the former facing off against the Champions as Utor engages in combat with the Matriarch of the Blood Knights. The two are defeated, however it will not have been in vain, for they have bought valuable time for not only the remaining people fleeing from the city but for Lor'themar Theron who has prepared himself accordingly. As Utor enters Sunfury Spire it is encountered by the Regent Lord who is immediately assaulted by a harvesting spell. However, Lor'themar had previous had been blessed by a powerful ward which would redirect any draining attempts and inflict the damage on whoever assaulted him, damaging Utor and forcing the Champions to engage him. While his ward has perished due to Utor's sheer power, Lor'thermar is capable of handling the Champions for a time until Utor recovers from the counter-attack. In light of this, Lor'themar opts to be teleported out of the palace and in the process activating a small yet potent mana bomb that had been rigged. Utor manages to drain most of its energies before the bomb is able to explode, reducing most of its damage to merely causing the palace to collapse, allowing Utor and the Champions to escape.
Dungeon - Fury of the Sunwell - Utor, having dealt with the threat posed by the Sin'dorei, has now arrived at the Isle of Quel'danas, intent on corrupting the Sunwell. A combined force composed of numbers from both the Alliance and Horde stand with a reformed Shattered Sun Offensive stand in the way of Utor. A fierce battle ensures as Utor summons great amounts of demonic forces to do battle with the allied defenses, the fight quickly escalating as Utor pressed closer and closer to the Sunwell. Lor'themar returns to lead his allies against the Champions, forcing them to engage in a second battle. However, Lor'themar proves his competence once again in his widespread usage of wards now wielded by his higher ranking subordinates, allowing him to resist Utor for a time while buying time for Velen, who has returned from his defeat in the Exodar and is now preparing the energies of the Sunwell to amass an assault intent on completely destroying Utor. Eventually Utor and his forces are able to overcome Lor'themar, as expected. Sensing danger inside, Utor conjures an image of its own being to travel with the Champions inside, to ensure that Velen will misuse his newfound power against a false threat. Sure enough, the Image of Utor is annihilated by the empowered Velen as it enters the room where the Sunwell is located. From above however rains spiraling lashes of shadow which weaken and corrupt the Sunwell over time as Utor grants his Champions protection from most of Velen's attacks. However the prophet is still capable of holding his own even as his surroundings become more and more corrupted. Eventually as he realizes that there is no hope in defeating Utor and his forces, Velen sacrifices himself and destroys the Sunwell at last, causing the destruction of the Plateau yet ensuring that Utor would not enjoy a constant infusion of corrupted energies. Utor, while enraged, does its best to absorb the destructive energies while whisking the Champions to his location. Afterwards they are left in the ruins, with Utor cackling as he embraces the newfound power granted by absorbing much of the explosion.
Future Update: Protagonist-focused Scenarios and Dungeons, along with the Raid content.