....or the South Seas.
In less than 90 days, we will know what the next expansion to World of Warcraft is. We will know what features it contains, and what new races or new classes (or both) will be a part of the expansion that will cover the 10th anniversary of WoW. I don't pretend to know what those features will be. However, over the course of the last six months, I've noticed some interesting happenings in the internets that could give us hints to what the next expansion will be.
Keep in mind, this is all purely speculation. Consider this an alternate to the various threads about the Burning Legion, or the South Seas popping up in the next expansion.
Let's begin shall we?
Clue #1: Tri-Spec
In March, patch 5.3 emerged with an interesting datamined feature;
Everyone scratched their head about why this feature would be in the game. That confusion eventually gave way to excitement. Finally, hybrids could switch between specs without having to go to a trainer. DPS specs were a little less excited, but even they saw uses for this cool new feature. A Warlock could enter an instance and swap between their three specs and not even worry about switching out of gear! Everyone was excited and pumped for this unneeded, but very cool feature.
And then Blizzard took it away.
So, no tri-spec because it would make all the specs merge together and feel the same. Makes sense because there's only three specs. However, what if there were four specs?
Clue #2 The Expansion Leak pic
In May, a mysterious image popped up throughout numerous WoW forums;
This showcased not only a 4th spec, but also a new class which clearly had a mechanical slant. Most assume it to be a Tinker class.
Most people dismissed this, because they stated that there's no way Blizzard could possibly produce 4th specs AND a class for a new expansion. Numerous posts attacked the image for looking "cheap", or because the name of the person who supposedly leaked it wasn't a Blizzard employee. By the time the dust settled, most people had written the entire thing off as a hoax.
To Blizzard's credit, they stated that 4th spec would be very hard to do, and would require a great deal of effort to accomplish. Most people accepted this, but also seemed to forget GC's older tweet stating that putting 4th spec in place for all classes would be like putting in a single class for the game. Blizzard's reversal on their initial statement was interesting, because the task went from something somewhat routine to a fairly herculean effort on their part. However, they also never denied that 4th spec was possible for the future of WoW.
Updated: Ghostcrawler confirmed that this image is a fake;
However, he didn't state that a Tinker or a 4th spec wasn't coming in the next expansion, he also said that it was a "clever" fake, so the speculation continues.
Clue #3: The Iron Horde
In June, another leak emerged. This was a supposed file leak that showed a supposed file from Expansion 5 entitled "The Iron Horde".
The online site Joystiq ran this article about the possible leak;
http://wow.joystiq.com/2013/07/15/po...5-4/#continuedDatamining must always, always, always be taken with a pinch of salt, and in this instance we'd actually recommend a whole bag of salt. But nonetheless, it is fun to speculate, and this sort of thing has happened in the past and actually turned out to lead somewhere. Back in 2007, WoW Insider's Eliah Hecht reported on a section of the PTR client called "Howling Fjord", and wondered whether this might link to some future expansion taking place in Northrend. Guess what happened?
And now we have word that there is a new item under expansion05 on the PTR client. For clarity, as far as we know, we are currently on expansion number four. Again it's worth taking all of this with a very large pinch of salt, but while the file itself is simply a bit of grey stuff, the name of the folder it's in is "Iron Horde", and its name is nex_envmap01t.
Potential texture from the next expansion datamined in patch 54This is where we really start to speculate. This could be absolutely nothing. It could be a piece of iron that is in a horde area or on a horde outfit, or it could be the name of the next expansion. It could be the Horde's texture of an iron thing, or it could be a new offshoot of the "true Horde" that are coming to terrorize Azeroth in 6.0. Or it could be a red herring put there by the devs to confuse us.
Obviously, this is rampant, unapologetic speculation. It should not be taken as fact, and nor should anything else that's datamined, but it's fun to think about these sorts of things, right?
Eventually most people dismissed this as a mere texture that was misfiled (for whatever reason). However its important to note that the Howling Fjord leak was hit by similar scrutiny when it was revealed. Several months later it became clear that we were indeed heading to Northrend for expansion #2.
Clue #4: Some weird Steampunk-based contest at Blizzcon?
I'll let the contest speak for itself;
http://steelseries.com/us/blog/press...eague-of-steamWin the Ultimate BlizzCon 2013 Experience Courtesy of SteelSeries, J!NX and The League of S.T.E.A.M.
CHICAGO – July 29th, 2013 – With the return of BlizzCon this year to Anaheim, California, SteelSeries and our partners JINX and The League of S.T.E.A.M want to send YOU to the festivities in style. This once in a lifetime chance to be a part of gaming history is completely FREE to enter by visiting the contest landing page – http://steelseri.es/blizzcon. Sweepstake entries will be open from July 29th through August 11th to all North American residents.
The grand prize features two BlizzCon Show Passes, airfare and accommodations for you and a friend PLUS one custom costume by award winning costume designers The League of S.T.E.A.M! An additional $2500 in sponsored prizes will also be given away including World of Warcraft Wireless MMO mice and JINX gift cards!
To keep up to date with the latest happenings of all the companies that made this giveaway possible, please visit the following websites.
• SteelSeries – www.steelseries.com
• J!NX – www.jinx.com
• The League of S.T.E.A.M – www.leagueofsteam.com
The Contest runs from July 29th, 2013 to August 11th, 2013.
Now, Steelseries makes peripherals for computer games that are WoW related.
Jinx makes pretty awesome gaming clothes that are WoW related.
The League of S.T.E.A.M.? They're a Steampunk group. However Blizzard has no Steampunk games.... So why would a steampunk group be at BlizzCon sponsoring a major BlizzCon contest? Would someone attending BlizzCon be interested in a Steampunk costume when they're interested in Blizzard games that have no steampunk basis?
The Conclusion (and pure speculation on my part):
The clues appear to point to a steampunk-based expansion that will include the Tinker class, an "Iron Horde" of some sort, and 4th specs. How? It can be assumed that Blizzard was testing tri-spec to see how it worked with Druids, who currently have a 4th spec in the game. One could argue that the Druids having a 4th spec in of itself was a test to see if 4th spec could work within the new talent system. Considering the Druid's continued popularity, it would seem that 4th spec was a success.
Tri-spec gives the expansion leaked image validity, because the expansion leak image showed 4th spec for every class. However, what about a Tinker/Technology class? As I have argued in my thread about a future Tinker class, it would make sense for Blizzard to add such a class into the game due to its thematic uniqueness, and the Tinker hero's ties to WC3.
This is further supported by the "Iron Horde" leak, and the BlizzCon contest. "Iron" or "Steel" are often used to symbolize the early industrial age, which is the era in which the steampunk genre exists. Furthermore, a steampunk class like the Tinker would fit right into a steampunk expansion, since we all know that Blizzard likes to bring in new classes that fit the theme of the expansion. If WoW is introducing a steampunk expansion, it would make sense to have a steampunk group create a steampunk-based costume for the winner of the BlizzCon costume contest.
Taken together, these clues point to a very different possible expansion than we expected. I'm not saying I'm right, I'm saying that Blizzard may be about to surprise us with the biggest curve-ball expansion we've ever seen!
In the end, we'll all know the truth in a mere 90 days.
GC discussed the possibility of a Tinker Class in the future;
Interesting response.Greg Street @Ghostcrawler 11 Aug
@Jimmymusicbox Not sure. Might be a little too whimsical for WoW. Would depend on the treatment.
The Next Expansion's title is "The Dark Below", an expansion that has ties to the seas of Azeroth. Given that media often portrays undersea adventure and steampunk together (think 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Bioshock, Atlantis, The Secret of Blue Water, etc.) it would make sense why the League of S.T.E.A.M would be in attendance co-sponsoring an event at BlizzCon.
More tweets on Tinkers from GC;
Anyone remember Tom Chilton's quote on Pandaren before MoP was announced?Originally Posted by Ghoastcrawler
As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to participate in the poll, and leave your thoughts and opinions.