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  1. #1

    World of Warcraft: Ashes of Galakaros

    Hey. I don't work on Team 2, but I'm good friends with someone who does. There are a few Blizzard announcements coming that are currently scheduled for February 18th. These have been in the pipeline for a while and were originally planned to be announced at BlizzCon 2022 before it got cancelled. Announcements for Diablo and Hearthstone are also coming but won't be ready in February.

    TLDR:
    - Overwatch 2 CBT starts in late Feb. Public Test in mid March. Three new heroes (Sojourn, Mauga, Yako).
    - Warcraft: Grimoire is a lore bible / ebook store app coming this summer.
    - WoW expansion is Ashes of Galakaros.
    - New hero class: Tinker (tank/dps/healer).
    - Galakaros (aka the Dragon Isles) is on the far side of Azeroth. Primordial, volcanic islands.
    - Origin of the Dragonflights, and all life on Azeroth. Elune will be important.
    - Home to draconic wildlife, stranded Black Empire cultists, Uld facility.
    - New Renown system called Accords, which are like Covenants but ONLY have cosmetics. Dragonsworn abilities for each spec.
    - "The living world" is a new endgame world content model that will gradually revamp new zones on the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor while telling a constantly evolving story. World Quests, reputation grinds, treasures, rares, etc. Evergreen endgame content.
    - Living world is a long term project that will take many years, starting with Darkshore, Arathi, and Tanaris, and progress from there over time.
    - Cross faction play will eventually be extend to world content and guilds, possibly reputations and languages.


    The first announcement is the Overwatch 2 closed beta. They'll be announcing two more new heroes: Mauga (buff tank dude that dual wields gatling guns) and Yako (teenage ninja girl with a giant shuriken and pet fox spirit). Closed beta will start in late Feb, and a public PvE demo that is scheduled to run for two weeks in mid March (console and PC).

    Second is a new app called Warcraft: Grimoire that'll be released this summer. This isn't a game, but rather an interactive digital lore bible that they want to be "a living version of Chronicle." It's going to have some sort of way to earn an in-app currency, which you can also buy. This will be used to purchase ebooks directly through the app.

    Third is the next WoW expansion, which is called World of Wacraft: Ashes of Galakaros. As most have correctly guessed, it's based on the Dragon Isles concept, but it's also going to be deeply tied into Elune and the Realm of Life. Galakaros is the name of the Dragon Isles, and it's an island chain on the opposite side of Azeroth, which they're calling "the far side of Azeroth." It sounds kinda weird, but my friend says that they were inspired by the Galapagos Islands, with lots of wildlife that evolved in complete isolation. Most of the stuff on the island is draconic, but only Galakrond and his brood were strong enough to get through the storms surrounding the island, which allowed them to come and go from Ancient Kalimdor. It's based on primordial Azeroth with lots of active volcanos and rampaging elementals, and is visually meant to be a sort of anti-Northrend. Also has some Black Empire ruins, ancient temples for each of the five Dragonflights, and an Uld facility where life on Azeroth first evolved.

    They're keeping a version of the Covenant/Renown system, called Accords, but based on the feedback for Covenants they're stripping them way back and making pretty much everything optional and cosmetic. Towards the end of the leveling experience you'll get empowered by Elune during an eclipse and "become Dragonsworn," which will give you a movement ability and a unique active ability for each specialization, but this time around there's no hard choice to make. Instead, which of the five Accords you join simply changes the way your Dragonsworn abilities look, your Accord Campaign, and the cosmetic rewards you get. After completing one Accord Campaign you can do the Campaigns for the other four, but some of the rewards will be restricted initially.

    There's also going to be a new hero class: the Tinker, which my friend says is an idea they've always wanted to do, and has been the most requested class by far since Demon Hunter. It's less tied to the Dragon Isles and more to this new endgame concept called "the living world," which I'll explain later. Tinker will have tank, healer, and DPS specs, and will utilize a special backpack using the new back cosmetic slot (think Gazlowe in HotS). Basically, you'll have these mechanized gizmos and gadgets that will pop out of your backpack for your different ability animations, and they'll have a bunch of different cosmetic backpacks you can earn that will be exclusive to the Tinker class. The DPS spec will be able to turn their backpack into a robotic companion, the healing spec will be able to turn it into a medical drone, and the tanking spec will be able to turn it into a mech suit.

    The story is going to involve Galakrond and Elune, and will delve into the connections between the Shadowlands and the Realm of Life, and the origins of life on Azeroth. Patch concepts are still in early development, but one idea they're kicking around is having players travel to the moon, which would actually be an Uld facility housing the landmass that used to be where the Well of Eternity is, along with the dead husk of Y'Shaarj. The Black Empire cultists stranded on Galakaros will be trying to revive him. It would be deeply connected to Elune and her role in helping the Titans sort out Primordial Azeroth.


    Aside from all that, they're making a big push for something that they're calling "the living world," which they've actually already started implementing in the live game. This comes from a big list of things players and developers have been suggesting that kept getting shot down by some of the senior developers until fairly recently. You may have noticed them adding weather effects to some of the old zones? That's part of it. Another part is opening up cross-faction play; they eventually want to expand that out to include world content and guilds, possibly with ways for players to gain reputation with the opposite faction and learn languages.

    The basic idea is that they're gonna start revamping old world zones, but as part of a new persistent open world endgame experience, with world quests, reputations, treasures, rares, and tons of stuff to collect. It'll have its own "living campaign" called the Azeroth Campaign, starting with Darkshore and Arathi Highlands (based on the BFA versions but pushing the story forward), as well as Tanaris. This is going to run parallel to the plot of the current expansion. New zones will be added to the living world as they complete them, basically replacing the "patch island" concept they've always done in the past. This is going to be a long term project that is going to span multiple patches and expansions. Zones that aren't yet revamped will be shrouded in "the fog of war," but they want to eventually complete the entirety of the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor.

    This is where the new hero class comes in. Tinker isn't really connected to the Dragon Isles apart from the Bronze Dragonflight's "Rustscale Accord," but are rather meant to tie into the living world concept. They'll start at level 10 in the revamped Gadgetzan, which is loosely inspired by the Gadgetzan expansion in Hearthstone. This'll be part of the Tanaris revamp, which will be the first big zone revamp for the living world, and they intend to have it ready and playable in the 10.0 prepatch along with the hero class. It'll also include a revamp for the Caverns of Time, which will be the new central hub for all the Chromie time stuff, as they want to fully separate the living world from the Timewalking Campaigns. The story for Gadgetzan involves turning Thousand Needles into a canal that will connect the Great Sea and the Veiled Sea so they won't have to sail around Kalimdor to get to the far side of Azeroth (where Galakaros is).

    After the Tanaris update, the Azeroth Campaign is going to start with an emphasis on Dark Shore and Arathi Highlands, and will gradually build up to the night elves rebuilding Hyjal and Calia cleansing the Ruins of Lordaeron. This will also involve Baine attempting to repair relations between the tauren and the night elves, and Anduin going into a self-imposed exile in Lordaeron.


    I've got one more thing to share but I'm running out of room for this post.

  2. #2
    Friend sent me this draft press release earlier (had to edit links):


    SET OUT FOR ADVENTURE ON THE FAR SIDE OF AZEROTH IN WORLD OF WARCRAFT®: ASHES OF GALAKAROS™

    Players will set forth upon the shores of Galakaros—the fabled Dragon Isles—and embrace the power of a Dragonsworn to help the Aspects reclaim their ancestral homeland

    Construct creative contraptions as the next hero class, the wily Tinker, while you journey through an ever-changing Azeroth in the living world

    Available for pre-purchase in the Blizzard Shop starting today, with multiple options offering multiple entry points and more benefits

    IRVINE, Calif.—February 18, 2022—As forces from across the cosmos focus their gaze on Azeroth following the reality-altering demise of Zovaal, the mighty dragon Aspects gather to petition the wary leaders of the Horde and Alliance for aid in a monumental task. Today, Blizzard Entertainment has proudly announced World of Warcraft®: Ashes of Galakaros™, the latest expansion for its acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game, which will see players setting forth on an epic adventure to uncover the origins of dragonkind, and perhaps the origins of Life itself.

    Accompanied by representatives of the five Dragonflights, World of Warcraft players will travel to Galakaros, an archipelago of volcanic islands located on the far side of Azeorth and the ancestral homeland of dragonkind. Surrounded by turbulent seas and stormy skies, the Dragon Isles are a shattered remnant of primordial Azeroth: untamed, inhospitable, and hiding countless secrets. Under a conjunction of Azeroth's two moons they will become Dragonsworn, pledging their fealty to one of the five Accords that execute the will of the Aspects:

    The Blacktalon, loyal agents under the direct command Wrathion, son of Deathwing and heir to the Black Dragonflight
    The Azurewing, an ancient brood that has recently offered their wisdom to Kalecgos, the new Aspect of the Blue Dragonflight
    The Rustscale, recently returned watchers once thought lost to time, reporting to Nozdormu, Aspect of the Bronze Dragonflight
    The Rubymaw, fierce guardians of life personally selected by Alexstrasza, Aspect of the Red Dragonflight
    The Vertclaw, dreamers awakened by the death of Ysera to guide her daughter, Merithra, heir to the Green Dragonflight

    ~WIP~ (talking points: new hero class and living world features)

    ~pull-quote TBD~ (Ion? Ybarra? see attachment)

    ~WIP~ World of Warcraft: Ashes of Galakaros Features

    Explore Galakaros, the Dragon Isles: ~WIP~ (talking points: adventure, primordial land, dangerous inhabitants, five new zones)
    Become Dragonsworn: ~WIP~ (talking points: accord campaigns, renown, universal powers, cosmetic differences ONLY)
    Tinker With Ingenious Gadgets: ~WIP~ (talking points: new hero class, three specs, inventions)
    Adventure Through a Living World: ~WIP~ (talking points: adventure, long term project, evergreen content, zone revamps, world quests, evolving endgame stories, fog of war, rewards)
    Forge New Bonds: ~WIP~ (talking points: cross-faction world content, mercenary mode, reputation and language systems, guilds)


    ~TBD~ Pre-Purchase Options

    For more information on World of Warcraft: Ashes of Galakaros, visit .

    Assets are available at . World of Warcraft: Ashes of Galakaros will be available on or before ~projected date TBD~.

    About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
    Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft®, Hearthstone®, Overwatch®, the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, and the multi-franchise Heroes of the Storm®, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes twenty-two #1 games* and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company's online gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest online-gaming services in the world, with millions of active players.

    *Sales and/or downloads, based on internal company records and reports from key distributors.

    Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements
    Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainment's expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about the availability, pricing, pre-purchase options, gameplay, features, and functionality of World of Warcraft: Ashes of Galakaros™ and the content and availability for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainment's actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Blizzard Entertainment nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

  3. #3
    Tinker not being thematic completely discredits this. Even if you try to sprinkle some LivingWorld dust on there. Blizzard - and any successful companies, really - launch products with a unified, singular theme. Marketing 101.

  4. #4
    Fluffy Kitten Nerph-'s Avatar
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    I'm gonna say this is the real deal. Why? Because fuck it.

  5. #5
    The Unstoppable Force Teriz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by draugril View Post
    Tinker not being thematic completely discredits this. Even if you try to sprinkle some LivingWorld dust on there. Blizzard - and any successful companies, really - launch products with a unified, singular theme. Marketing 101.
    Honestly, if Blizzard is dogmatic about sticking to WC3 concepts (and all evidence points that they are), then it is entirely possible that they will shoehorn the final WC3 class concept just to release a class with the game. They determine what fits the theme of the expansion, not us.

    That said, the concept behind the Tinker being a hero class and the uses of its backpack mech is very interesting. Definitely not something I have ever seen in Tinker concepts before. Also the name of the expansion doesn't sound atrocious. I'm cautiously optimistic on this one.
    Last edited by Teriz; 2022-02-05 at 05:59 AM.

  6. #6
    It's definitely this one, I got a good feeling about it.

  7. #7
    Honestly, I'd be okay with this. I'd actually be extremely excited about this. There has to be a catch...

  8. #8
    Scarab Lord SinR's Avatar
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    am I the only one that crossed his legs when they read "Overwatch 2 CBT"
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  9. #9
    The Unstoppable Force Teriz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethule View Post
    Honestly, I'd be okay with this. I'd actually be extremely excited about this. There has to be a catch...
    I gotta say, this is a very impressive “leak”. Well done Op! The press release was a nice touch!

    And yeah, this would make me very happy if it were true. It sounds pretty awesome.

  10. #10
    I take back what I said about Tinkers. I'd be okay with this. The DPS class description using a pseudo pet... damn that sounds good and we haven't got a new pet class since Unholy DK. Love Pet Classes.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Teriz View Post
    . They determine what fits the theme of the expansion, not us.
    No, we do. Well, more accurately, the market does. You can’t Spider-Man 3 a product by introducing a million different concepts and expect it to be successful, even if those disparate elements are appealing in isolation. And showcasing a unified theme… that’s always been something Blizzard has been successful doing.

    I know this doesn’t fit the wishes of some, like the OP, but wishes do not contravene reality, no matter how many “clever” justifications you or I or Blizzard can devise for a muddled presentation.

  12. #12
    The dead give away is that the pre-purchase options are TBD. You can be sure that those were decided before the title

  13. #13
    The Insane Chickat's Avatar
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    While I don't think this is real, it's a very well done "leak''.

  14. #14
    Herald of the Titans
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    Hey. I don't work on Team 2, but I'm good friends with someone who does.
    ngmi dude
    it the reddest of the red flags that this is the bullshit

  15. #15
    Over 9000! Golden Yak's Avatar
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    I approve of journeying to the moon.

  16. #16
    Points for coming up with a name for the Isles that isn't Dragon Isles; watching this one with cautious optimism.

  17. #17
    Okay, this one does take the cake in terms of presentation and cool concepts. There's enough that ties up consistently, and enough stuff that feels out of left field that gives it an edge.

    I want this one to be real even if I don't care for Tinkers; I really do like the idea of a new class not entirely centric to the whole theme of the expansion and... kinda is the only way you can pull off Tinker, because I really don't think there would be much excitement on a completely mechanically centered expac lmao.

    So yeh, I think this one deserves the prize "Pretty neat if it was true"

  18. #18
    By far the most in-depth leak I've seen. We shall be watching your career with great interest.

  19. #19
    Keyboard Turner Vytas's Avatar
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    Great detail! A few critiques of your concept:

    1) Tinker would need to fit in thematically somehow

    2) No way they release the expansion concept before the last three bosses of SotFO are live, let alone 9.2. I think it's looking like an early-mid March expansion reveal after we get 9.2 probably in late Feb/first week of March.

    3) Dragon Isles should be more like "North of Lordaeron" rather than the other side of Azeroth. I suspect the reason we don't know where they are will be explained through magic, similar to Pandaria's concealing mist. Seeing how there is a lot to clean up in Lordaeron too, I think having the DI close by (which is where they are hypothesized in the lore, currently) makes a lot of sense.
    Last edited by Vytas; 2022-02-05 at 08:33 AM.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Vytas View Post
    2) No way they release the expansion concept before the last three bosses of SotFO are live, let alone 9.2. I think it's looking like an early-mid March expansion reveal after we get 9.2 probably in late Feb/first week of March.
    Shadowlands was revealed before 8.3 dropped.
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