With World of Warcraft’s 20th anniversary coming up next year, and 2023 being the first BlizzCon in a long time, fans certainly expected a lot from this year’s welcome ceremony, and WoW in particular had a lot to surprise fans.
When Christ Metzen took the stage, it seemed like the roof would fly high into the air, and as he spoke – holding the enthusiastic crowd like putty – the noise from fans reached new and unforeseen heights. Three expansions were revealed to us, all of which will make up one big event in World of Warcraft known as the Worldsoul Saga. But if you missed Metzen’s speech, or if you haven’t logged into the MMO in a while, you may be unclear what exactly that means. Don’t worry, we have you covered and will do our best to explain what this means for the future of World of Warcraft.
In terms of story, this certainly feels like the greatest undertaking we’ve seen in World of Warcraft. The story has been going on for nearly 20 years (30 if we count the Warcraft games themselves), but it has never really felt like Blizzard has been aiming for this one, overarching plot. Each expansion wraps itself in a neat little package, ready to plunge the world into chaos once again with the arrival of a new threat. The War Within, the first of the three expansions tied to the Worldsoul Saga, initially feels like one of those regular expansions. We get new areas, new enemies and a host of new mechanics like the Warbands, which finally allow players to make their alternate characters feel like they are part of the same team.
However, considering that The War Within is just the first step in the Worldsoul Saga, it feels like Blizzard is entering into an Endgame-like event with World of Warcraft. As mentioned during BlizzCon, this will not be the end of Azeroth or the Warcraft universe, but it is a definitive point where we end our 20 years of storytelling and move on to something else. Exactly what that means, we probably won’t find out until the third expansion in the saga, The Last Titan. I say this looks like WoW’s equivalent of the MCU’s Avengers: Endgame because, as revealed in the welcome ceremony, we finally get to deal with the biggest secrets and questions fans have after playing World of Warcraft for two decades. What have the Titans been up to? Will the elves ever be reunited? What is that huge sword in the ground? All these questions and more will be answered in the Worldsoul Saga, which means we’ll see a neat bow around most of the world’s great mysteries in due course.
Even with the beautiful movies and focus on Azeroth’s story, the Worldsoul Saga will also bring with it plenty of new features for players. Taken from Dragonflight, The War Within will see the return of updated core mechanics such as talent trees, leveling and more. There are also the aforementioned Warbands, as well as new hero masters, allied races and a host of other features that drove fans wild when they were announced. All of this, by the way, comes just inside The War Within, so we imagine that with each new expansion in this lot of three, there will also be some additional features that excite fans who have been playing since the early days.
But what about the newer fans? Or those who have dropped out for a while? Well, it seems like this is a good time to jump in. You don’t have to be a World of Warcraft historian to know what’s going on, and in any case, the story often takes a bit of a backseat to the regular game, despite how incredible Blizzard makes the movies look. If you know who Thrall, Anduin, Alleria and Xal’atath are, you can appreciate the details of those characters and the journeys they’ve taken, but even if you’re brand new, it seems like this is considered a bit of an unwritten page. The battle for the world has only just begun, and both the Alliance and the Horde need everyone on their side to win it.
Although these expansions are each part of the same story, they do not necessarily offer the same content. For example, The War Within goes deep underground, allowing us to fight the Nerubian and meet the earth dwarves. Going down from the island of Dorn, we will see the world as never before, but once that part of the saga is over, we go back to the old world, to Quel’Thalas, where we reunite the elves and try to prevent the forces of the Void from ending Azeroth. Given that we have another expansion after Midnight, it seems we will fail in that endeavor, and then we will discover the great conspiracy of the world in The Last Titan, and return to Northrend to see the return of the shapers of Azeroth.
If you’ve had a lingering interest in World of Warcraft, but haven’t yet decided if it’s worth jumping back in. Now is the time, because it feels like Blizzard is giving the MMO the adrenaline rush it has needed for years. But if you’re a complete newbie to World of Warcraft, it’s worth noting that the game is not an epic third-person RPG. If the lore and fantasy of the world interests you, but looting, running around and doing as many quests as possible does not, then even the epic Worldsoul Saga may not be able to hold your attention.