Five Predictions for World of WarCraft: Legion

wow-legion-box-art-2Yesterday, World of WarCraft: Legion was announced at Gamescom, and I am hyped! I’m much more cautious than I’ve been with any other expansion announcement, after what happened with Warlords of Draenor. Yet I still can’t help but be really excited. With only two announcement trailers and a single panel, we don’t have too much to go on about Legion‘s storyline and overall path so far. In this absence of information, I’ve taken what we do know to make five predictions on what will happen in the expansion, and where it will lead us to in the future. Find out what these predictions are behind the read-more!

5. We won’t fight, and might not even interact with, Queen Azshara

In Azsuna, one of the expansion’s leveling zones, the storyline revolves around a race between the player character and Queen Azshara for one of the Titan-made Pillars of Creation. This story culminates in the Eye of Azshara five man dungeon. At least that’s what was described at Gamescom. However the official website for Legion suggests that this is a great oversimplification. On the website’s list of heroes and villains of the expansion, Azshara is notably absent, but there is a brand new naga character. Meet Tidemistress Athissa:

Tidemistress Athissa

According to her description, Athissa is the leader of the naga in Azsuna, and the one we will be fighting for the Pillar of Creation. While she is following the orders of Queen Azshara, it sounds like the queen is personally safe and sound in Nazjatar. For this reason I’m betting Athissa is the one we’ll be fighting in the Eye of Azshara. When the dungeon was described during the Gamescom panel, it was even referred as where we would “contend with the minions of Queen Azshara” and nothing was said of fighting Azshara herself (as for the name, it was admitted that they only called the dungeon that as a reference to the famous trademark hoax). Also I doubt Blizzard would place such a fan-favorite villain in a five man after the poor reception of doing that to Anub’arak and Ner’zhul. The outcry over Anub’arak’s fate was actually strong enough that Blizzard was forced to bring him back to the final boss of the Trial of the Crusader raid two patches later.

I’m fairly positive we’re not killing Azshara in Legion. Between this and another prediction lower in the list, I have a strong feeling we’ll be dealing with her next expansion. Unless I’m wrong about my next prediction that…

 

4. There will be only one raid patch

Warlords of Draenor‘s patch cycle has been much-maligned, for good reason. But everything we know so far about Legion suggests it’s set to happen again. All of the enemy factions mentioned, the drogbar, naga, vrykul, satyrs/Emerald Nightmare, Gul’dan, and Nightborne are all dealt with in the launch dungeons and raids. Maybe Blizzard is keeping another enemy group secret for now to build up for a later patch, but as of the moment, it looks like the only thing we won’t take care of at launch is the Burning Legion’s portal in the Tomb of Sargeras.

During the Gamescom panel, it was said that Gul’dan will be the final boss of the Suramar Palace raid, the more difficult and “final” of the two launch raids (like Blackrock Foundry in Warlords of Draenor) and that defeating him is the key to getting final Pillar of Creation. Since we’ll have all the pillars by the end of the launch content, the next stop is logically to use them to close the Legion’s portal in the Tomb of Sargeras and wipe out the ones already summoned.

Concept art of the Tomb of Sargeras

So the final (and likely only raid featuring) patch will have the Tomb of Sargeras as a raid, and presumably this risen-seafloor zone, assuming its not the Broken Shores. Who will be the end boss of this raid, and thus of the expansion?

 

3. The final boss of the expansion will be…

The Avatar of Sargeras.

Sargeras, the Dark Titan, Lord of the Burning Legion

It would be unthinkable to use the Tomb of Sargeras as a raid without having the actual body entombed within it as a boss. Said Avatar would also have to be the final boss, as there isn’t anything else that could top fighting, for all intents and purposes, Sargeras himself. We won’t kill him, of course. Sargeras has been “killed” three times already, one of which involved his body being completely erased from existence (hence why he needed the Avatar in the first place). We’ll re-kill his Avatar, banishing Sargeras to the Twisting Nether, and send the Legion packing until the next time Blizzard decides we should fight demons for an expansion. What about Archimonde and Kil’jaeden, though? Blizzard is hyping Legion as the “largest Burning Legion invasion in the history of Azeroth” and the only way to top the previous three invasions would be if Sargeras himself joined the party.

The next obvious question is, if we’re fighting Sargeras (sort of), what could possibly come next?

 

2. The expansion after Legion will be about the Old Gods

Many have speculated Legion could be the final expansion. It’s the ultimate Burning Legion invasion, Blizzard seems to be throwing in every loose plot point they can think of (naga, demons, vrykul, Sylvannas, the worgen, Titans, etc.), but I doubt that’s anything more than an attempt to prevent a Warlords of Draenor type case of “demon fatigue” and fan-service to win back subscribers. There have been countless interviews saying Blizzard will make WoW expansions for as long as people keep buying them, and in BlizzCon 2013 even mentioned having four expansions currently in different phases of the development (Warlords of Draenor being the one revealed at BlizzCon, Legion in the very early stages of development, and two more in the concept phase). What will that next expansion be then?

Note one particular detail, or perhaps lack of detail, in the smorgasbord of villains returning Legion. One group of villains is conspicuously absent, who also, coincidentally happen to be much more powerful than the Burning Legion: the Old Gods.

Wait, what about the Emerald Nightmare? That’s a huge part of this expansion and the work of the Old God N’Zoth! Not anymore, it seems. The official site states that Xavius and the Emerald Nightmare itself are now under the control of the Burning Legion.

Xavius, the Nightmare Lord and first of the satyr

So not only are the Old Gods surprisingly absent from the Emerald Nightmare they created (if not for their influence on Xavius he wouldn’t even be alive to become the Nightmare Lord and later apparently deflect back to his old Legion masters in the first place), they don’t seem to have any other appearance. The closest we have is the naga plotline, which from what has been announced is rather simplistic. Azshara sends new character Tidemistress Athissa and an army to the Broken Isles to get a pillar that the players also want, we stop them. Why does she want a Pillar of Creation, anyway? I think these unanswered questions are our “Gul’dan” or Timeless Isle for Legion. A story that at first seems to be a side plot, but ends up being a prologue to the next expansion. N’Zoth is probably very mad about losing control of the Nightmare, maybe he needs that Pillar of Creation to get it back, and that’s why Azshara wants it all of a sudden. They obviously won’t succeed, but it will leave the player characters at Azshara’s doorstep, with her and her master’s biggest competition freshly defeated.

I know people tend to think this at the end of every expansion, but I’d say that once we’re done with the Legion, we should prepare for an Age of Azshara.

There’s one more prediction I have. It’s the one that, if correct, will affect Legion‘s storyline more than any other…

 

1. Illidan is the main hero of Legion, and everything depends on him

Every expansion since Wrath of the Lich King has had a central hero, a “face” of the expansion opposite to, and usually the arch-enemy of, the more widely advertised villain. For Wrath it was Tirion Fordring, in Cataclysm we had Thrall, Mists of Pandaria split the hero role between Varian (Alliance), Vol’jin (Horde) and Wrathion. Warlords of Draenor went back a single uniting hero, Khadgar. So who will be the hero of Legion?

Illidan Legion

He’s not the hero we deserve, but the hero we need

Illidan Stormrage is the face of the expansion. He’s on the box art, his presence is the big reveal of the cinematic teaser, the playable Demon Hunters were trained by and serve him, his resurrection is how the expansion starts. Yet we’ve seen nothing about what Illidan will actually do in Legion. We’ve heard he has some involvement in the Vault of the Wardens five man, but that’s about it. From all this promotion, its clear Illidan is a huge player in the story, far more than Blizzard is letting on.

Maybe he’s a villain? After all he’s on the cover like villains usually are (Chen being a notable exception), and Gul’dan resurrected him. That means he’s working with the Burning Legion now, right? Well there’s this piece of artwork shown briefly in the Gamescom live stream:

Illidan Gul'dan Legion artwork

Illidan is clearly not on good terms with the Legion

Illidan is on our side. That the playable demon hunters still call themselves Illidari despite joining us also attests to that. There’s more however. Illidan won’t just be the hero, he’s the key to everything. For some reason, Gul’dan needs to resurrect him for the events of the expansion to occur. Then there is the demon hunter starting zone, which recounts a mission Illidan’s followers undertook to Maardun, the world where Sargeras created the Burning Legion. We’ve been given no clues as to what happened on that mission, only that it ended with the player demon hunters somehow imprisoned by the night elf Wardens. Something very important happened there, for sure. Perhaps it’s related to why Illidan is so vital to the Legion’s plans despite being their enemy.

We know Maardun is a prison world, maybe it’s where Alleria and Turalyon have been all this time? It would be a nice nod to the original plan of having them appear as prisoners in the Black Temple during The Burning Crusade. Maybe Gul’dan needs his main universe-self’s skull, last seen in Illidan’s possession? It’s too early to tell any concrete details, but there is enough to suspect that whatever is going on with Illidan, it’s at the heart of the Legion’s plans, and our key to stopping them.

 

So there are my five predictions for World of WarCraft: Legion. It’ll be awhile before we can know if any of them will come true, but I’m fairly confident in each prediction. All we can do now is wait and see.

Ian Bates

World of Warcraft Writer and columnist for Blizzplanet. I am also known as The Red Shirt Guy (BlizzCon).

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