The truth behind World of Warcraft‘s next expansion may be closer than ever, after dataminers discovered new clues in the latest PTR patch for the MMO. After the side-step that was the Warlords of Draenor expansion, Legion has begun moving the plot forward in World of Warcraft at rapid speed. Not only has the final confrontation between Azeroth’s heroes and the Legion been hinted at, but also the return of Warcraft‘s other major nemesis, the Old Gods. What exactly comes next, as all good adventures do, starts with a map.
From here on there will be World of Warcraft spoilers for the current expansion Legion, and potential spoilers for what’s coming next. Stop here if you’d like to remain in mystery. Dataminers for the forthcoming Legion patch discovered a full set of quest armor named the Kul Tiras set, which on its own might be a clue regarding the next expansion’s location. But just to hammer the leak home, the textures on the armor include a map. The entire island of Kul Tiras is shown, potentially already shaped into zone-like areas that would be perfect for an expansion.
Kul Tiras is a storied island within the Warcraft universe, being a source of a major Alliance fleet and a participant in both the Second and Third Wars of Azeroth. However, Kul Tiras was left uncharted for the launch of World of Warcraft and its first two expansions. With Cataclysm‘s reshaping of Azeroth Kul Tiras remained absent, but Blizzard would justify it by saying that the Cataclysm had caused tectonic plates to carry the island out to sea. As far as known locations in Azeroth, Kul Tiras is a one of the last ones left to explore.
An unannounced expansion’s land mass on its own is an exciting leak for World of Warcraft fans, but that’s not all that dataminers discovered. They also found tentacles reaching upward from the textures on the map. They’re purple tentacles adorned with what looks like either barnacles or eyes, and likely intentionally left ambiguous. If Kul Tiras is to be the setting of World of Warcraft‘s next expansion, then the Old Gods shall be its villains.
If the purple tentacle shapes aren’t persuasive, then it helps to recall the bevy of other clues pointing towards the imminent return of the Old Gods. There’s the Shadow Priest’s dagger’s whispering warnings, there’s the Emerald Nightmare raid boss Il’gynoth and his 10 prophecies regarding the Old Gods’ return, and one last new detail. The Legion plot reveal from the datamine is that Illidan successfully seals away Burning Legion commander Sargeras.
While just the absence of the threat of the Burning Legion opens the meta doorway for a new threat, it’s also important from a lore perspective. The Burning Legion’s stated purpose was to end existence in order to defeat the Void Lords, and ith Sargeras gone, there’s little to prevent the Void Lords and Old Gods from showing their hand.
If Blizzard keeps to its current habit of releasing a World of Warcraft expansion every two years, players can expect the Legion follow-up in 2018. That could mean a new expansion announcement as soon as BlizzCon 2017, though don’t be surprised if the next raid patch gets all the attention instead.
World of Warcraft and its latest expansion, Legion, are currently available on PC.