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World of Warcraft: What's the Lich King's Role in the Next Expansion?

BlizzCon is just a few days away, but the rumor and leaks are stilling pouring out ahead of the event. From details on Overwatch 2 game modes to Diablo 4 key art leaks, just about every major Blizz IP has had something spoiled (assuming the leaks turn out to be true). Among the speculation and leaks have been quite a few mentions of the next World of Warcraft expansion. One key detail that seems to be a recurring topic in each WoW leak is the return of someone wearing the Lich King helm.

After the Legion expansion sort of returned to some characters, factions, and locations from The Burning Crusade expansion, it will be interesting to see if World of Warcraft's next expansion does something similar with themes and characters from the Wrath of the Lich King era. If some datamined key art turns out to be real, then there will at least be the return of an iconic enemy and some glowing blue eyes...

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WoW Bolvar Expansion

Note that this post will mention some information that has been datamined and other leaks relating to possible BlizzCon 2019 announcements. Readers who consider that kind of content a spoiler should stop reading here and just wait a few more days for the official event to begin. Consider yourselves warned.

The leak in question relates to an image that has been making the rounds over the last few days. The key art, which may be featured on some BlizzCon 2019 swag, seems to feature Bolvar wearing the Lich King helm in a new cinematic. As expected, this piece of art has thrown additional gasoline on the Shadowlands expansion speculation fire.

At this point, Blizzard hasn't confirmed that the Lich King will be the primary villain of the next WoW expansion, but it is definitely a very strong working theory. For those unaware, Bolvar is currently the spirit charged with containing the power of the Lich King.

Who Is Bolvar?

"The noble spirit of Fordragon resisted the Lich King's depredations. After the death of Arthas Menethil, the mortal host of the Lich King, Fordragon demanded that Tirion Fordring place the Helm of Domination, containing all of the powers of the Scourge, on his head, so that he would forever be the jailer of the damned - imprisoning the Lich King within the Frozen Throne once more and containing the threat of the Scourge."

Why Are Bolvar's Eyes Blue?

One very interesting note about the art is that the eyes behind the helm are blue. Traditionally, Bolvar's eyes have glowed red behind the helm. A popular theory is that the blue eyes could indicate that the Lich King has overpowered Bolvar's will and is now once again in full control. This would spell disaster for Azeroth and could definitely be reason to revisit the Shadowlands story arc.

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What Are The Shadowlands?

The Shadowlands, the realm that the Lich King rules over, is a bit like the upside down version of Azeroth. Players visit the shadowy realm everytime their character dies and they have to conduct a corpse run back to their body. Death Knights also visit the Shadowlands during their class quests and there are a few special items or consumables in the game that give players access to the Shadowlands at other specific times.

A Shadowlands-themed expansion would likely mean a reworking of the Death Knight class and starting zone. This could also play nicely into Sylvanas' ongoing goal to master death if her story arc doesn't wrap up before the end of the current expansion's ongoing content. As the WoW panels play out over BlizzCon weekend, it will be very exciting to see what details emerge about the inevitable next WoW expansion. It seems like a safe bet that fans will at least get a cinematic trailer and a name for the next expac, but additional details likely won't arrive until sometime in 2020.

Be sure to check back for more WoW Classic strategy guides, news, and updates in the coming days. Until then, For The Horde!

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth and WoW: Classic are both available now on PC.

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