Aug 4th 2009 3:42AM Good and bad...I need to decide on a faction.
Playing for 2 years and having like 20 different high-level chars on both horde and alliance and still being unable to decide; really puts a damper on the whole "Down with Arthas!" theme.
Aug 4th 2009 3:27AM This is more than likely to be the name...it's very fitting.
Considering the fact that Arthas is going to be dead relatively soon, they need a larger threat to replace him and keep people interested.
I'm going to go ahead and assume that the expansion will be based around one of two scenarios:
SCENARIO #1: THE EMERALD DREAM
The Emerald Dream will be impacted, very negatively; to the point of causing another "Cataclysm". The name's reference to the Maelstrom may be intended to throw us off into believing it will be a water holocaust.
The possibility of another "cataclysm", whether literal or metaphorical, is still as much of a possibility as a "water world".
A possibility would be that The Burning Legion (Or something else; maybe Arthas, maybe Fandral turns rogue?) attempts to corrupt the "perfect beings" inside of the Emerald Dream in order to finish off Azeroth once and for all.
It would only take the corruption of one sleeping druid's mind to gain entry.
And as we've seen in Northrend, the Emerald Dream is already starting to become slightly disturbed. Ysera freakout, anybody?
A quote from WoW Wiki about the Emerald Dream:
"Animals of all types inhabit the world, including some that are extinct on Azeroth and subspecies that never got the chance to evolve. Many fey creatures, such as sprites and faerie dragons, also roam the forests. However, it is not only the inhabitant creatures that roam the Dream."
These would be more than perfect tools to use against the forces of Azeroth, considering none of these are "intelligent civilizations", but rather, peacefully roaming monsters.
If this happens, we can expect Malfurion to awaken, either on good terms to serve the Alliance (probably killing off Fandral in the process, cause he's a douche), or awakening as a corrupted being, turning into the next Arthas. (However, this is probably very unlikely. Malfurion is just too strong-willed to let this happen.)
If Malfurion rises, we can certainly expect him to be the Alliance counterpart to Thrall. However, because he's been asleep for so long, the Horde VS Alliance concept would still remain, and he would see and Orc and yell "DEMON!". Because of this, PvP will still fit into the lore quite nicely.
SCENARIO #2: MAELSTROM
While this scenario is a bit more likely, as other users in this posting have suggested, I still believe Scenario #1 will happen EVENTUALLY.
Essentially, what this scenario is, (if you haven't already read), is that the Maelstrom "opens", with unknown water beasts, crazy Naga armies, and the "evolution" of Murloc Gods, as suggested by worldofwarcraft.com's section detailing the Murloc.
As previously stated by others, this would include a huge flooding of Azeroth, rendering it changed for a great time, and opening up an underwater world.
However, I do feel that this scenario is very flawed, as they won't totally wipe out the Classic Continents, ever. And the devs surely dare not to render it basically useless, either; it is the Classic WoW, after all.
Not to mention, this scenario would suggest a LOT of water, something that would become extremely redundant and boring. Furthermore, they would have to alleviate the "slow swim" and "breathing" problems that constantly hassle players on every water-related quest; and quest potions will never be sufficient; nor will mounts.
Lastly, if they seriously change Azeroth, then think of how new players will be affected? If Tirisfal Glades/Undercity is underwater, then how will the Undead population level? How will Mulgore and Elwynn Forest newbies even begin to fathom the situation around them, if they start playing in world surrounded by water and murlocs? IT WOULD BE AN EXTREME TURN-OFF! Not to mention having to actually go through and change the physical appearance of all of Azeroth? Not happening.
An under-water expansion would just become far too boring, as well as confusing. Perhaps a new continent will be pushed up, where the forces of Azeroth have to find a way to close up the Maelstrom, while the underwater forces fight back, as well as the Burning Legion dipping it's hand into the scenario.
If Scenario #2 happens, it is MUCH MORE LIKELY that it will lead back into Scenario #1:
Azeroth becomes flooded with water and overrun with water-beasts.
The continents of Azeroth slip ever closer to the Maelstrom, causing a planet-wide evacuation to the Emerald Dream; thus opening up a HUUUUUUUUGE new planet, with HUUUUUUGE new types of monsters, and causing a LOOOOOOOT of drama between the Alliance and Horde; for the Alliance will now be in the same boat as the Horde once was: struggling to fit into a new world.
This would cause plenty of PvP opportunities, as well as spark an all-out faction war.
Then, after this goes on for a year or two, the Titans decide it's time to "cleanse" everything. (While it's just a "dream", it still Physically exists to those who are there)
This could open a brand new NEW expansion for the future after the future, leading to the end of the WoW franchise in about 5 years, so Blizzard can start on another domination.
But let's focus here...The Cataclysm may not even be the expansion's title, however, I still believe the next expansion will greatly focus upon the Emerald Dream, and will have Malfurion awaken regardless of whether it's a water-world, or whether it's a happy green paradise.