Chris Metzen made a full-throated return to the World of Warcraft spotlight today, commanding the BlizzCon 2023 stage to announce not just one World of Warcraft expansion, but three expansions that will make up the "Worldsoul Saga."
The next three World of Warcraft expansions, as revealed by Metzen, will be:
- The War Within: "You will be descending into the heart of Azeroth itself, exploring new subterranean kingdoms, and engaging with ancient cultures, like the Earthen and the terrifying nerubians of Azj-kahet."
- Midnight: "You will be returning—ready?—to the Old World, to the fabled lands of Quel'Thalas. There, the forces of the void have invaded Azeroth, intent on snuffing out the light of the Sunwell, and plunging the world into darkness and fear."
- The Last Titan: "You will again be returning to the Old World, this time to the wintery lands of Northrend. And there, at Ulduar, you will bear witness to the return of the Titans to Azeroth."
"When it comes to WoW's storytelling, we ain't screwin' around," boomed Metzen to the crowd of BlizzCon attendees. "We are playing for all the marbles. We are working to establish a thundering heartbeat for this franchise.
"Whether you are a current player ... or maybe you jumped off the WoW train a few expansions ago, now is the time to come home. Now is the time to pull on your boots, pick up your broadsword or favorite glowy staff, and get in this fight."
Metzen then cued up a cinematic trailer for The War Within, embedded at the top of this article. The cinematic features the former leader of the Horde faction and the current leader of the Alliance faction preparing for the three-part storyline mostly set in the MMO's oldest locations—instead of a brand new continent, like most WoW expansions.
In a press release, Blizzard provided more context for The War Within, which will be out next year.
"Deep beneath the surface, an ancient nerubian civilization is rising to power, aided by Xal'atath, the Harbinger of the Void first introduced in the Legion expansion," says Blizzard. "Players will need to enlist the aid of the Earthen, a new allied race available to both Horde and Alliance players, as they make their way deeper and discover an entirely new world that has existed for centuries and whose denizens are preparing for conflicts that loom on the horizon."
Along with four new zones—"the surface-level Isle of Dorn, the industrial Ringing Deeps, the unexpectedly bright and lush Hallowfall, and Azj-kahet, a pinnacle of nerubian society"—The War Within will introduce new Hero Talent trees, more of Dragonflight's physics-based flying, endgame treasure vaults called Delves, and a new feature, Warbands, which offers "account-wide progression across your family of characters on your Battle.net account, regardless of their Faction."
Blizzard didn't give The War Within a date except "2024," but that hasn't stopped it from offering pre-purchases, which come with the current expansion, Dragonflight, and the usual spreadsheet of accoutrements. You kind find those details and more on The War Within's features on the official site.