Update August 7, 2017: BlizzCon 2017's key art features Jaina Proudmoore.
Proudmoore's father was the Lord of Kul Tiras, a sunken island that has been strongly hinted as the setting for World of Warcraft's next expansion. Hence, the WoW community are salivating over the prospect of its official announcement - perhaps as soon as Gamescom in two weeks.
Is patch 7.3 Legion's last? Read up on its content with our World of Warcraft 7.3 patch notes.
The new art was tweeted by Blizzard:
Gustavbrowses then took to Reddit with a thread tying up what we know about the next expansion and concluding it'll be unveiled at Gamescom in two weeks' time. He cites the reveal of Legion at Gamescom 2015, with more details revealed at BlizzCon later that year.
Our resident Blizzard wizard Ben Barrett points out that a major announcement was teased weeks ahead of Gamescom 2015 - which hasn't happened this time - and was then confirmed to be the next expansion a week in advance. To announce the next expansion now (or even at BlizzCon) would also be a somewhat abrupt end to Legion, which is still due to get a 7.3 patch (with a 7.3.5 patch mini-patch) at least.
There's more that could conceivably be done in terms of narrative content and gameplay tweaks, and with Legion having been such a success for WoW, we're not convinced big blue are ready to move on just yet. Perhaps Jaina's art teases a new plot thread that leads neatly in to a Kul Tiras expansion, rather than the expansion's announcement itself.
But, hey, we might find out in a couple of weeks.
Original story July 7, 2017: A datamine has uncovered images of a mysterious World of Warcraft armour set, and it's sent the community into a spin. It seems likely that players are heading to Kul Tiras for a showdown with the Old Gods, in the seminal MMORPG’s next expansion.
That’s according to assets datamined from the PTR version of the Legion expansion’s next patch, version 7.3. That patch will take players to Argus, the original homeworld of the Eredar and now the headquarters of the Burning Legion. It’s exactly where you’d expect the final battle against the Burning Legion to take place, in other words, and though Blizzard haven’t confirmed anything, many in the WoW community believe that 7.3 will be Legion’s final major patch.
This recent datamine is making those players even more confident. A new armour set, the Kul Tiras Quest Armour, is the key point of interest – as Wowhead explain:
“This set is named after the maritime nation led by Lord Admiral Daelin Proudmoore in the Second War – it's since been mysteriously silent after the Third War. There are eight icons in the database for Kul Tiras Quest Armor. These icons all follow the naming scheme of Inv_boots_cloth_kultirasquest_b_01, which is very similar to the naming scheme of icons used for quest gear in previous expansions.”
Wowhead’s keen observations continue, as they’ve zoomed in on one of the new armour sets to find a map on the character’s belt. The map looks a lot like Kul Tiras, as seen in the original map of Lordaeron from World of Warcraft vanilla. Kul Tiras has been missing from the map since the Cataclysm expansion, which shook up Azeroth’s geography in a big way.
All this strongly suggests that Kul Tiras will be the setting for WoW’s next expansion, but there are more hints to be gleaned about the enemies we’ll likely be fighting.
The WoW subreddit seem confident we'll be taking on Azeroth's Lovecraftian Old Gods in the Kul Tiras expansion. Looking again at the armour set, you’ll note the barnacles and tentacles on the hem of its robes, which tallies both with the Old Gods (who enjoy a good tentacle) and with a nautical setting.
As PC Gamer point out, the Old Gods have been teased throughout the Legion expansion, perhaps most notably in the whispered dialogue of the Blade of the Black Empire, Xal'atath, which says:
"The God of the Deep writhes in his prison, breaking free ever so slowly. You should hurry and defeat the fallen titan… there are greater battles yet to fight."
PCG further speculate that Kul Tiras might resurface in the South Seas, a vast region often referenced in Warcraft lore but as yet unexplored in any game. If they turn out to be right, expect a tropical adventure featuring jungle islands, pirates, sapphire seas, and nightmarish tentacle-fiends sucking at your sanity from the depths of an infinite abyss.
Aside from the Burning Legion (which we're presumably about to defeat, at least for a while), the Old Gods are among the most powerful threats to the World of Warcraft. They were sealed below its surface – particularly in its oceans – by the titans, and have yet to be the focus of any of WoW's many expansions. There's a feeling both that it's about time, and it's kinda all Blizzard have left.
It sounds pretty plausible to us. Are you hyped?