So there it is.
A lot of lore speculation has been happening about bridging between the end of Antorus and the beginning of Battle for Azeroth. How much of that story will be told in-game? How much will be covered in pre-8.0 events and occurences?
The answer, seemingly, is on the PTR now. Almost nothing.
The splash-screen for patch 7.3.5 is on PTR now, and it lists the marquee feature as the new low-level scaling tech. Which is great and worth highlighting, for sure. My complaint is not that – it’s the little card shuffled off to the side of that same screen.
Now, this could change before the patch releases. It likely won’t come out until February, after the last wing of Antorus is accessible on LFR. However, as we wind ever-closer to the holidays, it seems increasingly likely that this patch is pretty close to final. A new Sargeras sword has been cleansed of corruption and dropped into the Wound at Silithus. Encrypted voiceover files with non-encrypted broadcast text companions are in the files. We will go to Silithus, which will become a sort of 110 zone, complete with some quests, rare mobs, and story content. We’ll raise our artifacts up to siphon the corruption from the Wound, and then fade to black. Roll credits.
That is the end of Legion.
So far, anyways.
Now, I write this realizing that sounds deflating and crappy. It is, that is why! But, if this truly is the epilogue, then this is some bullshit ending to be frank. We don’t get any connective lore tissue before 8.0? Does Alleria meet Sylvanas? Is Wrathion around? Is he alive? Khadgar seems all weird and contemplative and he’s all like “yo I’m going to Karazhan to stay and figure shit out, peace” but what happens to him? Magni tells us to drain out that corruption, but what happens with our weapons? We find this shore off Feralas that has Azerite all over it, but then what?
That is without accounting for the events that lead to BfA – ones that theoretically could happen in an 8.0 pre-patch, but hopefully sooner. Teldrassil burning, Lordaeron under siege, the return of Jaina Proudmoore, the return of Thrall, Vol’jin’s ash collection (apparently it’s legit!), and Anduin going from weepy to resolute King with the Lion mask.
We have a lot of ground to cover in this leadup, more than any prior expansion has dared to tackle, and unless it is all supposed to be frontloaded right in 8.0, this kind of sucks. First, it feels like the story of Legion just fizzles out, ending with what appears to be a wet fart as we wait patiently for an indeterminate amount of time to pass until BfA launches.
But…this is where my speculative side kicks in. Let’s say for a moment that this is, legitimately, the end of Legion, and there will be no further story content in 7.x patches. Okay, so then maybe 8.0 has all the story. Here’s my thing – right now, I realize I am viewing that possibility through the lens of the past. If it’s not until November 2018 that 8.0 launches, I’ll be pissed and super salty and also have like a million alts up to snuff. But, the signs in place don’t seem to really point that way – not all that much, at least. We have a Hearthstone card back that seems to fit a preorder/collector’s edition bonus in behavior and implementation. We have large bits of 8.0 content hiding in the game files, potentially available as a pre-order bonus (4/6 allied races, anyone?). However, alongside these promising tells, we also have one huge downside – there is no open alpha or beta test happening yet. It’s possible these things are happening under a non-disclosure agreement, and almost certainly are happening internally to Blizzard – as I have said a lot, the Blizzcon demo was so well-polished relative to any other Blizzcon demo I’ve played that it leads me to think that content is ready. The closest to that degree of polish have been Hearthstone updates, which are usually announced and demoed at Blizzcon when they are ready to ship anyways!
So that leaves us with two potential paths, assuming we are indeed in last-patch territory. Either we are left with dangling plot threads aplenty for a long period of time, or we move to 8.0 pretty quickly.
I know which one I am hoping for.