I am not sure why I am fixated on time these days, when I seem to have too much of it, but for whatever reason I am. Over the weekend I was chewing over a cryptic comment made by Mr. Game Director Hazzikostas back in a May 2020 interview with WoWChakra. (Original interview here if you are interested.) The gist of what he said was that time “moves differently” in Shadowlands, though irregularly — not in any strict ratio such as, say, one year in Shadowlands equals 5 years in Azeroth. Then he went on to say, “…what does that mean for our characters? Well, that’s something that we’ll have to see as we come out the other end.”
This not-so-accidental utterance has given rise to a lot of speculation about what we may see in the post-Shadowlands expansion. And let me point out that Mr. GDH is a lawyer by training, and he never says anything randomly, particularly not in formal interviews. This was clearly a calculated remark, though what the intended effect was is anyone’s guess.
To me, it seems likely that Blizz is starting, ever so gingerly, to prepare us for a major, major redesign of Azeroth after Shadowlands. Indeed, it could be as close as we will come to a WoW 2.0.
Anyway, since I am not feeling very original today, here are a handful of the more intriguing speculations I have come across. Interestingly, all the pieces I have read or watched assume both that there will be a time skip, and that the time skip will be into a future Azeroth, not a past one.
This one, from Daniel Gusinksi over at ScreenRant last week, speculates that Blizz may use the time to update graphics in the older parts of Azeroth, but he also suggests all of Azeroth might be redesigned to function as end game areas for players, with relevant dungeons, quests, world bosses, maybe even raids. In other words, he thinks it would be possible for players to select any zone for their end game play in the same way that they can now select almost any zone for leveling.
BlizzPlanet opined mainly about what the time difference might mean for lore and story lines. (One of my favorite sight pictures: We return to an aged King Anduin.)
Spyells over at Warcraft Lover has a nice pro- and con- piece about doing a time skip at all. Basically, could be fun, but on the other hand…..
Here’s a really comprehensive flight of fancy from BellularGaming (just grit your teeth through his shameless in-video commercial for NordVPN). The gist is that Blizz needs to finish the current Alliance v. Horde story line with the inevitable period of peace in Azeroth, but we all know happiness and contentment does not make for great gaming. So a 10-year time skip would allow for the peace to have already happened and provide some awesome opportunities for grand scale and long term conflicts for future expansions.
Last, a fun day-after-the-interview “WTF did that mean?” piece from Matthew Rossi over at Blizzard Watch.
I have no idea what Patch 10.0 will bring. Right now any speculation is just a parlor game. But it seems certain that a) Mr. GDH dropped the hint for a reason, and b) WoW is past due for a major update. Beyond that, massive shoulder shrug.
But it is kind of fun to think about.